Taking action against addiction is best accomplished by having a sense of structure to rely on. Although treatment professionals and providers typically build a foundation with their patients, some people may need an extra level of support. The hardiness model of resilience proposes three factors that create a strong and sturdy self: commitment, control, and challenge. Each characteristic is important to have in day-to-day life, but all are particularly powerful throughout the recovery process.
Established by Salvatore R. Maddi, Ph.D., the concept of hardiness was developed from a landmark study on Illinois Bell Telephone (IBT) staff. After comparing the wellness of 400 employees before, during, and after a massive company restructuring, Maddi and his research team noticed a significant subset of employees that reacted positively to the change. As a result of further analysis, Maddi identified a trio of personality traits that contributed to this resilience:
Commitment consists of feeling fully engaged with one’s work. In fact, exerting effort toward goals makes hardy people feel important. Within the journey of recovery, this is an essential quality to move forward. Even in the face of obstacles, commitment distracts individuals from stress and makes them resistant to burnout. By understanding this loyalty to self-improvement, those in recovery can begin to appreciate their progress and their struggle. Both are necessary to be a whole and healthy being.
In the context of recovery, control refers to if people perceive they can influence their surrounding situations or outcomes. Those who believe they are the victim of circumstance react negatively to hardship by either complaining or blaming others for their plight. In addition to controlling their compulsion to consume, individuals receiving drug or alcohol treatment should learn to see the power their thoughts and emotions have over their behavior.
The way human beings handle challenges heavily determines their degree of resilience. While those who see them as opportunities to develop often thrive in their careers and relationships, others who view them as threats fall back and stay stagnant. The public needs to understand that recovering from disordered substance use is a constant challenge and continual life changes are scattered along the path of self-improvement.
Hardiness can help anyone
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), “Results from the IBT study and other research shows that hardiness enhances performance, leadership, conduct, stamina, mood and both physical and mental health by giving people the courage and capability to turn adversity to advantage.”
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