Using Your Imagination To Reach Your Goal of Long-Term Sobriety

sobriety |

The Use of Creative Visualization

It might seem like hocus pocus to some, but using the imagination to reach a particular goal is a method that has been used by athletes for decades. The practice is called creative visualization and it uses both your imagination and your creativity. Essentially, the technique invites a person to imagine in detail what they want to achieve.

For instance, let’s say an athlete who runs a 5 minute mile wants to run a mile in 4 minutes instead of five. He or she might imagine in great detail what it feels like to run, feeling the movement of the muscles, feeling their feet hit the pavement, hearing the crowds cheer, and hearing the spokesperson announce the finishing time of 4 minutes.

Imagining what you want in great detail can assist with making the experience come to life. Getting the muscles and all the inner senses involved in the imagination helps the body and the brain feel as though the experience were taking place. In fact, recent research indicates that the brain does not know the difference between an event that is imagined and an event that is “real”.

Athletes, psychologists, hypnotherapists and other professionals have known this technique for some time. And it’s a method that could be used to help a person stay sober as well.

For instance, a person might imagine themselves in the future, feeling what it’s like to have zero cravings, experiencing the emotions that might come from happy and healthy relationships, seeing themselves walk past a liquor store without the slightest pull to go inside.

Someone who is new in their recovery might spend some time imagining what it would be like to be entirely free of an addiction and feeling the emotions and experiences that come along with that.

Start Simple and Work Your Way Up

Again, for some, this might sound like wishy-washy kind of advice. However, for many, it works. In fact, there isn’t any harm in simply trying it out. You might begin by imagining something easy. Some people find it hard to use the imagination in great detail and it might be a skill that needs to be developed. If this is the case for you, you might start out by imagining an apple.

See it clearly in your mind. What does it feel like to hold it in your hand? Is it bright red or is it a darker color red? Can you imagine yourself taking a bite out of it? What does it taste like? Can you imagine the sound of the crunch when you bite it? This is a good beginning exercise for anyone who is interested in using creative visualization to facilitate sobriety.

Treatment for Long-Term Sobriety

Of course, it’s important to remember that this is not a stand-alone treatment for sobriety. If you are currently struggling with an addiction, it’s important to get help, such as calling a mental health provider and attending some kind of treatment program. If you’re already getting treatment, creative visualization can be a supplemental technique to use to strengthen your sobriety.


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