A primary reason for using and abusing substances is to mask or numb the pain that can arise in our lives. Pain can come from an event or trauma that we experience but it can also come from being unable to deal with the constant flood of feelings and emotions that enter our brain. Feelings and emotions are survival mechanisms. They fuel our thoughts which drive our behaviours. Some feelings, like stress, are responsible for initiating the flight or fight response that determines how we will respond to the threat of attack. But mostly, we deal with millions of feelings and emotions in our own accustomed way and we develop unhealthy automatic thought processes to do this.
Those with a substance use dependency develop negative automatic thought patterns which drives substance abuse, shame and guilt, which in turn drives the addiction cycle. In order to live happier more enriched and rewarding lives, the individual must develop an awareness of their feelings and emotions and how they come to think thoughts generated by those feelings and emotions.
The use of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy helps the individual to better acknowledge, process, interpret and adjust the feelings-emotions-thoughts dynamic. Simply learning that it’s our interpretation not the actual thought that creates our behaviour is very beneficial. The key to contented sobriety is adjusting those thought patterns consistently and through the daily practice of CBT. At 1000 Islands Wellness and Treatment Centre, we offer CBT in conjunction with our rounded, holistic treatment approach.
Paul, Addictions Counsellor