Negative Self-Talk and Recovery
Staying positive in recovery can seem like a battle, at least when you first get clean and begin to sift through your emotions. Negative self-talk can be harmful to you and hinder your progress in sobriety. Learning to become more positive will help you achieve more of your goals, build your self-esteem, and stay on track in your new way of life.
What is Negative Self-Talk?
Let’s face it, we all have an internal voice that tells us things about ourselves, whether they are true or not. Many of these things are negative, and nowhere close to reality. For example, some people call themselves stupid over the tiniest thing, like dropping a plate or missing a bus. Mistakes can sometimes seem like astronomical problems when your internal voice is so negative. When we do this, it’s called “negative self-talk”. It can be a huge issue for those in recovery.
These negative self-beliefs can be dangerous and cause failure because you’re continually looking at the negative, and are also telling yourself that you are meant to fail.
What does negative talk sound like? Here are a few things people tell themselves that can get in the way of recovery:
- “I'm so stupid."
- "I'll never be good at _____, so why try?"
- “I’m no good.”
- “Nobody cares, so why should I?"
- “I can't handle _____."
Negative self-talk can prevent you from trying new things because you feel shame about yourself. And it’s not true, anyway! Many of these thoughts come from a place of hurt or shame in your childhood and have been reinforced throughout the years. But they’re self-defeating at best and cause self-hatred at worst. How can you be good at something if you give up quickly? How can you learn to handle things if you give up before you try?
Changing Your Self-Talk
Changing your self-talk won’t take place overnight, but you can get started today with more positive feelings. One way to help yourself feel better is to write out some affirmations for yourself and practice them every day. For example, when you find your self-talk keeps calling you stupid, start your day with a statement that changes the dialogue. “I am learning new things every day, and I am feeling smarter than ever before” is a great one to try. “I’m a good person, and I do good things for others” is a good answer to when you’re feeling “no good”.
Write down all of the negative talks you can think of on a piece of paper, and make new affirmations on index cards so that you can scroll through and read them to yourself every morning.
Talk to others such as your peers or therapist to learn other ways to banish negative self-talk. As you spend more time in recovery, you’ll find more examples of being the person you want to be, rather than the person your disease says you are. Hold on to your moments of accomplishment and give yourself credit.
Life After Treatment
Your journey in recovery doesn’t end once you have finished inpatient treatment. A sober living situation, aftercare plan and other activities can help you stay on course as you adjust to life after treatment. Want to learn more about your options? Please give us a call at 760-216-2077.