5 Negative Beliefs That Block Your Recovery Process
Even if you initially feel resistant to the idea, it does make sense that you would make the most of your time in an addiction treatment center. This is going to be an investment of your time and money so failing to make use of this opportunity would be a waste. The most common reason clients fail to blossom in rehabs is they are being held back by unhelpful beliefs such as:
1. This Is As Good As It Gets
If you believe that it is not possible for you to have a better life than what you have now, it is going to be hard for you to fully embrace addiction recovery – why would you? The problem is that addiction can devastate our self-esteem to such an extent that our expectations for life are abysmally low. It does take a leap of faith to escape this belief – you need to trust that things will get better in recovery (eventually you will accumulate enough evidence that will reinforce the need for essential changes).
2. I Don’t Deserve a Better life
You may have done some things as a result of your addiction that makes you feel really ashamed. Perhaps you also have some other skeletons in your closet that fill you full of guilt feelings. Humans are fallible, we make mistakes, but we don’t have to be forever defined by these mistakes. The best thing you can do to make up for any past misdemeanours is to become a better person now – we all deserve a second chance in life, and this includes you too. Remember that ‘addict’ behaviour is ‘normal’ yet socially unacceptable and highly destructive in all areas.
3. It is Just the Way I Am
One of the biggest stumbling blocks to progress in a drugs or alcohol rehab is the excuse ‘it’s just the way I am’. This way of thinking occurs due to low self-efficacy (our belief in our ability to change). The key is to ‘listen’ to your peer group and make realistic attempts at making some changes to see if your life improves – by doing this your self-efficacy will increase and change gradually becomes much easier. A therapist in a drugs rehab can use motivational interviewing techniques to also boost your self-efficacy.
4. It is Not Possible to Be Happy without Alcohol or Drugs
You have trained your brain to associate drugs with reward, and this means you can find it hard to imagine life without them. The good news is you can retrain your brain to associate reward with new things, and the joys of recovery can be much better than anything you’ve known previously. It is true; addiction is a ‘quick fix culture’ and recovery is a ‘slower fix culture’ which ‘blocks’ many addicts from making better efforts! Thinking can become ‘what’s the point, life is boring!’ The reality is though is that addicts have only ever experienced just one aspect of life which is dark and desperate; seeing life differently can be challenging yet very possible and rewarding!
5. I’m Not Ready to Quit
Part of the denial of addiction is we believe that time is on our side. This means we can fail to take rehab seriously because we believe there will be a better opportunity to do so in the future. Perhaps you feel that you haven’t yet hit rock bottom? This is a misunderstanding of what it means to hit rock bottom because all that is required to reach this stage is to see that enough is enough. If you don’t see this now, your rock bottom may be your death. It is not necessary to have to lose EVERYTHING in order to recover; in fact this notion is ridiculous but unfortunately a commonly believed myth!
David is the Clinical and Development Director of Twin Rivers Rehab in South Africa and a UK Accredited Addictions Therapist with the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals UK. Articles/Blogs are written with the assistance of researchers and other specialists in the field of addiction and the recovery process