The life changes that must be made by recovering alcoholics and drug dependents differ a great deal from those that are recommended for other people having trouble in their lives; the ordinary psychological self-help books don’t apply.
Chemically dependent people are different. It doesn’t matter—and nobody knows—whether they are different to begin with, or whether they become different in the course of their active dependence. What works for the chemically dependent might work very well for other people, but the reverse is not always true.
For example, in traditional psychotherapy, people are helped to think more clearly about their problems so they know how to act on them; they learn to understand their feelings and analyze their behavior so they can change it. In recovery from chemical dependence; this approach is turned backwards. People are taught how to act so they can learn how to think.
Fake It Until You Make It
The AA formula is, “Right acting leads to right thinking.” Another way of putting it is, “What we practice, we become.” Yet another one is, “Smiling can trick your brain into happiness.”
This not exactly a new idea; the great American psychologist William James first suggested it over a century ago, but the idea was so contrary to accepted psychology that it was essentially ignored. James said, among other things, that crying makes us sad. In 1089, a group of psychologists demonstrated James’s theory with an experiment in which people were given instructions for making certain facial expressions, without being told what those expressions were or what the purpose of the experiment was.
Then they were asked to describe their feelings. When the subjects were given instructions that made them produce something like a smile, a frown, or a look of terror, they reported feeling happy, angry, or frightened. This brings a whole new meaning to “it works if you work it.”
If you or a loved one wants to learn more about our substance abuse programs, please reach out to us today. Our admissions team is available 24/7 at (877)-RECOVERY or 877-732-6837 to answer your questions. Because We Care.