When you’re in the midst of addiction recovery treatment it can be very easy to assume the worst about your therapist. Many addicts have the following thoughts about their therapist at some point in the treatment process:
- He doesn’t have any idea what I’m going through.
- She doesn’t care about me at all.
- To my therapist I’m just a number.
- For some reason my therapist hates me.
- I bet my therapist has never tried to do anything as hard as this.
- Who does she think she is talking to me that way?
- My therapist is a monster!
Feelings like these are very common among recovering addicts. As with many other things happening in the addicted mind, however, they are not true. Addiction has a very powerful way of distorting a person’s perspective. It can cause a person to prioritize drugs over food, criminals over true friends, and abuse over real love. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that it could cause you to feel that your therapist is your enemy when the opposite is most likely true.
The Psychological Power of Addiction
Drugs and alcohol directly impact the part of the brain known as the “pleasure center,” or “reward center.” This part of the prefrontal cortex uses tiny chemical signals to trigger “feel-good” responses that reinforce certain behaviors and experiences. In a healthy person this system uses feelings of pleasure to motivate people in the following ways:
- To exercise
- To work for a future goal (delayed gratification)
- To serve others
- To eat
- To sleep
- To achieve excellence and respect
It is this same part of the brain that turns routine exercises into subconscious skills or habits. It uses some naturally occurring chemicals to create feelings of dread or fright when dangerous or immoral behaviors are experienced and other chemicals to create feelings of elation, delight, or attraction when good and healthy things are accomplished. Drugs and alcohol super-charge this system and hijack it completely. The brain recognizes the relief that these substances provide and then uses every psychological tool at its disposal to maintain those positive feelings. Unhealthy neural pathways are built to drive the use of these substances on a powerful, subconscious level. This phenomenon causes obsession, defensiveness, justification, dishonesty and blame shifting. It causes addicts to become paranoid, angry and dismissive of people’s genuine attempts to help. After detox it also causes recovering addicts to become over-confident in their ability to stay clean.
Trusting Therapists When It Gets Difficult
One of the most important things a recovering addict can do is to accept that his brain is temporarily dysfunctional and cannot be trusted. The smartest thing to do in the light of that understanding is to place your complete trust in the wisdom, concern and advice of your therapist. When you feel defensiveness rising remind yourself that at this point in time your mind is not your friend. The sooner you humble yourself, admit to your need for help, and submit to the treatment plan drawn up by your therapist, the sooner you will begin to emerge from the fog of addiction.
As with any profession, there are therapists who are less effective than others or not the right fit for you. If you have genuine concerns about the treatment methods you are being subjected to you may want to speak to another doctor or person in authority. Just realize that your perspective is distorted and you may need to put your trust in addiction professionals until your brain is no longer under the influence of addiction.
24 Hour Addiction Recovery Helpline
If you would like to speak to a caring professional about your treatment concerns or questions, please call our toll-free helpline right now. Our staff members are standing by all day and night with free, confidential advice. Call now.