If we want to change any behaviour, it helps to know as much as possible about it, understanding the complex functions and roles it plays in our lives. The more we can understand about it, the easier it will be to pull away from it.
You could apply this analysis to any behaviour you want to change, gambling, drinking, taking drugs. It is known as a “Functional Analysis”.
We can ask ourselves:
What do you usually do?
How much do you usually do it?
Over how long a period of time do you usually do it?
Then we look at the ‘triggers’ for doing it:
Who are you usually with when you do this?
Where do you usually do this?
When do you usually do this?
What are you usually thinking about right before you do this?
What are you usually feeling physically right before you do this?
What are you usually feeling emotionally right before you do this?
Then the consequences, positive and negative:
Short-Term Positive Consequences
What do you like about doing this with (your buddies)?
What do you like about this where you most often do it?
What do you like about this when you most often do it?
What are the pleasant thoughts you have while you do it?
What are the pleasant physical feelings you have while doing it?
What are the pleasant emotions you have while doing it?
Long-Term Negative Consequences
What are the negative results of doing this in each of these areas:
Going carefully through these answers we can pretty quickly see situations we might want to avoid or replace, and where we might need extra support and other resources.
Having a greater awareness of the complex roles that behaviours perform in our lives gives us a much better chance to successfully move away from them.