Using Affirmations to Change Self-Talk

man in denim jacket sitting and writing affirmations

Affirmations can be used in recovery to help you stay focused on your goals and achieve a better, more positive attitude. Many people in recovery feel plagued by negative thoughts or self-defeating beliefs. These are the kind of issues that keep people stuck in recovery and perpetuate negative attitudes. They can also stop you from trying new things or succeeding.

Negative Self-Talk

“I’m no good at this” or “I never manage to learn” are examples of negative self-talk that affirmations can help you change. You may have heard that you weren’t good at certain things when you were growing up, so you never tried them for yourself. In your mind, when you try something new, these beliefs may pop up and discourage you. Negative self-talk can keep you from trying new things or becoming the person you want to be.

Here are some examples of negative self-talk:

  • “You idiot!” “You’re so stupid!” “You’re a loser!” – All of these phrases are abusive, and you hopefully would not say them to another person. So why are you telling them to yourself?
  • “Nothing ever goes right for me.” When you tell yourself this, you’re giving up before you give yourself a chance.
  • “I just don’t have any talent.” For many things in life, you don’t need talent anyway. You need to practice and learn new skills.
  • “I don’t have enough time.” Many people make excuses to avoid 12-step meetings, therapy, exercise, meditation, and other things that can help them get their lives on track. If you had infinite time to use and find your drugs, you can now make the time to put in the work for recovery.
  • “Why should I bother? Nothing changes for me anyway.” Another easy way for people to avoid putting in the work to change their lives is defeatism. You won’t know what can change until you work on change.

Think about your most negative thoughts. You probably have a few of them going through your mind throughout the day. Write them down. Think about how they affect your decision-making. Think about how you feel when those thoughts arise. You probably can even think of a few times you were completely wrong when you were having these negative thoughts.

Let’s work on changing your inner narrative.

Affirmations and Positive Self-Talk

Positive self-talk takes practice. Affirmations are an easy way to practice thinking better thoughts about yourself. Self-affirmations can help you to challenge and overcome negative thought patterns and establish better self-esteem. When a thought is repeated enough, you can start to believe more positive things about yourself. You’ll also have a better attitude.

Write down your affirmations on some index cards and keep them in your pocket. When you have a quiet moment during the day – in the bathroom, on lunch break, etc. take the time to read them. Try to read your affirmations at least three times a day, every day, even when you’re having what you consider a bad day.

Affirmations should challenge the negative thoughts you have about yourself.

If you’re not sure how to do that, here is a list of affirmative statements that you may want to choose from:

  • I can learn from my mistakes.
  • I am learning new things every day!
  • I don’t have to be perfect; I am only human.
  • I forgive myself for the past and am working towards a better future.
  • I accept what I can’t change.
  • I strive for excellence in everything I do.
  • I don’t give up on myself.
  • I have a lot to offer.
  • I am becoming more open-minded every day.
  • I deserve to stay clean and sober.
  • My past is in the past! I focus on today.
  • I am grateful for the things I have.
  • I accept others, and they accept me.
  • I don’t sweat the small stuff.
  • I find inspiration in all parts of my life.
  • I accept where I am in life today.

These are just a few examples of how you can use affirmations in your life. Try to use them whenever you feel stuck in a rut or negative. If you’re having trouble writing your affirmations, ask for help from a sponsor or recovery friends.

Consider Sober Living

For many people in recovery, sober living is an integral part of their journey in recovery. Living among peers with similar goals helps you stay focused, and you’ll also be part of an intimate, recovery-centered community. Learn more about your options by calling us at 760-216-2077.

Do people do better with their recovery when there’s good weather? Many people with substance disorders ask this question. The truth is that the relationship between weather and addiction is tertiary; weather can affect everyone’s mood. Upsetting emotions, in recovery and addiction, are often a trigger to use. So the answer is that yes, weather can affect both addiction and recovery.

Bad Weather and Addiction

When you were using, you may not have even checked the weather for the day. You were probably going to use your drug of choice no matter what. But a rainy day or brittle cold may have made you feel like using was your only choice.

Miserable weather can work like a magnifying glass on negative feelings like depression or anxiety. As a person with a substance disorder, you may associate bad weather with your using days. Anything that brings up negative emotions can be a trigger to use.

Triggers are something everyone in recovery experiences, and you don’t have to use just because you feel bad.

