To get started: Consider some of the following scenarios –
Suzy has been on Methadone which has helped her tremendously with regard to staying away from heroin. However, when Suzy’s counselor challenged her by asking what else she is working on to get better, Suzy replied “I go to the Methadone clinic every morning first thing, isn’t that enough?”
Darrell has been staying away from substance use and when his counselor asked him what’s working, Darrell said that he goes to meetings every day. Darrell’s counselor commended his efforts but then asked him to talk some more about what has been going on at the meetings. Darrell responded by saying “Oh, I just go to the meetings, I don’t share or talk to anyone, I just show up, keep quiet, then leave as soon as its over”
Fred has been making progress as he has some time without using substances. Fred’s counselor asked Fred what has helped, and Fred talked about how he has a good job that has been keeping him busy as he is working regularly and making advancement in the company. Fred’s counselor was glad to hear Fred was doing well working but then followed up by asking if anything else is helping and Fred replied, ‘That’s pretty much it, I just stay busy working whenever I can, then I go to bed and get up and go to work again the next day, and that’s how it goes…”
What do all three of these stories have in common? Before answering, break it down:
What is positive about all these examples?
(In each example, the person is doing something helpful)
What seems to be missing in all of these examples?
It is likely that you saw that in each example that each one of those people are doing something beneficial to help improve their situation and make progress. Suzy goes to the Methadone clinic, Darrell has his meetings, and Fred is working
Still, what is missing in all three examples is that in spite of what is going right in each case, that alone is not enough to sustain long term progress and prevent setbacks or relapse. Getting some daily structure is great, but much more is often needed to maintain positive change.
The long-term goal should be to avoid just “going through the motions”
What comes to mind when you think of the idea of “going through the motions”?
Can you think of what “going through the motions” could look like in your life personally?
Positive change is an ongoing process, not an event
What specifically does that mean to you personally?
What is involved in your process of positive change?