Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for Addiction

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for Addiction Recovery

Learn more about acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) for addiction recovery at Mile High Recovery Center.

The Role of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for Addiction Recovery

At Mile High Recovery Center (MHRC), we are dedicated to providing comprehensive addiction and mental health treatment in the heart of Denver, Colorado.
Our team of highly qualified professionals specializes in relapse prevention and trauma-informed care. This ensures that each client receives the individualized support they need to build a strong foundation for long-term wellness and sobriety.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for Addiction

Evidence-Based Practices

Central to our treatment philosophy is the integration of evidence-based practices. This includes acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) for addiction treatment.
This practice has proven to be a powerful tool in helping people overcome addiction and cultivate a meaningful, purposeful life. It focuses on the whole person – body, mind, and spirit.1
With ACT for addiction recovery, we empower our clients to discover their unique path to recovery. We help them develop the strength, insight, and tools necessary to get healthy and stay healthy.

Understanding Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for Addiction Treatment

ACT is an evidence-based approach that aims to increase psychological flexibility. ACT for addiction helps people to live a values-driven life while effectively managing the challenges and discomfort that inevitably arise.

Core Processes of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for Addiction Recovery

ACT for addiction is built upon six core processes:2
  1. Acceptance: Embracing thoughts, feelings, and experiences without judgment or resistance.
  2. Cognitive defusion: Learning to observe thoughts without becoming entangled in them.
  3. Present moment awareness: Focusing on the here and now, rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.
  4. Self-as-context: Recognizing that one’s thoughts and feelings do not define who they are.
  5. Values clarification: Identifying what truly matters and aligning actions with those values.
  6. Committed action: Taking concrete steps towards valued goals and aspirations.
By cultivating these processes, ACT for addiction helps people develop the flexibility and resilience needed to navigate the challenges of addiction recovery. It teaches them the skills to build a fulfilling life aligned with their deepest values and aspirations.

Application of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for Addiction Treatment

At Mile High Recovery Center, we integrate ACT into our comprehensive addiction treatment program. This includes individual therapy sessions, group therapy, and experiential exercises. Our skilled therapists utilize a range of ACT techniques.
These include:
  • Mindfulness practices
  • Metaphors
  • Experiential exercises
These techniques help clients foster psychological flexibility and promote lasting behavior change. Through ACT for addiction, people in recovery at Mile High Recovery Center learn essential skills for navigating the challenges of addiction and building a fulfilling life in sobriety. These skills include:

Accepting Thoughts, Emotions, and Experiences Without Judgment

For example, a client struggling with cravings to use substances learns to acknowledge and accept these cravings without acting on them or judging themselves harshly. They practice sitting with the discomfort of the craving, recognizing it as a temporary experience that will pass.

Defusing from Negative Thought Patterns and Beliefs

In this case, a client with the recurring thought “I’m a failure and will never stay sober” learns to observe this thought with distance, seeing it as a mental event rather than a fact.
They may practice labeling it as “just a thought” or visualizing it floating away like a leaf on a stream. This reduces its power over their actions.

Cultivating Present Moment Awareness

In a group mindfulness exercise, clients practice focusing on their breath and bodily sensations. They gently bring their attention back when it wanders to worries about the past or future.
This skill helps them stay grounded in the present, rather than getting caught up in addiction-related thoughts and urges.

Connecting with Values and Purpose

For example, through values clarification exercises, a client identifies that “being a loving, present father” is one of their core values. Whenever they feel tempted to drink, they reconnect with this value as a source of motivation to stay committed to their sobriety.

Taking Committed Action Toward Meaningful Change

An example of this commitment is a client who values health and fitness. They set a goal to exercise three times a week. Even on days when their motivation is low, they take committed action by showing up to the gym or going for a brief walk. This builds momentum toward their valued direction.
By embracing these ACT principles and developing these essential skills, clients at MHRC lay the foundation for lasting recovery and personal transformation.
Clients learn to relate to their thoughts, emotions, and experiences in a more flexible and adaptive way. This frees them up to pursue what matters most to them. By embracing these principles, clients develop the skills and resilience needed to navigate the challenges of recovery and build a life worth living.

Embracing Acceptance and Mindfulness With ACT

Acceptance and mindfulness are core components of ACT for addiction recovery. Both play a crucial role in overcoming substance use disorder (SUD) and any co-occurring mental health challenges.
Through ACT for addiction, clients learn to accept difficult emotions and experiences without judgment, recognizing that attempting to control or avoid discomfort often leads to greater suffering.
Our therapists guide clients through specific ACT strategies for practicing mindfulness, such as:
  • Observing thoughts and feelings without becoming attached to them
  • Focusing on the present moment, rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future
  • Engaging in mindful breathing exercises
  • Practicing self-compassion and non-judgment
By cultivating acceptance and mindfulness, people in recovery develop the ability to tolerate discomfort, regulate emotions, and respond to challenges with greater flexibility and resilience.

Defusing from Negative Thoughts and Beliefs

Cognitive defusion techniques are another essential aspect of ACT for addiction. These are aimed at reducing the impact of negative thoughts and beliefs on behavior. In addiction recovery, people often struggle with self-defeating thought patterns and beliefs that perpetuate the cycle of substance abuse.3
Through ACT for addiction, clients learn to observe their thoughts without becoming entangled in them. They recognize that thoughts are simply mental events, not absolute truths.

Defusion Techniques

Our therapists employ various defusion techniques, such as:
  • Labeling thoughts as “just thoughts”
  • Using metaphors to create distance from thoughts (e.g., imagining thoughts as leaves floating down a stream)
  • Practicing thought-watching exercises
  • Engaging in experiential exercises that demonstrate the transient nature of thoughts
By defusing negative thoughts and beliefs, people in recovery gain greater psychological flexibility. This enables them to make choices aligned with their values and goals.