Changing the Pattern

Many people choose to seek recovery in California because of the climate. Beautiful beach and weather, with calm and sunny days can be an inspiration. Many people in recovery in California find that they are able to connect to their higher power on another level when the weather’s good.

When the weather isn’t so nice outside, it’s time to distract yourself and find new ways to enjoy the day. You’ve probably heard the term “save it for a rainy day.”  Getting new hobbies, finding friends to spend time with in recovery, and focusing on the positive can help you get through the ugly weather days.

You may be tempted to use rainy or snowy days to isolate yourself. This can be a trap that leads to poor decisions. If you find yourself feeling gloomy or lonely, go to a meeting or call a friend in recovery. Don’t “tough it out” alone. You’re never alone when you’re in recovery. There are people ready to help you whenever you need help.

Sober Housing

Sober housing is a caring, safe space where you can get back on your feet and transition back to everyday living when you’re in recovery. Many people come to sober homes to live in a supportive environment where everyone has the same goals – to get clean and reclaim their lives. If you think sober housing might be right for you, please call us to talk about your options. You can reach us at 760-216-2077.

The first few months of recovery can be a bumpy road if you’re not prepared. New feelings, friendships, and a new way of life take adjusting to. You may also still be experiencing withdrawal after years of using substances. If you don’t know it already, it’s important to be aware that this too shall pass. Mindfulness is a powerful tool that can help you hold on while you’re waiting for negative emotions to pass.

What is Mindfulness?

According to Wikipedia, “Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment, which can be developed through the practice of meditation and other training.”

Sounds like a lot of work, huh? Actually, mindfulness is pretty much the opposite of work. When you take the time to slow down during a busy day, close your eyes and live in the moment, you’re doing a form of meditation that focuses on your breathing. For a moment, all you can do is be.

Learning Mindfulness

The simplest way to learn mindfulness is to practice being aware of the world outside yourself. Take a mindfulness walk, where you only focus on the squirrels, trees, and the sounds around you. Don’t use your phone or listen to music. Take a nice, slow walk and just be.

There are also breathing exercises you can use when you’re stressed. Practice mindfulness by closing your eyes and taking a deep breath through your nose. Exhale through your mouth and pay attention to the sound and feeling of your body as you do this. Keep your eyes closed and mentally count backward from ten for each breath. As you breathe, pay attention to the sounds around you and the sensations of your body.

You can also learn mindfulness on various websites dedicated to the topic and video websites such as Youtube or Vimeo. Do what works for you and leave the rest. Mindfulness is a great way to relax on a stressful day. It’s also a tool you can use when you feel triggered to use or do something self-destructive.

Sober Living Can Help, Too

Not everyone finishes treatment feeling safe and prepared for the real world, and that’s okay. There are many options available for people who want to live with others in recovery for added stability and understanding. We have some fantastic sober housing options for you to check out. Please give us a call at 760-216-2077 to learn more about your options.

Professional with sterling clinical performance record, including working with wounded warriors and law enforcement agencies, has assumed the role of Executive Clinical Director at Present Moments treatment center.

San Diego, CA – The Executive Team of Present Moments Recovery is pleased to announce the appointment of Sandra Richardson as the organization’s Executive Clinical Director. Present Moments Recovery is a privately-held company dedicated to substance use treatment programs in San Diego communities.

Richardson has been working in the alcohol and other drug field for more than 24 years in various treatment facilities, including for-profit and non-profit organizations, private-pay clinics, residential, partial hospitalization and outpatient treatment programs. She has vast experience working with law enforcement agencies such as probation, parole, juvenile justice, family law and public defender’s office serving various populations including women, children and male/female offenders. Most recently, Sandra has been working with veterans and wounded warriors.

“We’re extraordinarily pleased to have someone of her caliber and vast success in helping individuals recover and get back to living rewarding lives,” said Mark Gladden, CEO. “Her broad knowledge of substance use and family health issues coupled with years of experience working with treatment centers makes her well positioned to lead us going forward. She’s committed to our cause which is to support people’s healing process.”

As Executive Clinical Director Richardson will be responsible for hand picking and overseeing the clinical team for Present Moments continuum of care model, as well as developing individualized curriculum based upon both customary methods as well as cutting edge approaches.

Richardson has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from National University and a master’s degree in counseling, marriage and family therapy from University of Phoenix. She is a Licensed Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor with the State of California.

