Before I quit drinking, I had a vision of life that I knew I wanted to fulfill. It stood out in my mind like a bright sunrise or a stunning view of natural scenery. I could almost see it. It was a distinct mental construct, spanning all of the things I wanted to achieve in life. Many times I drank right after promising myself that I would finally try to make this vision a reality – not today of course, but tomorrow.
Nameless Dread in Early Recovery
After rehab, I thought I was finally equipped to make my tomorrow vision a reality. I’d conceive of future plans and write them down with determination, revise them with equal gusto, and then – when it came time for action – I’d suddenly find myself battling an unknown force that seemed intent on holding me back.
I recently discovered why this happened. Because I dreaded withdrawals during my drinking years, I began to dread the things that I “had to do” in order to sustain my life.
These things – working, cooking, even working out – were things that I knew I needed to do, and in order to be done correctly, they had to be done sober. Alcohol had such a power over my life that I feared doing the simplest things I needed to do in order to sustain it. And even though I’d eliminated alcohol from my life, this fear had followed me into recovery for some time.
In order to realize the vision I had for myself, I had to learn how to put an end to this nameless dread.
And in order to do that, I had to change my self-talk and ultimately destroy any negative thought that entered my head.
How to Conquer Negativity
It’s very common in recovery to encounter subconscious negativity. The mental frames, or paradigms, our addictions design for us have to be intentionally dissolved.
Whenever you start thinking, “I just don’t want to do this,” ask yourself why. Remember the worst thing you ever experienced because of your addiction – for me this would be withdrawals – and feel a sense of gratitude that you’re no longer dealing with that.
Remind yourself that you’re capable of completing your tasks and achieving your personal goals, and that beating addiction is making you stronger by the day. Tell yourself that you’re strong – never allow weakness to infiltrate your mind.
Replace “I don’t want to do this” with “I can do this,” and your negative emotion will pass. Repeat it to yourself until you believe it.
If you meditate, incorporate a can-do attitude into your personal mantra. If you don’t meditate, I highly recommend that you start. (Set aside 20 mins and listen to this.)
It can take awhile before you start experiencing daily life in a positive light. Remind yourself that it will take time for your brain to rewire itself. Every day without alcohol is a step in the right direction.
If you do these things, then over time, you’ll find a calm confidence taking root in the same mental space that used to be filled with self-doubt and negative energy.