My Mind’s Playing Tricks on Me: How to Stop Addictive Thinking Patterns
In prison, many of the women I met struggled with substance abuse issues. Although alcohol and drugs were no longer in endless supply in there, many of them carried on with the same addictive thoughts and behaviors.
Manipulation, isolation, instant gratification, victim mentality…it was like they were still operating on the same wavelength they did on the street. In fact, being sober appeared to have made no impact on them at all.
It’s Time to Break the Pattern
When addictive thinking is present, the harmful consequences of drug or alcohol use don’t outweigh their euphoric effects and will eventually lead to relapse. So, it’s important to change those old destructive thoughts and behaviors to maintain your sobriety.
Try some of the following tips to improve your mindset:
- Tip#1 – Play the Tape All the Way Through
Before you make an impulsive decision, stop and consider the long-term consequences. Only through personal awareness and self-evaluation will you arrive at a place to stop your old behavior and implement change.
- Tip #2 – Get Support
Substance abuse and its patterns of behavior thrive in the dark, so it’s beneficial to bring your struggles to light. Find a support group, share your story with others who understand and can provide some helpful insight. Working alone is possible, but it’s so much easier to lie to yourself and return to old habits when there’s no one holding you accountable.
- Tip #3 – Clean House
It’s important to know your triggers and avoid anything that could possibly serve as one. Also, stay away from people, places, and things that could draw you back into self destructive behavior. This might mean making an entirely new group of friends, moving, or getting a new job.
- Tip #4 – Take Care of Yourself
Eat well and get enough sleep. When you’re well rested and properly nourished maintaining a positive state of mind is much easier.
- Get Active
If you find your mind wandering to negative places, then get moving. A regular exercise routine can provide a mental boost and build your self esteem.
- Tip #5 – Shift the Focus
Substance abuse is a selfish disease, one that’s entirely about you. One of the best things about 12-step programs is they provide you with an outlet to help others with similar issues. When you listen to their stories and practice kindness, you change those old self centered behaviors and commit to a new, positive mindset.
Additional Reading: Refusing to Give In – 8 Ways to Beat Cravings
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