Behavior is what you actually do. In reality there is no such thing as ideal behavior, but you could call normal that range of behavior that is productive, effective, and healthy. You might look at your overall behavior and say that, besides alcohol, drugs, eating, weight, or other addictive behavior, your actions are fairly normal. Or, like some addicts, you might take an honest look and see that much of your behavior is outside the normal range.

Addictive behavior is that behavior that supports the continuance and progression of the disease of addiction. You probably can see addictive behavior in every arena of your life — physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.

Physical behavior The physical includes behavior like excess drinking, using, bingeing, purging, and starving. You may feel physical thirst, hunger, or craving, but there is no direct connection between this feeling and the actions of drinking, using, bingeing, purging, or starving. When you act on these feelings, when it is clearly in your best interest not to do so, that is addictive behavior.

Emotional behavior may exaggerate mood swings. There is a difference between feeling fear and acting afraid. Anytime you behave as an emotional basket case, or as a depressed person, you increase the likelihood that you will feel like one. This is because your actions cause biochemical changes that affect the production of emotions.

If you begin acting as if you are in crisis, your feelings will mirror that. If instead you can take a deep breath, look outside, imagine yourself in a peaceful place, or just count your breaths for a few seconds, your emotions will quiet down considerably.

Judgment Behavior that interferes with healthy, productive thinking degrades judgment. This includes acting on poor choices, misinformation, magical thinking, diet mentality, dichotomous (black-and-white) thinking, and obsession.

Spirituality Isolation, control, and panic behavior adversely affect your spirituality. Withdrawing from others so you can maintain the illusion of being in control, or avoiding help until you fall apart-these are spiritual consequences of addictive behavior.

Behavior Modification

Behavior modification is a therapy technique that rewards desired behavior and withholds rewards for, or even punishes, other behavior. Based on learning theory, it is very effective for certain types of psychological problems, including some substance abuse or eating disorders. With most addicts, however, it stimulates game playing. Because of behavior modifications manipulative nature, addicts often get right into the swing of it without lasting change. We do not usually recommend it as the treatment of choice for addiction.

Behavior, see also: Abuse, Amends, Anger, Assertiveness, Attitudes, Character defects, Control, Defenses, Feelings, Forgiveness, Grief, Incest, Integrity & values, Judgment, Moodifiers, Recovery, Resentments, Responsibility, Step Four, Step Six, Step Seven, Step Nine, Survival roles.

Updated 9 Sep 2015

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Addictionary 2 by Jan & Judy Wilson

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