Learn more about Present Moments Recover by visiting our website at

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About Present Moments Recovery

Present Moments Recovery is a privately-owned business headquartered in Carlsbad, California with a mission to provide an individualized, multi-leveled treatment program that addresses the mind, body and spirit with compassionate, timely and effective treatment modalities. We do this by offering safe, nurturing, alcohol and drug free professional treatment and aftercare housing for men and women suffering with the disease of addiction. Present Moments Recovery supports industry non-profits for the good populations they serve to promote a greater access to treatment programs.

Do you have an attitude of gratitude? Often this is a phrase that’s repeated in 12-step meetings, but it’s not always clear what it means.

So let’s look at it this way: When you were using drug and alcohol, what were you grateful for?

Sometimes it meant getting enough of your drug or alcohol to get by for the day; I’m betting. But even when you were using you were human. No matter what your circumstances were, you probably had your fair share of fears, such as getting arrested when buying drugs or going to a sketchy neighborhood at night. When your worries didn’t come true, you breathed a little sigh of relief. You probably even momentarily experienced gratitude when the bad thing you feared didn’t take place.

That’s what gratitude feels like. When you're using, it goes away when you've gotten what you want. But when you’re clean, you get to have more to be grateful for, and that’s a blessing.


Why Be Grateful?


You may think gratitude also has something to do with what you have (own) or don’t have (don’t own). But this isn’t true at all. Both poor and rich people experience gratitude in the same way, and often it comes in the form of things you can’t buy. When you ask somebody what they are grateful for, they may tell you it’s their new daughter or their health. For example, you may be a billionaire, but you can’t buy the cure to cancer. The same goes true for peace of mind and sobriety. There are a lot of things that money can’t buy, and that’s true for happiness, health, abilities, and love. The time you can spend with others is something a lot of people become grateful for once they are clean.

Being grateful for material things has a place in recovery, too. For example, maybe you had trouble affording stuff like a nice dinner out or a new car when you were using. When you can afford something special for yourself or others, it feels good.


Discovering Gratitude Through Listing


Let’s face it; a lot of people get clean and aren’t automatically grateful, especially when uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal or thoughts of troubles invade their life. If you’re feeling depressed, fearful, or alone, it’s hard to be grateful.

Most people in recovery have to re-discover gratitude, and that’s okay.

Start by keeping a gratitude list. Every day, pick five things you are grateful for and try to mention something different each day. If the best thing about your day was a peach cobbler, then list it! If the best things about your day was some inspirational sharing at a 12-step meeting, write that down. Less anxiety, meals, a kind word from a stranger, a cheap Uber fare, a new pair of jeans, and a day off from work are a few you would find among my list of things I’m grateful for.

At the end of a week, you’ll find you have 35 things you’re grateful! If you realize your attitude has become one of gratitude, it’s working! Some people choose to keep a gratitude list year-round so they can reflect on the ways they’ve grown.


Getting Help

Are you looking for more information on sober living, aftercare or other recovery services? We can be of help! Contact us at 1-760-216-2077 to learn what your options are.

Addiction, also known as a substance use disorder, is a disease that can be insidious and powerful. For many people, relapse is a part of their recovery journey. But it doesn’t have to be that way.


The symptoms of relapse are not usually so apparent to people who suffer from it, and it takes a lot of work for a previously addicted person to get and stay clean. Living with everyday stress is a fact of life. People in recovery must find new coping skills and behaviors to help them avoid using drugs and alcohol again. But sometimes, old behavior patterns start to appear in life slowly but surely.


Relapse Warning Signs


When a person starts to enter the relapse process, there’s enough time for recognition that they need to change their behavior. Here are some of the warning signs that somebody is heading towards a relapse:


  • They stop following their recovery program. That means they don’t do the things they’ve been doing to help them stay clean. For example, no longer calling a sponsor or going to 12-step meetings.
  • They’re complacent and not motivated to do things that help their recovery.
  • They’re negative about almost everything and unwilling to try to recover their positivity.
  • Not working on themselves. A person doesn’t recover by getting clean alone – there’s work to be done.
  • Giving into relapse triggers, such as hanging out with using friends, visiting places dangerous to recovery, or other unhealthy behaviors.
  • Feeling like their emotions are out of control. Everyone in recovery copes with various feelings, but if you’re not working your program, emotions can overwhelm and cause a desire to use.
  • Holding resentments. Anger is natural, but bitterness can consume you until you’re confused and full of rage. Don’t let it take over your life. Talk to somebody about your feelings.
  • Keeping secrets. Secrets can cause guilt, pain, and shame when you’re in recovery. If you’ve done something you think should remain a secret, be transparent – tell your support network.


