> We have met the enemy and he is us. –Pogo
Rehab Changes the Person’s Self Image
People can be their own worst enemies and be responsible for much of their own suffering. One of the reasons why this can happen is due to their self image. If the person believes things such as that they are bad, unattractive, undeserving of affection, or unlucky it will have an influence on how they experience life. This is why self image is so important – it can determine a person’s future.
One good reason for why people might want to attend rehab is that it will help them alter their self image. The program helps them see themselves in a new more positive way, and this impacts their behavior. If the individual is diligent during their stay in this facility they will leave with the type of self image that will pave the way to their success. It means that they will stop being their own worst enemy.
Self image can be defined as one’s conception of oneself or of one’s role. It is the mental picture that the individual has of themselves, and it can differ a great deal from how other people see them. It is a picture that the person develops of themselves over time, and it can be resistant to change – for example, if the individual believes that they are a clumsy person it can be difficult to convince them otherwise.
There are said to be 3 types of self image which include:
* The self image the person has of themselves.
* The self image that the person has as a result of how other people see them.
* The self image that the person has as a result of their perceptions about how other people see them.
There can be some confusion as to the difference between the words self esteem and self image. These two concepts are related, but they do not refer to exactly the same thing. A person’s self esteem is the same as their self worth – it is the amount they value themselves. If a person has high self esteem it means that they value themselves highly. Self image is how the person sees themselves. It refers to attributes such as intelligence, beauty, sociability, and confidence. It is possible to have a relatively positive self image but still have issues with low self esteem. An example of this would be the person who believes that they are basically a good person, but they keep putting themselves in situations where they suffer because they somehow believe that they deserve it.
The scientist Maxwell Maltz once said:
> The self-image is the key to human personality and human behavior. Change the self image and you change the personality and the behavior.
The self image that the individual holds is important because:
* It influences how the person behaves. If the individual believes that they are a kind person they will be more likely to engage in charitable acts.
* A poor self image can lead to a self fulfilling prophecy. If the person believes that they are a failure it will create the conditions to ensure that this is the case.
* Those individuals who have a positive self image possess an inner confidence that can be viewed as attractive to other people. People who view themselves positively are just easier to be around.
* It can mean that the person performs better in their career and is more likely to be promoted.
* In order to find success in life it is vital that the individual has a positive belief in their own abilities. Without this confident self image the person will not be able to overcome the obstacles along the path to success.
* Those people who have a good self image will tend to be happier with their life. This means that they will tend to be optimistic about life and avoid the pitfalls of negativity.
Those individuals who have fallen into addiction will tend to have a poor self image. They may try to hide this with bluster and arrogance but such people tend to see themselves as:
* Weak because they are unable to control their intake of alcohol and drugs.
* A rebel because the refuse to fit into the system.
* A victim to life because they are out of control and unable to do anything about it.
* A bad person who is living the type of life they deserve.
* A loser who moves from one disaster to another.
* A deceitful person who has to hide who they truly are.
* Unlovable because they hurt everyone who gets close to them.
* Untrustworthy and unreliable because they are always making promises that they do not keep.
* A failure because they have not been able to achieve any of their dreams.
Humans can be resistant to changing their self image, but it happens all the time. For most people this is not a process that happens overnight but due to a determined effort to make the change. It can start when the person begins to behave differently from their own view of what is their normal behavior. An example of this would be the individual who has a self image that they are lazy. Instead of just accepting this label the person behaves in ways that prove it false. They might start by taking on small projects and sticking with these until completion. As the individual experiences some success in their attempts it changes their self image – the evidence that they are not lazy becomes undeniable.
One of the key tasks for people in addiction rehab is that they change their self image. Unless they do this it is unlikely that they will be able to manage to live a new life without alcohol and drugs. The goal of rehab is for the person to develop a new self image where they are:
* Competent to take responsibility for their own life.
* Strong enough to do the things they will need to do to stay sober and make the changes that will lead them to success.
* Honest people who are willing to face up to the reality of their situation.
* Intelligent enough to make good decisions and learn what they need to make a success of recovery.
* People who are deserving of love and capable of being loving.
* Brave individuals who are willing to do what it takes to improve their situation and face the mistakes of their past.
* Positive people who understand that their future is in their own hands.
* Successful people who have the inner ability to rise above their past mistakes.
Attending rehab alone is not enough to change the individual’s self image. In order for this to happen they will need to make use of the resources that are available to them in this facility. Those who are unwilling to do any work in rehab can stay there and fail to learn a thing – they leave as the same person who came in. Those people who do make an effort in rehab benefit from an improved self image because:
* By entering rehab the individual has already challenged the self image of themselves as addicts.
* During their stay in this facility the person learns about the type of delusional thinking that keeps people trapped in addiction. This understanding will allow them to identify the errors in their own thinking and self image.
* The individual learns the skills they need to cope with life in sobriety. This means that they feel strong enough to face things without the crutch of alcohol and drugs.
* By attending therapy sessions in rehab the individual can begin to examine some of the reasons they developed such an unhealthy self image in the first place.
* Techniques such as those found in cognitive behavioral therapy allow the individual to develop the ability to have more control over their own thinking. By changing the way they think it will change the way they behave.
* During their stay in rehab the individual begins to taste the fruits of sobriety. They begin to realize that staying sober is not only something they can manage but that it is also a desirable way for them to live.
* The addiction therapist is able to see beyond the corrupted self image to the real person underneath. They can guide the individual to see this too.