Leaving Self-Destructive Behaviors in the Past

Leaving Self-Destructive Behaviors in the Past

On page 137 of the Big Book, the author provides a shockingly detailed description of one man’s demise after two weeks of binge drinking: “After two weeks of drinking, he had placed his toe on the trigger of a loaded shotgun– the barrel was in his mouth.” It’s a graphic depiction, but it shows a situation that many addicts can be driven to. Even if it’s not physical, we can sometimes feel like a loaded gun is sitting right in our mouths, ready to go off. The agony and stress of our addiction can be that intense.

Self-destructive tendencies are innate in all of us. Just like we have the capacity to make decisions and exhibit behaviors that will do us good, we have the same capacity to do the opposite. Whether we’re addicts, have been addicted in the past, or have never touched a substance before makes absolutely no difference. We’re all capable of the same thing.

With that said, addicts do tend to have a higher propensity to display self-destructive behaviors during their addiction. After all, the very nature of substance abuse is nothing if not destructive. Self-destruction is, unfortunately, just one of the many results of the crazy mind warp that our addiction locks us in. As The Big Book says, “Yet no alcoholic [or addict], soberly analyzing his destructive behavior, whether the destruction fell on the dining-room furniture or his own moral fiber, can claim “soundness of mind” for himself.”

While we can’t blame ourselves for an addiction we have no control over, it’s important that we learn to use treatment as a way to not only get over addiction, mend our spiritual maladies, and make amends with those we’ve hurt–  but also as a means of leaving our destructive behaviors in the past.

What Are Self-Destructive Behaviors?

Self-destructive behaviors usually stem from patterns of withholding or not completely expressing our feelings and emotions. If we really get down to the nuts and bolts of it, many of the primary causes of substance abuse stem from the same sort of patterns. Self-destructive behaviors aren’t necessarily always physical, but they do all do the same thing– placate our problems, instead of solving them. Many self-destructive behaviors even make our problems much worse. When addicted, our addiction is obviously the biggest thing we think of as destructive, but there are a number of additional factors that are just as destructive.

Telling ourselves that we can’t be helped, or that it’s too late for us is self-destructive. Rationalizing our addiction is self-destructive. Convincing ourselves that our addiction doesn’t need treatment, and/or that we can handle it on our own is also self-destructive (if we could handle addiction on our own, we would have done so long ago.) On the other end of the spectrum, there are also seemingly pleasurable things we do that are also self-destructive, though we may not think so. These are usually the behaviors that are immediately gratifying, but simply placate the deeper issue. If a trigger of ours is a spouse, for instance, and we simply cuss them out and tell them they’re no good before, say, hitting them, we’ve only added additional stress to a situation that was already toxic, even if it feels good in the moment. Self-destructive behaviors can be expressed in many, many different ways.

How Can Treatment Help Me Leave My Self Destructive Behaviors in the Past?

At treatment centers like Thrive Treatment℠, we focus on getting to the root of issues that cause us to use substances. For some of us, it’s past abuses, or traumatic experiences. For others, it’s an unhealthy living environment or trouble with expressing emotions. Still others can attribute substance use to being too stressed or too overworked. Finding the “why” behind our addictions is two-fold, however. By identifying what it is that causes us to use or drink, we often open up a path that allows us to see where our self-destructive behavior started, and why. You’d be quite surprised by how often the “where” and “why” of our substance use correlates with the “where” and “why” of other destructive behaviors.

Through treatment, we also learn new ways to deal with the issues that caused our substance use and destructive behaviors, and we’re able to do so in an environment that allows us to make mistakes and learn more about ourselves in the process.

In essence, treatment allows us to work through the kinks in our spirits, minds, and bodies in order to deal with the emotions that cause our self-destruction in healthier ways. The way we look at it, even though it is sometimes difficult to understand why we exhibit certain self-destructive behaviors, being able to work out the necessary strategies to funnel those behaviors into more positive alternatives is very effective in helping us eliminate them altogether, and that’s what treatment allows us to do so effectively.

