The Importance of Reflection in Drug Addiction Treatment

The role of reflection in drug addiction treatment is crucially important. When you begin your journey to addiction recovery, you will come across many aspects of yourself and your life that you have been hiding. Most of the time, you hide these parts because they protect your addiction and drug or alcohol dependency. However, when you begin your healing, you will need to face these parts of yourself and this is done through a continuous process of reflection.


Drug rehab centres teach you that reflection is one of the most important factors during your treatment process. Reflection enables you to really think about yourself and your past. It helps you to determine the reasons behind your addiction and how you can remain sober, therefore helping you to really grapple with the treatment process.


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What Is Reflection Reflection in Drug Addiction Treatment?


Reflection, also known as self-reflection, is a way of processing information. Processing information involves analysing, reconsidering, and questioning learned knowledge, gained insights, and new experiences. In addition, reflection includes processing or reflecting upon feelings, emotions and thoughts.


In other words, reflection is about learning to understand, make sense of, and cope with your emotions in healthy and productive ways. It is important to note that learning to reflect on information is a process that takes time and is something that needs to be done with intent. 


During the addiction rehab process, you will begin working with an assigned therapist. Through individual sessions and group therapy, your assigned therapist will gently encourage you to take time to reflect upon newly gained insights that you’ve gathered throughout the rehab process.


Using Reflection in Drug Addiction Treatment


During your rehabilitation journey, you will find that as you spend time alone with the intention of understanding yourself, you will gain an inner awareness. When you begin to personally reflect during your rehab journey, you will discover hidden stressors, addictions, motivations, joys, and pains; and then you can begin to ask yourself how they impact you. More importantly, self-reflection will help you to identify your emotions, beliefs, values, and feelings, as well as the impact that they have on you and your daily life.


Through this reflection, you can grow in many new ways. In rehabs, you can connect to yourself or to your higher power in order to re-establish a life that is authentic and worth living. Reflection can consist of being mindful of your behaviours, thoughts, and actions through meditation, personal honesty, or talking to trusted friends and professionals.


In addition, reflection can be enhanced through actively engaging in journaling, art, prayer, and through the practice of mindful activities, such as running and yoga. These activities can all be done in rehabs. For many of us, simply taking a walk outside in nature or having quiet time while surrounded by a beautiful environment can help us gain perspective during self-reflection.


During your rehab journey, you are given time to self-reflect through taking regular breaks and in doing so, committing to putting yourself and your addiction recovery journey first.


To begin your rehab journey into self-discovery, contact Rustenburg Addiction Care today.


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Steps to Begin the Process of Reflection in Rehab

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Step 1: Identification and Awareness of Emotions and Feelings.

During your addiction recovery journey, you will learn that self-reflection can be done through a variety of activities such as journaling, meditation, therapy, talking with a friend, free-writing, expressing oneself through art, running, yoga, and prayer.


Further reflection can take place by consistently asking yourself questions that can facilitate the thinking process. By questioning your reality, you may further connect yourself to your own emotions, feelings, and physical sensations.  

Such questions include:
  • What feelings or sensations am I experiencing, and where in my body do I feel them?
  • What thoughts am I having that indicate what I might be feeling?
  • Am I experiencing any thoughts or feelings which may contradict what I’m feeling?
  • Do I have any judgements on the thoughts or feelings I am having?
  • Am I experiencing any urges to suppress or ignore these feelings or emotions? Why?


An integral aspect that you will learn in rehab centres is the fact that everything in our bodies is interconnected.


Step 2: The Ability to Process and Accept These Emotions or Feelings


Addiction rehab centres will teach you that when you think about your emotions, you may classify your emotions as either good or bad. However, whether they are good or bad, emotions provide information about one’s core goals and needs.


The process of healing begins when you begin to reflect on yourself and others

When we experience different emotions or find ourselves in a difficult emotional state, you can allow yourself to calm your emotional state by practicing deep belly breathing. You can do so by counting to four as you breathe in, then counting to four as you breathe out (this technique is called the 4×4). You will learn many other ways to manage your emotions when you begin your rehabilitation journey.


Rehabs - Belly breathing


When you begin to practice breathing into your emotions, you can bring openness and curiosity to the process and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does this feel tolerable or intolerable, and why does it feel that way?
  • Do I feel something bad is going to happen because of this feeling?
  • How difficult is this feeling, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being most severe?
  • What can I do to tolerate this state? (breathe/relax/stay still?)


Step 3: Processing the Emotion/Feeling in Order to Act on It Appropriately


During your rehab journey, you need to gain an understanding of why you are having the feeling in order to move on from it.


