Addressing the Self The Importance of Self-Awareness for Healing.jpg

Addressing the Self: The Importance of Self-Awareness for Healing

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), recovery is a dynamic process of change. In recovery, you work to improve your health and wellness, live a self-determined life, and reach your full potential. Through your work in treatment, you have learned that maintaining recovery goes beyond abstaining from substances. Recovery is a lifelong journey of inner work that manifests in your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Therefore, understanding the importance of self-awareness is vital to lasting recovery.

At Driftwood Recovery, we know healing can happen when you rebuild a connection to yourself and others. Through an attachment approach, you have found insight into your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Thus, fostering a connection to the self and others provides deeper self-awareness and self-understanding to grow and change.

Without insight offered by healthy attachment, you cannot see yourself fully to take in feedback and make changes to heal. Therefore, the need for connection to the self highlights the importance of self-awareness. As a result, the importance of self-awareness becomes an important process in treatment and lasting recovery.

Although you have built a strong foundation of self-awareness, recovery is not static. Working on yourself is a lifelong journey in which awareness and understanding are expansive. Thus, increasing your understanding of the importance of self-awareness can support continuing to build tools for sustained recovery.

What Is Self-Awareness?

As noted in Frontiers in Digital Health, self-awareness is your conscious understanding of yourself, like your character, feelings, thoughts, desires, values, and beliefs. Moreover, self-awareness is a complex set of processes that develops from infancy and onward. Through childhood and adolescence, you learn elements of self-awareness that impact how you understand yourself, others, and the world. Listed below are some of the things that showcase the importance of self-awareness for development and self-understanding:

  • Ability to think about yourself concerning others
  • Self-consciousness: an awareness that others perceive you in certain ways

Looking at some of the stages of self-awareness highlights the importance of self-awareness as your understanding of your outer and inner self. The sense of self you form with yourself and others contributes to how you think, feel, and respond to everything around you. Thus, your self-awareness can be broken into public self-awareness and private self-awareness:

  • Public: You are aware that others are watching and evaluating you
    • Encourages engagement in socially acceptable behaviors
    • This can lead to anxiety when you are overly worried about how others perceive you
  • Private: You are aware of the physical aspects of yourself

Public and private highlights how self-awareness can be impaired by being overly self-conscious. Self-consciousness is an important part of awareness that can manifest as positive feelings like pride and empathy or negative emotions like shame, guilt, and jealousy. The positive and negative emotions of self-consciousness are crucial components that modify your thinking and behavior to meet the demands of any given situation as it changes. However, being overly self-aware can develop into distressing feelings like embarrassment found in social anxiety. Therefore, understanding how substance use disorder (SUD) can impair your sense of self will showcase the importance of self-awareness in recovery.

Importance of Self-Awareness Impairment in Substance Use Disorder

The importance of self-awareness is reflected in the impact of SUD on your sense of self. When you misuse substances, it makes changes to your brain that impede decision-making, the regulation of impulses, and behavioral monitoring. Despite the thinking and behavioral changes that come with SUD, you are often unable to recognize self-destructive actions when addiction sets in. Difficulty recognizing the harm being caused to yourself and others reflects impaired self-awareness.

As stated in Trends in Cognitive Sciences, deficits in self-awareness can lead to denial of SUD and other mental health disorders. SUD can impair your ability to recognize the personal relevance or significance of internal and external stimuli that have implications for you. Understanding the impairments SUD can cause speaks to the importance of self-awareness as a tool for supporting recovery.

Addressing the Importance of Self-Awareness for Recovery

Through self-awareness, you can better understand your strengths and challenges to foster a healthier self. Some of the other ways self-awareness can support recovery include:

  • Understanding your feelings and needs
  • The ability to articulate your feelings and needs to others
  • You can recognize the feelings and needs of others
  • Recognize how your behavior impacts others
  • Able to learn from and grow from your experiences and choices

The skills that come from deep self-awareness reflect the importance of self-awareness for learning, growing, and connection. Yet, you may wonder how you can continue to build on your self-awareness. How can deepening your understanding of yourself and others to continue to connect and thrive in recovery?

Tools for Healing: Ways to Improve Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is important because of its ability to help you respond to mental health challenges and other stressors more effectively. Listed below are some of the tools you can utilize to support deeper self-awareness in your daily life:

  • Meditation
  • Journal writing
  • Nature walk
  • Listening to others
  • Mindfulness
  • Engage in introspection of your past
  • Gain objective feedback in therapy

Taking an inward look at yourself, from your thoughts and feelings to your behaviors, speaks to the importance of self-awareness as a tool for healing.

Supporting the Importance of Self-Awareness at Driftwood Recovery

Your sense of purpose and fulfillment is tied to your awareness and understanding of the self. Thus, at Driftwood Recovery, we are dedicated to providing an alumni program rich in compassion, support, and respect for you no matter where you are on your journey. Now, you have access to a community committed to giving you the connection you need to continue to rebuild that connection to self. With greater self-awareness, you can build a more positive sense of self to overcome obstacles to healing. Further, your deeper self-awareness empowers you to build the courageous life in recovery you deserve.

Impairments in self-awareness can impede your ability to recognize the harm your challenges cause. Without self-awareness, it is difficult to build and maintain the tools you need to learn and grow from your experiences. However, engaging in an active alumni program can support you in continuing to deepen your self-awareness. With deeper self-awareness, you can understand yourself and others to respond to the stressors of life in healthier ways. Through an alumni program, you continue to have access to support and resources to practice deepening self-awareness, like mindfulness and therapy. Therefore, at Driftwood Recovery, we are dedicated to providing services that continue to connect you to supportive resources for sustained recovery. Call us at (512) 759-8330 today.