Attitude Isn’t Everything, But It’s a Lot
Most alcoholics and addicts aren’t known for our winning attitudes. The disease can rob us of all momentum, positivity, and energy. It can darken how we see the world, in addition to our pain, the hurt we’ve caused, and the trauma we’ve suffered. In recovery, we are given the means, support, and guidance to address these wounds. We can begin healing from our traumas, and we can build healthy skills across the spectrum of our lives. Even with all this, it can sometimes be difficult for us to shake our old ways of thinking and seeing the world.
There’s a lot of truly boring advice, and meaningless platitudes about how much having a positive attitude can do for you. Most of us alcoholics and addicts are far too jaded to fall for such trivial nonsense. The problem is that most of that stuff about a positive attitude is totally true. As much as we may hate to admit, some of us need to take a good, long look at our attitude and outlook on life. It may be causing us more trouble than we realize. A positive attitude isn’t everything, but it is a heck of a lot. And, like everything else in our recovery, it does need some action to back it up.
Seeing Is Believing
One of the best arguments for working on our attitude comes from this simple truth — we won’t ever reach a goal we can’t see. To put it simply, if we don’t believe we can ever be happy, then we never will be. The science of belief is usually a complicated thing, but it’s not so tricky here. If we don’t believe happiness is possible for us, we won’t ever take the actions or make an effort to be happy. This same formula works for everything, from our careers to our finances to our romantic life. If we don’t believe good things are possible, we won’t really try. Think about it. If we know that jumping to the moon is scientifically impossible, we aren’t going to try very hard to do it — probably not at all. But some scientists awhile back knew jumping to the moon was impossible, so they put in the work and found a different way.
This may seem like a ridiculous example, but that doesn’t take away from its truth. We have to believe that good things are possible for us before we’ll ever take steps to materialize those good things. Think back to when we first entered recovery. We saw recovered people all around us, and we began to believe that the 12-Steps could work. Seeing other people who had recovered gave us the courage to believe we could recover, too. So we worked the 12-Steps and found recovery. Now we go to meetings to help newcomers have the same experience. It’s a beautiful thing, and it proves that having a good attitude holds plenty of merit.
Changing our attitude and outlook on ourselves, the world, and life can significantly impact those areas. In fact, the 12-Steps encourage us to reshape our outlook and attitudes as we work the program. We know the 12-Steps can change lives, and maybe that perspective shift is a pretty big part of it. But we can’t leave everything to belief, just like with the 12-Steps. We have to back it up.
A positive attitude is just one of the baselines — one part of the foundation. We must believe that something is possible before we become willing to take action, but that belief and that action don’t always have to come from desperation. If we spend time working on our mindset and inner dialogue through the 12-Step process and with the help of our higher power, we can begin to believe and take action without being desperate first.
Believe in Your Recovery
If we don’t believe, we won’t act. If we don’t act, we may never realize what we’ve been believing in. Again, our own recovery holds the best example. We believed the 12-Steps could work for us, so we took the action to recover with the help of our higher power and our sober community at Jaywalker Lodge. What we believed came true, and probably even better than we ever imagined.
What if we had believed the 12-Steps could work for us, but never actually took the actions? Would we still be in recovery today? That is frighteningly unlikely for most of us. Positive attitudes and perspectives must be backed up with action, but we must believe in those actions to have the motivation to take them. This simple feedback loop can work for both positive and negative things. If we think we’ll never get it right, we’ll probably won’t even try, thereby ensuring that we never get it right. But if we believe that we can live happy, free, meaningful lives, we become a lot more likely to take action to help that belief become a reality.
Attitude isn’t exactly everything. It still needs action on a consistent basis — but it does help a whole lot.
Depression, anxiety, and negativity are constant effects of substance abuse, worsened by the actions taken under the disease’s influence. This vicious cycle can be broken, although it requires being willing to let go of our broken perspectives to finally heal. If you honestly want help in achieving long-term sobriety, please reach out to Jaywalker Lodge. We’re here to give you the support you need. Call us today at (866) 529-9255.