We develop our maladaptive behaviors out of survival. Doing the best we can to get by with what we have, we rely on what we know and what has worked for us in the past- even if that isn’t our highest vibrational choice. Meaning, though the behaviors we choose might not be the best behaviors for us, we choose them because they are what have worked for us, in some way, in the past. Maladaptive behaviors are learned and programmed because they provide some kind of benefit, even in the depths of the pain and suffering they can cause. Within our disordered minds, we find a reward in that benefit, which our brain then learns over and over again. Familiarity and routine, when combined with reward and benefit, create a very deeply embedded habit in the brain. As a result, the habit becomes part of our behavior.

Changing habits and behaviors is hard because they are so deeply programmed. Creating a pros and cons chart is a practice used in dialectical behavioral therapy. Dialectical behavioral therapy was designed to create change in deep, overwhelming emotions, habits and behaviors, which are difficult to access. Creating a pros and cons chart, then working through that chart with a therapist can help reveal why these behaviors work, where they came from, and how to replace them with new, healthy behaviors.

First, choose the specific behavior, habit, or set of behaviors and habits you think are problematic in your life. Next, make a list of the pros and a list of the cons you experience by continuing to act on these habits and behaviors. After you have made the full list of pros and cons, decide if these parts of the behaviors create benefit for the short term or the long term. You’ll quickly realize that the maladaptive behaviors only provide a short term benefit, but actually create long term problems. With the visual aid you’ll gain the awareness that acting on the negative behaviors isn’t truly helpful, but creates more problems.


Offering excellence in addiction treatment, Cypress Lake Recovery provides a crafted balance between life-enriching therapy and wellness to restore balance, cultivate confidence, and rejuvenate each client in mind, body, and spirit. For information on our residential treatment programs for addiction and dual diagnosis, call us today: 409-331-2204