What Our Obsessive Thoughts Have to Teach Us

Obsessive thoughts are painful and consuming. However, if we tune into what they’re truly trying to say, we stand to learn a lot about ourselves and our addictions. 

Many of us with addiction and mental illness struggle with obsessive thinking, and it can be debilitating and painful, to say the least. We might obsess endlessly about our unhealthy relationship that is functioning just like an addiction. Or, perhaps we obsess about our drug of choice and how we’re going to be able to score some more. We might obsess about that thing we still feel most ashamed about or the traumatic experience we can’t seem to move past or the grudge we can’t let go of. Whatever we obsess over, the thoughts that plague us contain lessons we’re meant to learn and spiritual tests we’re meant to pass. When we can look beyond the content of our obsessions, beyond what we’re obsessing about at that moment, and look at the underlying fears and wounds, we stand to learn so much about ourselves that can propel us into lasting health and empowerment.

Our obsessive thoughts, though painful, can serve as clues about how to proceed in our lives and our recovery. For example, when we’re obsessing about our partner leaving us, chances are we’re experiencing fears of abandonment, fears of rejection, fears of being replaced, and fears of inadequacy and unworthiness. The more we work to heal these fears at the root level, with things like therapy, energy healing, writing, and creative self-expression, the more we will be able to let go of our obsessive thoughts. We start to see that our obsessions are the symptom, not the cause, of our underlying pain. When we obsess, we give that symptom our energy, rather than looking for the solution and opening ourselves up to healing.

Our addictions are themselves forms of obsessions. We’re obsessed with escaping our mental and emotional pain through any avenue. We’re tied compulsively to patterns of self-destructiveness and self-harm. Obsession with sabotaging ourselves at every turn becomes the norm. Healing ourselves from addiction means healing our minds and our thought patterns. When we’re suffering from anxiety, panic, obsessive thinking, and anxiety disorders such as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), we sometimes use our drugs of choice to try and minimize the mental noise, clutter, and mayhem. We use them to distract ourselves from our inner turmoil and numb ourselves. We use our addictive substances and behaviors to drown out and mute the voices of our inner demons. However, we can heal the recurring cycles of obsessiveness, compulsive behaviors, and emotional escapism that are connected to our addictions. We can free ourselves not only from our substance of choice and behavioral addictions but also from painful obsessive thought patterns.

Riverside Recovery is committed to helping you uncover the issues fueling your addictions. Our treatment programs include multiple forms of therapy, family workshops and mindfulness-based relapse prevention education. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information.