One thing that you may struggle with is the term “addict.” Behaviors you learned in the past, which have brought you pleasure or eliminated pain, will probably always remain in your “toolbox;” however, these are simply behaviors. They were the only way you found to survive the pain, until now. You are a person. If you stop doing the addictive behaviors, you are still a person… Heck, you are a happier, healthier person. You wouldn’t say I’m a cancer, or I’m an AIDS. Those are diseases, issues, disorders, but you wouldn’t define yourself by them.
Think of survival like a job. Addiction helped you survive when everything else failed. If you were a salesman for 20 years, you probably became very good at it. But if you change careers and become a plumber, you will learn new skills for that job. Both jobs served the same purpose….survival. Should you ever need to go back and become a salesman again, you will still have those skills stored away.
Addictive behaviors are the same. They helped you survive when nothing else worked. When you choose to take on the job of recovery, you will learn new skills that will help you survive. However, if those new skills quit being effective and you have to go back to addictive behaviors, they are still there to help you survive if nothing else is working.
Some people have difficulty letting go of the term, addict, and stopping their addictive behaviors, because if they are not an addict, then who are they and what do they do? If they are not an alcoholic, what are they? I encourage you to view your addiction and mental health symptoms as behaviors and conditions… You are a person who has an addiction or a person with depression. Above all you are a person.
(Preview) Activity: Who am I
Some values cannot be taken away. They are part of who you are. I call these your inalienable values. What are your inalienable values? In the workbook there is a list of 50 values. For each of the values that are important to you, describe how you embody that characteristic AND why it is important to you.
Example: Ambitious: I am ambitious because I am constantly working toward goals. This is important to me because I take pride in striving to be a better person each day.
(Note: The complete activity is included in the workbook)