Separating Behaviors From Thoughts

Separating Behaviors From Thoughts

Ever wondered why we do the things we do? If so, you aren’t alone. Answering the question of why we do what we do has been the unending goal of psychologists, scientists, philosophers, and humans as a whole for centuries. Some say everything we do is to satisfy basic human needs. Others say this can’t be the case, because there’s no clear definition of what exactly constitutes a human need. Then there’s the question of– as is the case with addiction recovery clients in dual diagnosis treatment plans– how our thoughts actually translate to actions. When we have a mental illness, what thoughts are ours, and what thoughts stem from the dysregulation or dysfunction of the illness– and who or what decides which thoughts are translated into which actions?

Dr. Miki Kashtan of PsychologyToday has an interesting theory that works really well here. She says “When we instantly translate feelings into actions, we sidestep any understanding of what we truly want. Because of the strength with which our feelings “command” action, we don’t have the opportunity to use feelings as what I believe they are designed for, which is to be sources of information.”

Oftentimes, we act impulsively and immediately translate our feelings into actions. Sometimes, we do this so quickly that we don’t even realize we’re doing it. When we put feet to our thoughts instantaneously, as Kashtan suggests, we forego our ability to understand our feelings and comprehend what they really mean.

In treatment, we learn how to separate our addictive behaviors from the thoughts that cause them. This helps us dive down to the root of the issues that may have led to our addiction in the first place. One of the modalities used to do this is referred to as cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT.

What is cognitive behavioral therapy?

According to its technical definition, “Cognitive behavioral therapy is a short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment that takes a hands-on, practical approach to problem-solving.” In a nutshell, it’s a form of therapy that focuses on helping us assess the thoughts, beliefs, perceptions, and attitudes that cause us to behave the way we do. By changing our thoughts and attitudes, we can also change the behavior tied to them.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a buzz term in many circles, but it’s not so much the modality that makes the difference, as the process behind it. When we’re able to take a hard look at the driving forces behind why we do what we do, we gain more control over ourselves, and our reactions to stressors as well as other outside influences. Even when we’re not in the most ideal situations or we can’t control what’s around us, we’re always able to control our responses to our situations. Even though we may have negative thoughts about what’s going on in our lives, CBT helps us make sure those negative thoughts don’t encourage us to do something rash or regrettable. The skill sets we develop through cognitive behavioral therapy help us create balance between our thoughts, our feelings, and the way we react to life.

Why is it important to separate behaviors from thoughts?

When we separate our behaviors from our thoughts, we gain more understanding as to why we react the way we react to life. When we’re addicted, there never seems to be rhyme or reason behind why we’re acting the way we’re acting- both under the influence of drugs and in between moments of intoxication.

How does CBT tie into dual diagnosis treatment?

For those of us going through dual diagnosis treatment, CBT can be even more helpful. In fact, the concept of cognitive behavioral therapy was first created by psychiatrist Aaron Beck upon realizing that his patients seemed to talk to themselves. His theory– that we all have these “automatic thoughts” that pop up in our heads and influence our behaviors– corresponds with the idea of treating multiple illnesses holistically, as is the case with dual diagnosis treatment. Whether dual diagnosis treatment or any other form of treatment, the process of separating our thoughts from our behaviors in order to better understand them is a process that can only be good for us. As we grow throughout our recovery journey, we’ll find that the strategies we learn to separate thoughts and behaviors can be used anytime, anywhere, and in any situation.

Thrive Treatment℠ of Santa Monica, California is an outpatient treatment facility that helps our clients learn how to assess their thoughts in order to change their behaviors. Through modalities that build confidence and independence, we also help our clients conquer the self-defeating thoughts that keep us down. With over thirty years of combined experience, we have what it takes to help you defeat addiction for good. Call us at (888) 975-8474 to get started today.

Why Dual-Diagnosis Treatment Matters

Why Dual-Diagnosis Treatment Matters


Self medication is a real issue for millions of Americans. When it comes to dual diagnosis issues, of a substance use and mental health disorder, many people turn to self medication as a means of coping on their own, most often through more substance use. This couldn’t be more dangerous. Not only can self medication increase the complications of addiction– it can also make an additional mental illness much more severe.