One of the activities that you can do to begin your reflection journey, is to answer the following questions, which could be written in a journal:

  • Do I have any needs that are currently unmet? Do I feel misunderstood, hungry, lonely, tired, disrespected, unheard, angry?
  • Has one of my boundaries been violated or crossed? By whom and in what way?
  • Has one of my values been compromised? In what way?
  • Have I done anything to contribute to the distress that I am feeling?
  • Am I falling into an old behaviour pattern? What is it?
  • Is this emotion or distress a result of distorted thinking? What is my thinking process?
  • Is my emotion or feeling triggering a childhood memory?
  • Am I feeling distress because I’m not accepting my feeling or judging it as wrong? What is blocking my ability to accept this feeling or emotion?
  • Is this distress or emotion(s) from a build-up of different events that I have not processed? What are they? How am I feeling?


Step 4: Addressing the Emotion or Feeling


In your addiction rehab journey, you will be sharing your life with a non-biased, trained professional. In rehabs, we view this as being the best way to process your emotions or feelings because they can help you gain perspective on what might be happening.


It is also beneficial to reflect and find release through other activities outside of rehabilitation centres. Some healthy reflection activities are:

  • Journaling
  • Creative writing
  • Art (painting, drawling, molding clay, etc.)
  • Running
  • Yoga
  • Prayer
  • Talking to a friend or professional


The Result of Reflection in Drug Addiction Treatment


You will begin your reflective journey in rehab, and based on what you conclude upon completion of processing or reflecting on your emotions/feelings, you may need to:

  • Meet your needs
  • Address any distorted thoughts
  • Set healthy boundaries or re-establish a boundary with someone
  • Be assertive with someone
  • Let the feelings pass
  • Express your thoughts and feelings with someone you trust
  • Express thoughts and feelings through journaling, art, and et cetera
  • Re-align yourself with your values and take corrective action
  • Do not cave in to your urges, do the opposite! For example, if your body wants to hide from your emotions, call a friend and talk to them.
  • Apologise and make amends


Your journey to a new life begins with the first step you will take in rehab. Even though the process of learning to cope with your emotions takes time, the benefits far exceed the costs.

Through practicing how to be gentle with yourself (which is also something you will earn in rehabs), you will find that you will begin to understand your emotions and thus process them in a healthy manner which leads to a transformation of your life.


Reflective Writing in Rehab


Reflective writing is a form of self-awareness that can both be used in treatment and continued post-treatment. It is about learning to understand, make sense of and deal with emotions in healthy productive ways.


The use of journaling is beneficial in processing our emotions, as well as any important thoughts. To gain insight on how we are or why we do the things we do, we can begin with asking ourselves some questions of self-discovery and growth. Examples of personal questions we can ask ourselves include:

  • What are my strengths?
  • What makes me unique?
  • Am I hurting myself or others? (If so, how?)
  • What makes me happy or unhappy?
  • What aspects of myself can I improve?
  • Am I pleasing myself or others?
  • What are my goals?
  • Where do I see myself in 5 years?


Reflective writing also opens the floodgates for descriptive writing, such as emotional expression, plans for success, and goal setting. Reflecting on ourselves creates an inspiring self-awareness and illuminates our true natures.


Self-Awareness and Reflection in Drug Addiction Treatment


A big part of your rehab journey will be coming to terms with the fact that both your strengths and weaknesses can assist you as you take time for self-reflection.

Reflection increases your self-honesty and gives you an opportunity to embrace who you are and to acknowledge the sides of yourself that you tend to hide.

This hidden self is what we refer to at rehabs as the shadow self. This shadow self may reveal truths about your personality.


Rehabs - girl in the haze


Lack of Self-Reflection


During your stay at rehabs, you will learn that an inability to self-reflect can result in both inner and external conflict. If you don’t know yourself and are unable to accept yourself, then you may not have the ability to authentically change.

At this stage, you may have many questions regarding self-reflection and its relevance to your rehabs journey. You may ask yourself: 

  • How will I know where to start? 
  • How will I understand which areas needs healing the most?


Before addiction recovery and self-reflection, perhaps you may live your life according to what others think of you. Without taking the time to embrace your uniqueness, you may find that you are less motivated and can even feel a sense of hopelessness or despair. Your relationships begin to suffer and so does your self-esteem.


When we fail to self-reflect, we lose our self-awareness, which is essential to understanding ourselves on a deeper level. When one does not reflect, he or she lacks the ability to see and understand things from a different viewpoint. This can create friction, misunderstanding, confusion and dissonance. A lack of self-reflection during your rehab process may lead you back into your old negative behaviours.


Self-reflection facilitates a deeper level of learning and understanding. When we do not self-reflect, we lose that ability to learn about ourselves and others. We further lose the capacity to understand at a deeper level, which can possibly hinder our relationships with not only others, but ourselves.


When you self-reflect, it allows you to make better decisions and change your actions. The more often you change your actions into positive ones, the more confident you will become. When we lack reflection, our confidence tends to lack too.


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Take action & empower yourself! Read more about our addiction treatment programs today.

Contact us now to be connected to a compassionate treatment professional.


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