As men and women suffering from the disease of addiction, we are well-aware that our gut instinct is not always the right decision. In early sobriety, our emotions are often heightened, and purely emotion-based reactions can often lead to hurting ourselves or others and feeling regret for the way we handled the situation. Instead, we learn to respond to situations with an awareness of possible outcomes. Reactions are based on our unconscious mind and based purely on emotion. If someone harms us, our initial reaction may be one of fear or anger, and our behaviors in response the situation may be equally harmful. Responding, on the other hand, allows us to take in all aspects of the situation and generate a response that does not exacerbate our problems. In a 2013 Huffington Post article, Do You React or Respond?, Dr. Lori Stevic-Rust explains, “ a response requires a more cognitive and authentic perspective. It involves a higher, more advanced level of thinking and reasoning that is consistent with our beliefs and values. When we respond we tend to come from a place of integrity, remaining whole and true to ourselves. Responding is a conscious and deliberate act. It is about suspending judgment and preconceived notions in an attempt to understand and strategize solutions particularly around conflict.” We don’t need to accept our immediate emotion-based reactions to situations and overtime, we can learn to stop for a moment and form the best possible response. Responding, rather than reacting, trains us to control our temper and emotional natures. Dr. Matt James, in a 2016 Psychology Today article entitled React vs Respond: What’s the Difference, explains, “The point is that the more reacting we do, the less empowered we are. We’re operating from underlying assumptions and beliefs we’re not even aware of. And the results of doing that are somewhere between horrendous and less than stellar.” When we learn to take a moment to pause and formulate a proper response to a situation, we are in less danger of causing harm and begin learning that we can keep ourselves out of situations that have the potential to affect our mental health and well-being, ultimately strengthening our personal growth in recovery.
Your story can be one of serenity and redemption. Seeking help for addiction and alcoholism can be the best decision of your life, and begin your journey toward joy and happiness in sobriety. Oceanfront Recovery, a treatment center in beautiful Laguna Beach, offers a variety of treatment methodologies and techniques to help you develop all the tools needed to achieve and maintain permanent sobriety. For more information about treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777