In addiction recovery, dual diagnosis treatment is defined as a recovery method that “blends the most successful aspects of mental health care and substance abuse treatment.” Dual diagnosis treatment provides holistic care for clients who are battling addiction and another mental illness– sometimes an illness that was a direct result of or contributing factor of addiction. Oftentimes, a mental health diagnosis like depression, anxiety, ADHD, bipolar, and more was present long before addiction, but went undiagnosed or untreated, inspiring a deep need to cope with unmanageable feelings.

The relatively new entry of dual diagnosis treatment in the addiction recovery space speaks to its importance. Previously, if a client came to an addiction recovery center with other mental illnesses, there was little that could be done to help with the additional mental illness. Even if the best treatment plan was put in place for the individual, whether or not they recovered wasn’t a sure bet. It depended on the severity of and complications surrounding the additional mental illness. Would the client be able to cope in a normal group setting? Would the rules and regulations of the addiction treatment center be feasible for him or her? The answers were often up in the air. Likewise, if a patient were to report to a mental health facility and was also addicted, many times they’d be sent away and told to treat their addiction before seeking help for another mental illness.

By combining the best practices from the medical and counseling worlds, dual diagnosis treatment offers a solution to this conundrum. Moreover, quality dual diagnosis treatment options, like the ones in place at Thrive Treatment℠, work wonders not just in treating addiction or another mental illness with medicine, but in really diving deep to untangle what’s going on below the surface.

Dual diagnosis treatment matters because addiction is much more than simply craving a substance. As The Big Book says, addiction is spiritual, mental, and physical. In the same vein, treatment has to be more than simply stopping cravings. It’s got to be able to get to the root of the issue.

Thrive Treatment℠ is a premier outpatient addiction treatment center in Santa Monica, California. We offer advanced dual diagnosis treatment options for clients dealing with more than one mental illness. By combining state of the art research with quality counseling and brilliant medical practitioners, we make addiction a thing of the past. Call us at (888) 975-8474 to see how we can help you today.

Making the Most out of a Second Chance

Making the Most out of a Second Chance

You’re hollow. You have no control. You feel pain, but you’ve gotten so used to it by now that it’s become your new normal. Friends have left you. Family is leaving. Work is all but a distant dream, because you can’t even bring yourself to concentrate on something else long enough to be halfway productive.

For many of us, this was the very scary reality of addiction. Perhaps we initially thought that picking up that substance for the first time would give us some relief from the pain we’d been dealing with. Maybe we thought that if we only took a sip, a sniff, or a shot, everything that was wrong would go away. Maybe we just wanted to forget, and the substance of our choice helped us do just that. Only it didn’t stop there. One drink led to two, one dose to another. We started to like the substance, or at least like what it did to us. Heck, who are we kidding? We didn’t like it– we loved it. We loved the euphoria we experienced. We loved throwing our inhibitions to the wind. We loved pretending, even if it was only temporarily, that our problems didn’t exist.

Then it started to take over.

They started slowly at first, almost innocently– the cravings. A little more of this, a little more of that. More time “at work” and less time with family. Using a little money from the savings account wouldn’t hurt right? After all, it was for emergencies, and we hadn’t had any emergencies in years. It would be okay. Before we knew it, we had no control over it. What we had enjoyed had turned into a habit, and that habit into an addiction. We were hooked, and couldn’t find a way out.

Somehow, however, we did. Maybe it was that family member who kept telling us we needed help. Maybe it was the day we forgot our only child’s name because that’s how out of our mind we were. Maybe it was when we knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that we had truly hit rock bottom. However it happened, it happened. We landed in a treatment facility, and in that moment, we knew just one thing: we had been blessed with a second chance.

Making the most of a second chance

Addiction treatment asks us to do two things– both of which are described in The Big Book. These two things transcend all types of treatment, and are completely universal.

First, we must admit that we are utterly powerless over addiction. Addiction is not our fault, it does not define us, and it did not happen to us because we aren’t good people. It is an illness, a disease that knows no color, gender, or age. It affects twelve year olds and eighty-two year olds. If it was something we could control, we would have stopped it long ago.

Secondly, we must agree that addiction can be cured. Though it is an illness of the mind, it is not terminal, and it can be resolved with the help of professionals and a willing mindset. The process to rid ourselves of addiction is methodical, as with any other illness. In short, it begins with diagnosing what caused our addiction, then addressing the spiritual malady within, and finally taking action steps to fix that malady.