Finally, treatment helps us leave destructive behaviors in the past by providing us with the outlets we need to express ourselves without judgment or repercussion. Treatment is a community. When the first treatment groups were founded in the 1930s, community was the largest part of what made them so effective, even before all of the guidelines of treatment, governance and procedures as we know them now were fleshed out. The community spirit treatment fosters provides us with a platform to reel in destructive behaviors for good!

Thrive Treatment Can Help With Self-Destructive Behaviors

Thrive Treatment℠ is an intensive outpatient addiction treatment center located in Santa Monica, California. With over thirty years of clinical experience and thousands of success stories, we know the strategies and methods to help you end your addiction for good. Get started today by calling (888) 975-8474!

The Importance of Group Therapy

The Importance of Group Therapy

If you only read a part of The Big Book, you may have been startled by an assertion the author makes fairly early on in the reading. “We are powerless over [addiction], and our lives have become unmanageable.” Even as treatment specialists, we’ll admit that it can be quite scary to read something that basically tells us we have no control over an illness that’s quite literally killing us. Good thing The Big Book doesn’t end there. In reading just a little further, we find that the solution to addiction isn’t voodoo, magic, or happenstance. Instead, it lies almost entirely in community, fellowship, brotherhood, and unity.

In fact, Alcoholics Anonymous, the very first known support group for addicts (founded almost ninety years ago) still counts fellowship for men and women that are suffering through the same addictions as the primary reason it was founded: “Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.”

Group therapy is one of the practical ways we learn to find solace in fellowship with others, and its simplicity is what makes it so darn effective in treatment. In a group, the weight of our struggles doesn’t rest solely on our shoulders. It’s shared equally with our brothers and sisters in similar situations. We learn unity and partnership in group therapy (and also tend to make some of our best friends in life because of it). We also learn that struggles we thought we were alone in facing are in fact the same struggles many others are going through as well.

Group therapy, is, in a way, essential to addiction recovery, and we need look no further than The Big Book to affirm this. In speaking about the importance of unity, brotherhood, and fellowship, The Big Book says: “It became clear that if we ever were to feel emotionally secure among grown-up people, we would have to put our lives on a give-and-take basis; we would have to develop the sense of being in partnership or brotherhood with all those around us.”

At Thrive Treatment℠, group therapy is the bread and butter of our treatment programs, and for good reason. As an outpatient facility, we understand just how important it is to be able to learn and grow with supportive peers, and to have a dynamic community of graduates, current clients, and mentors to fellowship with during and after initial treatment. We take group therapy and fellowship with our peers seriously, and we foster the concept of groups in everything we do. We truly believe that there is no better way to conquer addiction than with the help of our peers. After all, as The Big Book says, “there isn’t a fellowship on earth which lavishes more devoted care upon its individual members; surely there is none which more jealously guards the individual’s right to think, talk, and act as he wishes.”

What makes group therapy so important?

Modern language is riddled with metaphors that describe the importance of collaboration. Sayings like “many hands make light work,” and “alone we can do so little, together we can do so much” spring to mind almost immediately. In addiction treatment, groups are even more important, simply because they foster a culture that allows us to feel safe, protected, respected, and heard. When groups are cohesive, they act as an extension of ourselves, and can provide us with a feeling of family and belonging. This is important, particularly when we are dealing with issues that are hard to discuss, like latent problems, fears, or situations that may have caused our substance abuse in the first place.

When we’re addicted, we can often feel isolated. People that aren’t addicted may shun us, and we may lose contact with those we love and care for simply because our addiction prevents them from being around us. This isolation can often cause us to sink even deeper into our addiction, or to become depressed, anxious, or worse. Addiction is most effective in a silo, because there’s no one around to help us get back on the right track. That’s why group therapy is the exact opposite. By providing a safe space for all, we eliminate a lot of the anxious feelings we had on our own. Treatment isn’t a one-man job, and no man is an island. Group therapy makes sure we always have someone to lean on.

Group therapy also gives us new perspective. If one of our peers presents an issue that they’ve been struggling with in therapy, we may find that we, too, are in a similar situation. Hearing their perspective and listening to the advice the therapist gives them may just open our eyes to a whole new way of looking at our own problem! In a second, an issue that seemed almost impossible to overcome could have a very simple solution. Humans were built to live together, work together, and learn together. We’re all inherently social creatures. It’s fitting that the best way to treat an addiction illness, then, is to do it collaboratively!

