Critical Thinking in Recovery
Thinking Clearly in Recovery
The ability to think clearly and logically is a definite asset for people who are recovering from an addiction. This is the complete opposite of the type of thinking that most addicts have learned to rely on. This new way of dealing with the world will mean that the individual is less likely to make decisions purely on the basis of emotions or irrational beliefs. Those who can think critically not only make better decisions, but they also find the whole process of dealing with difficulties to be easier. It is possible for people to develop their critical thinking skills and this can help to strengthen their sobriety.
Critical Thinking Defined
This critical thinking is sometimes defined as thinking about thinking. Another way of defining critical thinking is as a type of rational and open-minded mental processing that is informed by evidence. The opposite of critical thinking would be making decisions purely based on emotion and believing in whatever other people say without question.
Benefits of Critical Thinking
The ability to think critical benefits a person’s life in several ways:
* People who think critically can save a great deal of time when completing any task. This is because they do not just rush into something with first thinking about it logically. They pay attention to the old adage, the more haste, the less speed. The fact that critical thinkers take their time to consider things usually means that they complete any task more efficiently, thus saving time.
* Emotions can be wonderful servant but a terrible master. Some individuals are so controlled by their emotions that they rush into decisions that have dire consequences. Critical thinking is not about ignoring emotions or intuition. The idea is to combine emotion with logic to enable better decision-making.
* The person who thinks this way lives a more honest life both with themselves and with other people.
* Thinking critically means being open-minded. This type of individual will avoid making judgments on things they know little about. There is more an attitude of try and see.
* A critical thinker does not just accept everything they hear as true. They evaluate statements and hold a healthy degree of skepticism about any claims that people make. This is not the same as having a closed mind. This ability to consider the veracity of thoughts, ideas and opinions means that they are less easily manipulated into believing faulty claims and beliefs. The critical thinker is also better able to avoid being fooled by scam artists, quacks and charlatans.
* Such individuals will be able to think clearly. They are less likely to become overwhelmed by a situation so that their thought processes become muddled. Even in a crisis, this type of person may be able to weigh up options and make the best possible choice.
* This type of person is more willing to admit when they do not know something. This means that they do not have to pretend to have all the answers. The critical thinker has a genuine desire to understand the world so they have no problems about admitting their gaps in knowledge. They ask questions to find out more but accept that they will never know everything.
* Such an individual is able to understand different sides of an argument. This means that they can show more empathy. Another consequence of this ability to think fairly is that they are less likely to end up in conflict with other humans.
* When people think critically, they will not feel threatened by new information that contradicts what they already believe or know. If they find that one of their beliefs or ideas is not backed by the evidence they will be willing to give it up. This means they are more adaptable and this is an advantage in a world where new things are being discovered all the time.
* In order to develop emotional sobriety, the individual will need to overcome the many challenges that will come their way in recovery. Those who are able to think critically will be able to deal with problems logically and will therefore find them easier to deal with. They will be less likely to become stuck in recovery.
The Benefits of Critical Thinking in Addiction Recovery
Those individuals who are recovering from an addiction can benefit a great deal from critical thinking. These are some of the benefits of thinking critically in recovery:
* People who abuse substances will usually have many beliefs and ideas that helped keep them trapped in their misery. An inability to let go of their former worldview can lead to difficulty building a happy life away from addiction. They will be tempted to relapse. Even if they avoid returning to alcohol or drugs, they can become a dry drunk. They no longer engage in substance abuse, but their behavior remains the same. Critical thinking will allow the individual to rid themselves of the faulty thinking that is making their life miserable.
* When people give up alcohol and drugs, they will have plenty of free time. They will need to find productive ways to use this time or they risk becoming bored. This can lead to relapse. Critical thinkers will be more willing to try new things and will therefore be more likely to find appropriate activities that they will enjoy in sobriety.
* Strong emotions can be highly dangerous for people in recovery. This is particularly true in early recovery, when the individual can feel like they are on an emotional rollercoaster. The problem with such out-of-control emotions is that it can make people react impulsively and against their own self interest. People in recovery can have an anger outburst and by the time they have calmed down they are sitting in a bar drinking or injecting drugs into their body. Critical thinking frees them from these emotional responses.
* There are many paths available to people in recovery. Those who are able to think critically will be able to choose the one that is most appropriate to them. They will not be manipulated into accepting something that they do really feel comfortable with.
How to Become a Critical Thinker
These are some tips for becoming better at critical thinking:
* Try being more open-minded. People can have a gut reaction to automatically dismiss things without giving them a fair hearing.
* Be willing to put beliefs and opinions to the test. This also requires being prepared to change one’s views in light of good contradictory evidence.
* Listen to opposing views without dismissing them out of hand. Rather than defending personal opinions no matter what, it is beneficial to consider different worldviews without considering them to be personal threats. When trying to develop critical thinking skills, it can be beneficial to consider opposing opinions.
* Refrain from accepting another’s claims outright. Reliable views and opinions will be backed by compelling evidence.
* In order to find out the veracity of claims, it is usually necessary to do a bit of research. These days many people turn to the Internet when looking for answers. This can be a good option, but it is always necessary to consider the source of the information. Not all online sources are reliable. Thinking critically also requires evaluating the trustworthiness of different sources of information.
* Those individuals who find it difficult to think critically tend to ramble in their thinking and conversations. When arguing, they seem to move between completely unrelated ideas. This occurs because they lack focus. They are unable to stick to just one line of argument. The way to overcome this unfocused way of thinking is to first observe it as it occurs. Once the individual notices that they are leaping between fragmented ideas, they will be able to prevent it from occurring.
* This way of thinking involves not jumping to conclusions. If people are more reflective and take time to weigh up the information they are given, they are more likely to have a much better understanding.
* It is also vital that the critical thinker is listens carefully. It is common for people to soak up misinformation because they just have not really being listening to what is being said.