Recovering from addiction is a much more complex issue than abstaining from your addictive substance. Addiction is a deep-rooted disease that affects the mind, body, and spirit. The use of the addictive substance is only the symptom of the disease, not the cause of the disease. In order to genuinely recover from your addiction, you must create a new life for yourself.
Step Six of the Twelve Steps states, “We are entirely ready to have God (or a Higher Power of your understanding) remove all these defects of character.” The defects of character are the negative characteristics that the disease makes people have (e.g. selfishness, impulsiveness, fear, control, etc.). The “isms” of alcoholism are another term for defects of character. A “dry drunk” is an alcoholic who is not actively drinking but still possesses the isms of an active drinker. Common acronyms for the term ism are “I, Self, Me,” “I Sponsor Myself,” and “Internal Spiritual Malady.”
Treating a Common Ism
Anger is a common “ism” of alcoholism. Effective alcohol rehab centers understand that they must address the mind, body, and spirit to treat the disease. Treating the mind does not only require treating errors in cognition; it also requires changing unhealthy behaviors. Anger management is taught several ways in rehab.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive-behavioral therapy would typically be done between you and a individual counselor. CBT involves addressing faulty ways of thinking, changing those faulty ways of thinking, and applying the new ways of thinking to change unhealthy behaviors. For example, a faulty way of thinking would be “My mom was a horrible parent.” A healthier, more rational thought would be “My mom was not perfect; she merely did the best with the tools that she had.” A change in behavior would be instead of punching a hole in the wall when your mother angers you, you walk away and scream in a pillow.
Group therapy uses concepts that are similar to CBT but involves collaboration with others who are dealing with the same issue as opposed to a one-on-one approach. Group therapy for anger management would involve you and other recovering alcoholics participating in collaborative discussions and activities to change unhealthy thoughts and behaviors.
Mindfulness involves learning to focus your thoughts to the present moment. This is most commonly done through yoga or meditation. Mindfulness helps slow impulsive, irrational thinking that often precedes anger. Mindfulness will also teach you to not grieve over the past and worry about the future because grieving over the past and worrying about the future causes distress that may be expressed as anger.
The Twelve Steps provide many tools that can be applied to managing anger. Realizing your powerlessness, turning issues over to a Higher Power, working on your defects of character, making amends, admitting when you are wrong, using prayer and meditation, and applying the Twelve Steps in all of your affairs can help you manage anger by making you more serene. Serenity is not freedom from the storm; it is peace amid the storm. You cannot control external forces; you can only control your thoughts and actions.
Aspects of Life in Recovery
In the beginning of your recovery, you may think that recovery is a prison where you will be confined to the dungeons of AA for the rest of your life. Any recovering addict will attest to you that recovery is freedom, not imprisonment.
Being Involved in a Recovery Community
Having sober friends is key to success in recovery because they can empathize with you and have similar values as you. You can collaborate with them on ways to solve issues that arise in recovery. When you are having a rough day, calling a friend who is active in a recovery program can steer you in the right direction because they can provide you with tools of the program, unlike a friend who is not active in a recovery program. Twelve Step Meetings are the most common and easiest way to be active in a recovery program, but there are also alternatives to Twelve Step programs.
Caring for Your Physical Health
Exercising, doing yoga and/or meditation, and eating a healthy diet play a major role in a recovery lifestyle because it will help you sleep better, strengthen your immune system, look better, and generally feel better, which will reduce the cravings for the addictive substance.
Caring for Your Mental Health
If there is no mental health, there is no health at all. Early in your recovery, you should continue your treatment by participating in an intensive-outpatient program or outpatient program. You should avoid unnecessary stress, but not shelter yourself from challenges because you will need to learn how to stay in recovery mode unconditionally. You will need learn how to balance work and recreation. Yoga, prayer, and meditation are also beneficial to mental health. Going to meetings and socializing in the recovery community are beneficial for your mental health.
Spirituality is not religion. Spirituality is thinking on a higher level than the superficial and being able to be kind to people for a greater purpose. For some people, implementing spirituality in their lives is done by practicing an established religion. For others, it may be through the tools of recovery and doing their best to live the best life possible.
Maintaining Healthy Relationships
All relationships (e.g. intimate, family, friends, coworkers, etc.) are complicated. Communication is the key making any relationship work. Once a foundation of communication is built, trust, empathy, and the rest of the healthy traits will fall into place. Addiction professionals advise most clients to avoid intimate relationships during your first year of recovery because during the first year of recovery, they are more likely to choose an unhealthy person.
Finding a Purpose
Many recovering addicts have found their purpose through working in the addiction and recovery field. Other recovering addicts have found their purpose through going into another profession, volunteering, and/or raising a family. Feeling like you are serving a purpose in this world will increase your self-esteem and keep you motivated to stay in recovery.
Just Believe It
Just Believe Recovery Center Pennsylvania is located in Carbondale. They take a personalized approach to addiction treatment because they understand that every case is unique. The services that they offer are medical detox, residential treatment, partial hospitalization, intensive-outpatient (IOP) treatment, and outpatient treatment. If you believe that Just Believe can make your dreams of recovery come true, call them today 877-871-3356