In my work as a Psychologist at the AToN Center with those suffering with addictions I will often discuss the concept of “delay of gratification.” This refers to the idea that in learning how to postpone pleasure or enjoyment so that more benefits can come in the long run. This concept is very relevant to those suffering with addictions. They have become stuck in a cycle of “immediate gratification” through the drugs and alcohol and then end up paying a large cost in the short and long term.
Some AToN Center residents have found it helpful to look at the dynamic between pain and pleasure with the idea that whatever you get first, you will later get more of the second. This means that if you get the euphoria from substances, then there will be the pain shortly there after and mounting negative consequences in the long run. Compare this with choosing to take the discomfort of going to the gym up front, but then being rewarded afterwards with more energy and in the long run with better health.
Receiving treatment can also be immediately less fun in the short run, but can lead to more stability, better health and improved relationships. To learn greater delay of gratification can be difficult but the hopes are that your struggles will be rewarded many times over.
Dr. Chad K. Cox PsyD
AToN Center 888-535-1516