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If you are familiar with mental health and addiction treatment, you might already know that one of the very first steps of recovery is admitting and accepting a loss of control, or powerlessness, over your drug of choice. 

Feeling powerlessness and accepting powerlessness are two very different things. While many of us feel a loss of control from time to time, accepting it can make you feel incredibly exposed. 

If you are struggling with accepting a loss of control, you are in the same boat as many others that are contemplating your need or willingness for recovery. By understanding the importance of accepting a loss of control, and learning how to do so, you will be heading in the right direction for kickstarting your own healing and recovery journey. 

What Does It Mean to Admit a Loss of Control?

Admitting a loss of control happens when you feel vulnerable and helpless over your distressing mental health symptoms or diagnosis. 

12-step recovery programs refer to this “loss of control” as admitting powerlessness, specifically over substance use, addiction, or mental illness. Surrendering to your addiction or mental illness is the very first step of the 12 steps, which might help you to acknowledge how essential it is in recovery.

Admitting this sense of powerlessness means that no matter how hard you have tried to control your substance use or mental distress in the past, you are unable to do it alone. You accept that your addiction or substance use is beyond your control.

The fact of the matter is, repeated substance use and addiction impact the brain on various levels. They alter emotional, behavioral, and cognitive functioning. It can be a challenging fact to accept, especially when you are at a stage of addiction where your perceived benefits of substance use outweigh your perceived consequences of substance use. 

In order to experience recovery, you must first accept a loss of control over your substance use, addiction, or mental illness symptoms. 

Using Mindfulness to Grasp Acceptance

Mindfulness is often introduced as a valuable coping mechanism for reducing stress, facing triggers, fighting cravings, and maintaining long-term recovery. Mindfulness is the practice of being fully aware of the present moment in front of you. There are endless benefits of mindfulness both inside and outside of recovery. 

The key features of mindfulness include:

  • Awareness
  • Objectivity
  • Non-judgment
  • Compassion
  • Acceptance
  • Gratitude

You may have noticed that one of the core features of mindfulness acceptance. Mindfulness practices emphasize acceptance, teaching us to have a non-judgmental attitude towards our own life experiences. This means that we should learn to avoid labeling our experiences, especially our thoughts and feelings, as good or bad. 

Defining Acceptance in Recovery

Acceptance means fully taking in your own experience and acknowledging it for what it is instead of judging it. Acceptance fosters objectivity, another key feature in mindfulness, by allowing you to look at things and experiences without having an emotional attachment to how they might make you feel. 

Acceptance not only helps reduce ruminating and intrusive thoughts, but it also helps increase personal willingness to engage in positive behavior change. 

While mindfulness is utilized heavily in treatment, it can also be just as useful before treatment ever begins. Mindfulness might be the encouragement and motivator that you need to accept a loss of control, and accept that you will not be able to experience recovery alone. 

The Benefits Of Accepting Powerlessness

Now that you understand why accepting a loss of control is essential, and learned that mindfulness can help you achieve it, you might be interested to know some of the benefits you will experience after doing so. 

Here are some important benefits that you gain from accepting a loss of control:

  • You acknowledge that you can no longer struggle alone with your distress. Once you make the first step in accepting a loss of control, you will be shocked at the amount of support you will receive from the recovery community. There are many people that have been in your shoes, willing to support and guide you as you work to achieve a healthier lifestyle for yourself.
  • You experience freedom from the control over your substance or symptoms. When you reach a point where you are able to admit defeat, you will feel liberated. Your ego might feel crushed, although that is necessary so you have more room for healing. Although the recovery process will be uncomfortable from time to time, you are on the right path to gain freedom and power back into your life. 
  • You are able to start fresh. While accepting a loss of control is the first step to recovery, it also means that you are starting a brand new life for yourself. You can create new, achievable goals for your future and rebuild your life the way that you have always imagined.

Accepting a loss of control might also be referred to as accepting powerlessness. In recovery, accepting a loss of control is one of the very first steps in healing. It is admitting that your addiction or substance use is beyond your control. Acceptance is a key feature in mindfulness and helps a person learn to view their life experiences in a non-judgmental way. Mindfulness can be used to help people find this acceptance of powerlessness, essential to kickstarting one’s recovery journey. West Coast Recovery Centers is a treatment center that empowers clients to find the power within themselves to heal. We acknowledge that admitting and accepting powerlessness is essential in starting your recovery journey. If you are not quite there, we have therapeutic interventions, such as motivational interviewing, that can help motivate your willingness to change. For more information about our treatment center, give us a call today at (760) 492-6509.

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