If you’ve decided to seek treatment for drug or alcohol addiction, your attitude towards the recovery process is key.
A growth mindset promotes empowerment, which sets the stage for a lasting recovery.
Change Your Mindset, Change Your Life
Carol S. Dweck, the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, is internationally known for her work on motivation, personality, and development. Her work focuses on the mindset psychological trait.
According to Dweck, our ability to succeed at any given task is largely dependent upon whether we have developed a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. With a fixed mindset, we believe that we are constrained by our innate intelligence, talent, and personality. With a growth mindset, we recognize that we have the potential to continue to learn and change throughout our lives—no matter what has happened in the past.
Moving from a Fixed Mindset to a Growth Mindset
Some people naturally gravitate towards a growth mindset when faced with obstacles or challenge, but anyone can learn to refocus their approach. When you catch yourself making disparaging statements that reflect a fixed mindset, pause to remind yourself how far you’ve already come and how much you stand to gain from continuing to work towards your recovery goals.
Fixed mindset: This is just how I am.
Growth mindset: I can change my life, one day at a time.
If you’ve been struggling with substance abuse for extended time period, abusing drugs and alcohol has likely become a central part of your daily routine. However, you have the power to build a new identity for yourself.
When you’re not constrained by addiction, you can go back to school, find a job that fits your talents, rebuild trust with your loved ones, and explore hobbies that you’re passionate about. Recovery is an opportunity to become the person you were meant to be.
Fixed mindset: I don’t deserve to be happy because I’m a bad person.
Growth mindset: I made mistakes before, but I’ve learned from my past.
Substance abuse does not make you a bad person. Addiction is a biologically-based illness, not a character defect. You may have done things you’re not proud of while you were under the influence, but your past does not determine your future.
Making mistakes is part of being human. Your family and friends may be frustrated by your substance abuse, but these relationships can heal over time. When your loved ones see how hard you are working, they will realize the extent of your commitment to recovery.
Fixed mindset: I’m going to fail at getting sober because I fail at everything.
Growth mindset: I’m going to stay sober because I won’t give up.
People who think they fail at everything are overlooking the value of the skills they’ve mastered. Maybe you’re a good cook, a skilled musician, or the best chess player in the neighborhood. These are all skills that are mastered throughout continual practice and perseverance. Apply the same approach to your recovery.
Fixed mindset: My relapse means I don’t have what it takes to stay sober.
Growth mindset: Relapsing taught me what recovery strategies won’t work for me.
A relapse is not a sign of failure. Addiction is considered a chronic illness, which means relapses are quite common. If you relapse, this simply means that you haven’t found a treatment approach that is suited to your unique needs.
After a relapse, the best course of action is to meet with your treatment team to discuss what challenges you faced. From there, you can make adjustments to the care plan to provide you with the support you need to move forward in your recovery.
Fixed mindset: Other people can get sober because they haven’t had the same challenges.
Growth mindset: Seeing other people succeed in recovery inspires me to reach my goals.
It’s true that no two people in recovery are exactly alike. However, common themes emerge in every recovery story: handling withdrawal, dealing with cravings and triggers, finding ways to cope with stress without the use of addictive substances, sober socializing, etc. Use the recovery stories of the people around you as motivation to push through your own challenges.
Attending 12-Step meetings regularly is a wonderful way to promote a growth mindset in recovery. The 12-Step program encourages the development of a sober support network, letting you learn from others and keeping you accountable when you face temptation.
How Mountain Laurel Recovery Center Can Help
Mountain Laurel Recovery Center provides a full range of treatment services for people with substance use disorders, including gender-specific alcohol treatment, drug addiction treatment, and dual diagnosis treatment. Our approach promotes personal growth by helping clients gain insight into themselves, develop supportive relationships, and take positive steps towards a life of wellness.