10 Tips for Remaining Positive During Alcohol Recovery
Remaining positive is difficult for those struggling with alcoholism and recovery. However, there are simple actions you can take to stay sober with the right mindset. Neglecting to do so is an easy way to end back at square one.
Up to 60% of addicts relapse. This includes people that are addicted to alcohol. The early stages of recovery are especially tough because of the psychological and physical dependence that comes with alcohol addiction. Self-efficacy and peer support are powerful ways to ensure lasting sobriety.
1. Stay Conscious of Who You Surround Yourself With
At the end of the day, you are who you surround yourself with. This applies to people in general, but doubly so for those who struggle with remaining positive during recovery. Oftentimes, individuals struggling with alcoholism find themselves spending time with people that encourage them to drink.
Perhaps these people don’t understand the dangers of alcohol. They might even be unaware that they have an alcohol use disorder themselves. Friends such as this may pressure the people around them to just have one drink or go to a bar. Unfortunately, this makes It easier to relapse.
Alternatively, you should strive to surround yourself with positive friends and family members. Stay away from those who make you feel bad about not drinking and those who don’t understand that alcoholism is a medical disorder. Remaining positive is easier when surrounded by optimistic people that love and support you.
2. Exercise Regularly
It might sound tone-deaf to push people to exercise when they are having a difficult time with simple things like eating and showering. Depression is a common theme among those who suffer from an alcohol use disorder. This mood disorder makes it seem impossible to do simple things to stay healthy and remain positive.
Yet, it’s crucial to regularly exercise to maintain sobriety and positivity. Exercising releases chemicals in the brain that have to do with happiness, relaxation, pleasure, and feeling rewarded. Plus, an adventure is always fun. It’s similar to the way alcohol affects people without the negative side effects.
It would be nice for everyone to jump into a regular exercise routine, but realistically it’s better to start small. Try jogging or even walking around for 15 minutes every other day. Then go from there!
3. Spend Lots of Time In Nature
There is a practice in Japanese culture called shinrin-yoku. This roughly translates into forest bathing. It’s the act of being in nature, particularly surrounded by trees, without any plan. People who engage in this practice are encouraged to use all of their senses to appreciate nature, which helps promote relaxation and mindfulness.
A study cited by Harvard Men’s Health Watch examined two groups of people. One group exercised for 90 minutes in nature, while the other exercised the same amount of time in an urban environment. The group that exercised in nature had lower activity in the part of the brain that has to do with dwelling on negativity. Simply making an active decision to spend more time in nature can help with remaining positive before and after recovery from alcoholism.
4. Practice Mindfulness for Remaining Positive
There is a core principle within cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). The basis of this type of therapy that helps many people struggling with an alcohol use disorder is that “automatic” thoughts can translate into negative emotions and behaviors. This includes drinking in excess.
The tricky part is that many people don’t realize that they are having automatic thoughts and then dwelling on them. CBT therapists help patients recognize self-destructive thoughts and combat them with a realistic, positive spin. Ask yourself, what thoughts do you entertain regularly? Are you being kind to yourself?
Self-efficacy is a concept in psychology that means believing in yourself. It’s important to be mindful of the thoughts that put you down. Alcoholism is completely treatable. However, a big part of success comes from self-confidence. It’s a skill that takes time to practice that gets easier over time.
5. Eat a Healthy Diet To Promote Positivity
Again, taking care of yourself can be difficult when recovering from alcoholism. It takes a lot just to stay committed to sobriety every day and work on getting back to normal life. Yet, a healthy diet can reduce cravings and help with remaining positive.
Cooking is one of the best positive thinking group activities out there. It’s a good idea to get together with friends and meal prep healthy meals for the entire week. It can help keep you committed to eating right and encourages those around you to do the same. Try to eat a colorful diet full of vegetables and fruit.
