Perhaps you know now that it was those negative thoughts that drove you to drink. Perhaps you’re more aware of yourself than you were when you were younger, and you know that it was the uncomfortable feelings and thoughts that kept you drinking for many years.
Sometimes, those hard-to-handle feelings stem from a particular event. Maybe your brother or mother died. Perhaps you lost your closest friend to suicide.
Or perhaps your boyfriend/girlfriend or spouse passed away. Losing someone or experiencing a tragic event can be incredibly difficult and it is one of the most common reasons that lead to addiction.
However, sometimes those challenging emotions and thoughts simply arise from negative thinking patterns in the mind, patterns we’ve had since childhood. Negative beliefs about ourselves, such as “I’m no good enough” can also lead to having negative thoughts and feelings.
Common Reasons to Drink
One of the ten most common reasons people drink is to relieve pain. They want to wash away their heavy feelings or they need to escape the thoughts they might be having. A chaotic inner experience can be the primary way for many people to begin and to continue drinking.
Other reasons that might lead someone to drink are also related to feelings and thoughts. For instance, another top ten reason that could lead to drinking is sadness or feelings of loneliness.
And yet another reason is to seek out feelings of euphoria. Although we tend to associate drugs with providing feelings of bliss, alcohol can also bring such a feeling of inner freedom that it too can lead to those euphoric states. And these types of feelings – freedom, euphoria, relief from pain – can slowly contribute to the development of an addiction.
So, if you know that this is the case for you, how do you change it? How do you finally stop drinking, despite the feelings and thoughts that are still there?
It’s interesting that even though a tragedy might have happened years ago, the feelings associated with that tragedy might still be there if you’ve been using alcohol to escape them.
It’s interesting to note that those uncomfortable feelings and thoughts do not simply go away because you’ve been escaping them. Furthermore, if you’ve had negative thinking patterns, beliefs and feelings about your life since childhood, they are likely to also be there despite your attempts to escape them.
They say that if you want to create a real change in your life you must stop doing what you’ve always done. You must do something new, something contrary to what you’ve done in the past. In this case, that new action must be to face your feelings instead of pushing them away or escaping them.
However, to do this, you must first get sober, if you haven’t already. And you must also gather the support you need around you so that you don’t have to face those challenging feelings alone.
As you may already know, much of recovery is therapeutic, meaning that you are provided with many opportunities to look inside yourself. You are given many chances to explore the thoughts and feelings and beliefs you have.
Finding thoughts that lead to distasteful feelings can help prevent craving for drugs and alcohol. And once a thought is found it can be replaced with a thought that is more life affirming and self-loving.
This is particularly useful right in the middle of having a craving for a drink. Instead of actually fulfilling that desire, you can write down the thoughts you’re having along with your associated feelings. Keep in mind that unhealthy thinking might be evident among the behavior of friends, family members, or others who you knew when drinking.
In other words, you might see the evidence of unhealthy thought patterns around you.
By examining thoughts, you can almost immediately change your mood and behavior. This is the point of accessing those unhealthy thoughts, even though they might be challenging.
This gives you the opportunity to replace them with positive thoughts and as a result prevent cravings to drink or use drugs. In the end, this could lead to changing your life and doing what you’ve dreamed for yourself.
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