Self-Monitoring: Take Charge of Your Recovery

Self-monitoring is an effective tool that can help recovering addicts change undesirable behaviors. It is a part of behavior therapy. The idea behind self-monitoring is that behaviors can be changed when the individual sees what they are doing. It’s similar to looking in the mirror, observing your behavior and setting relevant goals.

We all practice self-monitoring to some degree. Some people are better at it than others. High self-monitors are more aware of their environment and how they should be acting. Low self-monitors are less likely to conform to social norms because they are less aware of their environment.

Let’s learn more about self-monitoring and how it fits into recovery.

How Self-Monitoring Works in Recovery

Denial is a common symptom of addiction. You may convince yourself and others that you do not have a problem. Unfortunately, this only delays the treatment process. By practicing self-monitoring, ignoring the addiction becomes harder. It can even help with the dry drunk syndrome, as it’s vital to identify negative attitudes and behaviors that can sabotage recovery.

Self-monitoring is often used in conjunction with other therapies. Let’s say that you are working with a therapist and he or she asks you to role play a situation that happened in the home. By acting out the dilemma, the therapist gets a better idea of your problems.

A period of self-monitoring typically follows a reenactment. The purpose is for you to “look in the mirror” and better understand how your behaviors and actions affect others. When you acknowledge the problem and set goals, you can effectively work toward recovery.

What is Needed for Self-Monitoring to Work

In order for self-monitoring to work, you must be motivated to complete your recovery. This includes documenting all behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. As you plan to work on your recovery, some of the best -self-monitoring tools include journal entries, photographs, and audio files.

The main drawback to self-monitoring is that it requires significant focus and motivation. If you aren’t prepared to give this, it could lead to anxiety. The type of person you are also influencing how easy it will be to self-monitor your behavior. If you are a high self-monitor, the process will come more naturally than if you are a low self-monitor.


Self-monitoring is one aspect of behavior therapy that can be used successfully with other therapies. It is something that has helped many people take charge of their recoveries and it’s possible that it can help you, too.

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