A powerful way of healing from our addictions is to examine what purposes our drugs of choice were serving so that we can find healthy replacements for them. Very often we use our addictive substances, behaviors and relationships as coping mechanisms for our mental and emotional pain. It is possible to discover other ways to fulfill those same purposes that aren’t detrimental to us.
Let’s try to identify what our addictions were doing for us, how we felt helped by them, what ways in which we felt we were benefiting from them. For many of us, we use our drugs of choice to bring us relief from our anxiety and depression. Drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling and anything else we find addictive might bring us temporary distraction and escape from the sadness and fear we’re experiencing. We might use them to calm us down, to quell our panic, or to make us feel less nervous, worried or on edge. We may use them to help us avoid thinking about the difficult circumstances in our lives. When we feel ashamed or regretful about our addictions, it’s often those same drugs we turn to in order to make ourselves feel better, causing us to perpetuate cycles of avoidance and escapism.
Some of us feel as though our drugs of choice give us something to look forward to. We might feel unfulfilled in our everyday lives. We may not feel aligned with our purpose. We may not feel that we’ve found our life’s calling. We might feel bored, restless and uneasy. Our drugs help us to forget that and can give us a quick pick-me-up. Rather than confronting why we’re feeling the way we are, we often want to avoid thinking about it altogether, and we yearn to escape into the euphoric high our drugs provide for us.
Sometimes what we’re seeking is connection. We feel disconnected from our inner selves and from other people. We might have isolated ourselves and separated ourselves from our close relationships. We might feel detached from our higher power and our spirit. We might feel lost, alone, confused and overwhelmed. We use our addictions to make us feel better about ourselves and our lives, to feel less alone. Sometimes we think drugs are providing us with feelings of solace and companionship. We might use our drugs of choice to bolster our self-esteem because without them we feel even more down on ourselves and insecure.
Examining our addictions and the ways in which we’ve been using them can help us to learn more about ourselves and our default coping mechanisms. This self-analysis is a hugely important part of the recovery process.
Corner Canyon Health Centers seeks innovative and research validated modalities in order to improve outcomes and maintain client progress after discharge. Healing and optimizing the brain, the top priority at Corner Canyon, enables clients to feel better and make better choices, which reduces recidivism compared to traditional treatment programs. Call 1-866-399-3469 today.
Cheryl has a 24-year history of founding and managing treatment programs for adolescents, in addition to providing therapy for them and is now excited to work with adults at Corner Canyon Health Centers. Her own treatment experiences informed the development and implementation of the foundational components of Corner Canyon, and she looks forward to directing a program that meets all the expectations she had while in treatment and includes all the therapeutic practices that she has found to be effective throughout her career.
In 1998 Cheryl co-founded Second Nature Wilderness Program, which grew to be the largest private wilderness therapeutic program in the United States and included 5 separate locations. Cheryl also helped found Gateway Academy, a pre-eminent residential treatment program for adolescent boys, and looks forward to working with the Gateway Academy owners at Corner Canyon.
In 2003, Cheryl was elected by her colleagues throughout the United States to serve as a board member for the National Association for Therapeutic Schools and Programs. Cheryl works clinically with addiction, mood disorders, anxiety, trauma, family systems problems, and other co-occurring issues. She loves working with clients the most out of all the different roles she has played. Cheryl completed her education at Brigham Young University where she received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Sociology in 1991 and her Master’s Degree in Social Work in 1993. Her clinical training included CBT, DBT, Motivational Interviewing, Assertive Communication, and providing individual, family, group therapy and marriage counseling.
Cheryl is the oldest of ten children and has two adult children, a daughter and a son. Her interests include water sports, photography, interior design, household projects, and spending time with her family and friends. She loves house boating on Lake Powell, but her favorite pastime is spending time with her 5 wonderful grandchildren.