Substance use, addiction, and mental illness sometimes get the best of us. They cause us to lose control and a sense of who we are. It is critical that healing from mental distress involves reflection and introspection to gain a sense of purpose, both for recovery and life.
Why Is Self-Discovery Important in Recovery?
The journey of recovery and healing involves using various mechanisms of self-discovery. Like recovery, self-discovery is a process.
Self-discovery is an integral part of life. It helps us understand our strengths and weaknesses and allows us to identify our abilities. When people can identify what they are passionate about, it is easier for them to work towards specific goals and pursue the things that make them happier.
There are several other reasons why self-discovery is important, especially in recovery:
- It helps you to identify and understand your emotions, especially during stressful or challenging situations
- It allows you to challenge and alter intrusive thoughts into more positive and empowering thoughts
- It helps you to acknowledge your conditioned responses as a result of past trauma or other life experiences
- It allows you to set meaningful goals, both for your recovery and for your life
- It encourages you to live more intentionally, especially when you understand the expectations that you have for yourself
- It fosters self-confidence and increases self-esteem because self-discovery helps you to stick up for yourself and what you believe in
- It encourages you to set boundaries in your relationships with others based on your values, morals, and expectations
- It allows you to build healthier habits for yourself, especially as you can recognize what your body requires physically, mentally, and emotionally
Self-Discovery in the Treatment Setting
Self-discovery in a treatment setting might look very different than it would from someone on their own. Therapy is one of the leading and most effective forms of self-discovery available.
The type of self-discovery experienced in therapy is also considered self-exploration. It involves bringing awareness to your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and finding the “why” behind each of them. Therapy helps people understand who they are and what motivates their actions, which aids in increasing self-esteem and enhancing interpersonal relationships.
Substance use and addiction treatment rely on self-discovery as a motivator for sobriety. When people recognize what experiences have led them to substance use and why they engage in it in general, they begin to understand that their harmful behaviors occurred as a form of self-medication. Treatment for recovery focuses on finding alternate, beneficial forms of coping that do not involve the dangerous consequences of substance use.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) are two common treatments that address conditioned behavior responses. CBT and DBT are great options for enhancing self-discovery within a treatment setting, primarily because they address harmful vs. healthy ways of thinking and behaving.
Self-Discovery Outside of a Treatment Setting
Whether you have already begun your self-discovery journey or are looking to start it from the very beginning, there are numerous resources available to you to help heighten your self-awareness.
In general, self-discovery is an examination of your life. It is figuring out what things in your life matter to you, what is harming your growth, and what you need to live a life worth living.
Here are several tips to help you kickstart your self-discovery journey:
- Visualize your ideal (higher) self. Ask yourself questions that will motivate where you want to be in the future. For example, what do you want out of life? Where do you see yourself in five years versus where would you like to be in five years? What makes you proud of yourself today?
- Engage in meditation. Meditation and mindfulness are readily available tools to help you look inward. During meditation sessions, do not seek a specific outcome or answer. Simply sit quietly with yourself and let your inner peace guide you to your answers. Mindfulness should be practiced daily, as you are unlikely to experience results in your first few sessions. If nothing else, meditation will allow you to feel a newfound sense of clarity and calmness.
- Explore your passions. Listen to podcasts, watch videos, or read books about a topic that you are passionate about. Passions help to add meaning to your life. Even if you cannot work a job you are passionate about, you are still capable of finding connections between what you are doing and what you would like to be doing. Do not give up on your passions—they are what keep you going!
- Identify your morals and values. Take online personality tests that help you to identify your core values. When you understand the most important things in your life, you can connect much more deeply to yourself and the world around you.
Self-discovery is an essential component of healing and recovery. There are several benefits to self-discovery because it helps you understand your strengths, passions, and what brings purpose to your life. Mental health often addresses the importance of self-discovery in the treatment setting, but what about outside the treatment facility? There are endless ways to engage in self-discovery on your own with the help of various resources such as online search engines, books, videos, podcasts, and even therapy. West Coast Recovery Centers offers several different treatment therapy options inside our treatment facility to help guide and support your journey of self-discovery. We pride ourselves in creating individualized treatment plans because no two healing journeys are the same. Connect with our online resources to help you increase your self-awareness on your own. For more information about our treatment facility and what we offer, please give us a call today at (760) 492-6509.