5 Key Strategies For Healing From Addiction
Key Strategy for Healing #1 – Acknowledgement
The first key is to acknowledge or acknowledgment (recognize the status or take notice of), meaning that you just accept the reality of the limbic system (it exists and is essential) or the fact that you are struggling with negative behavior. Surrender is, ‘I simply can’t do this on my own.’.
Awareness training is what we’re going to talk a little bit more about; ‘What’s going on around you?’. Mindfulness means choosing to direct your thoughts.
We simply need to acknowledge the reality that we have this part of our brain that’s like a lion or a tiger, and it’s always going to respond instinctively to some extent.
Can we train ‘IT’ and manage ‘IT’ so it’s not out of control?
We need to remember that the limbic part of our brains will be attracted to things whether we want it or not. We don’t have to follow any of those triggers that come our way or may come our way.
Key Strategy for Healing #2 – Surrender
The second key to healing is surrender. Acknowledge leads to surrendering to the fact that we simply can’t do this on our own, we need help. We need to turn to a higher power, whatever your higher power is. There’s a great little statement that I heard years ago and I’ve always loved.
‘The bird of paradise alights only on the hand that does not grasp it.’
Another words, recognize ‘IT’ is there and move on, don’t try to grasp it.
Key Strategy for Healing #3 – Awareness
The third key to healing is awareness; knowledge of the reality that this is a process, like a cocoon, it takes time.
You may wonder,
‘Why do I struggle so much?
Why doesn’t the problem or challenges go away?’
It wouldn’t be in our best interest to do so.
Awareness involves, learning to become more aware of our emotions and naming our emotions. One of the things we have discovered in working with people so long, and especially men, is they don’t like to talk about their feeling or emotions.
We knew one client very well, he’d been coming to see us for a while, his body language was completely out of whack; he was struggling, sitting there knee bouncing up and down, he says,
‘Emotionally I’m fine.’
And we said, ‘Okay. Time out.’
I handed him a sheet of paper; called ‘Naming Your Emotions’ sheet.
‘Just take a minute here. We’re going to pause and go through and circle some of these words that describe how you’re feeling.’
After he had completed the Naming Your Emotions exercise, he handed it back to me. He had circled 15-20 different things like, I feel disgusted, angry, I hate myself, feel dirty, ugly, etc.
All negative emotions.
We said to him, and to the group,
‘It’s interesting, that those negative emotions were all under the umbrella of fine and good.’
Important to Name Your Emotions
Do you see how important it is to name your emotions?
It’s so important that we can talk about and name our emotions so we can do something about them.
We live in this culture where we’re just not aware of really how we’re feeling.
We want to increase your awareness and encourage you to identify your feelings and name your emotions.
Download the daily planning sheet and create one yourself so you can start to journal and identify your emotions/feelings.
If you name your emotions, you can begin to tame them, according to new research, which suggests why meditation works.
Brain scans show that putting names on negative emotions into words calms the brain’s emotion center, which is the limbic system.
One client that finally opened up to us and started dialoguing with him said,
“But I feel if I open up I’ll sound stupid and that people will make fun of me because how stupid is it for me to get online and be looking at images that I know are bad for me. I feel horrible about that.”
When I explained the reality of the addiction that you need to stop shaming yourself- There’s a difference between guilt and shame. Guilt is healthy, comes from our conscience.
‘Your behavior has been inappropriate.’
Shame, on the other hand, says,
‘You are the bad, unworthy thing. You are the faulty thing.’
Guilt is Healthy – Shame is Not!
Learn the difference between those two and continue to ponder that as you learn more about the Language of Recovery.
Key Strategy for Healing #4 – Mindfulness
Here’s a comparison to explain mindfulness, there’s like a door to our mind; we have the capacity to open and shut that door. In the form of meditation.
You can learn more about a specific meditation that we use in the manual, it’s incredibly powerful and teaches you to watch your thoughts.
What most say to me after they thoroughly hear this is,
‘Why hasn’t anyone ever taught us this stuff before!’
We’ve got to learn to watch our thoughts.
We have to choose not to give attention to certain things because what we don’t give attention to, can’t hurt us.
Key Strategy for Healing #5 – Faith
The fifth and final key is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. (or belief in a Higher Power, your Higher Power)
Have faith that He can heal you, have faith that He will be there for you. He is the only one that completely understands you.
Your Higher Power, He completely understands the deep and private, secret emotions of your heart, and He knows that hanging on to past things can hurt you.
Forgiveness is the principle, not so much for the offender as it is for us.
It’s interesting, one of the Savior’s last things that he ever did to fulfill his mission on earth while hanging on the cross, He would not allow himself to be full of anger, hatred, or rage towards those who put him there.
In a simple plea to the Father,
‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’
If you can learn to implement these key strategies into your life, you will see constant progression and healing. Remember, you did not become an addict overnight, nor will you learn to manage the addiction overnight.