The Healing Power of Reading

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Reading is a powerful tool as books hold the capacity to develop literacy but also think differently about the world in which a person resides. Reading can truly change lives and have healing powers that are helpful for individuals in addiction recovery.

Communication

Words were invented to help make sense of the world and communicate needs, wants and desires to others. When people read, it is possible to be transported and transformed. Words on the page come alive with meaning and become ingrained in the memory. Spiritual experiences happen when reading as passages can inspire people to make life changing decisions or radically alter the course of one’s life. Reading is now being evaluated as a treatment method for various mental health conditions and in addiction treatment settings.

Bibliotherapy

The process of bibliotherapy is that of combining reading with cognitive therapy. This means using selected books to guide a person in the area he or she seeks help in. It is like having a dialogue with a book, using concepts as food for thought and trying to slowly apply it in life. What is read in books stays with people for a long time. In that time, neuroscience shows the brains are rewired each day visualizing and thinking through how the words make a person feel. Memory recall can release chemicals such as dopamine, the pleasure transmitter which plays a role in addiction.

Shelf Help vs Self Help

There is a distinction that has to be made between bibliotherapy and self help. Whole bookcases in bookstores are filled with self-help guides. Fiction takes people out of places and the self but

An individual may be inclined to identify with characters and experiences while committing to the journey of a character in books which mirror the commitment made to the self on the journey of recovery.

Getting Started

Reading for recovery is nothing new. Twelve step programs have used The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous since first publication. The Big Book is full of personal experiences, letters and stories. Since release, the Big Book engaged millions of people worldwide in pages which offer insight to alcoholism and a solution for recovery. Faith based recovery programs use biblical texts or religious texts and help guide people with spiritual experiences through the healing power of words. Whichever form of reading is used, it is bound to be a great experience for the reader and build on insights gained through therapy and in community with others on the same journey.

 

Sustain Recovery helps adolescents who are recovering from addiction. Minimum stays are 90 days but many may be with the program six months or longer. Call us to find out if our programs are a good fit for your adolescent.

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I first met Sayeh in November of 2013 just after my 15 year old daughter had been admitted to a residential treatment program. As part of the program I was required to attend 2-3 AlAnon meetings a week. Sayeh attended the same AlAnon meetings as well as Alumni events as I. It soon became apparent to me that Sayeh had a heart for recovery, program, and God. When I was encouraged to get a sponsor I didn’t hesitate. Dependable, respectful, kind and generous of spirit, she exudes an inner peace that I hope to achieve with her loving guidance, as I work my own program. She is patient, & full of wisdom that she is always happy to share with her sponsees and fellow parents. I am so grateful our journeys brought us together.

Megan
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