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Difficult as it may be to believe, people actively involved in recovery programs have an advantage. They learn to realize that living in the solution helps diminish problems. No one gets through life without difficulties; we get sick, we lose friends and family members, we struggle with work and finances, we worry about children . . . the list seems endless. The good news is that the tools of recovery provide a way to lessen the impact of life’s obstacles. A positive attitude, a fresh perspective and a plan of action make all the difference.

Give Negative Thinking The Boot

Individuals who suffer from substance abuse disorders have made a habit of negative thinking.  By habit or by environment, they tend to envision a worst-case scenario about every problem that comes their way. They also judge themselves harshly, often covering up their self-loathing by judging others. They see themselves as inferior in looks and abilities, no matter what evidence may point to the contrary. Then they turn to alcohol or drugs, which gives them a false sense of confidence and security and alters their reality.  In recovery, particularly through cognitive behavioral therapy, alcoholics and addicts learn how to recognize their negative patterns and how to redirect their thinking. They learn that some problems are self-imposed. By changing their thinking, they can conserve energy wasted on issues that do not exist.

Substitute Action for Self-pity

Learning to live in the solution does not mean ignoring feelings of grief and sorrow. In fact, alcoholics and drug addicts often experience the full impact of those feelings for the first time because they have developed the habit of numbing their feelings. Living in the solution means to recognize the feelings, to allow the experience of them, and then to take action in managing them. Unexpected situations, such as accidents or sudden illnesses, are part of life. Facing the wreckage and chaos in the wake of addiction can be intimidating and frightening. Nonetheless, the tools of recovery help construct a new vision. Focusing on gratitude, taking a walk, spending time on a favorite hobby or reading inspirational literature are some examples of living in the solution.

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