At the young age of seven, I experienced the power of words. I was sitting in my second-grade class surrounded by girls and boys my age. I wasn’t the smartest in my class, and my shyness caused me to be lost in the crowd. One day, my teacher handed out a sheet of paper to us all and asked us to paint a picture out of a book. I began painting green tones in the shape of a frog. When my picture was complete, my teacher looked surprised: “Wow! You have a natural gift. This is amazing work for a seven-year-old.” I grinned ear to ear and excitedly went home from school with my painting clutched in my hand. The next few months, I spent hours and hours coloring, drawing, and painting every free moment of my day. I suddenly wanted to be an artist; it was a thought that had never crossed my mind before. Her words had impacted my dreams and boosted my self-esteem in ways she probably never realized. Encouragement from those around us is important, but the words we speak to ourselves have the most powerful influence on the way we live. Maintaining positive thoughts is critical to a successful recovery.
The Negatives of Negative Thinking
Recovery will have its good and bad days, but you have to look for the silver lining wherever you can. This means conquering one day at a time, and when the day is over, never look back. A negative thought can set you back quickly and place you at risk of relapse. If my teacher had frowned upon my frog picture, I would have given up. That negative experience would have ruined the chance of many wonderful future memories. Negative moments will come and go, but don’t feed them or they will grow.
- Negative thoughts can damage growth.
- Negative thoughts risk relapse.
- Negative thoughts intensify struggles and everyday bumps.
- Negative thoughts prevent positive experiences.
The Positives of Positive Thinking
My teacher only had to speak a few kind words to inspire me for months. This positive, or negative, reinforcement is often described in parenting; if you repeatedly tell a child they are smart, that child will soon believe they are smart. You can apply this principle to addiction recovery; if you tell yourself you can recover from drugs, you will begin to believe that recovery is possible. We become what we believe we can be, and the words we speak to ourselves will determine a successful recovery.
- Positive thoughts ward off depression.
- Positive thoughts improve the quality of life.
- Positive thoughts help us stay focused amid stress and struggles.
- Positive thoughts help prevent relapse.
- Positive thoughts boost self-esteem and confidence.
I am here to tell you that recovery is possible. It was believing in myself that finally led me to success. If I had given in to negative thoughts, I would not be typing this today. The end might look far away, but you only have to look to tomorrow. It doesn’t matter about next week or last month; what matters is today. Conquer one day at a time with pride, and ignore those who want to bring you down. Use positive thoughts to fuel you every day until you reach that final recovery step.