How Therapy Can Help You Grow In Sobriety, by Lynn Anderson, LMFT
“You cannot solve a problem with the same kind of thinking that created it.”
Addiction is a spiritual disease as well as physical and psychological and needs to be addressed on all these levels.
Therapy can be helpful not only in evaluating your use of substances, but in finding an approach in sobriety that is specific to your needs and goals in recovery.
Treatment recommendations can include detox, in-patient or out-patient programs, and behavioral approaches such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and 12 Step Programs.
While AA has been proven an effective self-help approach, many practitioners both inside and outside of AA agree that it works best in combination with other forms of treatment including medical care and psychotherapy.
The following are some reasons for considering the support that individual therapy offers:
1. When in recovery you find yourself substituting addictions. We see this cross-over in drugs and alcohol, eating disorders, sexual and work addictions among others. By addressing with a therapist the core underlying issues which originally contributed to developing an addiction, we seek to “re-wire” neural pathways of the brain replacing them with the ability to seek emotional support through healthy relationships and activities.
2. In the therapeutic relationship of confidentiality, a spouse or family member can learn how to deal with addiction in a loved one.
3. When substance abuse has become a form of self-medication, painful issues can arise when that form of coping is removed. This is especially true of unaddressed childhood issues that can become overwhelming. Examining these issues in the context of a trusting and intimate relationship with a therapist is helpful in that patients begin to see their own unique relational problems. These problems are partially addressed by the reparative nature of the relationship they form with their therapist.
4. There is a lot of evidence that it is very difficult to overcome a serious addiction without support. Frequently the thought that you can and should recover on your own represents the distorted thinking that is a well known symptom of addiction.
Addiction to a substance, person or thing is primarily concerned with easing and relieving suffering from emotional trauma, and this can happen to anyone.
There is hope in recovery. You do not have to do it alone.