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The Joy of Sobriety #7 - Positive Thinking

Some of the joys of sobriety I have and will talk about tend to overlap in ideals especially in regard to where benefits are concerned. Nevertheless, I don't think there is any harm in reiterating certain benefits of sobriety that you will see recurring throughout your sober journey and recovery. The recurring benefits overlap in many areas of our lives, and while they may seem simple and obvious to some people, to the addict they are extraordinary and a blessing for which to be grateful every day.

While I was drinking, using nicotine, and engaging in other destructive behaviors I found it difficult to find joy in much of anything other than those chemicals and behaviors. I had used them for so long as a way to feel good, happy, or to simply cope that I subconsciously began to believe they were the reasons I was able to do those things. I saw them as my saving grace in a world that proved every day to be against me. I spent most of my time and energy finding ways to engage with them as a way to make the difficult life I lived easier to endure. Walking through life in a deluded cloud of misinformed justification, I quickly realized that life would be lonely unless I surrounded myself with other people who viewed the world in the same way as me. It felt good to complain about the same misfortunes and injustices. It felt good to know others needed to disengage and escape their lives with alcohol. It felt good to know that I was not alone.

Humans tend to migrate toward like-minded people; it's a pack mentality. It's an obvious way to help us feel better or justify the way we think, feel, and act. It's why we have seen clicks develop in any social setting we have ever been a part of. Why would we spend time with people who do not understand us? Alcohol numbs and depresses our senses and then rewards us by making us feel like shit the next day. The longer we stay in that cycle, the more negative and depressed our views on life become. Over time, we find that we no longer feel joy in the things that used to make us feel good. The simple pleasures in life are replaced by the internal longing and need to feed the addiction that slowly grows within us until we lose sight of ourselves.

Positive Thinking

One of the first feelings we experience when we effectively quit drinking is a feeling of euphoria and positivity. This is literally our body's way of trying to congratulate us on making a decision to treat our bodies better. Some people refer to this as the pink cloud phase. But, why does it have to be a phase? I understand that life happens, but isn't it really all about how we see the life that is happening around us? Removing alcohol automatically gives us a positive perspective that we can use to look at the world differently. We just have to make the choice to continue thinking positively.

Remember, it is not our go-to coping mechanism, because we have suppressed that ability for years, but it is a natural bi-product of living alcohol or addiction-free. Each day we effectively choose not to engage in our addiction, we build confidence and that confidence breeds strength and that strength craves positivity. We begin to want to find positive perspectives in our lives. We start to learn that we do not only have to see the negatives because we are beginning to witness more positives every day. Positives like: feeling good in the morning, thinking clearly, feeling motivated, being productive, and just living better. These changes act somewhat like a domino effect if we let them.

"What we think about, we bring about"

That is a quote from the book, "The Secret" that I think applies to this perfectly. If we think positively, then positive things will tend to occur. Conversely, if we think negatively then negative things will tend to occur. This sounds like an overgeneralization, but I believe it to be accurate on many different levels. Since I am relatively new to all of this too, I have to remind myself that my natural reaction to difficult things, at times, may not always be the most positive. So, I have been working on changing my mindset the moment I feel or say negative things. This is not easy at first, because you do have to believe it to make it work effectively. The other day I became very upset about something happening at work with a coworker. I allowed myself to get pissed off and I said a few swear words while walking out of my office and bitching about how stupid the "thing" was that had occurred. I caught myself mid-stride and stopped. I said out loud, "Okay, that's horribly negative. This is not that big of a deal and I can make this work." I took a deep breath, walked back in my office, and went back to work feeling less negative. As it turned out, my boss ended up changing the "thing" back to the way I felt would be more productive and easy anyway.

I believe this works in how we look at and perceive everything that happens around us every day. Mastering the art of positive thinking may not be easy, but nothing worth it ever is. Quitting our addictions and witnessing the strengths within us are the first steps in positive thinking. The more we see positive in the world around us, the more we begin to attract positive into our lives. We begin to surround ourselves with positive people because they see it in us and we see it in them. We want and crave more positivity around us because we not only see the benefit of positivity we can feel it as well.

Feeling positive is one of the single greatest changes I have witnessed throughout my sober journey. It has afforded me the ability to change the way I perceive the world at almost any given moment. I may have bad moments at times, but I no longer have bad days. I believe this is because I no longer allow negative energy to perpetuate itself past inception.

Release negative energy the moment you feel it and you will neutralize its ability to grow.

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