It Starts During Rehab – Changing Negative Self-Beliefs (Part 2)
From Being Untrustworthy to Regaining Trust
Sitting down with your therapist for a one-on-one session can be a little nerve wracking the first time around. If you’ve never been in counseling before, there’s naturally going to be a fair amount of doubt, insecurity, and possibly even some trust issues.
But nowhere is trust more important than when you are trying to change your life from one of being dependent on alcohol and drugs to living a life in sobriety.
Deep inside, you may very well feel as though you are a rotten individual who is completely untrustworthy. You’ve proven this over and over again, haven’t you? And you’ve let down countless loved ones and friends in the process.
Not only have you demonstrated that you can’t be trusted, you don’t even trust yourself. How can you ever trust someone else? How can anyone else ever trust you again?
These are difficult feelings to acknowledge, but it is critically important to address them. During therapy, you and your therapist will discuss all sorts of deeply-held negative self-beliefs and how to overcome them. It may be painful at times, but if you are committed to the process and want to equip yourself with the best approach to begin your new life in recovery, you will be willing to go through the discovery process, the time during which you begin to unwind that spiral of self-distrust and learn how to become trustworthy again.
From Inability to Change to Accepting Change
Going through detox to get clean and rid your body of harmful substances is a big step. It is also the first step in a process of learning how to overcome addiction to alcohol and drugs (or compulsive gambling, workaholism, overeating and other process addictions).
You may think that you cannot change, but you’ve already demonstrated a willingness to do so simply by your commitment to getting treatment. This is, in effect, the first example that you can, indeed, change.
Of course, if you’re just going through the motions, sticking it out in rehab because someone else said you needed to do it, and not fully committing to the process, you likely won’t get that much out of it. On the other hand, if you truly do want to learn how to overcome your dependence on your drug(s) of choice, you will not only stick it out but you’ll do everything you can to absorb as much information as possible during your stay in treatment.
Yes, change is difficult and scary and there’s no guarantee of success. But look at it this way. You weren’t doing so well when you were stuck in addiction, right? Once you made the decision to get clean and sober, that was the first and most important indicator that you could change your ways.
Just commit to the process and view each day as a learning experience. All the pieces will come together eventually and you will be the stronger for it.
From a Need to Be Punished to Self-Forgiveness
Everyone who is in rehab has something in their past that they’re ashamed of, that they feel guilt, shame or remorse over. That is, they do if they acknowledge the wrongs that they have done that have brought harm to themselves and others.
It is also true that many people in treatment feel like they should be punished for what they’ve done, if they haven’t been already punished for it by society, loved ones or friends.
There are some bad things that people do that may not be forgiven by others. It could be that family members may not forgive you, or it could be that you’ll need to move to a different location, take a different job, find a whole new set of friends as a result of the bridges that have burned behind you.
Does this mean that you need to carry around a feeling that you should forever be punished? The only way to get past the past is to make a commitment to doing things differently from this day forward. Yes, you will need to make amends for the wrongs you have done at some point, to the extent that it is humanly possible to do so. But you’ll never get anywhere unless and until you forgive yourself first.
Self-forgiveness is a tough hurdle. There’s no mistaking this. But work on it with your therapist during rehab. You may need continuing counseling after you complete rehab if the problem is so deep rooted that you feel like you’re not making any headway.
But do consider this. Even if you’d like to see more progress right now, remember that it takes time to learn and become comfortable with a new way of living. The strategies and techniques you discover and practice during rehab will be the same ones you will continue using and adding to once you complete treatment and begin your life in recovery.