Your mindset can substantially impact your ability to overcome your addictive tendencies. A fixed mindset can hinder your recovery. Fortunately, it is possible to develop a growth mindset with some practice!

Remember: your brain is always changing. Regardless of your current mindset, you can retrain your mind intentionally over time.

What Is a Growth Mindset?

A growth mindset accepts the premise that traits, skills, and abilities can be learned, refined, and improved. On the other hand, a fixed mindset does not believe in the capacity for change. This is crucial because change is the essence of recovery. After all, recovery is an opportunity to make major changes in our lives and ourselves.

People who have a growth mindset embrace this opportunity. They recognize their own capacity to change. This is possible for them because they do not believe that their current abilities are fixed forever. Instead, they understand that they can develop new skills and habits through practice over time.

Using their growth mindset, people can do more than identify problems. They can also discover solutions and develop the skills necessary to put those solutions into action.

Can I Develop a Growth Mindset in Recovery?

Recovery requires a growth mindset. The good news is that your mindset is not a permanent condition! If you currently have a fixed mindset, you can develop a growth mindset with intention and practice.

It isn’t at all uncommon for people to present for treatment with a fixed mindset. According to research in American Psychology, there are multiple interventions that promote mindset change.

Acknowledge Unhelpful Thought Patterns

The first step is to be more aware of unhelpful thought patterns that stem from your fixed mindset. You can do this by recognizing these thoughts as they happen.

Next, you can challenge these thoughts. Try to change or reframe them. It’s okay to start small. Many of us hit our bottom and feel utterly hopeless. However, we all know of someone who has successfully stopped using drugs or alcohol. Simply acknowledging that recovery is possible gives hope to those who doubt they can succeed.

Remind Yourself Recovery Is Achievable

If you tell yourself failure is certain, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. While you may not believe you can achieve or maintain sobriety, accepting the possibility is a major step forward.

You do not have to believe in yourself overnight. If you struggle with this, try to believe in yourself just for the day. Over time, your daily progress will give you more tangible reasons to believe that you can achieve recovery.

What Is a Fixed Mindset?

A fixed mindset describes the way many people in active addiction and recovery perceive the world and themselves. People with this style of mindset believe that they cannot be changed.

The underlying assumption is our personality and skills are inherent and immutable. For example, people with this worldview often believe they were given a set amount of intelligence. However, this goes against what we know about human development. The reality is that everyone can improve their working intelligence with effort and education access.

A major aspect of relapse prevention is developing your faith in yourself. Those with a fixed mindset may feel a brick wall is holding them back from changing or even believing that they can change.

Symptoms of a Fixed Mindset

A common symptom of a fixed mindset is a “negative filter.”  This is a psychological tendency to focus on the bad in a situation without acknowledging the good. For example, you may obsess over your weaknesses without considering your strengths.

People with such belief systems shirk away from challenges rather than confronting them. After all, if you think you cannot change yourself, your circumstances, or your environment, it is easy to give up before bothering with difficult tasks. Research shows that a fixed mindset correlates heavily with a lack of motivation.

A person with these beliefs may have self-talk along the lines of, “Why should I bother trying if it won‘t make a difference?” Low self-esteem or self-worth compounds this notion into a false perception of a person’s real capabilities.

The problem with a fixed mindset for people in mental health or substance use recovery is that it is extremely self-defeating. People with fixed negative thoughts often have an internal dialogue that leads them to believe they cannot overcome addiction. This is because this mindset operates on the assumption that some traits are immutable.

If you cannot believe in your own capacity for change, or the hope of it, treatment efforts may fail despite how effective they are. However, if you recognize yourself as having these attitudes, don’t give up! A growth mindset is not something you must be born with. It can develop with time.

Gaining a Growth Mindset to Improve Recovery

A growth mindset needs to be worked for when you have addictive tendencies. Fortunately, you can develop a growth mindset by simply reminding yourself of some simple truths.

For example, the idea that your addiction is more powerful than you or that you are powerless to change is inaccurate. The science of addiction recovery and the progress you are making every day provide ample evidence for these truths.

Other aspects of addiction treatment can help. In treatment, you learn skills to overcome triggers, connect with others in recovery and improve interpersonal communication. Applying these lessons to your life can make you more competent in these domains. As you notice your increasing competence, your confidence improves.

Believing that you can grow into someone who is confident in their sobriety is a vital part of recovery. Fortunately, a growth mindset is not only for those who are always motivated or never fail. It is a way of thinking and behaving that you can develop with practice, patience, and the desire to succeed.

At Dream Recovery, we recognize how powerful the mind is. In recovery, learning to identify unhealthy patterns of thinking and redirect your own thought processes is a vital skill. Adequate professional assistance can support people in recovery and expedite the transition to the more affirming growth-oriented manner of thinking. Discarding the lies we tell ourselves is a crucial component of successful recovery. Dream Recovery offers many therapy modalities, activities, and amenities to help patients learn to grow beyond addiction. If you or a loved one is actively struggling with drugs or alcohol, we are here to help. Call our empathetic team of treatment specialists at (657) 216-7218 for answers to your questions about addiction or our services today.

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