Addiction recovery is certainly a long-game endeavor. It’s not easy and it isn’t over quickly.
Keeping a fresh, positive perspective throughout the course of your treatment, recovery, and sobriety will make the days a bit easier and keep you on the path for the long haul.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when the days are a little cloudier than you’d like.
Write and Listen
Sometimes we don’t realize how off-base and absurd our own inner self-criticisms and negative thoughts really are until we hear them repeated back to us out loud. Write down your negative surface thoughts, judgments, and criticisms and then read them to yourself in the mirror. Or better yet, have someone else read them to you so you can discuss together. Often times, you’ll see that they don’t hold any substance, they’re just negative thought patterns that can be brushed aside. Something like “I’m not a good driver” is only a self-fulfilling thought. If you tweak that wording to “I’m a better driver today” then you start to change your own thinking.
Evidence and Experimentation
Often these negative thought patterns can be shredded if we simply demand evidence for them. For example something like “I hate where I live,” might require you to list some specific things you dislike. Then start to experiment. Make a list of things you do like about your neighborhood and why you moved there in the first place. “My parents don’t understand me” is a cop-out so go to your parents and quiz them about yourself. See how much they really do know or understand.
Put it in Context
People tend to overuse words like “literally” when they don’t mean it. Saying to yourself “This is the worst day ever,” is a big assumption. How bad is it really? On a scale of 1 to 100, what’s the absolute worst thing that could occur? A zombie apocalypse or a terrible disease might be a real 100, where your cruddy day is really more like a 30 on the scale. This calls your thinking out and forces you to be realistic about the dramatic statements you make to yourself in your head.
Our thinking shapes our personality, character, and daily life. In many ways, you could say it shape’s our entire reality. You have more control over your thinking than you want to admit. Take time to get a handle on your thoughts and understand why you think along the lines you do. Improving the inner monologue and keeping your thoughts positive will have beneficial improvements in your dealings with others and the world at large.