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Finding Your ‘Why’ Behind Addiction

If you’re going to end substance use for good, you’ll have to find the “why” of your addiction. Why are you drinking or using drugs? What’s driving you to have three glasses of wine every night? What’s compelling you to abuse prescription drugs?  You’ll need to uncover this in order to finally put an end to your addiction.

You might already have an idea. You might realize that you started drinking when your father died or when your husband passed away. Or you might recognize that you’ve been drinking since age 15 when your father began physically fighting with your mother. Perhaps you felt you were to blame for the fighting. On the other hand, you may not know why you started drinking or using drugs. You might only know that substance use makes life easier to bear with. You might only be aware of how substance use has made you feel better from time to time. Or you might simply know that drugs and drinking has played a role in your family since you were born.

Whatever the case may be, finding the reason behind your substance use can help ease your experience of ending it. If you’re serious about sobriety and if you’re ready to attend addiction treatment, you might want to begin to explore the deeper reasons for using drugs or drinking.

One way to do this is to work with a therapist. He or she is professionally trained to explore the many contributing factors that can play a role in developing an addiction. There are a variety of types of therapy you’ll find in addiction treatment. Here are a few of them:

  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
  • Psychodynamic Therapy
  • Art Therapy
  • Family Therapy
  • Relapse Prevention Therapy
  • Supportive Expressive Therapy
  • Drug Counseling

These are forms of therapy that you may want to explore in more depth. All these types of therapies have their own way of facilitating change. However, some are more results-oriented while others are more insight-oriented. For instance, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy are more focused on examining the relationships between your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors so that you can make healthier choices in the way you respond to life. As you can see, these forms of therapy are more results-oriented.

On the other hand, psychodynamic therapy is more insight-oriented. The therapist might work with your dreams, body language, and slips of tongue to uncover any unconscious tendencies. When certain unconscious patterns are brought to light, a person tends to experience insight or greater understanding. And this is precisely what a person needs when he or she doesn’t yet know the why behind their substance use.

As you can imagine, therapy that addresses the underlying motivation behind addiction (whether results or insight oriented) requires determination and dedication. Furthermore, it’s important to remember that therapy has its limits – it cannot help a person behind what he or she is not willing to do for themselves. Therapy is a wonderful tool for facilitating insight and growth, but if a person is not willing, it’s likely it will not be successful.

If you’re ready for a change in your life, such as getting sober, contact a mental health provider for support.

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