A famous quote about recovery says, “You do not recover from addiction by stopping using. You recover by creating a new life where it is easier to not use. If you do not create a new life, then all the factors that brought you to your addiction will eventually catch up with you again.” The meaning of that quote is recovery requires creating a positive internal and external life. While living in a positive external environment helps, creating a positive internal environment and mindset is even more important. The human mind is inclined to think cynically, but having a positive mindset in recovery is possible and can make the difference between relapse and recovery.
The Benefits of Positivity in Addiction Recovery
- Better Perspective on Life. You may have heard the quote, “Life is only 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you look at it.” Positive thinking helps people look at life through more optimistic eyes. While life has many downfalls, it also full of wonders. People who focus on the wonders of their lives are more likely to be more satisfied with their lives and happier to be alive.
- Higher Resilience in Times of Trouble. Recovery is not about having no more problems. Instead, recovery is about dealing with problems effectively and being able to learn from them for a better future. Problems are relapse triggers for almost every recovering individual. Recovering individual who and think positive and trust that problems will bring them to the other side are less likely to allow problems to break their recovery. Having a positive mindset in recovery will help individuals use problems to fortify their recovery.
- Motivation. Recovery requires rebuilding productive lives, which may include finding a job, going back to school, and getting a place to live. Rebuilding a productive life does not happen overnight and require commitment. Positive thinking makes it more likely that recovering individuals will be motivated to rebuild productive lives, even if the tasks are challenging or do not happen right away.
- Improved Self-Esteem. Besides childhood trauma, low-self esteem is the second main root cause of addiction. The law of attraction states that people often view and treat others and the world the same way that they view and treat themselves. Overall positive thinking will help recovering individuals have improved self-esteem because they will think better about themselves. The 12-Step slogan that says, “Fake it until you make it” is true. People who say something over and over again are more likely to believe it.
Positive Thinking Methods
- Practice Gratitude. Looking at every situation through the eyes of gratitude helps to find and zero in on the positive side of it. Many people practice gratitude by going through every letter of the alphabet at the end of the day and finding something that they are grateful for that begins with each letter.
- Positive Self-Affirmations. Positive self-affirmations are a form of self-parenting. Many people who have suffered from addiction come from homes and families where they were not encouraged or affirmed. Saying positive self-affirmations increases self-esteem because after a while they become increasingly believable.
- Hanging Around Positive, Encouraging People. A recovery lifestyle may require cutting out negative people, even family members, and long-time friends. Recovery support groups (e.g. AA and NA) are excellent places to find positive, encouraging people. Much positivity in addiction recovery comes from recovery families are most likely a lot more loving, supportive, and encouraging than blood families.
- Reading and Listening to Inspirational Messages. Overdosing on positivity is better than overdosing on anything else. Social media, politics, and the news are full of negativity. A better option for recovering individuals’ past times is to read books or websites that have positive quotes and messages and/or watch videos of motivational speakers.
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). People who struggle with achieving positive thinking can consider cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is an evidence-based therapy method that identifies cognitive distortions (negative thinking patterns) and helps the client reconstruct those thoughts into more positive patterns. For example, instead of thinking of a break-up as a sign of never finding a life partner, that thought can be reconstructed into thinking of a breakup as a sign that someone better is yet to come.
- Help Others. Recovery is about carrying the message to help others. Helping others helps most people feel better about themselves. Making a difference in the world can help recovering individuals feel like their life has a purpose.