How Self-reflection and Introspection Can Bring Freedom from Addiction

Portrait Of Happy Laughing Man

Contributor: Rachael Mattice is the Content Manager for Sovereign Health Group, an addiction, mental health and dual diagnosis treatment provider. Rachael received her bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication from Purdue University.

Self-reflection, or introspection, is the willingness to learn more about one’s fundamental thoughts and personality. When a person is in the midst of a serious drug or alcohol addiction, introspection can be difficult, if not impossible – after all, the individual’s thoughts are almost completely clouded by the addiction.

Active addicts are also frequently consumed with denial, since the only way they can convince themselves to keep using is if they refuse to acknowledge how profoundly drugs or alcohol harm their life.

Denial makes self-reflection difficult and keeps active addicts from understanding their true selves.

Exploring Inner Thoughts

Once addicts enter recovery, they have the opportunity to peek inside their minds and explore their inner thoughts. This mental exploration is encouraged, in fact, by both support groups and one-on-one therapies. During recovery, the ability to reflect upon one’s thoughts and feelings is a valuable skill.

With the ability to look inward, recovering addicts can:

Spot When Their Life is Losing Control

woman-489118_640People who are in tune with their innermost thoughts can often recognize when those thoughts become dangerous. If recovering addicts have relapsed in the past, they might be able to spot the signs leading up to the relapse – for instance, they might recognize that they have been more depressed than usual or that they have started pining for their old life. They can then take the necessary steps with their doctors to address the issue.

Become More Aware of Their Strengths and Weaknesses

Recovering addicts who take the time to practice self-reflection will become more familiar with their strengths and weaknesses. For instance, if they recognize that they become easily stressed when confronted with a deadline, they can work to create a schedule that would make them less overwhelmed.

If they know that they excel at crafts, they can take a little time out of their day to perform little projects that make them feel good about themselves.

Improve Communication

When individuals are aware of their thoughts, it becomes easier to convey those thoughts to other people. Recovering addicts who practice self-reflection should be able to communicate better with their therapist, their friends and their family, and make their recovery significantly smoother.

Escape Toxic Relationships

Recovering addicts who are aware of their thoughts will also be aware of how other people influence their thoughts. A friend or family member who is emotionally or physically destructive to the addict’s recovery can become easier to recognize.

Acknowledge Their Mistakes

girl-526716_640Recognizing and taking responsibility for mistakes is an essential step in addiction recovery. During self-reflection, recovering addicts have the opportunity to acknowledge how they behaved during their addiction and how that behavior affected other people as well as themselves. They can then work to avoid that behavior in the future.

Learning to Be Honest with Oneself

The ultimate goal of self-reflection is not for individuals to become self-absorbed, but to learn to be honest with themselves. Through self-reflection, recovering addicts can think critically about their thoughts and actions, and assess their progress toward sobriety.

Setting aside just five minutes a day to focus on self-reflection is an excellent start. Individuals can close their eyes, relax, and shift through their thoughts in a quiet room. They can also write down their experiences in a journal. It can make a profound difference during the recovery process.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

Honesty with yourself is important, what steps have you taken in your recovery in order to become self-aware without becoming self-absorbed?

About the Author:
Rachael Mattice is the Content Manager for Sovereign Health Group, an addiction, mental health and dual diagnosis treatment provider. Rachael is a creative and versatile journalist and digital marketing specialist with an extensive writing and editing background.

Her portfolio includes numerous quality articles on various topics published in print and digital formats at award-winning publications and websites. To learn more about Sovereign Health Group’s mental health treatment programs and read patient reviews, visit Follow Sovereign Health Group on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addiction. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on May 1st, 2015
Published on