The possibility of recovery hinges entirely on one small belief: a belief in the ability to change. Many men have lamented in their active addiction that their ability to change has been lost. I’ll never change, they bemoan. I can’t change, they woefully proclaim. Addiction is, among many other things, a set of destructive and seemingly uncontrollable habits of mind as well as body. However, as millions of sober and recovering men around the world prove, those habits can be changed. Recovery is not so much about what is done but “how” it is done: with honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness. All three of these philosophical principles reflect the ability to change. With honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness, the possibility of recovery becomes real by blasting open the locked door of closed-mindedness. According to the research and theories of Carol Dweck, this is a shift from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. For successful recovery, men must find a growth mindset.
The contrast between a fixed and growth mindset might seem obvious. People with fixed mindsets believe they are stuck in their traits and qualities, without the ability to change. Fixed mindsets don’t necessarily mean being stuck or unsuccessful. Someone with a fixed mindset may be incredibly smart and talented, but rely on their natural ability as it is instead of working toward any improvement.
Growth mindset people recognize their natural abilities as well. In addition, people with a growth mindset fully embrace the idea that there is more to learn, more room to grow, and more experience to gain. With time, and effort, natural abilities can be sharpened. Most importantly, growth mindset individuals realize that work and effort leads to development. Natural ability can only take them so far.
Developing a growth mindset for recovery is critical for sustained sobriety. If a man enters recovery believing he cannot grow, he cannot recover, he cannot stay sober, he cannot change, he is doomed to these self-fulfilling prophecies. Moreover, he will actively avoid doing any of the “work” which treatment for recovery requires. Since he is not convinced that he can develop any further, he sees no need to apply himself to the work, because he does not believe it will work. Too many men spend time in treatment centers only to immediately relapse upon release. A fixed mindset keeps them locked into the truth of their addiction, whereas a growth mindset would liberate them into the truths of recovery.
In our next blog, we will look more deeply at how a growth mindset helps men in recovery build essential habits for sustained sobriety.
Sustainable changes create sustainable recovery. That’s our goal for the men who come to treatment at Tree House Recovery in Orange County. Our innovative programs are designed to transform men’s lives so that they can find freedom from addiction. Call us today for information: (855) 202-2138