Let’s face it, change is hard for most people—this reality can be observed each year in the weeks before and after January 1st, as countless numbers of people either forgo making a New Year’s resolution or give up on their goals shortly afterward. For someone struggling with a substance use disorder or other form of addiction, the process of change can be even more complicated and difficult. In fact, it may be one of the most demanding challenges that you or a loved one ever undertake—because in recovery, it’s easy to self-sabotage.
Science has demonstrated addiction is a brain disease that requires comprehensive medical treatment, in conjunction with significant lifestyle change, to achieve lasting recovery. We know that repeated use of substances alters and impairs various structures and functions of the brain, many of which play a role in memory, decision-making and emotion-regulation. Such changes not only make it difficult for someone to stop using substances—and remain abstinent—on his or her own, but it can also make it hard for someone in early recovery to change their old behaviors. Addictive behavior is self-destructive, and it is not uncommon for someone struggling with an addiction to report that he or she feels like his or her own worst enemy, a master of self-sabotage.
Despite the immense challenges associated with trying to overcome an addiction, lasting recovery is possible. At Gateway, we can help equip you or a loved one with the skills needed to deal with some of the most common pitfalls of early recovery.
Isolation and Loneliness in Recovery
Some people recovering from addiction can struggle to find events and relationships free of alcohol and drugs. The prospect of developing new and healthy social relationships with people supportive of the recovery process or sober people can seem overwhelming and intimidating. Failing to develop such relationships, however, can lead to isolation and feelings of loneliness and boredom. In response, some individuals may seek out old substance-using acquaintances and place themselves in environments where substance use is prevalent—sometimes leading to relapse.
Science has shown that sustained involvement in recovery activities and support groups is one of the strongest predictors of lasting success. As a result, Gateway has developed an active Recovery Community with alumni meetings and social events open to anyone in recovery and also utilizes the evidence-based, 12-Step Facilitation curriculum to connect people in treatment with support groups to help continue their recovery.
Abstinence Based Addiction Recovery
Not everyone feels ready to lead a fully drug-free or alcohol-free lifestyle when they enter treatment, and some individuals may want to continue to use substances that they view as less dangerous or problematic.
Gateway respects that people enter treatment at different stages of change, and we rely upon the evidence-based practice of Motivational Interviewing (MI) to compassionately help you or a loved one identify your own reasons for the need to change. However, research has demonstrated that an abstinence-only model of recovery is the safest approach.
Negative Self-Talk in Addiction Recovery
Addiction can destroy relationships and lead to a range of occupational, legal and health-related consequences. People entering treatment and recovery are oftentimes overwhelmed by negative emotions and beset by negative self-talk that can lead to self-sabotage in recovery. It is not uncommon for individuals struggling with addiction to cling to strong negative thoughts about themselves, such as I am a failure, I can’t get better or I don’t deserve to get better.
Many people with an addiction also struggle with a co-occurring mental health condition, such as a trauma, anxiety or mood disorder and have relied upon substances as a form of self-medication. In early recovery, it may be hard to feel hopeful when it seems like things will never get better or change is too difficult. But there is hope.
Our integrated treatment approach at Gateway, consisting of medication, psychotherapy and mindfulness-based skill development, can help you or a loved one learn the coping skills needed in order to heal and develop lasting recovery.
To learn more about how self-sabotage can ruin your recovery efforts, give Gateway a call at 877.505.4673.