Examining Our Beliefs about Our Destructive Behaviors
In the past I thought that that everything in life was better if I was drunk or high. I believed every experience could be improved if I altered it in some way.
‘I’m going on a date… we will have more fun if we are drinking.’
‘I have to clean the house… this will be much more pleasant with some wine.’
Eventually things got to the point that I felt, ‘I woke up this morning… this entire day will be better with alcohol.’
I have come to a place in my recovery that I feel peace in my life. Reality is a good place for me to be today. The goodness of the present moment will not be enhanced with alcohol. I don’t need to numb any part of this moment out with alcohol either. Even when things aren’t going quite the way I would like I can still be content with reality. I don’t need to add or subtract anything from ‘right now’.
I did a writing exercise this morning I would like to share with anyone that struggles with addictive or compulsive behaviors. It came from a book I just started called Mindful Recovery. The activity is to examine our thinking to determine the myths that we believe about our compulsive behaviors and what they are capable of doing for us. Write out your answers to the following. If you can think of any more helpful ones please write them in the comments below. 1) What do you believe engaging in the compulsive behavior will do you for? 2) How do you believe it will affect you? 3) Where did these beliefs come from? The next part of the exercise is to rewrite all those beliefs in a way that affirms your ability to accomplish positive experiences in your life without the compulsive behavior.
For example one of the myths I believed in the past is, ‘Alcohol makes me fearless and relieves my anxiety.’ I rewrote it as, ‘The power to be fearless and calm my anxiety is within me.’
This exercise was very helpful in allowing me to examine my deeper feelings and beliefs about my destructive behaviors. Obviously I wouldn’t engage in these things unless I believed they would help me in some way. The reality is that when I do something like drink to handle my problems it almost always makes things worse for me. It was helpful for me to reinforce my beliefs that I am capable of solving my problems without alcohol. I thought of another way to continue using this exercise in my life as a way to combat any relapse thoughts and urges. Yes, I am in a much better place but I admit I still have those fleeting thoughts on occasion. If I find myself wanting a drink I can think to myself, ‘What do I believe the alcohol will do for me in this moment.’ Then I can remind myself that I am capable of doing those things for myself.
I haven’t posted in some time so I will leave you with my latest video blog where I update on some of the changes in my life. Thank you for reading!
, . (2013). Examining Our Beliefs about Our Destructive Behaviors. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 27, 2016, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/be-the-change/2013/02/examining-our-beliefs-about-our-destructive-behaviors/