Staying positive is a great daily goal for your recovery plan. Positive and optimistic thoughts help create a positive and optimistic experience. Besides, the urge to use is deeply embedded in negative perceptions and negative feelings. For example, if we look for the bad in life, we will find it. If we expect to feel negatively, we uusually will… Our thoughts are powerful. They create our experiences.
An Attitude of Gratitude
It’s an old 12 Step ‘cliche’–to have an attitude of gratitude, but we have to remember that if a concept stays around long enough to be cliche, then there must be something to it. Non-useful ideas usually fall by the wayside. Frankly, I have never seen gratitude fail. I have told my clients for years that you cannot be unhappy and grateful at the same time. I say that those two things live in two different places in the brain.
One of the best ways to foster an attitude of gratitude is to make a list everyday of the things you are grateful for. It doesn’t have to be a long list. It also doesn’t have to be written down. If you simply think of your ‘gratitudes’ without recording them, it is helpful to at least say them out loud. This gives a special sort of significance to them and makes them more real for you. Some people who like to write them, designate a particular notebook for their gratitude lists.
Guarding Your Speech
Guarding your speech is another powerful way to keep a positive attitude. This means that you are careful to speak only in positive terms and to keep negativity to yourself. This certainly does not mean that you always have to appear to agree when you don’t or to be happy when you aren’t. You can participate in as much ‘life drama’ as you want, but your contributions will come from compassion and respect for everyone concerned. The 12 Step program has a saying that makes this point: Be in the solution not the problem.
Be Mindful of Your Impact
Being mindful of how you affect others is important when working to stay positive. Learning to read the signals and cues of others is helpful. Tune into your listeners–are they attentive or is their attention wandering? Do they appear anger or agitated? Do they appear sad when you speak? Paying attention to how you affect others emotionally will help you monitor your behavior. You can see a reflection of your behavior in theirs.