What-ifs and reservations in sobriety can cause mental anguish and self-doubt. Constantly worrying about the future or dwelling on past mistakes can lead to relapse if not dealt with properly. Self-doubt and stress can be one of the hardest obstacles to recover from when newly sober. Luckily, there are ways to curb negative thought patterns and put reservations to rest. It may not be easy but, like anything else, regular practice and routines can lead to a much happier and confident sobriety.
The reason that what-ifs and reservations in sobriety are so pronounced is that the human mind naturally likes routine. Addiction is in itself a routine, so when we try to break it, the mind tries to convince itself that that routine is needed to function properly. Even when we know the consequences of using or drinking, we can often somehow think of some reason why drinking or using actually helps us. Setting a new routine is the best way to replace the old one, which will calm the mind. Here are some tips for starting a new healthy routine:
Letting go of denial
The first step to stop reservation in sobriety is to truly recognize the flawed thinking that triggers doubt. Many addicts and alcoholics are in denial about their problem. Once they accept they have a problem, the denial rises up again in sobriety. This time, the denial is that alcohol or drugs were really that bad for us. We may think we had better relationships while intoxicated, or performed better, or were more motivated. Really recognizing that this thinking is simply mind tricks will allow you take more action to change your beliefs for good.
Practicing mindfulness is a great way to stop reservations in sobriety. Mindfulness can be practiced meditating and focusing on the breath. As you get better at being mindful of simply breathing, you can try being mindful while eating, while listening to music, or while walking in a park. Slowing down and experiencing the present moment will slow racing thoughts and increase gratitude for sober living. Life experiences are so intense and colorful while in a sober state, which can easily be taken for granted.
Helping other people in early sobriety, volunteering to help the homeless, or volunteering at a local needle exchange program can be extremely humbling. It serves as a constant reminder or how things were or how things may end up. When exposed to those less fortunate, it is much easier to be grateful for what we have and what we have accomplished.
Recognize character defects
Recognizing character defects and trying to change them is not an easy or pleasant task but can be monumental for letting go of reservations in sobriety. Since reservations are a craving for routine, making steps to change character defects promotes a new routine. Attempting to change negative behavior, like anger or outbursts, can help the mind rewire itself. When we recognize when we are wrong and try to make amends, it helps change our entire perspective on life.
Making gratitude lists and daily journaling can be a great way to document your success and growth. As time goes on, you will begin to see the strides you have made from staying sober. This will further promote the idea recovery is actually working and making your life better. On day one, your list may be short and thoughts may be grim. A month later you may have a completely different outlook. Going back and remembering how you felt on day one can give a significant boost of confidence.
Find role models
Finding role models is crucial for recovery and letting go of reservations in sobriety. Recovery role models have likely dealt with reservations themselves and can give meaningful and priceless advice. They can help you set up and plan healthy daily routines to replace your old routines. When in a fit of doubt, they can be there to pick up the phone and help you flip your perspective.
Share your story with others
Whether it be at 12 step meetings, treatment centers, or other recovery support groups, sharing your story with others and how you have changed can be a major perspective changer and confidence booster. When you say out loud how far you have come, it can become much easier to see the fruits of sobriety. Others will likely thank you for your service and any advice you can give. You can get a chance to help the next person and really begin to enjoy the sober life. Reservations in sobriety are inevitable and completely normal but that should be dealt with and over time they will slip away. The best thing to do is forgive yourself and then just help the next person looking to get sober. Appreciation of sobriety will come with time and effort.
How Pinnacle Can Help
One of the most effective ways to beat addiction is to start recovery at an addiction treatment center. Pinnacle Treatment Center is a comprehensive program that addresses the root causes of addiction and how to overcome it. Pinnacle provides intensive therapy along with lectures and exercises for life skills and relapse prevention. Patients will be involved in group therapy sessions as well as 12-step groups like NA and AA. Pinnacle will even help manage aftercare planning to ensure their patients remain on the right path after treatment. A well-rounded program like this is the best way to start recovery today and take control of your life. Call us today at 1-866-301-0573.