Intuitively, we may think that the best way to avoid falling into addictive behavior is to block out the thoughts that may lead us to it. That makes sense, doesn’t it? If we don’t think about it, we won’t be tempted to consume, gamble, or watch adult movies on the internet..
This type of action, often advocated, can indeed lead to short-term success, which is very encouraging for the drug addict in rehabilitation and for the people who support him in the process.
In addition, it is very motivating for the person. It makes you feel in control. Let him know that he is getting over “his problem”. It gives you a sense of accomplishment which is very contagious and tempting and even if you fail to suppress all thoughts of consumers. When he does, he sees it (and we experience it) as a major step forward in his recovery. He “beats the enemy”, “wins the battle” and other very in line expressions of the “fight against drugs”.
But unfortunately what is really happening is the exact opposite.
What not to do to avoid relapses
Putting aside thoughts of addictive behavior is a terrible idea. A technique not only doomed to fail, but in fact can interfere with recovery.
Addictive thoughts are never random, so the times they occur are extraordinary opportunities to learn what motivates unwanted behavior.
Any event, circumstance, interaction, thought or feeling that occurs just before it is the key to understanding what seems to support addictive behavior, why we need it. Getting away just in time for this to happen is the last thing we need to do if we hope to control it..
End addictive thoughts
Logically, paying attention to a single episode of thinking about drinking or some other unwanted habit is not enough to understand what lies behind a particular addiction. But the more effort we put into the rushed circumstances of this addicting thought, the easier it will be to solve the mystery that leads to repeating something that we do not consciously desire.
Focusing on the first moments when unwanted thoughts appear has immediate value. Even though the triggers may not seem clear, thinking about them creates a very useful separation from the feelings of helplessness that precede and always trigger them. Observing these thoughts, without judging them, and learning about them, is a wonderful antidote to the sense of inevitability that seems to accompany any relapse process.
Suppressing addictive thoughts
Another problem is the suppression of addictive thoughts. Drug addiction is seen as an enemy to be overcome. This makes the person suffering from the addiction see something that is part of it as uncontrollable, reinforcing the feeling of helplessness that we talked about in the previous paragraph.
Trying to suppress these thoughts momentarily brings back the appearance of control. But that doesn’t change the fact that these thoughts appear in the most unexpected moments.
Instead of thinking this way, it’s much more appropriate to view addiction as a symptom with specific motivation and emotional purpose. What do we need to understand to overcome it. Instead of looking elsewhere, it might be better to learn from it.
The role of the will in addiction
Working to avoid these uncomfortable thoughts also involves rejecting another incorrect and widespread notion; the misconception and destructive, that addiction can be overcome with willpower. This view, which has led to the belief that people can only control drug addiction by trying more diligently, is a fairly well established myth that has led to the labeling of addicts as “weak” or lacking in character. “.
Many people believe that what an addict needs is more self-control.. But in fact, what often prevents an addict from recovering is relying exclusively on their will.
Relying exclusively on the will makes the addict think that one can have an almost immediate solution, without making too much effort, being satisfied with proposing it. It’s the “addictive way” of thinking. Controlling the uncontrollable is the goal.
The person is editing a film which, initially, is developed according to the proposed scenario. But he soon begins to fend for himself, causing the collapse of that “normal” that the addict wants to bring about and leading him to frustration or relapse.
Seeking help against addiction
Only recognizing the loss of control and the need for professional outside help can start a long road to recovery.
This is why understanding drug addiction is an individual process of reconstruction involves dismantling the ways of reacting, developing what the addict has learned throughout his life.
Of course, those who are addicted have the will. But he must use it to change and build a new life, not to ignore and avoid the previous one. Denying what has led him to a self-destructive lifestyle may, in fact, rush towards him..
The psychological mechanisms of addiction
Like any other psychological symptom, addiction arises from emotional issues, Largely unconscious and tries to fight them. Emotional symptoms, which we all have, usually cannot be managed with conscious effort.
People with addictions cannot stop symptomatic behavior at will, as people with depression, anxiety, or phobias do. In this, addictions take the price of social incomprehension with regard to mental disorders.
Working to overcome an addiction is difficult, but it won’t suppress thoughts. It is a task to observe our most complex feelings, motivations, and conflicts, especially at times when it occurs to us to repeat addictive behavior.
Self-observation is not easy for anyone, and it gets even more complicated if our thoughts are prompting us to do something we wouldn’t want to do.
Therefore, it becomes particularly relevant to identify the emotional factors that make the addicted person feel helpless and lead him to unwanted mental processes. It can help us find ways to deal with them, before the whole process that can lead to relapse is set in motion. In short, it’s not about denying your own thoughts, it’s about understanding them.