Making the most out of our second chance means viewing every day as an opportunity. Even in the early days of addiction treatment, pioneers of Alcoholics Anonymous understood what an incredible opportunity treatment presented for them: “Many could recover if they had the opportunity we have enjoyed” (There is a Solution, page 119). We have an incredible gift in treatment. To be able to recover from our illness in the company of others facing similar situations, at the instruction of many who have been through what we’re going through before, and in an environment that fosters collaboration, unity, and solutions is not something to take lightly. Out of the darkness, addiction treatment stands as a light for us.

Making the most out of our second chance also means doing our part in the treatment process. This may sound like a record on repeat, but the importance of effort and attitude in treatment cannot be overstated. (There’s a reason why the two words are mentioned 75 times in the 164-page Big Book). Addiction treatment is a guide for us, and provides us with the tools we need to take back our lives and say goodbye to addiction for good, but it cannot cure us on its own. There isn’t a magic pill that we can take in order to no longer be addicted. Treatment is hard work, and the more we put into it, the more we’ll get out.

Finally, making the most of our second chance means that after we’ve conquered addiction, we should act as a beacon of light for others that are struggling. Our story of treatment isn’t something we should keep to ourselves. Sharing it with others who need to hear it allows us to do our part to rid our world of addiction, one person at a time. As the Big Book says, we are to “carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles [what we’ve learned] in all our affairs.” Our second chance doesn’t stop after we graduate from treatment. It’s still just beginning.

Thrive Treatment℠ is an outpatient addiction treatment center in Santa Monica, California. With a number of programs designed to cure addiction for good, we have something for everyone looking for help. Your second chance can start today. There’s no need to wait. Call us right now at (888) 975-8474!

Why Treatment Only Does As Much As You Let It

Why Treatment Only Does As Much As You Let It

Imagine you just won a million dollars. Maybe you struck it big in the lottery, or maybe the company you work for just got bought out and that was your cut. Maybe you sold some stocks. Anyway, you have a million extra dollars to your name now. What if, instead of spending it or investing it, though, you just let it sit there, and never claimed it? What if it wasn’t for any particular reason, and you didn’t have an ulterior motive for doing it? What if you just didn’t claim it?

Addiction treatment is a lot like that million dollars. It has the potential to change our lives, but it can’t do anything for us unless we take the steps to claim it. That doesn’t mean just deciding to get treatment either, or, in the case of outpatient treatment programs, merely deciding to show up. It means making a conscious effort to learn and grow through through therapy and activities, doing everything we can to practice implementing what we learn, and adjusting our attitude to one of positivity and action.

Are you saying treatment can only do so much for me?

Yes, and no! As The Big Book says, collaborative treatment is one of the only foolproof ways to get rid of our addiction for good, but the effectiveness of treatment stems entirely from how much effort we are willing to put into it. Recovery itself is a lifelong process, and initial treatment itself is a very small part of it. Still, simply attending treatment often isn’t enough, and, even if we do manage to beat our addiction while minimally participating, we run the risk of not fully fixing the problems that caused our substance use in the first place. Effort is paramount to any successful treatment, and The Big Book says as much: “Without a willing and persistent effort…, there can be little sobriety or contentment for us.”

So, how do we make the most out of treatment, and truly take advantage of all of the many benefits it has to offer? Besides effort, attitude is huge.

Effort and attitude

Let’s be honest. Before entering treatment, we often have very little, if any, reason to think about effort or attitude. We know that attitude and effort are both two very important ways of getting past our addiction and into a treatment center, but we balk because addiction, is, in fact, still in control of our mind. It typically takes a number of people– including family members, friends, and loved ones– to get us to take the plunge into addiction treatment. It’s normal to push what we know is right and necessary to the side when we’re dealing with an illness that literally changes the way we think.

Once in treatment, however, our mindset should start to shift, because, as The Big Book describes, “to get over drinking [or other addictions] will require a transformation of thought and attitude.”

We must realize that treatment, for all it’s worth, merely provides a platform for us to make our own discoveries about ourselves, and to uncover the spiritual maladies that drove us to continued substance use in the first place. Our therapists, peers, and mentors can help us with the strategies we need to do this, but it’s up to us to make the effort. Think about it: even the best physician in the world can’t help us if he or she doesn’t know what our problem is. In order to get the care we need, we have to first explain what’s going on to them, or, at the very least, open ourselves up for a diagnosis. Treatment is the same way! In order to get what we need out of it, our attitudes must reflect that we’re willing to put in the work that’s required!