Connecting with Values and Purpose

Values clarification is a central component of ACT for addiction recovery. It helps people connect with their deepest desires and aspirations.
In addiction recovery, it’s common for people to lose touch with what truly matters to them. This is because substance abuse takes priority over other areas of life.

Values Exploration in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for Addiction Recovery

Through ACT for addiction treatment, clients engage in a process of values exploration. They identify what they want their life to stand for and what brings them a sense of meaning and fulfillment.
At MHRC, our therapists guide them in:
  • Reflecting on their core values and what matters most to them
  • Envisioning a life aligned with their values
  • Setting meaningful goals that reflect their values
  • Identifying potential barriers to living a values-driven life
By clarifying their values, people in recovery gain a sense of direction and purpose. This provides motivation for making positive changes in their lives.

Taking Committed Action Toward Change

At Mile High Recovery Center, we know that lasting change takes more than just good intentions. It takes consistent, committed action toward values and goals. Our therapists work closely with clients to turn insights from ACT into concrete steps toward a meaningful life.
They help to:
  • Break big goals into small, manageable steps
  • Create a step-by-step plan to reach goals
  • Build confidence in clients’ ability to change

Examples of Values and Goals

For example, if a client wants to be a more present parent, our therapists might suggest:
  • Setting aside one-on-one time with each child
  • Going to family therapy to improve communication
  • Creating sober family traditions
  • Volunteering at their child’s school
By breaking the big goal into concrete steps, clients can take action right away, even as they work on long-term recovery.

Preemptive Planning and Practice in ACT

Our therapists help clients:
  • Plan for obstacles they might face
  • Come up with ways to overcome challenges
  • Build resilience to stay committed to change
For instance, if a client thinks spending time with old drinking buddies might be a problem, our therapists can help them brainstorm other social activities or make a plan for dealing with temptation.
By planning ahead, clients can feel confident and prepared to stay on track, even when things get tough.

Putting Goals into Practice in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for Addiction

Our therapists focus on helping clients practice new behaviors and skills. This involves living out values through daily thoughts and actions and building habits that support long-term recovery.
This might mean:
  • Using new communication skills with loved ones
  • Developing a daily mindfulness practice
  • Consistently practicing new behaviors to create lasting change

Celebrating Successes in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for Addiction Recovery

Our therapists also celebrate progress and successes along the way. Recovery is a long journey, so it’s important to acknowledge milestones, no matter how small. Clients must recognize their hard work and maintain motivation to stay sober.
This could involve:
  • Reflecting on growth since starting treatment
  • Highlighting positive changes in relationships and life
  • Boosting confidence to overcome future challenges
At MHRC, we believe committed action bridges the gap between intention and transformation. Our therapists help clients take values-driven steps toward the life they want. Our clients build the momentum, resilience, and self-belief needed for lasting freedom from addiction.

Cultivating Self-Compassion and Resilience Through ACT

ACT for addiction promotes self-compassion and resilience. It encourages people to treat themselves with kindness and understanding, especially in the face of challenges and setbacks.
In addiction recovery, self-compassion is essential for navigating the inevitable ups and downs of the journey. This reduces the risk of relapse and promotes long-term well-being.
Our therapists guide clients in practicing self-compassion through:4
  • Recognizing that struggles and setbacks are a normal part of the human experience
  • Treating themselves with the same kindness and understanding they would offer a close friend
  • Engaging in self-care activities that promote physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being
  • Reframing “failures” as opportunities for growth and learning
By cultivating self-compassion and resilience, those in recovery develop the inner strength and resources needed to weather challenges and maintain their commitment to a life of sobriety and fulfillment.

Integrating Holistic Approaches into the Treatment Plan

At Mile High Recovery Center, we believe in a holistic approach to addiction treatment, recognizing that true healing involves addressing the whole person – body, mind, and spirit.
ACT for addiction is complemented by a range of holistic therapies that support the principles of psychological flexibility and values-driven living.

Mindfulness Practices

Our clients have the opportunity to engage in mindfulness practices, such as meditation and yoga, which enhance present moment awareness and promote relaxation and stress reduction.

Experiential Therapy

We also offer experiential therapies. These include art therapy, equine therapy, and outdoor adventure therapy. They provide hands-on opportunities for clients to practice ACT for addiction and build new skills and coping strategies.
By integrating holistic approaches with ACT, we create a comprehensive and individualized treatment experience that supports our clients in achieving lasting recovery and optimal well-being.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for Addiction

Recover With Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for Addiction Treatment

ACT is a powerful evidence-based approach that has proven to be highly effective in addiction recovery.
By promoting psychological flexibility and values-driven living, ACT helps people develop the skills and resilience needed to overcome the challenges of addiction and build a life filled with purpose.
At Mile High Recovery Center, we are committed to providing our clients with the most effective and compassionate care. We integrate ACT with a range of holistic therapies to support comprehensive healing and long-term recovery.

Contact Mile High Recovery Center Today

If you or a loved one is seeking an evidence-based, holistic approach to addiction treatment, we invite you to explore the ACT-based programs offered at Mile High Recovery Center.

With our dedicated team of professionals and our commitment to individualized, whole-person care, we are here to support you on your journey to a life of sobriety, fulfillment, and endless possibility. Together, we can embrace change through ACT and create a brighter, more hopeful future.

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Reach Out Today to See How Mile High Recovery Center Can Help You Heal

If you or a loved one are ready to regain autonomy over your lives and well-being, recovery starts here. Let us guide you toward sustainable wellness and sobriety through our personalized treatment plans tailored to your unique needs and experiences. We look forward to hearing from you!