Negativity was and still is a character defect that I need to address on a regular basis. Who isn’t negative at times? I learned quickly that people didn’t want to be around a negative person, so I developed a witty sense of humor to “mask” how negative I was about everything. I’m not negative, I’m just being real! Life is pain! Comedy is a perfectly timed elixir of pain, wit, and in my own experience, negative talk about a particular subject.
Sometimes You Just Really Need A Hug
As I continued to drink, I began to feel the shame and guilt of my actions. My inner thoughts were more vicious, and therefore my jokes started to become more vicious.
Most bullies are just hurt souls – they probably need a hug more than you would think – I know I did.
On a regular basis I would tell myself I wasn’t pretty enough, I wasn’t smart enough, I wasn’t successful enough, I wasn’t wealthy enough, and to protect myself, I decided that if I wasn’t good enough, then no one else could be good enough. That’ll show ’em! This negative thinking showed nothing except how wounded and vulnerable I was. I ended up hurting a lot of people who didn’t deserve it. Especially myself.
Here is a list of useful tips and tricks that have helped me combat my own negative thinking:
When I start to go into a spiral about negative thinking, I excuse myself from whatever I’m doing and pray. Usually it’s me worrying about something that hasn’t even happened yet – which is paying interest on an issue you haven’t even experienced. If you aren’t in the program or aren’t into praying – you may want to give it a try. It saved my life and I didn’t even know it needed saving.
If you aren’t open to that, then I suggest writing out a gratitude list. Big or small. Name 5 things that you are grateful for, and really think about it. Having gratitude helps us enjoy the little things and can turn our negative thinking around to appreciate life as it is.
Today, I’m grateful for:
- My family
- My sobriety
- The sunshine
- Great friends
- My understanding workplace
Call A Friend
Once you’re done with that, text or call a friend who you haven’t spoken to in a while. See your negative thinking disappear when you hear the tone in your voice that they are happy to hear from you. And just moments before you were telling yourself that you were worthless. Those are some powerful thoughts!
Offer to help out at work – even when you feel like you’ve already done more than enough. Maybe you could give a ride to a friend who’s car is broken down or someone who is moving. There’s always someone who could use or simply appreciate your help. In turn this can help you get out of ourselves and our stinkin’ thinkin’.
Contribute To Your Community
You don’t need to go on a volunteer kick to change your negative thinking, but it’s also a great idea to contribute to the community – volunteer at the animal shelter, the community garden, or maybe even write some blog posts for Sober Nation. There are a lot of simple solutions and tools that can be used to solve a very bleak problem of having low self-esteem. It took me a long time to realize that helping other people without expecting anything in return and actually meaning it has helped build me up when I could hardly look at myself in the mirror any more.
Be Kind To Yourself
Just remember, time heals all wounds, and you can’t take back things that you say – so you might as well make sure you only say good things about yourself.
Combating The Monster Of Negative Thinking
My addiction felt like there was a monster inside of me. This monster was a living, breathing, talking, projection of my negative thinking. It made me do or say mean and hateful things to others. However, today I have tools to use to combat it instead of feeding the flame with booze or drugs. My addiction loves to tell me I’m worthless and that it’d be wise of me to just take a drink and throw away all the good in my life. This monster of a disease is real. I can tame it, and it can be treated, but not cured.