How do I change my attitude, and put in the effort?

Just like with anything, an attitude change starts with the heart. As The Big Book states, “…it is an attitude which can only be changed by a deep and honest search of our motives and actions.” We have to ask ourselves: “Why are we here, in treatment? What do we hope to get out of it?” We all have a reason for addiction treatment, but sometimes we have to remind ourselves of that reason in order to keep going. No doubt, by going to treatment, we’ve made some sacrifices, committed ourselves to some significant life changes, and devoted ourselves to getting better. Remembering the steps we took to get to this point, and keeping them at the forefront of our minds whenever we’re feeling discouraged or not up to the challenge can make all the difference in adopting the right attitude! As for putting in the effort, having the right attitude helps take care of that. Once we’ve come to terms with the fact that the only people that can conquer our addiction is ourselves (and that treatment, like anything else, takes work), we’re inclined to put in the work we need to in order to see the results we want. Attitude, effort, and the effectiveness of our recovery are all inextricably intertwined!

Thrive Treatment℠ is an outpatient addiction treatment center located in sunny Santa Monica, California. We’re here to help our clients make the most out of treatment and the rest of their lives by providing them with community, instruction, and support. Call us today at (888) 975-8474 to see what we can do for you!

Becoming Recovery Warriors

Becoming Recovery Warriors

Addiction treatment is very much like war. We face an enemy that’s cunning, bold, and uses evasive tactics to try to hit us where it hurts, but each strategy we learn, tool we make, and activity we master in treatment is a numbing blow to addiction’s head.

It’s important that we adopt this warlike mentality each and every day we wake up in treatment. As The Big Book says, everything we’re taught in treatment is merely a suggestion, and we aren’t actually required to do a thing (“A.A. does not demand belief; Twelve Steps are only suggestions.”) That means the job of getting the information we need and learning the skills and strategies to overcome addiction rests solely on our shoulders. Addiction treatment can lead us to the water, but it simply can’t make us drink. After all, if treatment could make us better without our involvement, it would be more like mind control, and not really treatment at all!

Becoming a recovery warrior in treatment means resolving to put our best foot forward in every activity we’re presented with. That means we have to train ourselves, constantly, to be malleable, honest, and willing to get our hands dirty within our own past and in our headspace. We have to realize that treatment isn’t meant to be fun or easy. We have to tell ourselves, as The Big Book tells us, that “pain is the admission price to new life,” and truly remember that when times get hard, we get uncomfortable, or we begin to doubt ourselves.

When we’re addicted, we have little, if any control over our lives. Now, in treatment, it’s time to take that control back, and we’re the only ones that can do it. Everything we do in treatment, the effort we make and the mentality we adopt will directly affect just how well we transition out of treatment and back into the real world. We already know just how dark and unforgiving the world can be, so there’s no time to waste in treatment. It’s time to buckle up our bootstraps, shed anything that may be holding us back, and really push ourselves to be just a little better every day. If we get better one day at a time, we’ll see amazing results before long.

Let’s make today our first day of warrior training.

Thrive Treatment℠ is located in beautiful Santa Monica, California, and we’re determined to make recovery warriors out of every single client that walks through our door. We believe that life isn’t just meant to be lived. It’s meant to be conquered! Call us at (888) 975-8474 to get started right now!

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!

Recovery Never Stops: How to Make the Most of Life After Treatment

Recovery Never Stops: How to Make the Most of Life After Treatment

Page 492 of The Big Book starts with a crystal clear assertion of what it means to be free after a life of addiction: “Those events that once made me feel ashamed and disgraced now allow me to share with others how to become a useful member of the human race.”

What is recovery, after all,  if it isn’t the road to becoming a useful member of the human race?

Being free from addiction means much more than no longer having the urge to drink or use drugs. Recovery means even more than being able to make up for past mistakes, make amends with those you’ve hurt, and start a new life free from the bondage of your disease.

Recovery means that you are finally at peace with yourself.

At Thrive Treatment℠, we believe the “treatment” portion of recovery is but one aspect of a much, much larger journey, and we strive to build clients into individuals that are ready to tackle post-treatment recovery with as much gusto as they tackled treatment itself.

