An important dimension in the process of working with addictions is how the client and I examine other ways of healthier coping. I often say to clients that everyone deserves a break, some respite from what is difficult in life. We often talk about some of these more positive respites (developing hobbies, doing meaningful volunteer work, cultivating a quiet relationship to oneself through meditation or spending more time in nature). And, of course, we often focus on creating and strengthening other supportive relationships.
When addressing issues of addiction and the underlying issues that addictions are symptoms of, the work can be very painful at times. Often there are some very distressing feelings that a person has mobilized against feeling. And not infrequently the path to healing and recovery is not linear. Often in this process there may be relapse and the accompanying feelings of guilt, disappointment, and setback. But I have come to see from many of the clients whom I’ve worked with over the years, those who have made significant changes in their lives, that the “high” of working though addictive behaviors and better supporting oneself is incomparable to the high offered from the addictive behavior. The positive effect on one’s self-esteem and the sense of accomplishment that comes from doing this work is immeasurable and long-lasting.
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