Recovery from alcohol addiction is a huge accomplishment in and of itself. It requires time and effort, as well as some struggling and maybe even pain. Over time, the pain and struggling will fade and day to day life will have a new routine. Family will probably have a renewed trust in you, and work becomes easy. It is a real possibility that a relapse will happen—it is common and so many times crushing. One facet to helping get sober and staying sober is the power of positive psychology, but what is it? It is when one realizes what makes them truly happy, not just in the short term but in the long term. Being sober has to be one of the things that brings happiness, otherwise the battle has been lost before it has even started.
Why the Negativity Needs to Go
Sometimes called “stinking thinking”, this negativity happens when a person feels angry with resentment toward their life. They may see their future as grim, and this is very dangerous to those in recovery for so many reasons. The people around them will suffer because of the negativity. The person in recovery will have an increased risk of relapse, and the negativity will prevent them from finding the happiness in being sober, as the smaller bumps in the road will come with lots of pain and stress. This may then become a self-fulfilling prophecy, as the person recovering may change their behavior if they think they are going to fail anyway.
Positive Actions Lead to a Positive Mind
Even if recovery seems like a grim path in the beginning, it is vital to take the steps toward long-term recovery. Self-care is extremely important to overcoming cravings and preventing dramatic swings in mood. This can be done by eating right, getting plenty of sleep, and exercising. Physical activity releases endorphins, promotes emotional health, and relieves stress. Make an effort to be surrounded by positive influences and get involved with the community. Volunteer, discover new hobbies, or find some work that will expand your sense of purpose in life. Entering a rehab or treatment facility might seem dramatic and it may be needed as the first step, but all of these things help someone in recovery to stay on the right path in recovery.
Small Actions for Every Day
Sometimes, the sinking feeling of failure comes on strong unannounced—the key is to take action that will trigger a good feeling within your body. Exercising is one of the easiest ways to help shrug the negative feeling off. A quick walk around the neighborhood will do, as well as any type of yoga or medication to break the stress. If getting outside is a possibility, take the time to breathe in the fresh air and feel the sun shine. Be mindful of surroundings and think about all of the beauty in the world. If you have a pet, take the time to pet them and cuddle with them. Pamper yourself with a hot bath, a cup of tea, or a neck massage.
Developing a Positive Outlook
Positivity begins with the conscious effort of manipulating your outlook into one that focuses on the good things in life. This is supported by doing things that allow it to grow and flourish. It is advised to keep a gratitude journal as a way to grow a positive outlook. In this, the good things that are happening in life are written down to encourage an optimistic frame of mind that lingers through the days. Surrounding oneself with inspirational videos, audio, and books are another great way to develop a positive frame of mind. What is brought into the mind is just as important as a person’s diet.
“Triggers” are the things that lead to a relapse, and these vary from person to person. Staying positive often times leads away from triggers. The most common triggers are physical discomfort, a negative emotional state, testing self-control, strong cravings, social pressures, conflicts with others, and even positive emotional states. When doing all of the things necessary to obtain and maintain a positive outlook, the triggers are likely being worked against. For example, if surrounded with people that are not drinking alcohol and are invested in long-term recovery, it is likely that those battling addiction will not feel the social pressure from drinking, and might not even encounter conflicts with these people.
Looking for More
During recovery, some people look for a larger meaning to life through religion or spirituality. It has been discovered that those who consistently identify as happy also indicate that they have a connection to either an organized religion, a commitment to a higher power, or simply identify themselves as spiritual. Almost entirely across the board, meditation of some sort is an important part of practicing one’s faith. And as mentioned before, meditation is proven to help enhance one’s feelings of happiness and overall well-being. If church is found to be the ideal medium for connecting spiritually, a sense of belonging will develop over time as relationships blossom with parishioners and clergy.
While it is not entirely possible to navigate the world each day while totally avoiding negativity, it is vital to recovery from alcohol addiction to make a conscious effort to bring in more positivity. Bringing in this positivity means that one must also be mindful of the negativity that could lead to relapse. While totally getting rid of this is not possible, simply acknowledging it and removing one’s self from the situation when it is possible will add leaps and bounds to recovery, even when there have been setbacks. There are so many ways to improve the positive things in life, from taking a walk outside, to finding religion, to reading literature on the topic. Each person in recovery will experience it differently, and may find that the combination of actions that works for them does not work for someone else in a similar position, and that is okay.
Sasha is a widely experienced content writer with a zeal for living naturally. As a Certified Herbalist and mother of two children, she can offer you simple solutions on how to achieve a healthier lifestyle. She is a founder of www.voxnature.com and also writes for howtonight.com magazine.