The process of learning about yourself may seem silly at first. After all, who knows more about you than you? But self-reflection and self-awareness are essential parts of the recovery journey. This is an opportunity to look back at your life and identify, both the good and the bad. It's also a time for you to figure out why you turned to substance use in the first place and what you're going to do to address that reason (or those reasons) moving forward.
You can't simply go through treatment and return to your everyday life without making changes. Maintaining your recovery requires consistently putting in the work to learn more about yourself so that you can continue to become the best version of yourself that you can be.
What Is the Importance of Developing Self-Awareness in Recovery?
A big thing that is often connected with addiction is denial. You may deny that you have a drug or alcohol problem. You may deny that what you're doing has hurt yourself and others and that you need to seek treatment. But when you enter recovery and begin to learn about yourself, it requires honesty. You have to be honest with yourself and acknowledge that you have a problem. This is the first step in working toward long-lasting recovery.
Consider if someone went through treatment just because they were persuaded to by others but not because they actually wanted to. Maybe they went through treatment never truly believing that they genuinely had a substance use disorder (SUD). What is the most likely outcome for them when they return to their everyday lives? They will probably turn right back to substance misuse, and it will all have been for nothing. This is why honesty and self-reflection are so important.
Many people who struggle with addiction are stuck in a certain way of thinking. Much of their focus is wrapped around substance use. This can include not only thinking about engaging in substance use but how to obtain a particular substance, how to hide their use from others, etc. At the time, this way of thinking may seem completely normal to them. Self-reflection allows you to take a step back and look at your life from a different perspective. It helps you identify negative behaviors and patterns that you overlooked before due to your focus on substance use.
What Is the Importance of Finding the Root Cause of Your Addiction?
A crucial aspect of the self-awareness part of recovery is reflecting back upon your life and determining the root cause of your addiction. This refers to why you first turned to substance use in the first person. This is different for everyone. Some people struggle with undiagnosed mental illnesses and try to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. Others may use substances as a way to combat grief or suppress some sort of trauma they once experienced.
For some people, it can be hard to pinpoint this root cause because it may stem from something they experienced a long time ago. It could also be something about their current living situation that needs to change that they don't yet realize. Speaking with a therapist can really help you look deep within yourself and determine what this root cause could be. Journaling can also be very beneficial.
What Are Other Ways to Learn About Yourself in Recovery?
There are some other things that you can work on every day to help you learn more about yourself. One idea is to keep a mood journal and make regular entries in it. This simple process only takes a few minutes before you go to bed. Get yourself a journal, write down the current date, and then rate what type of day you had. (Use a scoring system between 1 and 10, with 1 being absolutely terrible and 10 being the best it could be.) Really take the time to reflect upon your day before making this rating.
After doing this, jot down a few details about your day that played into why you decided upon the rating that you did. Later on, you can look back and look for any possible trends. For example, maybe your days were better when you squeezed in a workout or spent some time practicing self-care. On the flip side, perhaps a lot of your bad days were associated with certain people that may bring down your mood without you even realizing it. Once you have this information, you can then make the necessary changes to improve your life.
This process doesn't only help you increase your level of self-awareness but can also help dramatically improve your overall mental health. In turn, it can help you to prevent relapse.
Learning about yourself and increasing your self-awareness is a very important part of the recovery journey and preventing relapse. This process involves looking back at your life and identifying the good and the bad. It also involves identifying negative patterns and behaviors and deciding what you want to change moving forward. Part of this process also involves identifying the root cause of your addiction and determining how you're going to address it. This is essentially the reason why you chose to turn to substances in the first place. Speaking with a therapist can help with this process. If you are struggling with a substance use disorder, our team at The Ho Tai Way can help. Call (714) 581-3974 today.