Willingness is for Both the Addict and the Professional

February 19th, 2011 | Posted by Sherry Gaba in Addiction

Willingness is one of the first keys towards a successful recovery. This element needs to be embraced not only by the addict but also by the professional who is aiding the addict. Willingness is the ability to be open and ready for a transformational experience. In the area of recovery, this transformation is forward movement from the headspace of active addiction towards a clear mindset that can function in the real world. How can the addict take those first small steps towards recovery?

The answer is willingness. The addict must be willing to change and willing to listen to outside parties. With the aide of a counselor, an addict is able to work through the underlying issues that are directly causing them to act on their unhealthy urges. Along with introspection and reflection, the addict will understand that they have a disease for which there is no instant cure, but there is a method that will ensure they maintain a successful recovery. The addict needs to comprehend and fully understand that the path they are embarking on will become uncomfortable at times. This process is simply growing pains.

Since the addict’s growth (mentally and emotionally) tends to be stunted at the age when the onset of addiction occurred, there are years of issues that are pent up. These issues have been stuffed down deep for a long period of time. Becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable things that a sober person encounters is all part of the healing process. It is during these growing pains that the addict must remind him or herself, and be reminded by others, that willingness is the key to surviving this stage of their recovery. Willingness is a tool that must also be embraced by the professional.

In order for the professional to gain the trust needed to properly treat the addict, they must be willing. They must be willing to accept certain almost guaranteed behaviors, responses and speed bumps that will occur during these beginning stages for the addict. Some of these issues that will occur include:

    • The addict will fight the need to trust you completely.
    • Relapse Risks
    • The addict not believing that you have tools to help them.
    • The addict may not desire to become sober, but are in a situation where working with a professional is required.
    • The addict consistently acting as a victim and refusing to see the part they played in situations.

These are examples where the willingness of the professional is needed. The heart of willingness goes above and beyond the training tools that a professional learns in school. It is this element that can increase the chances of gaining the trust required to share tools and knowledge and compassion with the addict while they are striving towards recovery.

Sherry Gaba, LCSW, is a Licensed Psychotherapist and Life Coach in private practice in Westlake Village, Agoura Hills, Thousand Oaks, Malibu, Calabasas, and on Celebrity Rehab on VH1 with Dr. Drew and the author of “The Law of Sobriety.”  Contact Sherry at sherry@sgabatherapy.com to learn more about her workshops, speaking engagements, teleseminars, and coaching packages.

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