Self control is difficult enough in non-addictive situations, and for those who have never experienced an addiction, the idea of overcoming it with willpower alone probably seems impossible. It isn’t impossible, but it is difficult, which is why cultivating a strong sense of self control despite the challenge is essential to addiction recovery.
The Role of Self Control in Addiction Recovery
“Self-control is key to the ability to resist desires for immediate gratification in order to obtain greater rewards in the future.” When it comes to addiction, it’s a key piece of being able to cease damaging habits and to form new ones. A little self control can go a long way, but a lack of it can do the same in the opposite direction, in drawing a person back to drinking or to drugs. Triggers and cravings can make this all the more difficult, but there are some steps a person can take to be able to strengthen their self control in order to make the recovery process easier.
One way that researchers suggest that this practice begin is with the use of emotions. By that, they mean something like taking the time to imagine the shame one might feel after a long night of drinking, or the joy in being able to spend time with friends rather than getting high alone. “Emotions push us to value the future more than we normally would,” and so utilizing them to feel what that future might be like is a way that allows for a stronger push against these habits.
Most effective, you might already have guessed, are positive emotions, which have been proven to be able to “undo” the damage caused by negative ones. Pushing for positive emotions, even in objectively neutral or negative situations, can help to change a mind set, to alter brain chemistry, and even to reduce the pull of instant gratification, which plays a big role in substance abuse. If it’s too far to jump from anxious to happy, then researches note that feeling angry can also help to make progress.
Put simply, there isn’t just one emotion that will work “best” to strengthen your self control. The concept in a more general sense is what should be focused on, and then the individual can test out a few emotions in order to determine which is the best at distancing him or herself from the addictive substance. “Fighting emotion with emotion” allows you to be focused on, and even consumed by, one particular feeling in order to replace what harmful thoughts were previously there as a result of the addiction. Leaving an empty space rather than focusing on another emotion allows for the mind to wander and can be dangerous in recovery.
Be in control of your emotions rather than letting them control you. If you want professional help in strengthening your self control when it comes to addiction recovery, then contact The Bergand Group. We offer recovery programs for yourself or for others or are seeking education materials about addictions. The Bergand Group is Maryland’s leading addiction recovery center and offers support for those struggling with addiction and mental health issues, including direction for those who may be denying an addiction. We can help you to work through your addiction in a safe and healthy environment where everyone is committed to your care.
[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible” margin_top=”20px” margin_bottom=”20px” background_color=”rgba(255,255,255,0)”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_separator style_type=”single solid” sep_color=”#747474″ icon=”” width=”” class=”” id=””/]
About The Bergand Group:
At The Bergand Group in Baltimore and Harford County, Maryland, our therapists have more than twenty years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol rehab and drug rehabilitation. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance addiction, there is help available. We also offer several other services, including family therapy and counseling. We can help. Contact us today.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]