Being in recovery means being in a time of your life in which you are recovering from an illness. With addiction, that means it’s not only recovering physically from the health effects of regular substance use, but it also means healing emotionally and psychologically. It means uncovering the mental patterns that contributed to addiction and changing them. It means letting go of an old mind – perhaps one that was filled with negativity, low self-esteem, and lack of confidence – into a mind that’s filled with acceptance, patience, confidence, and courage.
In order to make such a transformation it’s important that you have the right help. It’s highly unlikely that someone could make this sort of inner change on their own. It takes someone skilled in facilitating change, and often, the best type of professional to do this is a therapist or psychologist.
For those who are in the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) community and who attend 12-step meetings, it’s likely that you will be assigned a sponsor. A sponsor is someone who can guide a sponsee to work through the 12 Steps. A sponsor might also be a friend and a support for a sponsee throughout the beginning stages of sobriety. In fact, when the sponsor/sponsee relationship is secure with a strong rapport, it can be the foundation upon which a newly sober individual can find hope, support, and faith in the process.
However, a sponsor is not a therapist. While the sponsor will guide a sponsee through the journey of getting and staying sober, a therapist will guide a client on the larger journey of his or her life as a whole. And it’s important to make this distinction. It’s common among new recovering addicts to rely upon the sponsor for more than what a sponsor can offer.
A therapist is skilled in many areas of psychological change that a sponsor is not. For instance, a therapist can detect the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. A therapist will understand the treatment plans for treating these disorders, if it turns out that you suffer from one of them. A therapist is also skilled at eliciting your intrinsic desires, especially with respect to sobriety. He or she can help you access your own innate desire to stay sober so that when you’re faced with cravings, you can rely upon that to stay sober.
If you’d like to work with a therapist, find one you will have a good rapport with. The relationship that you have with a therapist is an essential component to recovery. Also, the level of trust you have for a therapist will also play a role in your mental health recovery. Keep in mind that a therapist who is open to staying in communication with your psychiatrist and doctor might also be useful. In this way, you can have a team of professionals on your side who are communicating with one another throughout your recovery.
Having a therapist to work with can be a wonderful tool during life transitions, such as seeking sobriety. This type of mental health professional can facilitate your sobriety and help you maintain your overall psychological well-being.
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