Life after treatment may not necessarily be easy. In fact, there may be many times where things seem the exact opposite of easy. However, learning how to apply the strategies you learned in treatment to life afterward can make you a more confident, resilient person that’s ready for anything life throws at you. With the right attitude, every challenge you may face in life after treatment will introduce a new opportunity for you to grow stronger, wiser, and better equipped to conquer whatever comes next.

Making the most of life after treatment

After treatment at any addiction facility, it’s not abnormal for graduates to experience a mix of feelings. How will their family react to them now? What will they do for work? Will they be able to stay sober when there are temptations and stimulations around every corner?

In short, the answers to these questions can be hard. Although many outpatient treatment facilities like Thrive Treatment℠ try their best to prepare clients for their eventual return to the rest of the world, it can still be a shock to find that you are, indeed out on your own.

That’s why the best way to get your feet on the ground is to find residence in a structured sober living, get plugged in with an alumni group, surround yourself with others who will champion your recovery, and remember that the recovery journey is a marathon, not a sprint. Making the most of life after treatment means being able to enjoy life safely and without the temptation of substances, but that journey is just beginning after leaving the treatment center. Patience is key.

Plugging into alumni groups

Here at Thrive Treatment℠, we champion alumni groups because we know just how beneficial a solid and extended connection with peers from treatment can be. As an outpatient facility, we place a premium on motivating our clients to forge lasting connections with people that will inspire them to do more, be more, and make their recovery journey richer and more fulfilling. Addiction recovery is not a solitary endeavor, and the importance of a tribe that motivates and supports one another is huge.

Having an alumni group to turn to after treatment gives you the confidence to step out of your comfort zone and the reassurance that your journey is one that you don’t have to face on your own. There’s a reason that treatment is most effective in a collaborative environment, and why The Big Book suggests the group environment as one of the best and most effective ways to treat a myriad of addictions. In fact, the very description of AA– as a “fellowship of men and
women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other” confirms the power of groups in recovery. Tribes are important, and they work in both treatment and post-treatment to help you make the most out of your process.

Surrounding yourself with the right people

You might have heard a saying similar to this, “You are who you surround yourself with.” This is especially important in life after treatment. Here at Thrive Treatment℠, we help our clients process and defeat the behaviors that hold them down and keep them stuck in addiction and pain. One of those behaviors is often keeping poor company. In many cases, people get hooked on substances at the urging of a friend or colleague they thought had their best interests at heart, only to see later on that that “friend” was nowhere to be found when their support was needed most for recovery.

There’s no room for those kinds of friendships after treatment. Making the most of life after treatment involves being truly discerning about the people we surround ourselves with. While we can’t control every situation life throws at us, we can make sure that we surround ourselves with good people who truly care about us. After making it through addiction and regaining our confidence in treatment, we deserve nothing less than the best relationships we can find.

Finally, patience is key to making the most of life after treatment. As The Big Book expresses, “patience, tolerance, love, and understanding are the watchwords.” Just as patience was key in treatment itself, it is also key in navigating experiences that we may not expect in living life sober. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is our recovery. The sooner we realize this, the sooner we can learn to use any mistakes we may make as learning experiences, and grow in the recovery process.

At Thrive Treatment℠ of Santa Monica, California, our outpatient treatment services provide the very best in addiction recovery. If you are suffering from addiction, call us at (888)975-8474 today. Addiction isn’t final. Make the decision to get help today.

“I Don’t Like My Therapist”

“I Don’t Like My Therapist”

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for addiction. If there was, addiction treatment wouldn’t be nearly as nuanced as it is now. One of the most powerful advancements made in addiction treatment since Bill W.’s creation of Alcoholics Anonymous in the 1930s has been the onslaught of new techniques, programs, and plans that cater to different types of addictions all over the planet. No matter what you may be suffering from– or how long you’ve been suffering from it– there’s a treatment plan for you. As The Big Book states, “upon therapy for the alcoholic himself, [there] surely is no monopoly.”

No matter how new or complex the treatment plan is one thing will no doubt remain the same: the concept of personal therapy. Addiction is a mental illness, and personal therapy is an absolute necessity for getting us to the root of our issues which may have led us to addiction in the first place.

You’re going to deal with therapy a lot in addiction treatment, through many different forms. Even at Thrive Treatment℠, an outpatient facility that places a premium on using modern techniques and thinking outside of the box, our clients go through therapy sessions almost every day of the week. We believe that you can’t have a successful addiction treatment program without therapy, so we incorporate it into just about everything we do.

