Ways to Get Empowered and Stay That Way After Addiction


Symptoms of Addiction

One symptom of addiction is that you lose your power to the substance that you’re addicted to. In other words you lose control over our ability to stop using. In fact, the loss of power is the hallmark symptom of addiction. This is precisely why regaining a sense of power is a pivotal step in recovery. Once you feel your own sense of power again you might feel stronger in making choices that support you.

How to Feel Empowered

One way to start to feel empowered is to develop an internal center of control. Learning about one’s internal versus external center of control is also learning about the Attribution Theory. It’s a theory that describes how a person explains the events in his or her life. If, for example, you keep relapsing and you can admit that the only reason why you keep doing so is because of your depression or anxiety, then you could be exhibiting an internal locus of control.

In other words you are taking responsibility for the relapses, recognizing that you might need better coping tools instead of drinking to feel better.

On the other hand, if you feel that your relapses are because other people treat you poorly or that your neighbor keeps offering you drugs, then you might handing over a sense of power to external sources. In this case, other people including your neighbor.

Having an internal center of control means that you believe in your ability to have control over the events in your life, to the degree that it is possible. This sense of internal power is considered to be the most psychologically healthy. It is living life with a feeling of having command over the things that you are able to have command over.

However, an external center of control leads to relinquishing self-control and self-determination to a power outside of you.

Often, we tend to take ownership of the things that we like about ourselves and blame others for the things we do not like about ourselves.

One significant way to feel a sense of power is to notice where you might be pointing the finger at others (external center of control) for the problems you’re experiencing. And instead you might want to take responsibility (internal center of control) for the areas of your life that are not going well.

Another way to feel empowered is to notice what you do have control over. We are not going to have control over everything. Therefore, recognizing the parts of your life where you have a say in what goes on can at least bring into your awareness the control you do have in your life.

It’s easy to fall into being a victim if that’s all we’ve known in life. However, when you put your conscious attention on what you can control and change on your own, you might feel more powerful than think.

When it comes to your life’s problems, however, essentially, there is very little, if nothing, that can be blamed for your problems. Finding the power within yourself, even if you have to make that shift again and again, will accelerate life change, including getting and staying sober.



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