These are just a few things that can lead to relapse. The most significant message is that if you’re feeling bad, engaging in behavior that makes you feel bad, or otherwise feel “off,” hightail it to a meeting or call your sponsor. Nobody is perfect, but that’s not a reason to use.

Recovery is a journey, not a destination, and that’s good news. So do your best to stay the course and make sure you use the support that’s available to you.


Support Prevents Relapse


If you relapse, that doesn’t mean you’ve failed. Relapse is a part of many peoples’ stories – but it doesn’t have to be.

Find a stable support system and live with people who understand and support your recovery.

Learn more about sober housing options through our directory or call us at 760-216-2077. We’re happy to answer any questions.

Getting clean is a great accomplishment, and there’s a lot to celebrate. Finding a new way of life can be a huge relief for those who have been in the throes of addiction for a while. Staying clean, however, can be hard work. Many people in recovery talk about how they feel about “catching up” with the rest of the world – there’s so much to do! Whether it’s establishing new relationships or starting a new job, there is a lot of work involved. Many recovering addicts throw themselves into this new way of life with great enthusiasm – but it’s easy to get burned out. That’s why it’s so important for everyone to take the time to practice self-care.


Why Self-Care?

A few minutes each day nurturing yourself is an integral part of embracing your new way of life, and it can help you prevent burnout. Self-care is sometimes a foreign concept to people in recovery. After all, you may have spent a lot of time being “selfish” or only caring about what you wanted (such as drugs). It’s important to realize that self-care has nothing to do with being selfish. Instead, it’s a way to take care of your own needs, if only for a few minutes. Self-care can help you ease the stress of life in recovery, allowing you to continue your hard work.


Self-Care Methods You Can Try Anytime:

  • Mindfulness: Mindfulness helps you live in the present moment and is a form of mediation that enables you to relax. Try sitting outdoors in the open air, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Pay attention to how your body feels and the sounds around you. Feel the warmth of the sun or the comfort of a warm breeze. There are many other variations of this exercise; try a few meditations for mindfulness on your own.
  • Journaling: Many people find that journaling helps sift through their emotions and find solutions to problems. Not a writer? Try doodling your thoughts and feelings about the day, or even make a collage of your hopes and dreams by going through old magazines.
  • Listen to music: Music is often called the gateway to the soul. What inspires or uplifts you? Choose music that puts you in a relaxed or calm state of mind, or energizes you.
  • Exercise: A lot of people try to overdo it when it comes to exercise, which in turn can be stressful, mainly because it is tiring when you’re not used to it. Try going for a walk or just dancing to music in your room. (And make sure you dance like no one is watching!)


These are just a few things you can do to help yourself de-stress during an emotionally taxing day or help yourself remain centered. Many other things may help you care for yourself – as long as they don’t hurt you or anyone else, they can be beneficial.

Self-care methods will change as you move along in your recovery and discover new hobbies. The most important aspect of self-care is that it helps you feel better.

Don’t be too hard on yourself in early recovery! You can’t change everything overnight, and no one should expect you to. You’re on a path that will ultimately help you live a sober, serene life. Don’t let anyone steal that joy.

Are you looking for a safe, comfortable, supportive sober living home? Please give us a call at 760-216-2077. We are happy to answer any questions you have. Thanks!

Feelings – we all have them, and we all struggle with them no matter what stage of life we’re experiencing. In early recovery, however, emotions can be overwhelming and frightening. They may seem to come out of nowhere, and you may wonder if you’ll ever feel normal again.

Are These Feelings Normal?

In short, yes! It’s very normal to struggle with your emotions as you get clean and begin a new path to recovery. Many people recovering from addiction experience a broad range of emotions, from intense sadness and anger to even euphoria. Most of these feelings are fleeting, but that doesn’t stop you from reacting to the intensity. After all, what did you previously do when you had an emotion you viewed as negative? You used your drug of choice, most likely.

