Howard from New Life here. Today, I wanted to talk about this concept of behavioral change for young adults. Therapy is super important when it comes to getting sober. Getting to the root of our issues, getting underneath the surface, and figuring out the things that make us tick, has got to happen if we’re going to have a chance to stay sober long term. But there’s another piece of the puzzle and it’s part of what New Life does so well that makes us so different from so many other places and it’s addressing behaviors. So, absolutely, do I need to understand what makes me tick and is leading to a lot of the things that make me feel the way that I do, but I also have to change my behaviors if I want a chance of staying sober.
For so many of us young adults, when we’re drinking and using, and living a lifestyle that we do, we get really wrapped up in these behaviors that serve us really well while we’re out there doing that stuff but, if we want to be healthy, we’ve got to let them go. So I want to go through this whole video series and talk about some of those and talk about some of the ways that we can address them and do something about them.
The first one and one of the most common ones that we see with young men is dishonesty. So often as we’re out there in the world, we’re living the way that we’re living, we’re lying in order to get our way, to hide our using, to get one over on people, and to accomplish the things that we need to accomplish, all to stay high and stay drunk. And so we get to a point where, when we do this stuff long enough, it becomes second nature. All of a sudden it becomes easier to tell a lie than tell the truth.
Additionally, we start to believe some of our own lies. We work with guys so often that come in and they’ve been living in this type of dishonesty for so long, that they tell a lie and they don’t even know the truth from the false. The problem is, this completely disconnects us from other people, it disconnects us from the world around us, and most importantly, it disconnects us from ourselves. We never have the chance to build self-esteem. We never have the chance to be authentic. We never have the chance to build a relationship with someone else that has any sort of depth because of the fact that everything that we say is hidden behind a veil of dishonesty. So, how do we deal with that? Well, again, therapy is very important, but what we also have to do is start addressing it.
When the dishonesty comes up, we have to look at it. We have to call it out. We have to acknowledge it, in order to change it. And that’s something that you need to do with your peers. That’s a process that has to take place with your peers, with the people around you and with the people that you can connect with that can tell you the truth. And as that starts to happen, we slowly begin to change the behaviors. When we tell a lie, someone calls us out on it, and we were able to change it. And then eventually what starts happening is, that when we tell a lie, we catch ourselves. And now we’re starting to build some self-esteem, we feel better when we’re being honest, and now we don’t want to lie anymore. And so through that process, slowly but surely, we begin to change our character, we start to live with honesty, we start to stand up a little bit straighter, we start to build some self-esteem, and now all of a sudden we start to feel good about ourselves. So, that’s one of the many behaviors that we like to look at, at New Life, and that we like to address so we can set our young men up for long term sobriety.