Addiction Helpline and Resource Center

How Self-Awareness Aids Recovery

How Self-Awareness Aids Recovery

Rehab centers teach recovering addicts to learn more about themselves and their drug habits

Being self-aware of personal strengths, weaknesses, habits, behaviors and mental tendencies can help in all areas of life. In particular, self-awareness can aid addiction recovery, because the recovery process is a time when people learn more about themselves. Many individuals never thought they would become addicts, especially if the addiction involves painkillers, anti-anxiety medication or other prescription drugs that were being used for legitimate health reasons. Addiction diminishes decision-making skills, changes motivational hierarchies and alters value systems, and in 2009 the Trends in Cognitive Sciences journal suggested that this dysfunction causes addiction denial by “subverting insight and self-awareness.” Addiction rehab is an opportunity for people to reconnect with who they really are and want to be, and self-awareness helps them work toward specific recovery goals to recognize areas they must improve.

Addiction and Self-Awareness

The Annual Review of Psychology in 2003 noted that there is too much information for people to know themselves entirely, so people often block out thoughts and emotions through conscious suppression and unconscious repression. Becoming more self-aware is a process, so, while therapists can help tremendously, recovering addicts need to be willing and receptive to treatment. Improving self-awareness can involve the following steps:

  • Accepting a diagnosis that identifies a co-occurring mental health disorder
  • Working with therapists to determine underlying motivations for substance abuse
  • Realizing that certain social relationships and settings must now be avoided
  • Seeing your behavior from the perspective of people who know you best
  • Listening to your loved one’s concerns about how addiction has changed you
  • Taking responsibility for letting the addiction strain relationships and hurt loved ones
  • Sharing personal experiences and absorbing feedback during group counseling sessions
  • Engaging in family counseling to repair strains and to address dysfunctional dynamics
  • Connecting with aftercare support groups and finding a recovery sponsor

One way treatment improves self-awareness is by teaching users how to cope with craving triggers. Working with a therapist, the process involves the following steps:

  • Identify specific people, places, emotions, situations and other cues that trigger drug or alcohol cravings
  • Design strategies to avoid these cues and to cope with them when they are unavoidable
  • Become aware of potential triggers and healthy ways to respond
  • Recognize high-risk situations in which to get help from a recovery sponsor or partner
  • Understand that getting help is essential if a struggle, setback or relapse occurs

Self-awareness can empower recovering addicts, but they must make a conscious effort to learn more about themselves and how to respond accordingly.

Substance Abuse Treatment

Medically supervised detox can mitigate withdrawal symptoms, but detox is viewed as a gateway to treatment, not treatment itself. Simply getting toxins out of the system does not address addiction, a disease of the brain reward system that involves physical changes to neuro-chemistry and circuitry. Recovering addicts need therapy to address the addiction process, their risky behavior and their personal limitations. Rehab centers design personal recovery plans for each patient to improve self-awareness, thought patterns, mental health and motivational catalysts, which will all restore healthy neurobiology.

Do you struggle with substance abuse? If so, please call our toll-free helpline now. Our admissions coordinators can take your call 24 hours a day to answer questions and to discuss addiction, treatment and recovery. They can also check health insurance policy to explain its treatment benefits. Call now to learn more about your recovery options.

banner ad