In fact, many people in recovery will tell you that they didn’t just use when they were sad or angry. They used when they were bored, scared, happy and just about every other emotion on the spectrum. Using drugs or alcohol suppressed these emotions. So it’s natural that these feelings bubble to the surface when you’re first getting clean.

When Feelings Make You Want to Use

The critical thing to remember is that this too shall pass. Emotions are often a trigger that makes people want to get high, but getting high will throw you back into a cycle that can last much longer than the feeling itself. You will end up feeling worse, and you may not be fortunate enough to make it back into recovery for a long time. Remember the reasons you wanted to get clean in the first place. Recovery is worth it.

You don’t have to use drugs to make these feelings go away. Instead, you have the opportunity in recovery to acknowledge these feelings, examine where they come from, and even take actions (like meditation, reading or other types of self-care) that can help those feelings pass more quickly. Most importantly, you don’t have to feel alone with them when they come to the surface. You can share these feelings with your support network, and they can help you learn to cope in more positive ways.

How Long Will This Last?

Emotional up and downs are a regular part of getting clean and sometimes living life itself. These intense emotions may be a roller coaster for the first month or so of being clean. However, some people may have severe mood swings that last longer than this. If this is the case for you or your loved one, it’s essential to get screened for any underlying mental illnesses.

A competent treatment center can help you navigate the storms of early recovery and can refer you to a therapist or psychiatric professional for assessment if needed.

Getting clean isn’t always easy, but there are many rewards.


Are you looking for a safe and supportive sober living option? Please call us at 760-216-2077 to learn more about your options. We’re here to help you make the best possible decision for yourself or your loved one.

We commend Frances Cobain, daughter of Kurt Cobain on her 2nd sober birthday. The impact of family hurts not only parents but also children, and the difficulties to overcome alcohol and drug use can become challenging given the social system reintegration and reliving trauma through the developmental stages that psychologically can become stagnant or thwarted in sobriety.

Sober living seems to have had an impact to extend her sobriety and the longer the supervision or support in earlier recovery the easier it is to attend the recovery needs. We salute the support she has received, the public comments and responsibility and inspiration to those wishing a life of joy after stopping addiction and alcoholism.

At By The Sea Recovery we want to remind society and the community at large of the importance of sober housing after addiction treatment and its positive impact on society as well as overall reduced costs. Congratulations Frances!

Sober Living: What to ask?

This article from the fix is impeccable. How do you tell a quality sober living from a random house looking to fit as many people and call it a process? The fact that it brings back power to the client is important. We'd like to add our own questions that help to refine the outcome after providing sober living in San Diego for over 5 years.

How often do you drug test?

This one is a biggie. There tends to be cost cutting in drug testing because it can be up to $10 dollars a test. The second one is alcohol breathalyzer. Alcohol is 'easier' to 'bring in' a sober house. We have found that the costs for testing is actually an investment and keeps sober living clients accountable. Our data also shows that the more we have tested, the better the outcomes. It is not uncommon for sober living homes to test once it is very evident that someone is either using or is on a behavioral path to do so. Testing often helps deter and many times eliminate excessive relapse in sober living homes. We recommend a minimum of once a week on urine and at least twice on breathalyzer.

What is the relapse policy?

Rarely do people talk about relapse and it's important to know that not only does it happen, but its less common to have continued and extended sobriety. Sad? Unfortunate? Drug and alcohol recovery is messy and, let's not forget, mortal. We do have hope. It is important to set clear the consequences of relapse, and not in a manner of punitive measures, but as to keeping a home safe for sober living clients. The greater the structure, the safer it is. Relapse with a focus on money can lead to sober homes charging reinstatement fees or simply feeling afraid to asking someone to leave because of losing a clients expenses at the end of a month. A quality sober living home will care more about safety than money. Our experience shows that having options to staying at a local hotel, going back to detox or having another sober living home to begin recovery (with their residents aware of the issue) will lead to a greater connection to the community and ties not broken. There should be consequences but there is no need to punish a behavior that many times is cognitive and biological and not a decision of morals.

Communication. Communication. Communication.

Although you can't nanny a loved one, it is important to know what the process of communication will be in both relapse, payment and/or changes. Do get treatment and support with both the rehab and ideally a therapist, and knowing you are not on your own should reduce stress for everyone. Our prayers go out to those seeking help and information reminding everyone that we are not starting from scratch and that sober living homes like By The Sea Recovery look to find innovation in data, process and ultimately outcomes in the sober living world.


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