Addiction is destructive. Not only does it impact a person in physical ways, but it also has psychological effects. Substance abuse counselors help their clients navigate both the physical and psychological traumas. In this Counselor Corner, we address the importance of helping your client recognize their inner strength and ways you can help them rediscover it.
Inner Strength and Recovery
Inner strength is sometimes referred to as resilience.
It’s hard for someone who has struggled with a substance use issue to feel resilient. They often lack confidence and struggle with their self-worth. It’s also common for them to navigate a seemingly complicated relationship path. They will most likely be their own worst enemy, which is why recognizing their inner strength is so important.
For recovery to be successful, your client needs to find their inner strength. It’s likely they won’t believe they have anyway, so how can you help them rediscover it?
#1: Focus on the Positives
If a client is in your office, they’ve already made positive progress. They’re in the right place for help and support. What else have they done that’s positive?
Focus on the positives, no matter how small they may seem.
Successfully overcoming addiction requires a change in behavior. Changes in behavior depend on changes in the thought process. One of the most powerful ways to influence change is through positive thought patterns.
#2: Reaffirm Who They Are
Inner strength emanates from within. It’s critical to know who you are, why you do what you do, and what you need to function best. Without these three elements, it will be virtually impossible to discover, grow, and maintain inner strength.
Help your client on the path to reaffirming who they are. It will no doubt be a challenge, but it will be the start of rediscovering and growing their inner strength.
#3: Focus on Working on Them
An addict in recovery needs to focus on themselves. It’s important for them to rediscover their identity and focus on working on their inner-self. This includes:
- Taking responsibility
- Stopping excuses
- Building confidence
- Retraining thought patterns
- Recognizing weaknesses
- Reaffirming strengths
Focusing on inner-self works hand-in-hand with our next point because as your client learns how to focus on working on themselves, they also need to…
#4: Recognize Their Struggle
How can anyone gain control of their mind and their life if they fail to recognize their struggle?
As a substance abuse counselor, you have the unmatched opportunity to help your client:
- Identify their struggle
- Discover ways to cope
- Find the tools they need to overcome their struggle and create a better lifestyle
This brings us to point five…
#5: Build an Environment for Success
The most positive people can become negative if left in a detrimental environment. Building an environment for success is crucial during (and after) recovery.
You can help your client create an environment for success. Building it will involve considering and possibly changing things like:
- Home and work life
- Habits and routines
- Friends and colleagues
Creating a good home is an important element of building a successful environment. Home needs to be a haven full of positivity and support. It should be a place to be proud and happy – a place worth working and fighting to keep.
Recovering from addiction involves carving out and cultivating a new, stronger identity. Meanwhile, your client will likely navigate the consequences that stem from their time abusing a substance.
Reflecting on the struggle is important, but reflection by itself is not enough. Your client needs to forgive themselves.
The past is the past. It cannot be changed, but it can teach lessons. It can help shape us into better versions of ourselves and elevate us to far better places. As a substance abuse counselor, you can help your client sort through their struggle and find the tools they need to forgive.
Tools to forgive are important to life now and in the future. We are all human. We will all make mistakes; it’s part of our never-ending learning journey. So, forgiveness will be just as important in the future as it is now for your client.
#7: Invest in Positive and Motivational Things
We become what we feed our minds.
As a substance abuse counselor, you have an opportunity to guide your clients toward positivity and motivation. A person who constantly dwells on negatives will produce negative outcomes. In contrast, someone who focuses on positive is more likely to produce positive outcomes.
Some books you may find useful or recommend to your clients may include:
#8: Work Toward Goals
Everyone needs direction, and recovering addicts need goals. Help your client understand the importance of having short-term and long-term goals.
It’s normal to want things now, to want to fix everything, and to reach our ultimate goal quickly. But it’s not feasible.
Gaining inner strength and rebuilding after addiction is a process. Your client will need to take it one step at a time, which is where goals come into play. As a substance abuse professional, you specialize in the step-by-step process. Help your client learn how to create and achieve both short and long-term goals.
And as you do…
#9: Celebrate Success
…teach your client the importance of celebrating success, no matter how small.
It’s likely you’ll be instrumental in helping your client redefine success. Help them appreciate small triumphs. Encourage them to always celebrate them in positive ways.
Savor the moment. Highlight the success. Gear up for the next!
#10: Create a Routine
Wasted energy drains inner strength. It’s important to focus our time and attention on what’s important.
For recovering addicts, creating a routine is essential in so many ways. It can be a coping strategy, a solution to replacing bad habits, a means of reprogramming thought processes, and a way to use time efficiently without wasting energy.
Guide your client and help them find the right tools to create and maintain positive routines. All of the points covered in this blog can help your client form a healthy routine that contributes to a healthier lifestyle.
Join the Discussion
What do you do to help your clients discover and grow their inner strength?
Fuel the chat! Share your strategies by leaving a comment below.