So, what if you aren’t particularly fond of your therapist? Therapists are human too, and they can sometimes make us feel uncomfortable, annoyed, or, quite frankly, angry. It’s natural to experience unpleasant emotions when we’re in situations that require us to peel off scabs and reopen old wounds, and therapy does just that. We know the importance of therapy in recovery, but there has to be some way we can get past our personal feelings in order to make the best of it, right?

Absolutely!

Learning to appreciate your therapist

Addiction is a complex illness, and it requires complex strategies in order to defeat it. Therapy is one such strategy, and as long as addiction stays around, so, too, will therapy be here. One of the best ways to learn to appreciate your therapist is to take a closer look at just how important their job is in the recovery process. Even as far back as the 1930s, when the first addiction treatment group was founded, early adopters of the 12-step treatment process and Alcoholics Anonymous held therapists in high esteem, and regarded their skillset as one that was invaluable in addiction treatment: “Psychiatrists and psychologists point out the deep need every human being has for practical insight and knowledge of his own personality flaws and for a discussion of them with an understanding and trustworthy person.”

Therapists provide us with the strategies we need in order to look inside of ourselves and make the changes, address the hurt, and identify the spiritual maladies that caused us to start and continue using substances, even against our better judgment, in the first place. Without therapists, treatment wouldn’t be effective. Sure, nurses could assist us in the detoxification process and facility staff could ensure we didn’t use any substances while in their care, but the mental portion of our illness would be largely untouched without the care that therapists provide, and we’d likely fall into the same traps soon after leaving treatment.

It isn’t personal

It’s also important to remember that addiction treatment therapists, like the rest of the treatment staff, have a very specific role to play in treatment, and it’s one that requires impartiality, strategy, and empathy above all else. Many therapists have gone through treatment themselves, or have been in similar situations as us, and it’s these experiences that they rely on to guide discussions and activities. Our therapists don’t have a personal vendetta against us. They’re simply there to help us get better. As The Big Book states, “God has abundantly supplied this world with fine doctors, psychologists, and practitioners of various kinds.” They are trained to equip us with the tools we need to recover from our illness, but it is up to us to heed their suggestions if we want to see any results. Sometimes, the only way to grow and develop in addiction treatment is to let our guard down and open ourselves up to receiving help from others.

Not liking your therapist is no excuse to stop yourself from getting the help you deserve. Therapists are only interested in doing one thing: helping you process and discard the self-defeating thoughts and behaviors that kept you stuck in addiction. The processes they take you through in order to do this are not all easy, and many may touch a raw nerve (or ten), but going through the fire is the only way you’ll be able to identify your flaws and impurities and come out even better on the other side. If addiction treatment was easy, we’d all be able to do it ourselves, right?

At  Thrive Treatment℠ (and many other addiction treatment facilities) there are often a number of different types of therapy offered. From art therapy and daily group sessions to multi-family therapy and individual therapy options, there are plenty of options for even the most skeptical of clients. All therapy options may not appeal to you, but you are bound to find some therapists, strategies, and therapeutic activities that you’ll gravitate towards, and it’s important that you do your absolute best to make the most out of all you’re presented with.

If you are suffering from addiction, it is never too late for help. At Thrive Treatment℠ of Santa Monica, our specialists know just what you need in order to make a complete 180 and get back on the right track. Call us at (888)975-8474 today!

Addiction is Not Your Fault… But It Is Your Responsibility

Addiction is Not Your Fault… But It Is Your Responsibility

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous is specific and definitive in its definition of alcoholism, which can be applied as a definition of addiction. Addiction, according to the AA philosophy, is a disease characterized by three components, in three different spheres: a physical allergy, a mental obsession, and a spiritual malady. As it’s explained throughout the book, the physical allergy occurs when drugs or alcohol are consumed, and sets off a reaction in the body to crave another, and another, and another. The mental obsession is that even when an addict is off of a substance and entirely sober, the craving to use is so strong that it overpowers any rational thoughts that would tell him or her that it’s not a good idea to use. The spiritual malady is best described in The Big Book: “we have been not only mentally and physically ill, we have been spiritually sick. When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically.” The spiritual malady is a sickness in our soul, developed over time from hurts and traumas, poor coping behaviors and personality traits, that can only be truly uncovered by looking deep within ourselves.

