In order to be successful in addiction recovery, one needs to gain a deep and fundamental understanding of the nature of addiction itself. The behaviors and substances that addicts use to treat their disease are varied and present as substance abuse, eating disorders such as binging and purging, compulsive gambling, power, dominance and sex addiction, to name a few. The common factor linking all of these self-destructive behaviors is the thinking that drives this pathological pattern. Of the many elements which fuel addiction, fear is one of those driving forces.
Fear causes intense psychological and physiological changes in the human brain which perpetuate the disease of addiction, based upon the thoughts that are necessary to justify the existence of the perceived fear. In addition, fear leads to a kind of emotional and rational paralysis, as it interferes with an individual’s ability to take positive actions. It is therefore absolutely necessary to abstain from these destructive thoughts and behaviors in order to gain addiction recovery, but that alone is not enough. As the post-Civil War Atlanta real estate developer George Addair is quoted as once saying: “Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.” One must first work to understand the destructive nature of these disturbing thoughts that fuel fear, then confront and accept them, and then finally work to change them. Consciously, and with any effort necessary, actively dispute these fear-provoking thoughts and challenge yourself to think differently. This is in line with the “cup half-full or half-empty” concept and is critically important for successful addiction recovery. Which do you choose to believe?
It should be noted that the practice described above is the basis of a type of therapy used in addiction treatment, called Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT). Things and events happen in life, otherwise known as activating events, which produce thoughts that evoke feelings and solicit a reaction. The only variable in this equation are the thoughts attributed to the event. Through Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy the process of changing these thoughts is learned, and with patience one will develop these new skills. Sometimes it’s not easy changing these thoughts on your own; even being aware of them is difficult because they become your normal way of thinking. This is when your support people are all important in helping you gain an alternate perspective and making an informed decision about the next appropriate action. The good news is that, through Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy, this process is not always as difficult as it seems in the beginning. Like anything else, if you practice, you will get more skilled and it will occur more automatically. This new practice over time will eventually become more natural for you, and your thoughts can put you more at ease than in DIS-ease. One’s nature of fueling fear with negative or hostile thoughts can be transformed into one of seeing the glass as half-full, and then addiction recovery is possible. If you think you are struggling with addiction, please contact a professional at Resurgence Tampa Bay, so that we may help to restore the real you.