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Returning to Old Behavior

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From a 17 year old in the U.S.: I used to have depression and anxiety with a history of alcohol abuse. I was pulled out of school for a month last year to seek additional professional help. After two years of therapy, I am successful academically, socially, and am a “normal” teenager. But lately, I have started drinking again and my grades have dropped. I feel as if I am repeating my old behavior not for the instant gratification of alcohol, for example, but because I miss the familiar feeling of suffering. I had issues for years, and being healthy is so foreign to me that I don’t know how to handle it.

Returning to Old Behavior

Answered by on -


I’m very, very glad you wrote. You are catching yourself before you get too entangled in old patterns. That’s progress. Now you need to do the next step — which is to go back into therapy.

Therapy often happens in “chapters”. It’s not unusual. It doesn’t mean that the first course of treatment wasn’t successful. It only means there is more work to do. In your case, you got back on your feet with the first round. Now you need to use that experience of strength to change your identity from someone who suffers to someone who is successful.

Please contact your therapist for another round of treatment. You know it works for you.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Returning to Old Behavior

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Returning to Old Behavior. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 20, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.