Addiction is, by no stretch of the imagination, our fault. No man wakes up one day with the outright intention of becoming an “alcoholic” or a “drug addict”. Even in his deepest denial, even in his greatest enjoyment of the euphoria put forth by substances, he still does not want to be someone who is physically, mentally, and spiritually sick as a result of addiction. Numerous factors which have compiled upon themselves since before his birth have predisposed him to addiction and the substances themselves have taken over his mind in a way he cannot control. As The Big Book famously suggests, we are utterly powerless against addiction when we try to fight it ourselves. Thankfully, we never have to fight alone.

Although addiction isn’t our fault, the way we respond to our addiction and take charge of our recovery is our responsibility. By seeking treatment– be it at an inpatient facility or an outpatient facility like Thrive Treatment℠– we’re making the statement that we are willing to believe that we have what it takes to beat addiction. We are taking responsibility for our addiction when we take responsibility for our recovery. Nobody can recover for us. This statement is huge, and sets the path for a successful recovery journey. Just as addiction is a mental illness, recovery relies on mental strength.

Taking responsibility doesn’t stop at declaring that we need help and making the brave decision to find treatment. Throughout the recovery process, responsibility is preached and expected at all times, from both us and the people we surround ourselves with. As The Big Book states, in time, responsibility will become such a large part of our recovery journey that we will even “awaken to a new sense of responsibility for others” as well.

How can I take responsibility for my addiction?

Admitting that only you can find recovery and create a new life for yourself, then seeking treatment is the first step. Committing yourself enitrely to your recovery is the second.

Thrive Treatment℠, like many other treatment facilities across the nation, offers outpatient services. Our treatment plans don’t isolate clients in one setting away from the rest of the world, and it’s this concept of bringing our addiction recovery community right to our clients’ doors that we feel provides our amazing results. However, this does mean that the responsibility lies on the client to attend the meetings, therapies, and activities designed for them. Sometimes, when we’re tasked with doing something difficult or challenging for our own good, we falter at the added responsibility of doing it. At these times, it’s important that we remember that addiction doesn’t just leave us when we declare that we want treatment. Ridding ourselves of the factors that caused our addiction takes time, and, more importantly, commitment. The Big Book couldn’t illustrate this point any better. It says that “the idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker.” If we were able to control our addiction without treatment and the support of a recovery community, we would have done it a long time ago. The fact that we decided to pursue treatment speaks to the fact that we know we need it, and the millions of successful recovery stories speak to the fact that treatment works. All we have to do is stay committed to it.

I didn’t cause my addiction. Why should I be responsible for it?

For some of us, substance abuse was a result of circumstances that we didn’t make, and that we couldn’t fix. Adverse life experiences like abuse, trauma, neglect, and undue stress happen in our lives. After using substances for an extended period of time, we became addicted, and we often feel like our addiction never would have happened as long as that stressor was never there. We also tend to feel that we are justified in our using because of what has happened to us. Since we the responsibility of events external to us is not ours, then, by addiction-logic, the responsibility of events internal to us shouldn’t be ours either.

Unfortunately, our stressful live events were there, and a truth we come to accept is that stressful live events are always going to be there, everywhere we go. While addiction isn’t our fault, it is still our responsibility to control how we handle it.

It can be hard to understand the logic behind assuming responsibility for something we can’t control and didn’t cause, but we need look no further than The Big Book, which encourages us to go as far as to assume responsibility for others going through similar pain, for clarity.

The AA Responsibility Pledge reads as such: “I am responsible… When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of A.A. always to be there. And for that: I am responsible.”

Addiction is an illness that needs a responsible party to get rid of it. It won’t go away on its own, and it will only get worse if left unmanaged. We say we’re responsible for our addictions, even though we didn’t cause them, because in doing so, we give ourselves the keys to lock addiction away for good and in so doing give others the key to free themselves from addiction forever.

Acknowledging that we are powerless over addiction, but that we do have complete power in how we deal with it, is the entire goal behind assuming responsibility. If, as in AA, we are to be tasked with being there for others that need our help, we must first understand that responsibility begins within ourselves.

If you or someone you love is suffering from addiction, Thrive Treatment℠ of Santa Monica offers premium outpatient treatment services that may be right for you. We’re just a phone call away from helping you reclaim the life addiction took from you. Call us today at (888)975-8474!