3 Steps for Disputing Difficult Thoughts

Do you sometimes find that you are actually responsible for putting yourself down?

You might be sitting in a quiet room, maybe you are even upset at the moment, and you find yourself thinking you are not good enough or you begin telling yourself that you cannot do something…

Oftentimes, we are our own worst enemy. It is hard to deny what our minds tell us. We feel that just about everything think must be true. But, the mind can be a scary thing…

There are plenty of times where it feeds us lies. And, the only thing that is able to get between those negative thoughts is our own realization that it is not true.

Especially during addiction recovery, emotional distress can really wreak havoc on your overall health and your recovery success rate. As you think these negative thoughts, you might find yourself giving in or wanting to give up because your mind can so easily convince you of whatever negative thought it is proposing to you.

But, you have the greatest power of all – you can control your mind and feed it true, helpful, hopeful, and nurturing thoughts rather than harmful and negative lies.

Try these practices for talking yourself out of negative thoughts:

  1. Ask yourself: Is this thought true?

    Find a piece of paper, a small piece of cardboard or a rock and write the word “truth” on it. Hold onto that while you give yourself the truth test.

    Did this actually happen?

    If I asked my {insert: mom, spouse, child, etc.} would they say the same thing?

    What is making me think this?

    Oftentimes, if there is no explanation to the last question and the first two answers are “no,” then your thought is not true.

  2. Ask yourself: Is this thought hopeful?

    Does it support your dreams, goals, and route for recovery?

    Or, does it put more negativity into your life?

    Even in times of struggle, focus on the positive and hopeful thoughts. Successful recovery starts with thinking and truly knowing that you can do it.

  3. Ask yourself: Is this thought helping me?

    Is this thought helping you realize something new and leading you to a more successful path?

    Recovery has no room for negativity.

    Your thoughts should be geared toward making you a better you.

Why You Should Celebrate All Victories, Even Small

Do you remember as a child when you would do something good, anything, and your parents would praise you?

It could be something as simple as trying to tie your shoe – you did not get it right, but you gave it a try and were better than yesterday so they were overjoyed because you were making progress…

Most parents are that way – they celebrate every victory their child has, no matter how small. They see the value in even the smallest of steps toward improvement. Even if it isn’t a leap, it is still a step toward improvement, right?

So, why are we not like that with ourselves?

Especially when it comes to a major milestone in our life, like getting clean, why do we ignore the small victories, only aiming for the big ones?

It is easy to look at the bigger picture and think, “Well, I’m not there yet so I’m not good enough.”

But, start by breaking that down…

What steps do you have to take to get there? The bigger picture is all about the little victories that it is composed of within.

So, just to reiterate that: one small victory is great progress toward the bigger picture and your overall goal.

To say you have been clean for a month, you have to start by staying clean for a week or even just a day.

Continue to reach toward those monumental goals, but appreciate the little successes and victories along the way.

By celebrating the small victories along the way, you can observe how you have improved and continue pushing yourself forward.

After all, it is all about motivation, right?

So, when you are recovering from your addiction, find your motivation in your small victories.

Keep coming back to your meetings. Keep working with other. Keep talking to others. Keep using those tracking tools. And each time you succeed in something, reward yourself.

One of the best ways to avoid losing sight of the small victories is to make a list of goals:

  • Start by listing out what your main goal is – i.e. to be sober.
  • Next, break that down into three (or so) major milestones you need to hit – i.e. sobriety for one year.
  • Then, break it down even further into the small milestones you need to hit to make that major milestone which eventually translates into your overall goal – i.e. be sober for one month straight.

And, the goals can be whatever best fits your recovery…

Maybe one is to mend the relationship you have with your child.

Well, did they answer when you called today instead of ignoring your call? Did you have a five-minute conversation with them instead of being forced to leave a voicemail?

That is a victory! Small, but still victorious.

Celebrating even the smallest of victories will keep you on track for your big goal.