Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Recovery

Over the last couple decades, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has become prevalent in the treatment of drug/alcohol addiction. Anecdotal evidence, and a few studies, suggest that it’s effective, but addiction is so insidious that it’s tough to believe that CBT’s premises can break the pattern.
CBT clients use ABC, in which: “A” stands for an activating event, i.e. something that makes you want to use; “B” stands for your beliefs, e.g. that you must use in response the event; and “C” signifies the consequences of your beliefs, such as having a drink or using.

In CBT, the addict attempts to intervene at the “Beliefs” stage, by challenging the beliefs and changing the consequences. The methods for challenging the beliefs include positive self talk, reaching out to a friend or a sponsor, or even engaging in a physical activity like exercise so that your physiological state is altered away from the desire to use.

One of the most widely recommended interventions is a “thinking report” or “rational self analysis” wherein you pause at the time you feel a desire to use coming on. Then you try to identify what it was that made you want to use (the activating event) along with what your feelings are. If your current beliefs make you want to use, CBT says that you should be able to alter those beliefs before reacting to the event, achieving your desired outcome: not using. What do you think?

For more information about Cognitive Behavioral therapy and recovery, check out some alcohol/drug recovery blogs on the Internet.

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