How to Tune Out the Distracting “Noise” During Recovery
Our minds are our own worst enemy, especially when it comes to trying to challenge our own thinking. One fundamental problem-solving difficulty common to alcoholics and drug abusers is the inability to simplify situations and concentrate on the central issue.
Many alcoholics and addicts say they took chemicals to escape— at least temporarily,- from the “noise in their head.”
The noise came from the habit of thinking you could read other people’s minds and anticipating (usually wrongly) what would happen if you did this and then he did that and then she did the other thing. It came from overcomplicating things until they ran around in circles in your head, all the unnecessary, irrelevant, invented details chasing each other around like mad monkeys. (As on alcoholic put it, “I suffered from a terminal disease called ‘figuring it out.’”)
In active addiction, you tended to obsessively, aimlessly and unnecessarily spin your mind’s wheels in this direction and that without fleshing out a cogent solution-oriented action plan.
You are not happy with your significant other.
You know it’s not working and you ought to break it off.
This is clear and simple, and all your instincts tell you so. But here comes the noise:
- I’ll be so lonely. What will I do on Friday and Saturday nights?
- People will think he dropped me.
- Mia will never speak to me; she fixed us up on our first date.
- How will he manage?
- He’ll be so hurt.
- He’ll just go out drinking with the guys all the time.
- He might kill himself. How can I do this to him?
These are all the wrong questions.
What difference does it make what Mia thinks? Is the unlikely possibility that she might be slightly offended worth ruining your whole future for? And what makes you think she cares? What makes you think you’ll be so lonely? Don’t you have other friends to be with? You got one significant other, won’t you get another?
What makes you think you are so perfect and irreplaceable that they won’t find another person who suits them better?
The only questions you need to ask are these:
- Are you happy together –not constantly, but on balance, or are the quarrels and resentments and anger overwhelming the pleasure you used to take in each other?
- Do you bring out the best in each other?
- Is this relationship good for you—and especially, for your recovery?
Reframe Your Thoughts
Reframing your thoughts, like the example above, can make the biggest difference in overcoming any obstacles that may otherwise consume you. Silencing your mind isn’t the goal, but the goal is to filter out the incessant thoughts that negatively affect you. One of the ways you can learn to do this at Royal Life Centers at Chapter 5, is by participating in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on reframing maladaptive thought patterns, and helping you see multiple perspectives to abolish the negativity that is plaguing your mind.
When it comes to reframing your thoughts, practice will help you get to a place of contentment. No one can just change the way they think overnight; you must constantly challenge your negative thought patterns and offer yourself different views to create a more realistic and broad perspective. Recovery is a process, and the beauty comes from the transformations of self that happen through out the recovery process.
If you or a loved one wants to learn more about our substance abuse programs, please reach out to us today. Our admissions team is available 24/7 at (877)-RECOVERY or 877-732-6837 to answer any questions you may have. Because We Care.