Photo credit Stephen Leonardi
4 Tips For Staying Positive During Addiction Recovery
Starting on the road to recovery from addiction is challenging even for the strongest of people. Common struggles include:
●Fears, such as failure in recovery or rejection by loved ones.
●Feeling stuck, frustrated, and unable to move forward with recovery.
●Guilt and shame over the past.
●Avoiding a relapse.
●Struggling to socialize again without revisiting old habits.
●Stress over all these struggles.
Remember that addiction itself is not defined as bad behavior. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) defines it as “a primary chronic disease of the brain’s circuitry related to reward, motivation, and memory.” In other words, the disease serves as a way to find relief or reward through substance use and abuse. It is challenging to overcome because your brain has learned this repetitive behavior. However, the brain is flexible and can change and adapt to learn new behaviors.
As emotional challenges arise, you must learn to address them. Here are some critical things to consider as you move forward in recovery.
Take Time To Develop Emotional Maturity
One important task to address as you work with your support group and counselors is to grow your emotional maturity. As you move forward in recovery, you will develop this skill, giving you the ability to handle emotions better and control your impulses. Many people turn to substances because they don’t know how to handle their emotions effectively. Alcohol or drugs can provide some temporary relief, but it’s important to be able to manage your emotions to live a more fulfilling life. Developing emotional maturity will make it easier to be positive.
Change Your Perspective; Be Patient
Knowing how far you’ve come since you’ve started your journey is important. You are on a path of growth, and growth takes time, just like learning those new habits will. Remember that addiction is a disease and recovery can be a lifelong process. Rather than despairing over this, think of this as your journey to a new, improved you. It takes time, dedication and learning for anyone to better themselves – no one can run ahead and skip the important parts.
Cultivate A Positive Attitude
Although “positive thinking” sounds like a cliché, research shows it may have real benefits. Studies show that negative thinking narrows your options on how to respond to something. That’s because negative thinking evolved from people’s need to escape danger. You need to focus sharply to escape from a predator.
But positive thinking allowed people to consider more options and even helped build skill sets that had a lasting effect. Thinking positively allows you to lose the focus that comes with negative thinking; instead, you start seeing unlimited possibilities. Meditation, creative writing, and relaxation can help you have a more positive outlook on the world.
While you are working on your recovery, a positive outlook is hard to maintain. But you can choose to see the best in yourself by journaling, writing down things you are grateful for and choosing the best support systems. Success also recommends focusing on the good things, even if they’re small and finding the humor in bad situations.
Making a Clean Slate
Part of the recovery process includes removing yourself from old patterns and old habits. This typically means finding a different group of people to socialize with, but it can also mean moving. Those in recovery often find it especially helpful to start fresh with a new living arrangement. This ensures you’re upending old habits, like driving by the same liquor store on your way home from work. When looking for a new place, budget shouldn’t be the only concern. Survey the neighborhood and any amenities close by. For example, look for a new apartment or house that is near a large park and within walking distance to grocery shopping.
Keep in mind that moving to a new location does not guarantee success if you are determined to use you will.
Getting Additional Help
Take stock of the current systems you are using to get through recovery. Are they enough? Are your support systems helping you develop self-confidence, responsibility, and emotional maturity?
If not, you may need to add support groups, therapies, or activities to your program. Pursuing creative activities, volunteering efforts, and learning a new skill are great ways to improve your self-esteem. You should also ask your therapist for more suggestions.
Getting to the root of your addiction will be a confusing and emotional experience, and you may never find the actual cause but taking the journey is important and having a good counselor to guide and help you understand your addiction may lead to you understanding your substance abuse problem completely which is an important step in conquering it. Additionally, family counseling can help facilitate healthy conversations with your loved ones and help them understand what you are going through and may increase the level of compassion, and pave the way for stronger relationships.
Thank you Claire for sharing your article with us and we look forward to seeing more articles from you in the future.