For almost anyone in recovery, we share many experiences others do not.
What is less often discussed is, even after sobriety, we continue to share those unique experiences. One of those problems is self-doubt and negativity in thought.
Yes, we all go through these moments. It is too hard. You miss the glory days as you recall the good times on 10 years ago, forgetting the two years after that got you where you are. Dwelling on your family who no longer talks to you.
Bad things keep happening to you in sobriety. Nobody believes you. Thinking it is pointless to recover. You are too old to turn the tide.
I was 41 and renting a room, always drunk. Two years later, I was a business owner living in a 3 bedroom house in a gated community. While I am extraordinarily fortunate, it is never too late.
But on top of all these stressors, you now have lost your go-to coping mechanism!
A trick is now to replace them with positive coping tools. People who are able to stay positive are more receptive to treatment. Also, they are far more likely to succeed, so no matter what, it is good to stay positive as much as possible.
There are studies after study showing the effects of positivity on mind and body. Not only in addiction, but in life.
Positive people live longer, are sick less and even more often likely to survive all ailments including Cancer! Positivity is one of the few things that has all upsides and no downsides.
Are you struggling to stay positive early in recovery? Here are five tips for you:
Use Positive Statements
This is the easiest way to stay positive. Simply replace negative words with positive ones.
Rather than saying “I hate chicken!” replace it with a positive statement like “I like steak a lot more.” You can use this in many ways in life that you do not even realize.
Avoid negative words like no, hate, can’t, won’t, etc. No more “I can’t do that” go with “I can do this instead” or “I’ll try.”
Even when you stop negative behaviors, positive statements help.
Rather than “I am a drug addict” say “I do not do drugs.” Telling people you are an addict sets up the mind for present tense use. If you tell people you do not use drugs, that reinforces in your mind as well that drugs are NOT a part of your life.
Try putting a rubber band around your wrist and snap it whenever you say something negative. This will build a subliminal message to your brain that negativity is harmful and you will change faster.
Replace Addictive Behavior With a Positive Behavior.
Many people do this for a reason. People stop bad behaviors and replace them with good ones.
Do you feel a strong urge to relapse? Go exercise, go for a walk or a hike, any change of scenery often helps, especially visiting nature. Even hanging out with other sober people and doing things as a group is better. Have a barbecue, go watch a sports game together.
Being around others reduces loneliness and negative thinking. Whatever you feel you need to do, go do it to keep your mind off of doing something you will regret.
You can take martial arts, yoga or even meditating or listening to music and reading a book are other great ways to find positive addictions.
Stay Around Positive People
This is crucial. I have never in my life seen a group of people serious about recovery out doing something fun and positive and wind up messing up.
If they are not there to help, they should be out of your life for now.
It does not have to be permanent, but the first months are especially crucial for being around people who will build you up, not those who seek to cut you down.
Some people you least expect will show themselves as not being supportive or downright trying to keep you down. Be ready to cut people out who won’t get it.
This is another effortless way to stay positive.
Give back to the community you used to take from.
It may sound selfish, but a great way to keep positive is also to help those who are where you used to be or worse. Volunteer for a meal program, go support a homeless person with something they need.
Come visit us at Above and Beyond to help us out, we can often use a little extra help! This writer is giving back and doing that exact thing right now!
Pet a Dog or Cat.
When you see a friendly cat or dog, give them a pet. Or, if you are in a position to, get one of your own.
Petting an animal gives people happiness on a level few other things do.
Also, you are making that animal happier as well.
Animals even have benefits far beyond that. Animals can help teach us to trust again, to love again. For many of us, we are cautious of humanity, let a cat or dog help bridge that gap.
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or are in need of health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.