Why is it that we would never consider speaking condemning, judgmental or hypercritical words to a friend—but we think nothing of speaking those words to ourselves? While this type of bitter self-talk is not discriminatory, those struggling to recover from chemical dependency are particularly vulnerable to a negative inner commentary.
“I’m a failure.”
“I can’t do this.”
“If I get stressed out, I know I’ll take a drink.”
“I’m not good at anything.”
“I guess I should face it. I’m not cut out for recovery.”
“I’ll never be able to support my family.”
“I’m boring as a sober person.”
This type of negative self-belief goes hand-in-hand with self-loathing and shame, which are also common struggles for those seeking sobriety. For many of us, these types of thoughts become so engrained that they begin to form the foundation of our existence—without us even realizing. Worst of all, life may become a self-fulfilling prophecy; a true story narrated by our internal dialogue.
Help for Negative Self-Talk
Whether you struggle with drug and alcohol dependency or your negative self-talk has to do with the way you view your physique, external beauty, work performance, family relationships, or life struggles, the key to derailing this destructive process is to catch yourself in the act. Consciously “listen” to your thoughts. When you realize that you are falling into a destructive thought pattern, experts recommend these tips:
Tell the message to “STOP.” As simple as this sounds, your brain is powerful. Stop the message in its tracks and redirect your thoughts to something positive. The less time you spend on the negative, the less likely you are to head down a path of destructive thinking that hijacks your sobriety progress.
Stop thinking in absolutes & extremes. Rather than, “I always drink when I’m stressed,” adjust the verbiage to: “Sometimes I drink when I’m stressed, but I am learning to manage my stress in other ways.”
Challenge the assumption. Put it to the test. Ask yourself, “What evidence do I have that this is true?” “What information do I have to the contrary?”
Use relaxation techniques. Deep breathing, exercise and meditation help ease the tension that builds during negative self-talk. When you are in a more relaxed, mindful state, take time to challenge your assumptions and redirect your thoughts.
Journal. Write down your thoughts and begin to think critically about where they are coming from. It is easier to get a handle on negative thoughts when they are in front of you—in black and white—rather than bouncing around in your head.
Get Help for Negative Self-Talk & Addiction
If negative self-talk is taking your addiction recovery off course, it’s time to discuss it with a licensed therapist or credentialed addiction specialist. AToN Center is staffed by an experienced team that will help you dive into negative thought processes to make the mental and behavioral changes that lead to lasting sobriety. Executives, entertainment industry professionals, physicians, judges, and other high-profile clients find privacy and luxury at our luxury San Diego addiction treatment facility—where we allow you to manage your busy lifestyle while going through intensive rehabilitation.
To speak with a member of our admissions team, call 888.535.1516 today.