Positive thinking is an important part of the recovery process when you’re going through a substance abuse treatment program. While you can be told how important it is to maintain a positive mindset and keep hopeful feelings, it’s still difficult to disregard negative thoughts. Especially for an addict who has been struggling with their substance abuse problem for a long period, it can be too easy to fall into the trap of negative thinking. Negative thoughts can interfere with your recovery in a number of different ways.
Persistent negativity can lead to depressive episodes and periods of anxiety, especially if an addict is already struggling with mental health issues. Negative thoughts can interfere with your recovery by leading to the belief that it’s not possible to stay clean. When an addict begins to doubt that treatment will work, they will be more likely to relapse after leaving a treatment facility. These are just a few of the reasons substance abuse recovery programs place an emphasis on positive thoughts and hopeful expressions.
Learn to Recognize Negative Thoughts
Negative thinking is most destructive when it’s allowed to persist over an extended period of time. Unfortunately, it’s easy to get lost in negative thinking without realizing that it’s happening. One way that substance abuse treatment helps is in teaching recovering addicts how to recognize negative thoughts as soon as they occur. This usually starts in the morning by reflecting on your mood as soon as you get out of bed. If you can make a conscious effort to take on a positive or hopeful demeanor as soon as you awaken, there’s a better chance that you’ll stay in a positive mindset throughout your day.
Some recovering addicts find that keeping a journal helps them reflect on their negative thoughts, so they can recognize the causes of those thoughts. This helps them creative positive affirmations to counter the negative thoughts they may be having. Instead of feeling that they will never master a task, they can respond with the thought that doing their best is good enough. That will keep them dedicated until enough practice has helped them meet their desired level of mastery. As they continue using positive affirmations in this way, they will find that they have fewer and fewer negative thoughts.
Gain a Different Perspective
It can also help a recovering addict to overcome negative feelings by looking at the situation from a different perspective. Some of the exercises they will engage in as a part of substance abuse treatment will be to look at their situation from the perspective of a friend or family member. They can ask themselves how a loved one would view the situation and how they would react. Often, this helps a recovering addict see that the situation isn’t as dire as it seems to them.
Addicts can also gain different perspectives by discussing their problems in group support meetings. As they share their negative thoughts, the other recovering addicts can offer insight derived from their own experiences. This will help them see that their problem isn’t unique and there’s nothing that can’t be resolved. Learning that others have been through similar situations often helps recovering addicts adopt more positive mindsets.
Focus on the Present
Many of the negative thoughts that a recovering addict is confronted with involve thoughts about the past. It’s easy to get lost in bad memories and thoughts about what they could have done differently. However, a substance abuse treatment program will teach them to focus on the present and on their recovery. This is the time to concentrate on learning how to stay clean. Recovering addicts are encouraged to think about their future as well. When they spend more time planning for their future and focusing on staying clean, they’ll have less time to dwell on negative thoughts.
Negative thoughts will still occur, but, by using the coping skills they learn in treatment, they can chase those thoughts away quickly. Instead, they can replace those thoughts with feelings of gratitude for the positive changes that recovery has brought into their life. Using positive affirmations and gratitude helps a recovering addict maintain the strong frame of mind that’s essential to their sustained recovery. If you are struggling with addiction, you can contact our counselors any time of the day or night. We’re available seven days a week at 772-266-5320 to answer your questions and help you get started on the path to recovery. Making this one phone call can put you on your way to a positive and more hopeful future.