Why addiction recovery is called “an inside job”

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Ibiza Calm - Why addiction recovery is called “an inside job”
14/03/2024 | category: News

Why addiction recovery is called “an inside job”

“Nothing changes if nothing changes: Change is a process, not an event: Life on life’s terms:  Progress, not perfection.”

If you are already in addiction recovery, have attended a fellowship meeting, know someone in addiction recovery, have read a self-help book or watched a personal development reel; then some, if not all of these phrases (and lots more) will be all too familiar.

Even if you are not in recovery, many of these idioms have made the transition to mainstream media, appearing in tv, movies, and books that are written by, or feature someone in recovery. One of our personal favourites is the phrase that “Recovery is an inside job.” But what does it really mean, and how does that help us get (and stay) sober?

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Understanding the expression “an Inside Job”.

Embarking on the journey of recovery; whether it is from addiction to a substance (drugs and alcohol) or a behaviour (gambling, sex, shopping), or a mental health illness (such as anxiety, depression, complex trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder); is often referred to as an “inside job,” a phrase that summarises the intense personal change involved in overcoming a substance dependence; a compulsive behaviour; or learning to live successfully with a psychological condition.

The expression an “inside job” refers to the fact that addiction recovery is a deeply personal and largely internal process. There are external factors that may contribute to an addiction, like the environment (place a person lives), their associations (friends and people they mix with), or stressors (job, health, or financial factors).

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There is of course a physical element to recovery for many. Some addicted individuals are physically dependent on a substance, and need careful detox to avoid severe withdrawal symptoms and the associated complications that can occur. In addition, during active addiction or whilst struggling with an untreated mental health condition, most individuals don’t take care of themselves, developing poor diet, sleep, and exercise regimes.

However, the fundamental work of recovery takes place within the individual – in their thoughts, emotions, beliefs, and behaviours. Recovery highlights the importance of self-awareness, self-reflection, and the commitment to making positive changes from the inside out.

One key aspect of the inside job concept is the recognition of underlying issues and the root causes of an addiction. These can range from past trauma and unresolved emotional pain to mental health challenges (undiagnosed and untreated disorders and conditions). In addiction recovery, individuals look closely at these internal factors (as well as the external factors mentioned above), working with therapists and counsellors to understand and address the issues that contributed to their substance use.

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Addiction often involves destructive thought patterns and beliefs. Another part of the recovery process involves identifying and challenging these negative thoughts, replacing them with healthier perspectives. Cognitive-behavioural therapy and other therapeutic modalities play a crucial role in helping individuals reshape their thinking, leading to more positive behaviours and coping mechanisms.

Recovery is not just about abstaining from substances; it’s about developing emotional resilience. This requires individuals to explore their emotions, learn healthy ways to cope with stress, and build the emotional skills necessary to navigate life’s challenges without resorting to substance use.

Addiction often erodes a person’s sense of self-worth and identity; and many individuals struggling with substance use disorders or anxiety and depressive disorders have a poor self-image, low confidence, and a lack of self-love. Part of recovery involves rebuilding a positive perception of self. This includes acknowledging personal strengths, setting goals, and cultivating a newfound sense of purpose and meaning in life; and learning to accept and even love oneself.

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Whilst recovery is “an inside job”, it doesn’t mean recovery is a solitary endeavour. Building connections and seeking support from others, whether through group therapy, support groups, or loved ones, is an integral part of the process. Meaningful relationships contribute to a strong foundation for sustained recovery.

Looking at recovery as an “inside job” emphasises the perspective that individuals have the power in their own recovery journey. When the actress Ashley Judd spoke about recovery from trauma, she said “We humans…can make decisions and take actions that free us.” This concept is liberating and empowering. It means that if we, as individuals, acknowledge our mistakes, learn from them, and actively participate in the process of change, we can do anything. And taking personal responsibility for one’s actions and choices is a cornerstone of a sustainable, lasting, successful recovery.

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Addiction Recovery – Where to get help.

If you think that you might be misusing substances, participating in compulsive and addictive behaviours, or are struggling with a mental health condition, then there is plenty of help available. In the first instance try speaking with your local GP or Doctor; or phoning a helpline to get some advice.

There are addiction rehabilitation services available privately and through community-based programmes, as well as many peer support organisations such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA) Gamblers Anonymous (GA), and SMART Recovery.

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Recovery whether it is from addiction to a substance (drugs and alcohol) or a behaviour (gambling or sex) or learning to live effectively with mental health conditions (such as anxiety, depression, complex trauma, or post-traumatic stress disorder) takes work. For some, residential rehab may prove to be the best option. It gives the individual a chance to get away from any day-to-day issues and enables them to fully focus on their recovery.

A well-established private rehab centre, or specialised mental health and addiction clinic, will use a combination of therapy models to treat an individual’s primary and co-occurring conditions. A licenced rehab centre, with a medical team of doctors and nurses, can administer a safe medical detox from any physically dependent substances.

The recommended 28-day stay allows an individual time to rest, recuperate, and to work with a qualified therapeutic team; learning and implementing coping mechanisms and tools, enabling individuals to build the foundations for a positive long-term recovery.

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Addiction rehab clinic in Spain.

Here at our luxury rehab centre, set on the idyllic Balearic Island of Ibiza, we treat clients struggling with alcoholism, addiction, and substance abuse, as well as other underlying and co-occurring mental health conditions such as trauma, anxiety, and depression.

For information on all our residential programmes, and for admissions to our Spanish rehab centre, please contact [email protected] or call the 24 hours admissions helpline on (SPAIN) +34 664 443 433 or (UK) +44 203 868 5710.

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