Ancient Greek culture expressed the wisdom, to “Know Thyself,” which was their way of indicating self-reflection is an important part of living a healthy and fulfilled life. Nowhere is this more important than in a recovering substance user’s efforts to heal and regain his or her life. Self-awareness, the experts say, is a crucially important step in recovery.
This article explores the role of self-awareness in addiction recovery. Why is self-awareness such an essential skill to achieve and maintain sobriety long-term?
Self-Awareness and the Substance User
“The good news, say experts, is that addicts can get better. To do so, one critical element is having self-awareness — understanding the roots of one's problems, and often pain, plus knowing what environmental or personal triggers might set off a relapse.” – CNN
A CNN article chronicling the death of Whitney Houston suggests that there are three key pieces to developing the emotional understanding that will aid addiction recovery:
- Self-awareness that uncovers the reasons behind the addiction and the triggers for relapse.
- Control to fight the internal battles that can lead to relapse.
- Vigilance to maintain sobriety.
Addiction is a long-term health issue affecting more than 23 million Americans. For these people, the first step toward recovery is having the self-awareness to recognize they have the problem. What is self-awareness? It is the understanding of yourself, how you feel and why you behave the way you do. Denial is the opposite of self-awareness, a deliberate act of pushing away your own personal truth about addiction and the pain that you are trying to cover up.
Washington State addiction treatment programs teach substance users how to become self-aware as a first step toward recovery. This process includes:
- Recognizing emotions and learning to control them.
- Understanding patterns in thought processes and actions that can lead to substance use.
- Getting in touch with physical sensations such as feeling pain or tension, sensations people often try to mask with substance use.
- Acknowledging thoughts, ideas, and personal beliefs (like shame for your behavior) that lead to substance use.
Self-awareness means recognizing what you are thinking, feeling, and doing in the moment. It is a practice of mindfulness, which is a state of being that focuses on what is happening right this minute. This practice can help stop the mind from an endless cycle of worry and stress. Self-awareness and mindfulness go hand-in-hand as a crucial part of “getting your head on straight” as you start the recovery process. Together, these tools change your thoughts, feelings, and actions, giving you the skills you need to kick your addiction, whether it is drugs, alcohol, or something else.
Washington State Addiction Treatment Promotes Self-Awareness
Washington addiction treatment helps substance users focus inward in order to uncover the emotions and underlying pain that led them to addiction. Our goal is to prevent relapse in addiction recovery while helping you learn the necessary skills to regain sobriety and lead life clean and sober forever.
Learning self-awareness is an important step toward changing your life. Washington addiction treatment teams are standing by. All you have to do is make the call. To learn more about admissions, contact us.