I took a break from reading the book but did read Day 17 on March 17th. I have decided to pick it back up once I get back from my visit back home. I ended my AF streak on March 26th – so had 26 days in a row… and after that had maybe 3 more days. I have been dealing with a few things – and still believe this book will be a great tool to get me to a new level. Life is really changing for me – and the actions and tools will all be useful in my transition and change. I created a new vision board to get new focus and I’m going to maybe even sign up for a few life coaching sessions. In the mean time I share with you (and journal for my own sake) the great info from Day 17!
You can’t predict the future or change the past. You can choose to be optimistic in the present moment and believe that everything happens for a reason. Even if something appears “bad” now, you do not know what positive outcome might eventually come from it.
Negative Drinking Thinking
Pay attention to what your negative self-talk sounds like to you. Your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all connected. Think of what “traps” you may be using that often lead back to self-loathing and anxiety-perfectionism, negative labeling, generalizing, deletion, jumping to conclusions, exaggeration/minimization, emotional reasoning, should statements, personalization, or mind reading. These traps cause you to focus on the problems and challenges of drinking, and not on the desire and ability to thrive in sobriety.
Turn Your Lights On
You fix a dark house by turning on a light, not trying to push the dark away. Instead of trying to push away your negative thoughts, replace them by choosing to think of something more positive. Soon there will be no room left for dark thoughts. To get rid of negativity, focus on being optimistic, and practice positive expectation and positive self-talk. Just like entering a dark house (negativity), you can get rid of the darkness by turning on the lights (optimism).Always focus on what you want, have positive expectations that you will get it, and assume that everything that happens to you happens for a reason.
Negative Thinking Traps:
Perfectionism – Nothing will ever be perfect – so don’t set yourself up for failure “good enough is good enough”
Negative Labeling – Avoid labels – you are not a drunk – drinking is something you do, not who you are. A failure is something you experience, not who you are.
Generalizing – “I always” .. “I never” … “I’ve tried everything” – using the word ‘only’ – focus on specifics – exactly when and where to you feel uncomfortable, get anxious and drink? Then use that information to shift your behaviour. You haven’t tried everything and there’s not one ‘only’ way to do things … keep working at it.
Deletion – only remembering the positive experiences of drinking and ignoring the negative experiences and consequences. This is called euphoric recall – the father away you are from the pain of drinking, the harder it is to abstain
Jumping to Conclusions – assuming things will turn out badly. It is important to recognize that every event or situation is unique and different, and stay open to what is happening in the moment.
Exaggeration / Minimization – exaggerating the ‘bad’ things in your life and minimize or fail to celebrate the good – FLIP this around! Exaggerate the positive and minimize the negatives.
Emotional Reasoning – getting caught up in negative emotions and assume they reflect the way things are. Acknowledge that emotions are temporary and can be changed. Recognize what makes you feel the way you do – and change the false logic that created those feelings.
Should Statements – Replace should with the word WANT
Personalization – viewing yourself as the cause of the events
Mind Reading – Guessing what someone else is feeling or thinking – when in doubt check it out – don’t assume
Honest self-observation dissolves pains and pressures that formerly did their dreadful work in the darkness of unawareness. This is so important I urge you to memorize and reflect upon the following summary: Detection of inner negativity is not a negative act, but a courageously positive act that makes you a new person.
~Vernon Howard, author