6. Create Art
Creating art can be done alone or with peers. It’s one of the most powerful positive thinking group activities because it lets people positively express their emotions. Harvard Women’s Health Watch notes that art therapy can help in the following ways:
- Relieves stress
- Aid communications
- Helps improve cognitive function (especially in old age)
- Improves resilience
- Aids in managing anxiety and mood disorders
Art is an ancient activity that’s been a source of positive expression for centuries (think of cave paintings). Also, creating art with people can promote stronger bonds. It’s a diverse source of healthy expression that ranges from pottery to painting. Try one out or combine them all to see which one makes you the happiest.
7. Try Out Journaling
The American Psychological Association (APA) writes that mindfully journaling can reduce “intrusive and avoidant thoughts about negative events and improves working memory.” It’s a free way to express negative emotions and take the time to put a positive spin on them. The APA goes on to write that small expressive writing sessions can lead to big results.
For instance, one study mentioned asking participants to complete three writing prompts over two weeks. Although only a small amount of time was dedicated to journaling, it still improved the participants’ cognitive function. With this, writing can help people with remaining positive through addressing problems with solutions. It’s tough to think this way when ruminating on an issue. Physically writing out a solution to issues can avoid this.
8. Practice Affirmations Each Day For Remaining Positive
Affirmations are specific, powerful statements that help reinforce positive thinking. It helps to say statements of encouragement and truth to yourself when recovering from alcoholism. It may feel weird at first to talk to yourself, but it makes the mind more open to believing statements through spoken repetition.
Some affirmations for recovering alcoholics include:
- I’m getting better every single day
- The universe works in my favor
- My friends and family members love me
- I’m stronger than my cravings
- My actions mean more than my thoughts
- I deserve love and respect
- A relapse doesn’t define me
Affirmations are a form of self-love, which is crucial to practice during recovery. Stand in front of a mirror and say them. Scream them to the world! You can always put up a sticky note to remind yourself to constantly be kind and honest to yourself.
9. Reach Out To Loved Ones If You’re Struggling
Don’t dismiss the power of a strong support network. Recovering alcoholics often receive support from addiction treatment facility alumni to help them stay on the path of sobriety. Yet, friends and family members deeply care about their loved ones. This includes loved ones that are going through a rough and trying time.
While most alumni are happy to help, they can’t provide the same warmth and comfort from those who know a recovering individual the most. Plus, they want to help because your life enriches theirs. It’s not a burden to ask for help, but it would hurt them and yourself not to. Recovery has ups and downs. On rougher days, reach out to loved ones for extra support. Stay with them if it helps.
10. Join Positive Sobriety Support Groups
Aftercare is just as important as addiction treatment when recovering from alcoholism. A great option is to attend positive sobriety support groups near you. Working toward the common goal of sobriety in a group setting can help you feel less alone and gain strength from peers.
Popular positive sobriety support groups include:
- Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) – AA helps group members through the 12-Steps and believing in a higher power.
- SMART Recovery – A support group that stands for Self-Management And Recovery Training. It uses pure evidence and science to help the group maintain sobriety and positivity.
- Life Ring – A sobriety support group that has three principles: sobriety, self-help, and secularity. It focuses on how self-efficacy can prevent relapses.
Many support groups have online sessions. It’s now easier than ever to join a positive sobriety support group as a form of aftercare. Also, plenty of support groups are held within addiction treatment facilities.
Little Creek Helps Individuals Maintain Positivity and Sobriety
Many Americans struggle with alcoholism. It’s a common, but treatable phenomenon. A positive mindset is crucial to recovery, but so is a reputable addiction treatment facility. Little Creek, located in the Hamlin, PA area, uses the power of self-worth, self-efficacy, and spiritual wellness to help patients overcome addictions.
It’s no secret that men often feel like they need to get through their issues alone. Here at Little Creek, we show men that sobriety is achieved through support and reaching out for professional help. Contact us now to see how we can help you achieve long-term sobriety and a positive mindset in the process.