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How the Way You Talk May Be a Stumbling Block

How the Way You Talk May Be a Stumbling Block

Having a positive outlook enables you to cope better with stressful situations

Some San Diego residents are naturally optimistic, but others see only the cloud that problems cause, not the silver lining in every issue. For people in addiction recovery, cultivating the former mindset is important, because it helps them get and stay clean. Just because positivity is important for addiction recovery does not mean you need to be a Pollyanna to get sober. However, key attributes of recovery are learning to stay in the solution and out of the problem, finding the good in difficult circumstances and identifying the strengths in other people. If you speak positively—both to yourself and others—then you can avoid negative self-talk, a common stumbling block to sobriety.

How You Talk: Why It Matters

Mayo Clinic experts say that optimism and pessimism affect many areas of health. For example, the positive thinking that typically comes with optimism is a key part of stress management, a skill known to boost immunity and increase longevity. However, positive thinking does not mean that you keep your head in the sand and ignore problems; on the contrary, positive thinking means that you approach difficulties in a productive way. You assume the best is going to happen, not the worst. In other words, a recovering San Diego drug addict can remember the following optimistic thoughts:

  • I am making progress
  • Every chance is a new opportunity to practice my program
  • I deserve to be sober
  • My past mistakes make me smarter about avoiding relapse

Positive thinking often starts with self-talk—that endless stream of unspoken thoughts that run continuously through the mind. These automatic thoughts can be positive or negative. Some springs from logic and reason, while other self-talk arises from misconceptions. If the thoughts that run through your head are mostly negative, then your outlook on life is more likely to be pessimistic. On the other hand, if your thoughts are mostly positive, then chances are that you are an optimist, so you will see problems in recovery as opportunities for growth.

Researchers continue to explore the effects of positive thinking and optimism on health. According to Psychology of Addictive Behavior, known benefits of a positive mindset include the following list:

  • Increased life span
  • Lower rates of depression
  • Lower levels of distress
  • Improved immunity
  • Better psychological and physical resilience
  • Reduced risk of death from heart disease
  • Better coping skills during times of adversity

Having a positive outlook enables you to cope better with stressful situations, which reduces the harmful health effects of stress on your body. San Diego residents who are optimistic lead healthier lifestyles, too, which strengthen addiction recovery. In other words, recovering addicts who get more physical activity and follow healthier diets are less likely to drink in excess or smoke.

Techniques That Target How You Talk

In the early 1990s, Motivational Interviewing (MI) became popular; it specifically targets positivity in speech, and it helps people overcome ambivalence toward change. Today, the approach is widely used in recovery centers, which means San Diego drug addicts can find help in recovery if they learn how to motivate themselves positively. MI is based on the belief that, without clear personal reasons for getting sober, it is almost impossible to stop using drugs. This therapy helps addicts see the negative effects that substance abuse has on their lives, and then it empowers users to change. If San Diego drug addicts learn to speak with “change talk,” then they have an integral skill for recovery. Furthermore, a core component of MI is self-advocacy, which means that people are more likely to change when they discuss it rather than someone else. In other words, when addicts mention or discuss their desires to change their behavior and they commit to such change, then therapists know that the patients are catching a vision for a better future.

Positive Psychology is another approach that is popular among drug treatment professionals. It centers on the premise that all people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, so positive psychologists cultivate virtues that enhance the quality of love, work and play experienced every day.


Optimism, Pessimism and You

Regardless of the therapeutic approach that a San Diego resident takes, a positive outlook is a proven way to build psychological health. To monitor your self-talk and to find out whether your glass is half full or half empty, watch out for the following problematic habits:

  • Personalizing – Automatically blaming yourself when something bad happens
  • Filtering – Magnifying negative aspects of a situation and filtering out the positive ones
  • Catastrophizing – Automatically anticipating the worst
  • Polarizing – Seeing things only as either good or bad with no middle ground

No matter how grim your life seems or how hopeless your situation may feel, scan your day for things that make you happy and for which you feel thankful. Eventually, an attitude of gratitude will become a habit and a way of life.

Help for San Diego Vicodin Addicts

If you or a San Diego loved one struggles with Vicodin addiction, then know that help is available. Admissions coordinators at our toll-free, 24 hour helpline can guide you, so do not go it alone when help is just one phone call away. You never have to go back to a life of addiction, so please call now for instant support.