How to Use Missing-Links Analysis to Keep from Relapsing

July 08, 2022

A behavior chain is a series of events that includes a trigger, a thought, a reaction, and a consequence. As a result, it should be no surprise that other habits are the only natural barriers to any behavior change. To achieve our objectives in recovery, we must act effectively. Rather than concentrating on what is "right" or "wrong," the emphasis here is on what works in a particular setting.


For example, at a restaurant, yelling at the waitress after receiving an incorrect order may make you feel justified, but is it effective? You'd be happier and more at ease if the server quickly corrected the error and didn't feel intimidated by you for the rest of the meal.

Missing-links analysis is a holistic technique of detecting what effective actions are missing while participating in an undesirable activity—then problem-solving so that you may behave more effectively in the future.


Effective behaviors that are often missing come under the categories of “needed” and “expected” actions. A needed behavior is coping skills to calm down after a difficult encounter. A needed action may also address a specific issue, such as how you will go to work without a car or gas money.


Expected behaviors, on the other hand, are those you have agreed to, been directed to, planned to, or strongly desired to accomplish. Examples are being on time for an appointment, paying past-due payments, cleaning the closet, and exercising or meditating each morning.


When recovering from addictive behavior or striving to change any unpleasant habit, evaluating instances in which effective behaviors are often missing may be beneficial. We use a missing-links analysis to pinpoint exactly where our operations went wrong. You discover where in the chain you might have acted more effectively and then concentrate only on that link to prevent future issues.


You must answer the following four questions to perform a missing-links analysis:


Did I understand the necessary effective behavior?

Was I ever able to imagine executing the effective action?

Was I willing to participate in effective behavior?

What kept me from engaging in the effective behavior?


To respond effectively, you must focus on what will help you rather than impede you in a specific situation. A skilled and effective solution will never cease to outperform an emotional one in the long run. The more you grasp the missing links and consequences that lead to a bad habit, the easier it will be to change that behavior permanently.


Contact Wish Recovery, one of the top dual diagnosis treatment centers, to learn more about missing links and behavior chain analysis, along with other skills that may aid you in your recovery. If you're looking for a luxurious detox at a top-rated treatment facility, contact us today!

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