Irrationality is an umbrella term that covers a wide array of erroneous thinking patterns and belief systems that are detrimental to an individual and that have a flawed logical basis or no logical basis at all. The undeniable connection between a person’s internal “modus operandi” and his behavior constitutes the main reason why irrationality makes one prone to maladaptive coping solutions, like alcoholism or drug addiction.
The Cognitive Behavioral View of Irrationality
There are different branches of psychology that can help correct irrational thinking patterns by challenging their foundation and the results, but cognitive behavioral therapy seems to work best in this case. Numerous specialists even consider that abusing mind-altering substances to cope with the unpleasant situations of day-to- day life is practically irrational thinking.
To explain this conception, it suffices to say that there’s no reason to believe your life will improve by consuming a substance that gives you a false perception of reality for a limited time period of time, especially considering the side effects like addiction, various associated illnesses, etc.
The Sources of Irrationality
While irrationality is perceived as the calling card of alcohol or drug addiction, it is necessary to point out that it can persist in the post-rehab stages as well. In fact, during sobriety there are numerous risks of falling into unhealthy thinking patterns. For example:
- Various misconceptions discussed in support group meetings could be assimilated automatically, without considering their logical basis.
- Irrational thinking patterns instilled by the family during a patient’s childhood are very firmly rooted in the psyche, which makes them difficult to correct (e.g. parents who have utilized alcohol as a coping mechanism implant the idea that the behavior is normal).
- Conflicting belief systems and the frustration generated – known as cognitive dissonance – can only coexist if the patient adopts an irrational explanation for why they’re not mutually exclusive.
- Bitterness, jealousy, envy, hate or anger are emotions that distort our objective perception on reality, enforcing sets of illogical conceptions about others and ourselves.
- Misinformed individuals are substantially more susceptible to irrational beliefs; it’s always wise to check various sources in order to confirm a certain piece of information before accepting it as a fact and that goes double for those who frequently utilize the online environment for this purpose.
Why Irrational Thinking Patterns Should be Eliminated During Sobriety
One of the most important abilities that a recovering alcoholic should gain in order to cope with the newfound absence of alcohol is to deal with whatever life throws at him. Therefore, correctly perceiving day to day events, their consequences and the optimal course of action is very important; hiding behind the shadows of irrational thinking patterns does not allow you to progress.
Consequentially, the absence of any tangible progress is very likely to throw a former addict into a downwards spiral of depression, discomfort and anxiety, therefore triggering a relapse. At the same time, relapsing is not the only danger associated with irrationality; the recovering alcoholic could easily replace the dependency on booze with workaholism, drug abuse or even a fitness addiction.
The only way to ensure that your recovery process is on track is to eliminate all irrational conceptions and learn how to weigh the value of arguments before accepting anything for a fact. For more information on how recovering alcoholics manage irrational thinking, check out our discussion forum.