When an addict or alcoholic puts the addictive substance into his body, it travels to his brain and boom! He gets the ‘buzz’ which he likes so much. He or she wants to repeat this pleasure-giving activity again and again.
But a price to pay for this is that repeated bombarding of his brain causes damage to the organ and creates distorted thinking. Thus, the addict’s thinking actually works against him. It creates irrational and illogical thinking patterns which may appear perfectly rational and logical to the addict.
The aim of recovery is to identify such distorted thinking and eliminate them, so that the addict’s thinking becomes a partner in his recovery.
EXAMPLES OF DISTORTED THINKING
- I need to a have a drink after work to relax
- I’ll give up drugs only when and if things get really bad
- I am not an alcoholic. I don’t drink as much as Mr. XYZ
- I can’t have fun unless I’m high
- Life would be unbearable if I didn’t marijuana to chill
- Weed helps me think better. It makes music more meaningful.
- You would be drunk all the time if you had a boss like mine
- Life without alcohol or drugs would be really boring
- Everyone drinks • I’m too young to quit drugs
- I’m too old to stop drinking
- Cannabis is a natural herb and does not cause any damage
- I’m drinking with my own money – so what’s the big deal?
- I work in marketing – I need to drink with clients for business
WHAT CAUSES IRRATIONAL THINKING?
As humans, we want to view our own behaviour as rational. This becomes a problem for alcoholics and addicts, since there is mounting evidence that their behaviour is irrational. This leads to a situation called ‘cognitive dissonance’ – which means a level of discomfort that is experienced due to contradictory opinions and beliefs. Distorted thinking is caused by attempts by the individual to resolve this inner conflict.
HOW TO OVERCOME DISTORTED THINKING AND START YOUR RECOVERY FROM ADDICTION
The first step to overcoming distorted thinking is to acknowledge that you have at least some beliefs and opinions that are causing you problems. Review your life. Get a feedback. Keep an open mind. As it says in Narcotics Anonymous; “My best thinking got me here”.
One-to-one therapy is an effective method for identifying distorted thinking. A good therapist will not judge you and point out your flaws – the process is all about helping you gain insights into your own behaviours and related thinking patterns, so you can weed out distorted thinking. Group therapy works in a similar way.
Mindfulness practice helps you develop a more objective and healthier relationship with the thinking mind. This means you can be more perceptive about the thoughts you allow to dictate your behavior. You may have little control over the thoughts that appear in your brain, but you can control which thoughts become triggers for your behaviour. Mindfulness also has a calming effect on your mind, and this makes it easier to focus on the more fruitful thoughts.
DRUG REHAB IS THE BEST PLACE TO CHALLENGE YOUR THINKING
An alcohol and drug rehab like Hope Trust provides a safe and supportive environment where you can begin to challenge your unhealthy thinking patterns. The recovery schedule is designed to help you first clear then challenge your own thoughts. This process is facilitated by expert counsellors in one-to-one sessions and in group settings.
Your journey on the path to recovery opens new avenues for thinking and behaviour and creates a new ‘you’ – one that is more rational, tolerant, open-minded and ready to progress in life.