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Addiction Counselling and Learning Self-Compassion

“You’ve been criticising yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” —Louise L. Hay

Addiction Counselling South Africa - Self-Compassion

An Integral Part of the Recovery Process

Compassion towards yourself is easily one of the most valuable things to learn. This is a concept that is thoroughly addressed during substance abuse treatment and addiction counselling at Step Away.

Whether you have just begun the journey of recovery from alcoholism or have been sober for decades, practicing self-compassion remains an integral part of the process.

There are numerous scientific studies that show that negative self-talk has a direct effect on one’s stress levels and overall ability to cope with life’s daily pressures. When we cannot cope, we look for some form of escape or outlet which more than likely will be detrimental to our health.

Similar research shows that when we practice compassion towards ourselves or others, the release of oxytocin is stimulated. Oxytocin is the hormone which allows us to feel loved, safe and secure.

We all remember the simple lesson we are taught from a young age, the one that teaches us to never do to someone else that which we would not have done to ourselves.

However, all too often we find ourselves being far too unforgiving of our own basic flaws and imperfections. Forgiveness allows place for resilience, so if you are able to forgive yourself, you are able to bounce back and try again with even more conviction than before.

Self-compassion is about finding that gentle forgiveness for ourselves when we make a mistake or feel as though we have failed.

Invariably, self-blame, guilt and continuous negative self-talk all pave the way towards relapse. Having compassion for yourself allows no space for these debilitating thought-patterns and therefore fosters a healthy and sustainable recovery process.

3 ways to master self-compassion

There are said to be three major components of self-compassion and when practiced, they assist in making the journey of recovery more loving, minimising the risk of relapse.

• Self-Kindness

A simple way to practice being kind to yourself is to think about how you would treat the person you love the most in a similar situation.

The kindness and love that you would show that person is the same kindness you should show yourself in difficult times.

• Common Humanity

A widely overlooked principle among mankind is the fact that we are all human beings and we are all capable of making mistakes. There is no person on this planet who is perfect. Making mistakes is part of the human experience and it is better practice to allow yourself to learn and grow from these mistakes rather than to isolate or punish yourself for a simple slip-up.

• Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the action of being absolutely present in the present moment while remaining free of judgement. Ignoring your feelings or pain is not actually dealing with them. Allow yourself to acknowledge the way you feel without feeling guilty about it. You must first acknowledge how you feel in order to forgive and love yourself for it.

Learning to forgive yourself throughout your recovery encourages you to get to know yourself. When you know yourself, you are able to treat yourself with love, kindness and compassion.

Step Away - Self-Compassion and Addiction Counselling South Africa

Our addiction counselling programme is aimed at developing self-compassion, while instilling the fundamental groundwork needed for a successful recovery.

Contact us, for more information about our recovery programme.

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