Just like making any major life changes, making the transition from active alcoholism to committed recovery can be a little difficult to navigate at times. Those who are new to recovery will be learning how to live an entirely new way of life. In inpatient treatment, individuals will learn a whole new set of coping skills, then they will transition back into independent living and be required to implement these skills in real life situations. Doing so might seem somewhat overwhelming at first – however, it will always ultimately be rewarding. Eventually, those who are new to a sober way of life will find their footing and things will inevitably get much easier. Employing new life, coping and relapse prevention skills will become second nature, and living a life of recovery will be nothing but fulfilling.
If you are in alcohol addiction recovery, you will soon begin living a life beyond your wildest dreams.
However, in very early recovery, things are liable to be a little rocky from time to time. Sometimes it might be difficult to stay positive. The unfortunate truth is that for many, negative emotions and experiences play a role in relapse. Those who turn to alcohol abuse often begin drinking excessively in order to combat negative emotions. No one enjoys feeling sad, resentful, stressed out or overwhelmed. The trick is knowing that all of these emotions will crop up occasionally and understanding that no matter what you are feeling, negative emotions are always temporary. It is also crucial that you do not let negative thoughts or feelings weigh you down. If you allow negativity to take hold and start calling the shots, you could be in trouble as far as your sobriety goes.
So how do you stay positive during alcohol recovery? The truth is, feeling negative emotions on occasion is part of healing (and part of being a human). But with these tips and tricks we’ve compiled you will be able to effectively pull yourself out of any slump and move on with your life! If you do need additional help saying positive, give us a call for a comprehensive list of recovery resources.
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10 Tips for Staying Positive
1) Remember that “water seeks its own level.” – What does this mean? It essentially means that if you surround yourself with positive people, you will have a far easier time staying positive yourself. Be aware of who you spend the majority of your time with. Are your friends always complaining about their current circumstances, or do they tend to look on the bright side and stay grateful? Gratitude is key to staying positive in recovery.
2) Take responsibility for your own actions – As soon as you stop blaming others for your hardships you will be much better off. It is important to remember that we are always responsible for our own happiness. We can choose to turn a bad day into a good day at any point in time. We can also choose to linger on the negative and let unpleasant thoughts drag us down into a pit of self-pity and victimization. Remember that you are in control of your life and you can choose to look on the bright side at any point in time.
3) Speak with a trusted sober support – Openly expressing your emotions probably does not come naturally, but the more you practice the easier it will become. Few coping skills are more effective than calling up a trusted sober support and “venting,” or explaining to them how you are feeling and why you are feeling what you are feeling. Your sober supports will be able to put things in perspective while relating their own personal experiences. Develop a list of numbers you can call in case you start to feel a little glum.
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4) Practice mindfulness meditation – Learning to live in the present moment will inevitably help you stay positive. Most of the time when we are feeling angry or upset it’s because we are dwelling on past events. Most of the time when we are feeling anxious or overwhelmed it’s because we’re anticipating problems that haven’t even occurred yet. Mindfulness meditation will allow you to stay focused on the present, and change your current circumstances if necessary.
5) Bolster self-esteem by giving back in any way that you can – Once you work through the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, you will be able to give back in an entirely new way – by sponsoring other men or women. Until then, engage yourself in volunteer work, spend the afternoon picking up trash in public parks or offer to help your elderly neighbor with her garden. Engaging in esteemable acts helps build self-esteem, and feeling good about yourself is one great way to stay positive.
6) Remind yourself of where you came from – Maybe you’re having a hard time finding a job, and you start to get down on yourself because of it. Remind yourself that you are doing the best you can, and that less than a year ago (maybe just several months ago) you were drinking excessively and doing absolutely nothing to better yourself. Look at how far you’ve come! Now you are actively seeking self-betterment – so what if you hit an occasional roadblock? You have overcome much worse.
7) Set achievable goals for yourself – Start off small and work your way up. Everytime you achieve a personal goal (no matter how seemingly small) you will further build self-esteem, while reminding yourself that you are capable. Maybe your goal is to make your bed every morning, or to make at least one Alcoholics Anonymous meeting every day. Stick to things that you know you will be able to accomplish with a little hard work and determination.
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8) Take care of yourself – inside and out – Alcohol recovery is all about mental and emotional healing, but try not to forget to take care of your physical health as well. Getting roughly 8 hours of sleep every night, making sure you are eating three nutritious meals every day and exercising for at least 30 minutes will help you stay positive. Taking care of your physical health will boost your mood while helping you develop healthy habits and maintain structure in your life.
9) Find someone you admire and befriend them – Go to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and listen to the speakers share their own stories of experience, strength and hope. If you hear a message that inspires you and resonates with you, stick around after the meeting and get the speaker’s number. If you surround yourself with people that inspire you to stay sober, you will have a much easier time staying positive. You will also have another sober support to call up and talk to when you are feeling low or pessimistic.
10) Identify and avoid your personal relapse triggers – At Immersion Recovery Center, relapse prevention is a major part of our comprehensive program of alcohol addiction recovery. If you avoid people, places and things that make you feel tense or uncomfortable, you will find it much easier to stay positive. You will identify your personal relapse triggers while in inpatient rehab, where you will also develop crucial coping skills in case you do end up feeling triggered for any reason. The more triggers you work through, the better you’ll feel.
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At Immersion Recovery Center we believe that a positive attitude is crucial to long-term alcohol recovery. We work closely with our clients to help them shift their state of mind and remain in a place of gratitude. For more information on our alcohol recovery program give us a call today.
Reviewed for accuracy by :
Serving as the Inpatient Clinical Director at Immersion Recovery Center, Susan will work directly with staff members, clients, and family members to ensure the clinical program remains as effective and individualized as possible. Susan is no stranger to the fields of behavioral health and addiction. She has over 25 years of experience, working in an inpatient setting, an outpatient setting, acute stabilization and nearly all other settings in the realm of addiction recovery.