Addiction, just like depression, can rob us of our hopefulness, our joy and our optimism. We can feel totally stripped of our faith and depleted of our energy. We might have had plans for the future, ambitions we held close to our hearts, things we felt hopeful about. Addiction can take all of that away. How do we heal our hopelessness so that we can empower ourselves to move forward?
When you’re feeling most hopeless, remember that this feeling, although totally painful right now in this moment, won’t kill you. As debilitating and excruciating as it might be, it is just a feeling based on thoughts. Our feelings, and the thoughts that fuel them, can be changed. We can redirect them any time we want to. We can make it a practice to stop ourselves from going down a route of hopelessness and despair and to instead choose a different one. When you start to feel the anxiety of hopelessness rising within you, the tension and tightness in your body, the worry and isolation you might feel, take some deep breaths and start trying to think more affirming, uplifting thoughts. Changing the entire tone of our thinking can feel unnatural, but the more we practice, the more it can help us. Start to say simple things like “I am holding onto hope in this moment. What is the best possible outcome for this situation? How can I hope for the best? What can I learn? What do I have to look forward to? What do I have to feel grateful for?”
Another way to redirect our thoughts in moments of hopelessness is to turn towards a gratitude practice, right in that moment even when it feels impossible. When we’re overwhelmed with feelings of doom and darkness, it can feel like a stretch to reach for any kind of light. As much as you can, reach for the light of better feeling thoughts of gratitude. Gently push yourself to think of at least three things you feel grateful for. Perhaps you have a family that loves you. Perhaps you’re in good overall health. Maybe today was a little better than yesterday. Perhaps the moon is out. Hold onto these things and meditate on them. How do they make you feel? Do they fill you with a sense of peace? Do you feel lighter and more liberated when you think about them? The more you practice turning towards gratitude in moments of feeling hopeless, the easier it will become. You might find that your perspective on things begins to shift and you start to feel more hopeful.
The community of Riverside Recovery has personal experience with addiction and the feelings of hopelessness that come with it. We’re here to help you reclaim the life you love. Call (800) 871-5440 today.