Having other people on your side and offering support through the recovery process is great, but it is even more important to have you on your side. Research suggests that the average person has between 45,000 and 51,000 thoughts every day. This internal dialogue, or "self-talk", can have a surprising influence on your actions, and throughout the recovery process and beyond, the things that you tell yourself can either lift you up or sabotage your efforts.
Self-talk is an automatic, habitual behavior, and a little negative self-talk here and there is absolutely normal. However, excessive amounts of self-deprecating thoughts are a common problem among addicts and can lead to guilty, shameful feelings that increase the risk of relapse and make the recovery process difficult. However, with a little effort, negative self-talk can be spun around and turned into a tool of motivation and inspiratione.
Tied into the concept of positive self-talk is the use of affirmations. Affirmations are short, powerful statements that help consciously control one's thoughts and steer them in a more positive direction. These statements may be set in the present or the future and are set up with a clear goal in mind. Examples of affirmations include statements such as "I am in control of my own life", "I will become a drug-free individual", "I am not tempted by drugs", and "My life is free from drugs". Assert that the things you want to be true of yourself are true.
The aim of such statements is to rewire the brain and ultimately change the way you think and behave, keeping you motivated and giving you a more positive outlook on life. Create some quick and simple affirmations that reflect your own goals and repeat them to yourself whenever you are stressed, upset, or just generally feeling down. Even when you're not in a bad place, set aside a few minutes each day to say some affirmative words that will keep you inspired, energized, and motivated.
While the concept of positive self-talk and affirmations is simple, it can be tricky to master, and will likely take time to make a noticeable difference. However, even just recognizing one's own negative thoughts and the impact that these thoughts have makes a difference, and with a little practice each day, the use of positive self-talk and affirmations can really help to turn things around.
Affirmations can be a powerful tool, and turning negative self-talk around is an important step in the recovery process, but they are still only supplementary forms of treatment and should be used in conjunction with more traditional types of therapy.