How to Have Positive Thinking in Recovery

When we’re working to recover, we want to supplement our sobriety with as much self-supportiveness as possible. Often the ways in which we talk to ourselves and think about ourselves can actually hinder our sobriety. When we feel down on ourselves, self-hating and insecure, we’re more likely to want to return to our drugs of choice to make ourselves feel better. We’ve been using our addictions as our means of finding happiness, comfort, and solace. We’ve been using them to try and detach from our difficult thoughts and feelings. We’re finding a false sense of release, however, because once our high fades, the pain, confusion and overwhelm always return, often stronger than before. We feel just as depressed and anxious as we did before, if not more so. The shame and grief we were trying to escape are still there. That’s why we have to give our recovery a fighting chance by changing our thought patterns and emotional responses as much as possible. We want to infuse our sobriety with positive thinking, which will not only help us feel better but keep us feeling stronger and more uplifted in our work to stay sober, which means we’ll be that much more likely to succeed in our recovery.

Our subconscious mind affects the majority of what we think, feel and do in our lives. If we are subconsciously feeling bad about ourselves or doubting our recovery, we’re going to hold ourselves back, often in unconscious ways. We’ll sabotage our own recovery by making unhealthy choices. We’ll go back to a relationship that hurts us. We’ll pick up a new drug of choice or fall back into old habits when we’ve already made so much progress. We’ll beat ourselves up with negativity and judgment if we’re not as far along in our recovery as we’d like to be. Positive thinking, on the other hand, builds us up rather than knocking us down. When we can uplift and encourage ourselves, we’re able to go much further in our recovery.

 We sometimes associate support with being outside of ourselves. We receive support from the people in our lives, and the people professionally tasked with helping us recover. The greatest form of support we can receive, though, is the support we give ourselves. When we’re kind to ourselves, we’re able to push through our perceived limitations and transcend them in order to transform ourselves. When we motivate ourselves, we see far greater results in our healing and recovery. When we feel inspired, we’re more likely to keep trying than if we feel down on ourselves and pessimistic. Being positive and self-encouraging keeps us working hard and striving for success. Negative thinking has a way of chipping away at our resolve to get better. It weakens our resilience. It increases our feelings of insecurity and self-rejection. We tell ourselves we’re not good enough, that we’re not working hard enough, and that we’ll never get better. We compare ourselves to other people and allow ourselves to feel inferior to and threatened by them. We feel deeply sad about our own perceived inadequacies. We feel undeserving of happiness or even of recovery. We don’t believe we deserve to experience goodness and peace of mind in our lives. When we’re consumed with these very negative, very limiting beliefs, we can’t help but subconsciously hold ourselves back and hurt our chances for recovery.

Positive thinking is not pressuring ourselves to pretend we’re happy when we’re not, or repeating affirmations that feel empty and meaningless to us. it is developing a whole new mentality, a transformed mindset, a new healthy way of thinking that allows us to focus on happiness, optimism, and gratitude. It is reprogramming our subconscious mind to start thinking in ways that serve and empower us. When we think positively, we’re able to honor and hold space for our difficult emotions, including our sadness and fear, without letting them overtake us. We’re able to accept how we’re feeling in the moment, even if we’re experiencing deep suffering, but then also look for the good in the situation, the silver linings and unseen blessings that lie within our struggle. Positive thinking allows us to make the choice to focus on thoughts that feel better to us, rather than continually bombarding ourselves with thoughts that hurt us. The more positively we think, the happier we feel. When we focus on what we’re grateful for, for example, we carry an energy of appreciation and joy. We remember how blessed we are, even in the midst of difficulty. When we find the silver linings in negative situations, we have more optimism and less worry. We’re better able to focus on finding solutions rather than staying mentally and emotionally stuck on the problems. We find it easier to pick ourselves up when we falter and to stop beating ourselves up with negativity, judgment and a lack of self-compassion.

 Positive thinking is a skill we can develop with time, practice and intention. We can commit to retraining our minds, through meditation, through repeating affirmations that resonate with us, and through using writing to explore more positive ways of viewing things. If something feels negative, if it feels heavy, worrisome, troublesome, or burdensome, what are some positive ways we can start thinking about that will lighten our load? Is there any good that will come of it? Is there a silver lining we can focus on? What can we be grateful for in this moment, and about the situation? What lessons will we be glad and grateful to have learned down the line? How are we being strengthened and empowered by these spiritual tests? How can I open my heart to happiness and peace of mind rather than constantly choosing negativity? 

Riverside Recovery understands all of the emotional challenges of addiction recovery and is here to support you. Call us today for more information: (800) 871-5440.