Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in the Treatment of Addiction

Granite Recovery Centers’ approach to treatment and recovery from drug and alcohol use is an integration of a 12-Step curriculum with evidence-based clinical modalities. One of the therapies we implement in our program is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which has shown in studies to be an effective part of an integrated approach to treating substance use disorders.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the standard evidence-based clinical modality used for substance use disorder (SUD) treatment in hospitals, residential drug treatment centers, and outpatient counseling programs. In a CBT environment, case managers and clinicians help clients identify the emotional triggers for their negative behavior and teach them to develop positive responses to those triggers. Through one-on-one and group addiction therapy programs, clients learn what triggers make them use and how they can modify their responses in order to avoid the use. In many cases, a cognitive behavioral therapy program will suggest an inclusion of AA.’s 12-Step program curriculum during treatment.

Why CBT Alone is Not Enough to Treat Substance Use

While CBT is effective in addressing alcohol and drug use, and an integral part of our substance abuse treatment programs in New Hampshire, CBT in and of itself, is not enough to keep clients sober and ensure lifelong recovery. Addiction to drugs and/or alcohol is a disease driven by compulsion, and fueled by a constant state of restlessness, irritability, and discontent, sometimes referred to as “RID”. Once the person with the disease first uses and feels a reprieve from their pain – however temporarily – a compulsion is born to use again. So, even after identifying one’s use triggers and modifying responses to those triggers through CBT, one will still want to use. That is because compulsion to use does not respond to rational thought.

Julie’s Story…

Woman in need of cognitive behavioral therapy program in New HampshireJulie (name changed) is a twice-divorced single mom who had been using cocaine for several years before entering treatment. In the course of working the 12 Steps, Julie came to understand that she had been sexually abused as a child. This revelation was not something she was consciously aware of before treatment, but as the realization of the trauma took hold, it became clear to both her case manager and her therapist that individual Cognitive Behavioral Therapy sessions would be needed to help her work through this trauma in a more clinical and comprehensive way than Step work would alone.

Our Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Program Takes an Integrated Approach to Treatment

The 12 Steps of A.A. introduces the concept of purpose, a more specific life plan, a daily design for living which, if followed resolutely, can eliminate the client’s compulsion to use. 12-Step work integrated with CBT reduces the risk of relapse.

Granite Recovery Centers uses a substance use disorder treatment model whose goal is lifelong recovery. The approach is grounded in A.A.’s 12-Step curriculum and integrated into clinical modalities. At our very core, we believe that without a daily design for living in a full, all-in practice, the disease of addiction will go untreated and relapse will almost certainly occur. Through individual and group clinical therapy sessions informed by 12-step assignments, clients learn the root of their RID by way of methodical, step-by-step self-diagnosis. What begins as an admission of powerlessness over addiction, transcends to mindfulness and understanding, and ultimately gives birth to an enlightened purposeful life.

Step 4 marks an oftentimes pivotal point in a 12-Step program, when clients are forced to “make a searching and fearless inventory” of themselves and their wrongs and to also “admit the exact nature of their wrongs” to a “higher power, themselves, and another human being”. We often find that when one’s moral inventory is taken, more intensive CBT needs to be utilized to help the client process the pain, grief, and trauma issues that so often arise.