Recovery from addiction starts with you. If you are not caring for yourself or not being your number one fan, then who else will? While in recovery, you may have to deal with painful and embarrassing emotions. You may need to disclose and confess to actions that you are not proud of. You might need to make amends for those hurt by your behaviors or face the consequences of your harmful behaviors. The effects of addiction in your life may leave you feeling like you are not good enough for recovery. You may feel like you do not deserve happiness or that you will never succeed. Everyone deserves a second chance (even a third, fourth, or fifth chance!) Recovery is possible and if you create realistic plans, you can achieve the life you have dreamed of! You may tell yourself that you do not deserve this life that you dream of due to guilt or self-doubt. Negative self-talk can bring you down and keep you from living your life.
Negative self-talk means saying some of the following things when facing a challenge, trying something new, or dealing with any stress:
- “I never do anything right!”
- “Things will never go my way!”
- “I’ve done so many bad things, I don’t deserve happiness.”
- “I can’t do this, I give up.”
You might also talk to yourself as if you are addressing someone else:
- “You aren’t good enough!”
- “You always fail, why bother?”
- “You messed things up so badly, why bother trying to change now?”
- “You’ll never be happy.”
Do these thoughts sound familiar to you? More often than not, the biggest enemy in your life is the voice inside your own head. With some patience and work, you can change this voice to something more positive and uplifting.
Create New Mantras From Negativity
You can turn these thoughts into positive statements and mantras. All you need to do is change the language to its opposing counterparts. Write down some of the common negative statements that you say to yourself during the day. Change these statements to work for you rather than against you. Start by taking out any words like “not,” “no,” or “never.” For example:
“I’ll never be happy” becomes “I’ll be happy!”
“You aren’t good enough” becomes “You are good enough.”
Write these out into positive statements and use them as mantras when you are feeling down. Recite them each morning when you wake up. When you are hearing a negative thought or statement in your head, change the statement to a positive one. You will likely be unable to completely stop negative thoughts or feelings. However, you do not need to let these thoughts control you or bring you down. Combat them with their positive counterparts and use these statements to help you.
Imagine You Are Speaking to a Child
You may be your own worst critic. You may say things that bring yourself down. Imagine talking to yourself as if you were speaking to a child. If you saw a child struggling with a new task or feeling upset, how would you encourage a child? Would you ever tell a child that they are not good enough when they are learning to ride a bike? Would you tell them they will never be happy when they feel sad? Of course not! Yet, when you talk to yourself, you might be rather harsh and critical. Pretend that you are speaking to a child. How would you phrase your self-talk? What would change? You would likely be more gentle and thoughtful in your delivery. You are also in need of encouragement and help during recovery. You have been learning a lot of new skills and have needed to become vulnerable to change. Being vulnerable can leave you feeling fragile, like a child. Lift yourself up when you are feeling like giving up!
You might also want to imagine that you are addressing someone else in need of help. When you are struggling with something, picture yourself giving someone else advice. How would you talk to someone else dealing with the same issue? What would you tell someone else if they said, “I can’t do this?” You most likely would not say, “You’re right, you can’t.” You would support and encourage them with positive language. Bring more of these thoughts into your mind and become your biggest fan. You might be better at giving other people positive feedback and support than you do yourself. When you look at someone else’s issues, you may see them more clearly than your own. Take a step outside of yourself and imagine you are giving advice to someone else in the same situation. By learning to speak to yourself in a more positive manner can help you when things are tough and you feel like giving up!
You might be your own worst enemy if you are engaging in negative thinking and negative self-talk. You might be surprised to learn that you can change your mindset to a more positive one by interrupting and replacing negative thoughts. Analyze and change your negative thoughts and use them to create positive mantras to motivate yourself. Turn your negative thoughts into positive ones and combat your negative thinking patterns. Imagine that you are speaking to yourself as if you are giving someone else a “pep talk.” How would you talk to someone else struggling with your problems? You are not alone in your recovery, even after treatment. You may feel down and need to reach out for support. Everlast Recovery Centers welcomes alumni to come back to our groups and continue participating in recovery at our center. Call us today at 866-DETOX-25 for more information.