By Edie Weinstein, MSW Most people affected by addiction in some way are familiar with…
The Power of Intention in Recovery
As a recovering addict, your intentions can be your friend or your enemy, depending on your level of focus and clarity. You have to be clear about what you want before you can choose a constructive and life-affirming path. ACT therapy programs can help you eliminate the confusion that left you lost in the wilderness of chemical dependency.
ACT and its Relationship to Intention
ACT stands for ‘acceptance and commitment therapy,’ and it is fast gaining a reputation in the addiction treatment community as a potent method for behavioral transformation and inner healing.
Recovery from substance abuse problems is not so much the goal of ACT as it is a positive consequence. By helping men and women in rehab identify the psychological and emotional barriers that have prevented them from making wise choices and decisions, ACT programs empower them to live more consciously and to make more productive choices in every area of their lives. These positive choices leave little room for alcohol or drug abuse, which are based on negative habit, not choice. ACT also gives recovering addicts and alcoholics the tools they need to break through the limits that have kept them from achieving remarkable things.
The focus of ACT is two-fold. First, it stresses the importance of accepting uncomfortable and disturbing thoughts instead of resisting, suppressing or avoiding them. Second, it shows practitioners how to stop over-identifying with their thoughts, feelings and instinctive reactions, allowing them to take a step back and develop a more detached, observant perspective.
Habitual thinking and behavior are the opposite of intention, but they emerge directly from a failure to face unpleasant thoughts, emotions and aspects of the personality. What is hidden or denied remains unresolved; it steals your free will and leaves you anchor-less and drifting at sea, following the waves wherever they carry you.
When you learn to see your habits for what they are, understanding the consequences of not facing your most distressing, disturbing and potentially self-sabotaging thoughts and emotions head on, you regain capacity to resist your own worst impulses, including those that sent you running to drugs and alcohol as a way of escape.
Intention Unleashed through ACT
ACT therapy programs are all about personal empowerment; find your voice and then speaking it, consciously and with full and clear intent. ACT operates on the assumption that good decision-making and healthy psychological functioning are humanity’s birthright. No matter how long drugs and alcohol have been distorting your reality, you can take back your self-control.
The most important message of ACT is that health, happiness and achievement are within your grasp. If you can find an addiction treatment center that offers ACT programs—or includes ACT in your aftercare regimen—it can help you reinvent your entire life, as you learn to embrace wellness and the power of intention that supports it.
Intention means free will and free choice, which also can translate to freedom from drug abuse and addiction.
“Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)” – Association for Contextual Behavioral Science