The main obstacle to recovering from a drug addiciton is denial. As Dr. Phil often says, you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge. That is a truism known by anyone who has made efforts to overcome an addiction.
There are five steps to addiction recovery, and the first is having an inkling that one may have a problem. It may be a vague or fuzzy awareness, such as a sense that something may be wrong. The next step is awareness, or defining the problem. At this point, the problem comes into focus, and you have a choice to make: either keep on doing what you’re doing (and suffer the consequences), or find a way to stop. Those who see that the consequences outweigh the benefits of addiction may at this point enter step three, which is the decision-making phase. If one is going to be successful in the decision to stop the addictive behavior, there are certain choices that one must face in devising a workable plan to achieve success in recovery. These choices are related to changing one’s lifestyle, and involve all levels: the mental, emotional, physical, and social aspects of one’s life (many people include the spiritual dimension as well). Changing the way one thinks, feels and behaves is not an easy task, and typically calls for one or more guides or coaches to “make it.” Cognitive-behavioral therapy can be very helpful in efforts to clean up one’s internal and environment, as well as in healing feelings. When you are making the necessary changes from the inside out, you are in the fourth step, which is the action phase. Maintaining these changes, and living that new lifestyle is the fifth step, also known as recovery.
It is not unusual, and therefore to be expected, that one who is making such far-reaching changes in one’s lifestyle will have some setbacks along the way. A slip is a brief regression to old habits or addictive behaviors, with quick resolution. That is, one momentarily falls off the wagon, but quickly regroups and resumes the path in recovery. A relapse is a significant re-entry into the addiction, where one resumes the prior addictive lifestyle, with all the thoughts, feelings and behaviors that are attached to it. A lapse is the gray area somewhere between a slip and a full relapse. Whatever the situation, the addicted person needs to re-commit to recovery and take stock. That is, examine what went wrong, re-evaluate one’s choices, identify healthier alternatives, and resolve to make better decisions. In CBT, a primary focus is on helping you to find and use tools and coping strategies to replace the old negative patterns and with positive adaptive ones.
Help begins with a phone call.
Cognitive Therapy Associates (CTA) is a network of experienced therapists (psychologists and social workers) across New York City, Westchester and L.I. We strive to match you with the right therapist for you, to help you to effectively manage and resolve issues related to addiction. To inquire about an appointment, please call us at (212) 258-2577.
Keywords: addiction counseling, chemical dependency, substance abuse, cocaine, heroin, marijuana, alcohol, smoking nicotine, prescription drugs (vicodin, oxycontin, xanax, adderall, percocet, pain killers), treatment & recovery counselor.