Whether you or a loved one is thinking about entering a drug or alcohol rehab facility, you might wonder what you will encounter. In addition to any medical or withdrawal needs that must be met, you will also be doing a lot to untangle the psychology of your addiction. However, understanding yourself is just the first step and after that comes normalization. This is a word that is used in some facilities but not in others, but the concept remains the same and is very present in recovery programs. Learn more about normalization and what it might mean to you.
What Is Normalization?
Normalization is essentially the process of making something common and easy for you. There is a common perception that the things we, as people, do are strange or freakish, but the truth is that they are always more common than you think. There is no such thing as a unique disorder or problem, but thinking that you have that kind of issue is one that can alter your world view. Someone who has had issues with addiction has been living away from the so-called normal world in that time and getting used to the idea of being “normal” again can be tough!
How Did Normalization Work Against You?
People, especially children and teens, can normalize all sorts of behaviors. For example, a child that has an abusive parent sees abuse as part of a normal daily life. You cannot get upset over every angry word or blow, so you simply learn to make it normal. Then you get out into the world and even if your abusive parent is no longer there, your world is shaped by what you experienced. You might constantly be on edge, expecting someone to strike you or you might feel that it is normal to abuse others. In terms of addiction, you have gotten used to a normal that is harmful and now you need to break away from it.
Part of normalization in a rehabilitation center is figuring out where you stand in the world. You will work with people to realize that you are simply a person with an addiction problem. You are not a failure or a terrible human being, nor are you a superhuman who can remain untouched by the world around you. People with addiction problems often have a mindset that keeps them apart from others; this is isolating them further. As you go through normalization, you will start to see yourself as part of humanity.
Producing Healthy Behavior Patterns
Part of normalizing yourself is creating a new normal. People who are addicted to alcohol or drugs come from a dysfunctional view of what normal is. Sometimes they do not understand that this is harmful or sometimes they do and cannot stop themselves. Part of normalization will involve you developing new habits and new coping strategies for moving forward with your life. What does your life look like without alcohol? What is your new normal?
Another big part of normalization is self-care. We are all people who are vulnerable at times and who require care. If there is no one to provide that care, we must give it to ourselves. Part of normalization is creating a life where you realize that you deserve to be taken care of and then you learn to take care of yourself in a positive way.
If you are struggling with addiction, remember that there is help out there. Normalization is just one of the many things that rehabilitation can offer you, so reach out for help if you need it!