Not many people look forward to trying new forms of therapy. Who can blame them? Therapy can seem intimidating and maybe even daunting at times while working through an addiction. While we know that therapy outcomes make it all worthwhile, this does not necessarily dull the intimidation factor. What if therapy did not have to be like this? What if therapy could be fun and fascinating? Cue acceptance & commitment therapy (ACT).

ACT is a technique derived from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The idea is to develop psychological flexibility by accepting their thoughts, feelings and actions while also committing to new-found values. In other words, through ACT, you can expect to experience a long-awaited weight lifted off your shoulders. This sense of freedom can then allow you to redefine yourself, your values, and your life while moving forward. Regaining your freedom does not have to entail losing a sense of fun in your life. Instead, through acceptance, mindfulness and values, ACT can help you find immense joy through living a sober lifestyle.

The Use of Mindfulness

A key component in ACT is the use of mindfulness. This focus of mindfulness is to learn how to live in the present moment instead of letting your mind live out its’ “autopilot,” or subconscious thoughts. By doing this, you can gain more control over how you live your life. Mindfulness can create that outcome by reframing your mind to become the conscious observers of your thoughts, feelings and the world around you, rather than entangling you in with them. By mindfully separating yourself from your thoughts and feelings, you can become more in control. This allows you to be better equipped to take care of yourself as well.

One misconception about mindfulness is that it entails no longer having to experience negative thoughts or emotions anymore. Unfortunately, there is no way to be completely rid of these experiences. Instead, learn to radically accept your thoughts and emotions with no judgment. Mindfulness also shows you that are fully equipped to handle these emotions and thoughts and that these emotions and thoughts no longer have to be considered burdensome. Mindfulness can help you realize that emotions can serve as a way to communicate to help get your needs met. For example, when you experience anger toward someone, you can identify that anger as to how your body is alerted in feeling wronged by another. By acknowledging this feeling, you can engage in thoughtful communication with the other person and begin to work out the issue somehow.

Redefining Values

Even though life has plenty of beauty in it, it certainly also has its’ dark times. This is where values play a crucial role in your life. Identifying and acting out of values in your life using what you learn from ACT can guide you through these challenging, confusing moments throughout life. Rather than turning to old, familiar tactics to cope with these situations, you can rely on your values to lead the way, even though it may be complicated. 

In recovery, you may realize that you do not have values you used to abide by, or perhaps you recognize that certain values don’t serve your recovery journey. For some, this may seem disheartening, but choosing new values can be highly gratifying and inspiring. Some of these potential values can include freedom, individuality, adventure, compassion and fun. Redefining or reinventing your values helps you become the most authentic version of yourself possible, and this requires honesty about what helps you feel inspired to do so. Perhaps you now value going on adventures in nature, which allows you to feel fully connected to yourself. Maybe placing value on creating art helps you be more in touch with your emotions and fully express them. No matter what you choose during this process, you get to decide what is essential and helpful for you to become yourself fully without the use of vices.

Recovery does not have to be a burdensome process. Instead, this time of healing can fill you with excitement, peace, and encouragement. Acceptance & commitment therapy (ACT) is a wonderful approach that can help you to enjoy the process of recovery. This method uses acceptance, mindfulness and defining values to work towards building a different, more accepting view of ourselves and life. Instead of trying to ignore or suppress our unwanted thoughts and emotions, we learn to accept them as they are while still maintaining our individuality. Battling with painful thoughts and feelings is often a cause for addictions. That is why ACT’s process of accepting our thoughts and emotions as they are while separating them from ourselves is a very valuable and essential part of recovery. At Pineland’s Recovery Center of Medford, we are here to guide you through this uplifting experience. Here at our location in Medford, New Jersey, we have trained faculty ready to help you learn and practice new daily habits that feel authentic to you. To begin your journey, call us today at (877) 557-5372.