I’m generally not a huge fan of positive thinking therapy, and I think the whole visualizing good things and they will come to you a la “The Secret” is a load of BS, but I am coming to appreciate the power of changing your thinking from negative to positive.
Over the last 7 years, I’ve done a lot of different therapy and two of my favourites are mindfulness and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). Both have been proven to be helpful to me, in fighting my addictions and my depression.
I was doing some writing and reflecting today on Women For Sobriety’s Statement #2. It is: Negative thoughts destroy only myself. My first conscious sober act must be to remove negativity from my life.
I’ve struggled with this statement since I’ve been a major pessimist all my life. If you want the worst case scenario, just ask me. Tell me 100 positive things about me, and give me one criticism and I’ll lock onto the criticism with a death grip.
Negative thoughts and emotions drove my drinking as I sought to escape from them by obliterating myself, and only made me feel worse in a never ending cycle of negativity.
Mindfulness has taught me to pay attention to my thoughts, and try to catch those negative automatic thoughts that plague me. CBT has taught me to challenge them through thought records and other techniques. My current therapist has me doing positive affirmations, something I had heretofore rejected. And it’s all slowly working.
I’ve moved to the point where I actually believe I’m likeable from believing myself totally unlovable. When I get the irrational fear that I’ll never work again – I’m able to counter it pretty quickly.
I’m working to fill my life with positive activities that I enjoy.
And it’s working. I’m actually starting to feel happy on occasion and even experience joy once in a while. Songs burst spontaneously into my head almost daily now. Yeah, i still have bad days, and my default mood tends to sad more than to happy, but it’s improving.
What I need to work harder on is stopping the self criticism and being nice to myself. I need to start treating myself, the way I treat my friends.
Today i made progress, i painted my nails a sparkly rose – they look quite nice, and it made me feel better. It’s been some months since I painted my nails, and it’s a habit i want to get back into.
So as someone in my Double Recovery group says, “Swat those ANT’s (automatic negative thoughts) replace it with a PAT (positive automatic thought)”