Many of the emotional issues we have surrounding our addictions are built upon beliefs we’ve been practicing thinking and believing for much of our lives. As part of our recovery, want to examine those beliefs and explore their origins, where they came from, why and how we adopted them in the first place, and what it is within us that has made us hold onto beliefs that don’t serve us. Many of us inherited some of our beliefs surrounding addiction from our families and caregivers. We might have been raised by people struggling with addiction and witnessed their struggles firsthand. We might have adopted harmful beliefs perpetuated by our societies, such as false stereotypes around addiction and mental illness, and the stigmatization of addicts. We may have surrounded ourselves with other addicts who contributed to our forming certain belief systems around addiction. We want to explore not only what our beliefs are but how they first took root and developed in our consciousness.
Many of us have a belief that we’re powerless over our addictions and mental health issues. Where did this belief come from? Perhaps we were exposed to addiction early on and heard people repeatedly blame their addictions and mental illnesses for their harmful decisions and destructive behaviors. We might have come to associate addiction with lack of willpower and personal autonomy. We might have started to believe that with addiction comes weakness, powerlessness and lack of control. This belief can really hold us back and can completely tarnish how we perceive ourselves and our ability to heal ourselves.
We also often share the belief that our addictions make us bad people. We’re filled with shame, embarrassment and regret. Where did this belief come from? We might have internalized all of the judgments we’ve received from people throughout our lives. We might have seen our societies’ criminalization of addiction and interpreted that to mean that we are, as individuals, wrong, shameful and morally bankrupt. We start to see our illnesses not as challenges to overcome but as burdens we should be ashamed of. We stop loving and accepting ourselves. We don’t see ourselves as being capable of recovering.
Exploring our beliefs is the first step in transforming them. Let’s practice new thought patterns, new ways of seeing ourselves, and new belief systems that serve us in our recovery and make us feel empowered. Let’s train our minds to believe that we are good people capable of being redeemed, that we are strong enough to heal ourselves, that we won’t let our addictions continue to hold us back.
Riverside Recovery is a drug and alcohol treatment center offering a full continuum of care for people suffering from addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. Call us today for more information: (800) 871-5440.