Alright, when you begin your road to recovery, you’re going to stop using whatever drug you were addicted to – that’s clear. But ending an addiction isn’t just about putting an end to drinking or drug use; it’s about making an entire lifestyle change, a lifestyle created by patterns of thought, unhealthy choices, and impulsive behavior.
It’s true that putting an end to a lifestyle and becoming a completely different person is hard to do. You must begin by recognizing those thoughts, choices, and behaviors in order to make different ones. You must commit yourself to staying on track. And, above all, you must commit to seeking support for making such a big life change.
Here are patterns you may need to quit along with ending your substance use:
- Stop thinking of yourself as a victim.
- Stop making destructive choices for yourself.
- Put an end to unrealistic expectations of yourself and others.
- Stop being dishonest about your life. What needs healing? What needs forgiveness? What changes do you need to make?
- Stop negatively labeling yourself. You might have a tendency to negatively label yourself as an addict or someone without money or someone who always gets the shorter end of the stick. Replace those images and labels with positive ones.
- Stop thinking the worst and predicting the future in negative ways. It’s common for those who have experienced trauma to believe that something else horrible is going to happen. The heaviness about the future can lead to the desire to drink or use drugs.
- Stop blaming others or external circumstances for things that you alone are accountable for. This is one of the primary thinking patterns that comes with the illness of addiction. Begin to take full responsibility for your life.
- Stop taking everything so personally. One of the challenges of an addict is feeling emotionally sensitive and taking life personally. It’s part of being a victim.
- Stop being dishonest about life problems and unhealthy relationships. If you need to exit a relationship or heal a problem, get real about it and do what you need to do.
- Stop dealing with life’s challenges in unconstructive ways. When the bill isn’t getting paid, don’t drink, find a way to earn some money.
- Stop negatively labeling others. This is easy to do when we are also negatively labeling ourselves. Negativity seems to be the lens by which we see the world. If you can find a way to see the positive in something, it could break those negativity lenses for good.
- Stop discounting the positive. Find the wonderful in your life – you have legs, arms, and hands to work with. You might have a roof over your head and someone who loves you. You might have children to care for. Whatever you’re life is made of, find the positive in it.
- Stop exaggerating your life’s difficulties. That only prevents getting in there and handling it.
- Stop underestimating your ability to adapt, change, and bear with change. If a challenging event has taken place in your life, which might have been the trigger to drink or use drugs. Perhaps you lost a spouse or parent or child. If that’s the case, get the support you need to end your substance use and then also find support to grieve. There are many professionals out there who are ready to support you in overcoming your life challenge.
Some of these thinking patterns or behaviors may not apply to you. And not everything is going to be listed because each person is different. It might be useful to take some time to write down those thought patterns you recognize in yourself that are unhealthy. It’s going to require a healthy dose of honesty.
In fact, you might notice that these types of dysfunctional thinking are more common than one would think, even among those who are not addicts or in recovery. Although they can indeed lead to addictive patterns, many of those who are not addicted to substances also experience these unhealthy thinking patterns.
If you’re in recovery and you’ve ended your substance use, be sure to also find a mental health professional to work with to put an end to the lifestyle you’ve been living once and for all.
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