Addictive thinking is a term that encompasses a variety of thoughts and feelings that accompany addiction. When present, these thoughts tend to downplay the negative consequences of substance abuse rather than focus on the benefits of abstinence.
To maintain sobriety, a person in recovery must addresses these ideas mindfully, under the stark realization that they are not rational nor healthy.
Here are five ways you can avoid addictive thinking patterns or disrupt them as they occur:
1. Consider the consequences.
Many people with addictions are impulsive in their actions, especially regarding substance use. By pausing long enough to take a step back and re-evaluate your response, you can squash the thoughts that are leading you to a rash, unhealthy choice.
Moreover, imagine yourself in two weeks? Are you sober and content, or have you relapsed and returned to the old behaviors that got you to this point in the first place, struggling to return to sobriety?
Either result is a product of your choice. It should be well-thought out and informed – and if it is, you are much more likely make the best decision.
2. Fall back on support.
If you haven’t already, consider joining a support group. Share your thoughts and feeling with others who empathize and have experienced the same negative thought patterns and have, in the process, learned better coping skills.
For many, it’s easier to remain sober when they are understood, accepted, but still held accounted for their thoughts and behaviors.
3. Avoid triggers.
Triggers serve as cues that subconsciously remind our brain that we are addicted to a substance or behavior. These triggers can be in the form of people, places, events, or items, and they can be everywhere around you. For this reason, some people must start over, move, gain new employment, and altogether avoid family and former friends who are triggers or may enable their habit.
For triggers can’t be avoided, the development of healthy coping skills is needed to remain sober in the face of temptation. If you haven’t received treatment for addiction or underwent counseling or therapy, now is the time to do so.
4. Take care of your physical and mental well-being.
Eat well, exercise, and do your best to get adequate sleep. The more healthy, energetic, and positive you feel, the easier it will be to recognize and deal with negative thought patterns appropriately – or avoid them altogether.
5. Use wellness practices as needed to refocus and think about something else.
Consider holistic activities such as meditation or yoga, but even something as simple as going for a walk or engaging in a hobby can help shift your focus to a more positive and constructive activity rather than wasting energy on battling demons.
Take heart – if you weren’t trapped in thought processes that foster your addiction, you would have been able to break free long ago. This pattern is inherent in all of those who engage in excessive alcohol or drug use, and will likely rear its ugly head until being sober becomes second nature. It all takes time, a will of steel, and hard work – but it’s worth it.