Thrive Treatment℠ is a leading outpatient addiction treatment center based in Santa Monica, California. Our cutting edge strategies provide clients with the tools they need to not just beat treatment, but to become better people overall. Call us today at (888) 975-8474 to see what we can do for you!

Finishing Strong at the End of the Year

Finishing Strong at the End of the Year

As the year comes to a close, many of us have the pleasure of being able to look back at a very successful 2018. For some of us, we transitioned from addiction to treatment and sobriety. Others gained the courage to get treatment and are now making incredible progress through their treatment programs. Whichever situation we’re in, it’s important that we don’t let up on our recovery progress simply because it’s the holiday season.

As The Big Book says, recovery is lifelong, and even if we aren’t actively in treatment, we should constantly be making an effort to encourage others to get treatment and spreading the good word about the recovery community.

For those of us that are in treatment, these last few weeks of the year mark the perfect time to get started on New Year’s resolutions early. Let’s resolve to open ourselves up more, to be more malleable and willing to dig deeper to uncover the maladies lurking deep inside. The Big Book says that honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness are the pillars of recovery. Is there more we can do in treatment so that the strategies we’re taught will be even more effective? Can we resolve to share more about our own struggles so that others can apply the solutions to their own lives?

If we’ve recently graduated from treatment, let’s use these last few weeks of the year to reach out to someone we know or think may be struggling with addiction. If we aren’t close to them already, we can use the holidays as a great way to get to know them better. Invite them to a casual meetup with alumni friends, or let’s start a conversation about our own experiences with substances and recovery to encourage them to open up more. There are a ton of incredibly innovative ways we can use the holidays to encourage just one person to get help!

The end of the year is a perfect time for us to bolster our progress in the recovery process and meet even more people to invite to the treatment community. If you’re struggling with addiction, the holidays are also a great time to get the help you need. Thrive Treatment℠ is a premier outpatient addiction treatment center with the tools you need to learn how to shed addiction for good this holiday season. Call us at (888) 975-8474 to get started with Thrive right now!

Being Open-Minded in Recovery

Being Open-Minded in Recovery

Some of us can be really, really, really stuck in our ways. We all know those people that, no matter what the new innovation is or how much better another way is, will still opt for the classic methods they’ve always used, whether they work or not. Heck, some of us probably are those people!

While there’s nothing wrong with tried and true when it comes to things like fixing the car or preparing the family’s world famous sweet potato casserole, the addiction treatment facility is one place where we should strive to be as open-minded and willing to try new things, hear new advice, and practice new strategies as we can. The Big Book makes it very clear: “Willingness, honesty and open mindedness are the essentials of recovery.” This means that in order to recover effectively, we can’t close ourselves off to new ideas and new ways to solve our problems.

Treatment is where creativity and ingenuity is championed, because there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to our individual and often complex problems. Practically everything we do in treatment is based on teamwork, discussion, and input from our mentors and peers, and the environment fostered within the treatment community is nothing if it isn’t collaborative. Here at Thrive Treatment℠, for instance, every single outpatient treatment program we offer is accompanied by a generous helping of group activities, therapy sessions, and discussion-based assessments– all of which ask us to consider different approaches, try different strategies, and adopt different ways to deal with some of the same problems. It may be art therapy one day, yoga therapy the next, and cooking classes the next!

We need to be willing and ready to step outside of our comfort zones to make the changes we want to see in our lives, because many times outside of our comfort zones is where the best answers lie. It’s human nature to want to stick with what we know, but the safety, familiarity, and comfort of what we know doesn’t always allow us to develop as we should. As The Big Book says, given the choice between being comfortable and building character, we’re wired to always seek comfort. Knowing comfort doesn’t always breed solutions is half the battle. Now all we have to do is make the effort to step outside of our comfort zones!

Thrive Treatment℠ is a premier outpatient addiction treatment program in sunny Santa Monica, California. We help our clients conquer addiction by teaching them how to process and discard the self-defeating thoughts that can often keep them stuck. Call us right now at (888) 975-8474 to get started!