Behavior Modification



The words “behavior modification” ruffle my feathers. In case you did not notice, I am a bit defiant when it comes to rules and regulations, and the act of “modifying behavior” sounds suspiciously autocratic to me…


I wrote an article for Recovery yesterday on Making Long Term Recovery Stick. Talk about behavior modification, I was at the Miller Road Starbucks at 5 a.m. with a blank mind and a blank screen, dragging words out of my sleepy head to meet my deadline, hand over hand like a clown with a string of scarves…


I started thinking about a friend of mine in Flint, who told me she used to get picked up from jail by someone with a 12-pack and a crack pipe, and it made me think that maybe a jail stint is not a good, long-term solution to addiction. I don’t know that much about incarceration, other than what I’ve seen in the media, where they fashion weapons out of tic-tac containers and brew moonshine from fruit cocktail, but I know that a forced sobriety is less effective than self-motivated readiness.


Whether you’re in jail, or rehab or on a boat or in a tree – you must be ready to change your behavior…


When making the decision to stop drinking, one is really embarking on a major lifestyle change. In researching the article, I found the steps one must take to change behavior according to the loftily titled: Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change (and added my own descriptions):


  1. Precontemplation – denial –  “I do not have a drinking problem.”
  2. Contemplation – acceptance – “Okay, okay I do have a drinking problem…”
  3. Preparation – realization – “I guess I better do something about my drinking problem. Any suggestions?”
  4. Action – galvanization – “I can’t drink when I snorkel! I’m taking up snorkeling!”
  5. Maintenance – reinforcement – “I can’t snorkel all the time so maybe I should read some literature and go to meetings…”
  6. Termination – paradigm shift – “EEEEEUUUUU, drinking is so disgusting.”


I think I am solidly positioned in the “Maintenance” phase.


I think I’m okay with that. Read more at Recovery


Today I’m not drinking because I do not like it (Sam I am)…


How come you’re not drinking?