Often, addiction changes the way people think- it creates false impressions and undermines confidence until the person living with addiction honestly believes they cannot live without their illness. It alters perception until you begin to think that the only way they can deal with life, either the good or the bad is through their addictions. Addiction is a self-fulfilling cycle of cause and effect and it modifies perceptions of whether or not you are drunk or high. You start to think that drinking and/or using will prevent something bad from happening, whether it’s a feeling or a situation, but then you use and you find yourself feeling worse so you drink or use more, and on and on.
In treatment, you can learn to attack these thinking cycles. One of the most effective is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which helps you realize that you might not be able to control the thoughts but that you can control how you react to them.
Part of using CBT to actively recover is recognizing that perception is “reality” and that people react to the perception of whether or not it is objectively true. Addiction twists perception in a variety of ways- it can be simply that we project our own lack of esteem onto others, thinking that they hate us or it can be as severe as psychosis, especially under the influence and in detox from certain substances. CBT helps you find objective reality by addressing the core issues behind your distorted thinking and helps you replace those unhealthy coping mechanisms, like addiction, with skills that further a healthier, more productive life.
Reconceptualizing, or rethinking, a situation is key and CBT helps people with addiction grow awareness of their situation and thinking. It helps them realize that just because you think it doesn’t mean it is real but that a thought or feeling might be based on fear or trauma or simply habit- it challenges you to see the world factually. Instead of taking something at face value and reacting to it, CBT teaches you to ask yourself, “What is really happening here?” and rather than simply reacting emotionally you can take positive action.
The first step is always to seek help. This positive action brings you closer to living the life you deserve to live. Addictive thinking tells you that you can’t do it but look around you- people do recover from addiction. They do get their lives back, and if you reach out and do the work, you too can be healthy again. There is hope. At Fort Worth Recovery, we use CBT with a variety of other modalities to help you get well. Call us at 817 382 2894 or contact us online today.