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The journey to sobriety is unique for every person and each individual deals with it a bit differently. There are similarities of course, but a lot depends on their personality and different traits. Introverts specifically are good at self-reflection, thoughtful thinking, and listening. These traits can help them tremendously in their work towards recovery from a substance addiction.

Self-Reflection, Deep Thinking, and Listening Skills

People who are reserved are happy to spend time alone. Their relationships are closer and deeper. They will take their time in making decisions and are more likely to formulate excellent ones.  It is the ability to think deeply and thoughtfully that helps introverts in excelling in higher education. In other words, for introverts, retaining information and reflecting is not a difficult task because they can be alone with their thoughts, block out all the noise, clutter, and distractions that everyday life presents.

Substance addiction recovery requires a lot of self-reflection and deep thinking which introverts are naturally good at. Hence, when they participate in rehab programs, they can channel their energy towards inspecting themselves and looking where they can improve themselves. Reserved personalities will reflect on their addiction, how they reached it in the first place, and why they should get out of it. Their ability to think deeply is also an asset in rehabilitation because it helps them focus on things that matter. Since they are good at listening and reflecting, they know that they must take action to get through their addiction.

Customizing Rehab Programs and Fellowships

Alas, the reality is that rehabilitation programs focus on group dynamics which leave little room for solitude and self-reflection activities. Thus, professionals who work in addiction treatment and recovery must ensure that the personality differences of participants are considered by customizing approaches and sessions that will benefit introverts. They must be allowed to be themselves without pushing introverts towards an extrovert personality. Of course, making meaningful connections with fellow participants is encouraged because they can have a positive influence on their recovery. For some, it can help them improve their abilities to foster social relations. However, providing space to introverts is critical because it will give them their ‘alone time’ that will aid in recharging, thinking, and contributing positively to the group.

On the other hand, it is also possible for an introverted individual to forego recovery using a support group. Since they are inward looking, they will find it easier to reflect on the materials provided by a psychotherapist or counselor at their own pace without the pressure of other members in the group. Meditation and other spiritual tools offer calm and mechanisms to cope with triggers.  It’s also helpful to choose a rehab that is advantageous to their type of personality so that they will benefit from the program and its activities.
As challenging as it might be for an introvert to show up for group meetings, it is essential that they regularly do so. Giving them as much alone time as they need is necessary, but they should be carefully observed most of the time in order to avoid the danger of falling back into addiction. In other words, they might need someone to take responsibility for them even though they might not like it at first.

It can be a challenge to help introverted people with substance addiction, but the good news is they can draw on their strengths such as self-reflection, listening, and deep thinking skills to assist in their recovery.


1 Comment

  1. My fellowship is Alcoholics Anonymous. My sobriety date is 02.19.09. Thank you for this insight. Groupthink is anathema. I understand and embrace the concept behind “I Get Drunk. We get sober”.
    Dr. Jung, revered by AA (and others), suggested many of our societal ills and personal maladies arise from our inability to be alone in a room with our thoughts. I’m bemused by the vast number of people in the program who know nothing of meditation and resist learning despite prayer and meditation given as a means to maintain conscious contact with our higher power. (Personally, I had to be taught to breathe).
    Introverts in AA will do what we have done before whenever and wherever we encounter these situations: adjust.

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