In a nutshell, self-concept comes down to how each of us sees our own world. A person’s self-concept encompasses their whole belief system. From this foundation comes our ideas, our thoughts, our behaviors, and ultimately, our destinies. It’s no surprise, therefore, that teenagers are naturally curious about drugs and alcohol. In a confusing, often scary transitional time, drugs offer some momentary security: You can always depend on them to make you feel a certain way.
Seeking Self-Concept Through Drugs
The self-identifying allure of drugs and alcohol isn’t easily refuted. Sometimes teens just don’t want to stop, because they see no problem with it. Others want to quit but are just too scared, ashamed, or uninformed about how to do it the right way. One thing is for certain: Substance abuse doesn’t have to be a part of anyone’s persona, no matter how normal it feels. It can be easy to forget that, for someone who has used substances regularly for many years (especially when it comes to alcohol). Just because someone says they feel happy doesn’t mean that the happiness is real or sustained. If they need drugs or alcohol to feel that happiness, that’s a problem.
Helping Another Find Their Self-Concept
Many young people have to hit “rock bottom” before they can realize this, but it doesn’t always take a car wreck or an overdose to convince the person that he or she needs treatment (which is good, because such incidents often have legal consequences that can follow you around and haunt you for the rest of your life.) Family and friends can help make treatment happen early. You can’t make someone admit their problem or seek help, but you can help motivate them to your best of your ability.
Embracing a New Self
Addiction treatment programs like AA are often stigmatized as being cult-like foundations that teach their subjects to trade one addiction (drugs/alcohol) for another (total sobriety). Nothing could be further from the truth. While the notion of total abstinence may seem extreme, as can the measures taken to sustain it, sobriety makes way for a new, clean slate — new behaviors, new outlooks. Taking steps to join recovery programs and groups is a surefire way to maintain the motivation to stay clean and the desire to help others do so as well. Along the way, you’ll discover a brand new self–the real you– that was often hidden beneath the substances.
A new beginning is always possible, and it starts by rebuilding self-concept in treatment. Throughout the course of rehab and aftercare, adolescents begin to see themselves as valuable, capable people. To get you or someone you love started, call Sustain today: 949-637-5499