How to Accept Good with the Bad
When someone struggles with substance abuse, she often struggles to see life through any other lens but how addiction is impacting her life, so changing negative thought patterns into positive ones is a part of the rehab process. Treatment starts you or a loved one on the path to a drug-free life, but maintaining a positive outlook can be difficult during the early days of recovery. You may find it difficult to accept good times if you remember that struggles will still come, but a positive reaction to problems will always make it easier to move past pain. Part of living in recovery is learning that you no longer have to be defined by your addiction: if you accept the good with the bad, then you will know that good things will eventually become the norm rather than the exception. This mindset will make it easier to deal with the difficult days while also avoiding relapse.
Changing Negative Thought Patterns
When someone you love struggles with addiction, one of the first things he starts learning in rehab is how to change negative thought patterns into positive ones. Addiction can be the catalyst that turns negative thought patterns to depression or other mental illnesses. In fact, sometimes addiction stems from an undiagnosed mental illness, but it is often difficult to determine which problem came first. In any case, the proper diagnosis is critical to recovery success. Dual Diagnosis treatment centers can address these problems simultaneously with the medications and therapies that help people overcome both mental illness and addiction. In short, the right treatment plan can help you or your loved one change negative thought patterns into positive ones while also beginning the journey to long-term recovery.
One of the most widely-used forms of therapies in addiction recovery is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). The National Alliance on Mental Illness says that CBT focuses on exploring the relationships between a person’s thoughts, feelings and actions[i]. During CBT sessions, therapists work with their patients to uncover unhealthy thought patterns that lead to destructive behaviors such as addiction. By addressing these thought patterns, patients can then develop healthier thought patterns that change destructive behaviors into productive ones. Ergo, the core principle of CBT is to identify negative thoughts to restructure them into positive ones.
Another popular type of therapy in addiction treatment is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). This therapy was originally developed to help suicidal patients and people with borderline personality disorder, but it has since been adapted to suit other problems. DBT has its basis in CBT, but includes accepting uncomfortable thoughts, feelings and behaviors to validate rather than ignore them. By coming to grips with negative thoughts, feelings and behaviors, patients can see that change is possible. From there, they can work with therapists to find recovery.
Along with individual sessions with therapists, patients in rehab treatment will also participate in group therapy to learn how to communicate in healthy ways. By recognizing negative thought patterns in others and helping people improve, patients can better recognize their own problems to turn those problems into benefits.
The Power of Positive Thinking
It may be hard to believe, but thinking positively on a daily basis can powerfully influence how life turns out. This skill can not only lead to a healthier frame of mind, but a positive attitude can also have some of surprising health benefits. In fact, according to the Mayo Clinic, the positive thinking that comes with optimism is a key component to stress reduction[ii]. The Mayo Clinic also lists the following benefits of a positive state of mind:
- Increased life span
- Lower risk and rates of depression
- Lower levels of distress
- More resistance to colds and other common ailments
- Better physical wellbeing
- Better psychological wellbeing
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and death from it
- Better coping skills during times of stress
Basically, the healthier your state of mind is, the better you can deal with life’s challenges. However, even if you become an optimistic person, it may still be difficult to maintain this attitude while you are in rehab and enduring the early days of recovery. In response, if you apply the principles you learned from your therapist and in group sessions, then you can continue changing negative thought patterns into positive ones and see the fruit in how you approach life.
Find Help for Drug and Alcohol Addiction
Learning to change negative thought patterns into positive ones is an important part of the recovery process, because you can become someone who sees benefits and feels grateful even when life seems hard. In short, dealing with addiction does not have to set the tone for your entire life, because hope and help are both available. If you or a loved one struggles with substance abuse, then know that we are here for you: call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline now to speak to an admission coordinator about available treatment options.
[i] The National Alliance on Mental Illness. “Psychotherapy.” Accessed February 15, 2016. . https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Treatment/Psychotherapy
[ii] The Mayo Clinic. “Stress Management.” Accessed February 13, 2016. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/positive-thinking/art-20043950