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“Happiness is a choice. You can choose to be happy. There’s going to be stress in life, but it’s your choice whether you let it affect you or not.”
“If you learn to really sit with loneliness and embrace it for the gift that it is…an opportunity to get to know YOU, to learn how strong you really are, to depend on no one but YOU for your happiness…you will realize that a little loneliness goes a LONG way in creating a richer, deeper, more vibrant and colorful YOU.”
“Dedicate yourself to the good you deserve and desire for yourself. Give yourself peace of mind. You deserve to be happy.”
#2 Negative thoughts destroy only myself.
My first conscious sober act is to reduce negativity in my life.
Sobriety and Statement #2 in action offer a process toward balance and healing. While active addiction severs the ability to think clearly with distorted and chaotic thoughts, recovery can turn this around. It’s like applying the brakes to an out-of-control vehicle. With steady constraints, balance becomes achievable and the journey becomes enjoyable.
Our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. writes in her book Turnabout, “It would appear logical that we can overcome the negativism only as soon as we are able to make ourselves into someone we might admire. Our overcoming is in exact proportion to our becoming someone worthwhile.” For me, staying sober each day helped me create feelings of accomplishment. Day after day, week after week, I was showing myself that I was worthwhile and that I valued myself. This was quite the U-turn in thinking.
Some days were really tough, so tough that I had only managed the most basic of things but I began to build a sense of identity. Those negative thoughts like “you can’t do it” or you’ll never____” were replaced with “I am doing my best, YES I can, and I am able to ______.” Managing thoughts became easier the more I practiced. Today it is an empowering tool that is used daily in my New Life.
Here is a 4-stage plan to challenge negative thinking:
1. Awareness: In order to challenge negative thoughts, they first need to be identified. Practice listening to your mind. Take a few moments each morning to get a feel for your thoughts. What are you aware of? Practice mindfulness.
2. Define: Is there a pattern to your thoughts? Do they serve a healthy purpose or are they limiting you in some way? Sort them out by journaling, meditating, discussing, and diary writing.
3. Embrace or Replace: Some thoughts are helpful, encourage and strengthen those with repetition or using them as a mantra. Replace limiting thoughts by reframing them in a way that benefits you.
4. Let go: Release thoughts or patterns that do not serve you. Challenge the “I can’t” by reframing it to “I am or I am getting closer to my goal.” When a negative thought pattern gets louder, use your brakes. Saying STOP out loud helps, or visualize a happy or content scenario. Remember that your ability to manage your thoughts can depend on your level of energy. The more tired, stressed, or physically ill you are, the more challenging it can be. Focus on balance, after all, you are a capable, competent, caring, and compassionate woman!
Dear 4C Women,
This has been a challenging past couple of weeks for me. I have felt sad, angry, frustrated, and lost at times. I recognize these “feeling” triggers and while I acknowledge these feelings, I have learned that giving in to these feeling triggers in an unhealthy way would only make it worse. The feeling that would come after an unhealthy choice would be exactly what Statement #2 says – the self-destruction of self-esteem, self-worth, and self-love. Here’s how I put Statement #2 into practice when negative thoughts creep in and decide they want to take up long-term residence in my mind. I first recognize that I can experience any feeling as there is no right or wrong way to feel. It’s when I start berating myself for negative thoughts, and start judging myself in an extremely emotionally destructive way that I also recognize that I need to take a breath, examine these thoughts to understand where they are originating, and seek clarity. That’s what usually works for me – to know where these negative thoughts are coming from.
Am I overreacting or responding to a situation that is painful, an unexpected disappointment, or feeling helpless? Once I uncover the core of my negative thoughts, I go through the process that Karen so beautifully shared. I know one thing for sure. I will not be held hostage to negative thoughts that would destroy all the work I have done. I am a firm believer in acknowledging feelings. I am also a firm believer in protecting my well-being, and my recovery. When I have my doubts, I reach out and the encouragement and love I receive are a beautiful gift. It truly lifts my spirits and helps me find the balance, the truth I am seeking and need.
As you go through the week, I hope you will practice the guidelines Karen shared. I also hope you will reach out to those you trust and get clarity on your negative thoughts. Protect your well-being, create a positive mantra, and make sure your negative thoughts have a short stay yet acknowledge them and uncover their roots. Statement #2 is a wonderful guide to learning how to reduce negative thoughts, one thought at a time.
Bonded in reducing negative thoughts that harm our recovery and self-worth, Dee