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.
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.
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.
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.