Self-awareness is central to addiction recovery. Far from being a touchy-feely bit of therapeutic jargon, it is a real and important skill for everyone to master, especially recovering addicts.
What Is Self-Awareness?
The brain manages many behaviors and mental functions without conscious thought. As certain behaviors are repeated, the brain moves them from the conscious part of the mind to the background – or “subconscious” area. This movement allows the conscious part of the brain to address different circumstances and to allow for long-term learning and planning. Most people need not focus much attention on the following aspects for them to function:
- Scratching an itch
- Blinking their eyes
- Falling asleep
- Using the bathroom
- Sexual response
- Processing routine information
Even complicated mechanical processes, such as operating a car, can be accomplished without much conscious focus. While this phenomenon greatly increases the brain’s potential, it has a dark side as well: the reason drug and alcohol abuse are so difficult to end, despite a conscious desire to do so, is that those habits reside in the subconscious part of the brain. The only way to quit using drugs is to move those behaviors into the conscious part of the brain, and to form healthy new habits around recovery.
How Self-Awareness Impacts Recovery
Self-awareness describes the skill of becoming consciously aware of habits, reactions, emotions and responses that predominantly function in the subconscious part of the brain. In Eastern religious traditions, this process has been referred to as “mindfulness,” and it has been an important aspect of physical, mental and spiritual wellness for centuries. Over the last several decades, these concepts have found their way into the worlds of mental health and addiction recovery. The following is a partial list of therapeutic techniques that cultivate self-awareness:
- Dialectical behavior treatment
- Individual counseling
- Arts therapy
- Creative writing
These techniques help millions of people notice the thoughts and feelings that trigger the harmful behaviors they desire to change. With the help of a counselor, most addicts can develop self-awareness, which enables them to recognize and avoid relapse triggers. Self-aware people might realize that stress cause them to abuse alcohol for relaxation, so they may avoid alcohol consciously by going to the gym, calling a friend, going for a walk or listening to music.
Help Finding Addiction Recovery
If you are ready to cultivate self-awareness and to regain control of your emotions, then please call our toll-free helpline today. Our admissions coordinators are ready 24 hours a day to answer your questions and to refer you to the recovery programs that address drug abuse through self-awareness. You can end your propensity to be carried away by your emotions and habits if you call now for confidential help.