Sometimes recovery can feel like a maze; you take these twists and turns, and winding roads, with no clear idea as to where you’re going. It’s normal for those in recovery to feel a bit “lost” along the way – in fact, it’s normal for anyone to feel that way. As humans, we don’t have the answer to everything – and there’s no way of knowing what lies ahead until we get there. While we can’t control the future, what we can control is how we think about it. The mind is a powerful tool that shapes our reality through perception, and the thoughts we place meaning to are the ones that guide that perception.
When it comes to addiction recovery, thoughts are what can make or break us if we let them. It’s so easy to become tempted by the negativity – by the thoughts that tell us we’re not going to succeed, or that we don’t know what we’re doing or that we’re only going to make it so far. A huge portion of what therapy teaches us, however, is that thoughts in and of themselves are not that important. In fact, we have very little control over our thoughts, but what we do have control over is whether or not we’d like to place meaning to them.
If you’ve been finding that you’re more cynical lately, it could be that you’re placing more emphasis on negative thoughts over positive ones. Without even realizing it, you could be sabotaging your own recovery – and all by assuming that the thoughts you’re experiencing actually deserve to hold weight in your life. From now on, whenever you have a negative thought, try combatting it with something positive. Even if it’s uncomfortable (because it may be, especially if your brain has become used to this pattern), purposefully choose to place emphasis on thoughts that boost your perception of recovery rather than thoughts that make you feel bad about your progress.
Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.