We often get stuck in our heads and are so focused on day-to-day responsibilities that we don’t take the time to take a step back and reflect on our life. We may ignore or overlook things we need to change, neglect to take proper care of our mental and physical health, and forget to focus on what is truly important in life.
This is perhaps especially true for those who struggle with substance use disorder (SUD). Drugs and alcohol often serve as a way of masking pain, avoiding reality, and dealing with difficult circumstances. At the end of the day, substance use is no more than a temporary fix. This is why self-reflection in recovery is so critical. It allows us to take a step back, confront reality, and heal.
What Is Self-Reflection?
Self-reflection sounds simple, but what is it? Essentially, self-reflection involves looking beyond our surface-level thoughts and emotions and trying to see the bigger picture. This type of reflection consists of taking the time to figure out how we really feel about certain situations in our life. This process also involves considering what matters to us, our goals and motivations, and what we would like to change in our life moving forward.
Self-reflection allows us to learn more about ourselves, including why we engage in certain behaviors and have particular opinions. It enables us to look at our life and identify both the negative and positive. It gives us a fresh perspective that helps us understand life in a more profound, meaningful way. This perspective allows us to see what’s really important in life so that we prioritize those things.
Why Is Self-Reflection in Recovery Necessary for Growth?
Self-reflection in recovery is necessary for growth and moving forward. One of the most important things we must learn about ourselves in recovery is why we turned to substance use in the first place. This is referred to as the root cause of addiction. The root cause can be different from person to person. Some of the most common root causes include undiagnosed mental health problems like depression or anxiety, grief from losing a loved one, trauma experienced, and daily life stresses.
For some people, it may be easy to point to a specific reason and say, “That’s it! That’s why I turned to substance use.” However, for others, this may be more difficult, especially if this is something that they suppressed or something that happened a long time ago. Working with a therapist or practicing journaling can help with the reflection process necessary to identify such causes.
Once you have identified the root cause of your addiction, you can then work to heal and grow from it. What this process will look like depends on the root cause. For example, it could include leaving a toxic relationship, establishing a safer living situation, or attending therapy to process the death of a loved one. Identifying this root cause and taking the necessary steps to address it is crucial in order to prevent relapse and begin living a more satisfactory life.
How Can Self-Reflection Give Me a Better Perspective?
Alcohol and drug use clouds our vision. It keeps us from seeing things how they really are. When we are under the influence, we may make excuses for our behavior or fail to see that what we are doing is hurting not only ourselves but those we love. Substance misuse becomes a priority, and everything else that was once deemed so important in our lives falls by the wayside. This could include relationships, education, career plans, and life goals, hobbies, passions, and the things that once made life worth living.
When alcohol and drug use are removed from the picture, we are forced to see what could likely be a cold and painful reality. We may see the pain we have caused others and the damage we have done to our community and our own lives. This harsh wake-up call may be painful. It is often why people choose to continue to engage in substance use for so long without seeking treatment. However, at the end of the day, it is necessary to grow and move on.
Part of this perspective allows us to remember what our goals are so that we can get our life back on track and begin to live with meaning once again. We can be reminded of the people we love most in life and begin to make amends to them for any damage we have caused.
This perspective can also change how we interact with others by allowing us to have a greater sense of empathy toward others. It can totally transform life as we know it.
It can be easy to overlook things that we need to change. We may neglect to take proper care of our mental and physical health, and we may forget to focus on what is truly important in life. Self-reflection allows us to take a step back and look at life from a fresh perspective. It allows us to learn more about ourselves so that we can make the necessary changes in our lives and become the best possible version of ourselves. This is crucial in recovery from addiction as we work to understand why we turned to substance use. If you are struggling with substance misuse, our team at The Ho-Tai Way is here to help. Call (714) 581-3974 today.