Making changes in relation to problematic substance use and/or behaviours can be challenging, and having some addiction recovery tools that you can use is beneficial.
One good source of these skills and tools is Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT).
DBT is a therapeutic approach that combines elements of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) with mindfulness practices. This type of therapy relies heavily on the learning and use of a particular set of skills that can be helpful in addiction recovery.
If you are struggling with addiction, take a look at the suggestions below of ways in which DBT skills can be used to support addiction recovery, and see if any of them could be helpful for you. Some might not apply to you at all, but often people find a few that prove valuable in strengthening and maintaining their recovery.
Practice being fully present in the moment and observing your thoughts and emotions without judgment. Mindfulness can help you become aware of triggers, cravings, and negative thought patterns associated with addiction. By being mindful, you can choose healthier responses instead of automatically reacting to these triggers.
Develop skills to cope with distressing situations without resorting to addictive behaviours. Use techniques such as self-soothing activities (e.g. taking a bath, listening to calming music), deep breathing exercises, or grounding exercises (e.g. focusing on your senses).
Learn to identify and manage difficult emotions effectively. Emotion regulation skills include recognizing emotions, understanding their causes, and finding healthy ways to cope. Engage in activities that promote emotional well-being, such as journaling, exercising, or talking to a supportive friend or therapist.
Develop healthy communication and relationship-building skills. Set boundaries, express your needs and wants assertively, and practice active listening. Surround yourself with supportive individuals who understand and encourage your recovery journey.
Build skills to solve problems effectively, reducing the likelihood of turning to addictive behaviours as a solution. Identify the problem, generate potential solutions, weigh up the pros and cons, and implement the most appropriate solution. Seek support from a therapist or support group if needed.
Learn to accept things as they are without judgment or resistance. Acceptance does not mean approving of addiction but acknowledging the reality of the situation. This skill helps to reduce emotional suffering and allows you to focus on making positive changes.
Build a Support System:
Surround yourself with a network of supportive people who understand your journey and can provide encouragement and accountability. This may include therapists, support groups, sponsors, or friends and family who are empathetic and non-judgmental.
Remember, DBT skills are most effective when practiced regularly and consistently. Working with a trained therapist who is familiar with DBT can provide additional guidance and support throughout your addiction recovery journey.
DBT is just one set of addiction recovery tools that can be utilised in addiction recovery.