Graduates from Recovery Treatment Share How Treatment Changed Their Negative Outlook into a Positive One
For many people who suffer from substance abuse, disengaging from negative thinking is close to impossible. Addiction and negative thinking typically go hand in hand, in addition to feelings of low self-worth. Addiction and the feelings of inadequacy or negativity become a vicious cycle. In addiction treatment, different therapy modalities help patients learn how to change their way of thinking. They are given new skills that pave the way for a more positive outlook.
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In recognition of National Recovery Month, I reached out to several addiction survivors to get a sense of how their attitudes and outlooks changed through treatment for substance abuse.
Here is some of what they had to say.
‘What can I do to fix this?’
Adjusting your outlook can be a key behavioral change in keeping negative emotions at bay.
Jarakah, a proud graduate of A Forever Recovery in Michigan, told me that therapy gave her a whole new way of looking at a situation.
“[Treatment] completely changed my life. My thinking process is different. Cognitive behavioral therapy really helped me take a negative idea and turn it into a positive one immediately: What can I do to fix this? What’s good about this situation? And it actually really helped me,’’ she said.
This really is a significant ability for Jarakah to carry in her toolbox, especially as someone who has suffered through substance abuse.
‘They helped me handle those negative emotions’
Alex was amazed when he found out his approach to life was what contributed to much of his suffering.
He told me, “I knew that my addiction and drugs were a problem, but I knew the main problem was with myself and how I dealt with hardships and disappointments. It blew me out of the water learning what I could do with myself. They helped me handle those negative emotions and gave me coping skills in so many different ways.”
The negative feelings Alex carried were dead weight. Learning new coping skills and adjusting his approach to what the universe throws at him will serve him well for the rest of his life.
‘It changed my way of thinking’
There is a popular saying: Change your attitude, change your life. It rings true for so many people once they learn how to turn their negative emotions around.
Caitlin, whose feelings of low self-worth and low self-esteem contributed to her substance abuse, discovered, “I was putting myself in really dangerous situations. I was emotionally dead, and I really just didn’t want to live anymore. I realized it wasn’t really an option to keep using anymore, so I had to do something different. It has seriously changed my life. It changed my way of thinking, and that has been my problem for so long.”
It’s amazing how one tiny change can reap such long-term rewards for your mental health. Changing your outlook can also have a major impact on your relationships.
For those considering treatment, please take a moment to survey your feelings and outlook. It’s probable that you will recognize similar feelings of negativity these proud graduates once shared.
If they can find a better way, so can you.
Author: Cecelia Johnson