The importance of staying positive during the addiction recovery process cannot be emphasized enough. A positive and optimistic attitude promotes happiness and satisfaction, which plays a major role in ensuring persistence required to defeat addiction for good. On the other hand, a negative or pessimist attitude can lead to resignation and depression, increasing the probability of relapse. This makes it important to harbor positive thoughts and feelings during recovery.
Unfortunately, staying positive during addiction recovery can be a challenge. Unhappy thoughts, personal triggers, guilt, cravings, social pressure, and other negative emotions can take a toll on your mental, emotional, and even physical health. However, it is important to understand that while addiction recovery is a bumpy road, it is not impossible to avoid beat the blues and stay positive. Here are some tips that can help keep your spirit up during addiction recovery.
Avoid Personal Triggers
One of the most helpful things that you can do to keep yourself positive and happy is to actively avoid personal triggers to the best of your ability. Start by identifying your triggers. It could be anything from certain social situations to people you hang out with or the places you visit. Make a list of all your personal triggers to avoid situations that promote negativity or make you feel uncomfortable.
For instance, if you are going through alcohol recovery, you may want to skip a cocktail party. Similarly, if you are working on quitting drugs, you may want to stop spending time with people you used to do drugs with, and so on. Making these small, proactive changes in your daily routine can remove the temptation and help you big time down the road.
Welcome Peer Support
Attending a support group or group counseling is highly recommended during addiction recovery. Meeting people who are going through the same struggles as you can help eliminate the feeling of loneliness and being misunderstood. It can also be a source of inspiration as we learn from the mistakes and achievements of others.
Plus, when you attend group meetings every week, you start developing meaningful friendships. Working towards the same goal with friends or people you care about can help you stay positive and determined through the rough patches. Ultimately, you will be able to keep each other accountable and offer genuine support that stems from understanding whenever required.
It is also essential to develop a solid system beyond your support or counseling group. These are the people that you can trust to be always by your side. Your support system might include your close friends who are sober, family members who support recovery and understand your struggles, your therapist, counselor, or other people who want the best for you.
It can be hard to open up about your struggles with people, especially your loved ones. However, instead of shunning them out or isolating yourself, reaching out to the people nearest and dearest to you for support could be the best thing you do. You will find that most people would be more than happy to offer support and help you in any way. Plus, giving them a chance to understand your struggles can also help you improve your interpersonal relations and improve your life's overall quality.
It is also a good idea to always have a couple of reliable and sober friends that you can bring to holiday parties, weddings, and other social settings where you might be exposed to drugs or alcohol. Remember, a little support can go a long way during and even beyond addiction recovery!
Cravings are a natural part of addiction recovery, especially during early recovery. However, instead of getting down on yourself every time you experience a craving, a better approach is to look for healthy coping mechanisms. Do whatever helps you combat the craving. Keep in mind that there is no standard way to manage cravings. Instead, the right methods to manage cravings vary from person to person. It is up to you to figure out what works the best for you.
For some people, it may look like ringing up a close friend and talking it out, while others may feel better after engaging in physical exercise or their favorite pastime. If you are having a hard time finding effective ways to manage your carving, you can always brainstorm with your family members, close friends, counselor, or support group. The ultimate goal is to make sure you don't let the cravings get the best of you and bring down your spirit!
Positivity and satisfaction have a lot to do with our internal monologue, which entails how you talk to yourself. It is important to understand that our internal voice is a manifestation of our subconscious beliefs. Unfortunately, many people end up being their biggest critics, especially when going through addiction recovery.
"I messed up." "I can't do this." "I am not good enough." These are some common negative chatter that many people experience. While it may not seem like much, such self-deprecating talk can adversely affect your mood and overall satisfaction. The good news is that it is possible to change your internal monologue to become your biggest supporter.
What you need to do is keep a check on your internal dialog and stop yourself every time you notice negativity or pessimism in your internal voice. One way is to think of something positive or engage in an activity you enjoy. For instance, if you notice yourself beating yourself about a blunder you made in the past, remind yourself that you love yourself. In this way, you can use your internal monologue to buck yourself up when you are feeling down. Many people find it effective to use self-affirmation or mantras as well. Reinforce the message of self-love and positivity to train your brain and internal dialog.
Stress and fatigue are linked to bad moods, pessimism, and negativity. So, make sure you give yourself time to relax and unwind during your busy schedule.
While going through addiction recovery, it may seem like a good idea to drown yourself in work. After all, the more you have on your plate, the less time you will get to think about your troubles, right? Well, in reality, this is not the best way to go about it. While keeping yourself busy can surely help, throwing yourself into work and staying on your feet all day may not be the best solution. A better approach is to find a balance between work and fun. While you focus on work or academics, don't forget to take the time to unwind and engage in enjoyable activities.
Drug or alcohol addiction makes most people lose interest in activities that they previously enjoyed. If the same happened to you, now may be the time to return back to healthy activities that you enjoyed. On the other hand, you can also pick up new hobbies that can help you relax. It could be anything from signing up for a cooking or painting class to taking up yoga or aerobics. Do whatever makes you feel happy and relaxed.
When you are going through addiction recovery, people are going to ask you all sorts of question about it. The earlier you realize and accept this fact, the better it is! "Why don't you drink" "Do you still get cravings?" "Can't you have even a single hit?" "How do you do it?" These are some of the questions that people might ask you at some point, especially during social gatherings.
It is a good idea to take a proactive approach and decide how you want to respond to such questions ahead of time. Knowing exactly what you want to say can instill a sense of confidence and positivity in you. Otherwise, such comments and questions can catch you off guard and ultimately lead to negative thinking.
Addiction recovery isn't just about quitting. It has a lot to do with changing your lifestyle. Most people struggling with addiction have destructive habits and routines. Recovery is the time to break these habits and embrace a healthier routine geared. Developing a routine will not only make it easier to stay sober but will also impact your overall wellbeing in a positive manner. Here are a few things that you can cover when developing a healthy routine to combat addiction and negative thoughts:
It may sound cliché, but the best way to stay positive and beat the blues is to count your blessings. When stuck down in a slump, we often overlook the good things in life. However, reminding yourself of all the things you are thankful for can help you pull yourself out of the slump and uplift your mood. So, the next time you feel gloomy, jot down 5 to 10 things that you are currently thankful for. Making a gratitude list may seem like a small task, but it can change your perspective in life.
Keep in mind that you don't always have to put in major, life-changing events on your gratitude list. Your entries could be as simple as enjoying a cup of hot coffee with a loved one, running a mile, baking your favorite cake, and so on. The goal is to celebrate small wins and be grateful for the good things in life.
One of the best ways to feel good about yourself and your circumstances is to help others. It's human nature. We are built to thrive socially and help others in need. Therefore, volunteering to help others can, in fact, help you on many levels. It can boost your confidence, increase your self-esteem, add meaning or purpose to your life, and even make a few friends along the way.
There are many ways to help others. For instance, you can volunteer at the local soup kitchen, make a donation, help clean the beach, volunteer at the animal rescue center, or engage in any other activity that supports a meaningful cause.
The power of positive thinking has been studied for years, confirming that a change in attitude can have dramatic effects on the outcomes. The same rule applies to addiction recovery. Meaning, a positive mindset may be your biggest asset when it comes to fighting addiction. Follow the tips mentioned above to stay positive during addiction recovery and beyond. Smile more!
If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction or finding it hard to stay positive through the recovery process, our experienced and friendly team at Coastline Behavioral Center can help! Get in touch today to arrange a consultation or explore your options.