Among the reasons I often used to invoke when my wife or my parents suggested rehab was that I’m not in the least bit comfortable with religious or spiritual addiction therapy. While the underlying reason as to why I refused rehab was that I didn’t feel prepared, I wasn’t completely lying in my arguments: I’ve never been a religious person and rituals of worshiping or praying have been off-putting for me since high school.
I’m not the kind of guy who goes around spreading anti-theistic propaganda or harbors a deep resentment for a person because of his faith; it’s just not my cup of tea. Therefore, quitting alcohol with the aid of religion was not a journey I was comfortable embarking on.
My State of Confusion Regarding Rehab
Back then, I shared a misconception with many of my casual drinking buddies and acquaintances with respect to the term “rehab”. You see, like most of us out there who suddenly discovered that they couldn’t control their drinking and needed help, I believed that AA was the only institution who provided treatments for alcoholism. I thought that all therapy, support groups, clinics, and so on and so forth, were part of AA. Not denying the fact that the majority of them adhere to the AA philosophy, the truth is that there are in fact secular programs designed for people who aren’t super big on religion.
I Learned About the REBT
The REBT acronym stands for Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy. On a side note, I was thrilled that a form of addiction treatment contained the word “rational” in its name, for once. REBT was the creation of a renowned psychologist by the name of Dr. Albert Ellis and it’s been around since the mid ‘50s. While it may not be as popular as AA’s approach, REBT has helped numerous people achieve sobriety and resist the negative thoughts and feelings that tend to trigger relapses.
My Second Rehab Clinic
Having failed my initial attempt to remain sober with the prospect of returning to rehab, I remembered reading about the REBT programs a while back. I decided that if I was going back there, then this time it would be a clinic that utilizes a program I can trust. Therefore, I minutely browsed the websites of clinics until I came across one that relied on the REBT.
Turns out, it was one of the best decisions I ever made, because employing an approach that was familiar to me stimulated my interest in participating in the various therapy programs. It also gave me the confidence that learning trustworthy coping mechanisms will permit me to avoid and negate all potential relapse triggers. Let me walk you through the basics.
REBT in Short
I would later learn that REBT is very similar to the Buddhist teachings, which is by far the most logical religion in my book because it doesn’t revolve around worshipping deities.
To put it simply, the underlying principles behind Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy states that the perception of a person towards external factors and situations constitutes the real reason why negative emotions develop. A certain set of circumstances is not good or bad until you grant it either of these labels.
There is, of course, a lot more to REBT and different coping techniques that stem from this core concept. However, this principle helped me put everything I knew about life in perspective and it allowed me to re-examine my problems from a whole set of different angles. And that’s a major breakthrough!