Saturday, October 2, 2010


aaaaaaaaaa Dear Mr. Morton- My husband has many of bad habits that his “friends“ perpetuate. How can I get him to break them. Loving Wife

Dear Loving Wife- It takes about 21 days to change bad habits and to replace them with new ones. Bad habits don’t make his friends “bad” people. Just be thankful he doesn’t hang with Robert Downey Junior (multiple arrests), Charlie Sheen (threatening wife with knife), Snoop Dogg (illegal gun & drug possession), Mickey Rourke (DUI charge on a scooter), Rip Torn (crashed into truck while drunk), Nick Nolte (DUI plus traces of GHB rape drug in his system), ZaZa Gabor (driving with open liquor container & slapping a cop), Gary Coleman (domestic assault), and Lindsay Lohan for DUI while driving her new Mercedes on Sunset Blvd.

For the rest of us who don’t make $35 million for starring in one movie, we readily drop costly bad habits, like accumulating DUI‘s. We might be more frustrated with nail biting, smoking, borrowing money, procrastinating, overeating, compulsive shopping, nose picking, or cracking our knuckles. Habit formation brings about peculiar events in our lives - good habits are easier to give up than bad ones, bad habits are easier to form than good ones, but good habits can become as addictive and as hard to break as bad ones.

I learned this when counseling a woman hooked on cocaine. That was six years ago, and she’s still emancipated from the drug’s social, economic, and career- demolishing consequences. The addiction was easy for her to develop and extremely difficult for her to give up. However, her cocaine addiction was replaced by living a life unshackled- a steady job, a new set of drug-free friends, volunteer work in a drug clinic, and a reestablished relationship with her children.

Yes, good habits can be as addictive and hard to break as bad ones. A herd of wild horses couldn’t drag her back into the world of cocaine. If your husband desires, he too can replace his bad habits with good ones.

NOTE: In the right margin search for code "X BAD HABITS" for videos and newspaper, journal articles to learn more on this topic.

Robert Morton, M.Ed., Ed.S. has retired from his positions of school psychologist and adjunct professor in the School of Leadership and Policy Studies at BGSU. Questions or comments? Contact him at the Bpath Mail Form at the top of the site. Also, visit his national Family Journal column.