Unchallenged and unchanged beliefs, habits, and patterns will bring you back to the cycle of addiction. Change by choice happens when you increase your level of attention to what your values are, and prevent your thoughts from being absorbed by destructive old habits and old thinking. Your ability to act and respond differently depends on your ability to develop and maintain focused attention on what you are thinking, what is happening around you, and why you are making certain choices. Defining values requires you to become aware of your actions and to listen to yourself.
How do you define your values? Every time you do something, ask yourself, why did I do that? Your values are demonstrated moment to moment by your actions. If you don’t show up when you promised a friend you would, then you value something else higher than friendship, your word or integrity. When you identify the reasons for your actions, you will begin to learn your current values. Over the next week, carry a small journal. Jot down the values your behavior says are important to you. Once you know why you behave the way you do, you can ask yourself the bigger question: What values do I want to hold and what values do I want to change? Then just as important ask yourself, “How do I begin to honor my values through my actions?”