In the world of sobriety, there are a lot of terms and phrases that get used pretty often that help describe our behaviors, our thought processes, and our actions. Alcoholic thinking is one of those sayings that you hear about in recovery. You’ve read the signs on the walls, the ones like,
“Keep it Simple”
“Just for Today”
“Let Go and Let God”
Most of these phrases and simple little mantras tend to focus around quieting down our mind. This is largely due to the fact that, even after we stop drinking and drugging, we can still suffer from alcoholic thinking.
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But What IS Alcoholic Thinking?
They tell us that when we are in active addiction, what we suffer from is an obsession of the mind and an allergy of the body. This ensures that we will always obsess over trying to get drunk and high and that we will always need more once we start.
But what about when we get sober? Alcoholic thinking is present in every sober and active alcoholic. We never lose our “stinking thinking”, as it is usually our natural and instinctual line of thought. However, now that we are sober, we have the opportunity to change those thoughts around and live a much happier life.
Alcoholic Thinking – It’s All About Perspective
One of the root causes or character defects of alcoholics is fear. Fear leads to selfishness (and our need to protect ourselves comes out in silly ways), and these two things create a whole world of problems for us when we are not actively working the steps or a program.
Today, we have the ability and the tools we need to stop that type of thinking, characterized by selfishness, fear, self-pity, resentments, and entitlement – into a more positive and proactive line of thought.
So, in order to change our alcoholic thinking into a positive perspective, here is what can we do to turn it around:
- Working the Steps (with a sponsor): This is and always will be the first line of defense against alcoholic thinking.
- The steps are designed to clear the wreckage of our past, to identify the defects in ourselves that caused chaos throughout our lives, and to live a spiritual life moving forward.
- After doing these steps, we are PROMISED a spiritual awakening and a complete psychic change, we are promised to be relieved of the obsession to drink and drug, as long as we keep practicing spirituality.
- Higher Power: whether you come in here after a lifetime of attending a church, or if you come in completely atheist, a spiritual life is still obtainable.
- Spirituality has actually nothing to do with God, or Jesus, or Mohammed – but instead, everything to do with HOW you are living your life.
- Being spiritual also comes down to the fact that you are aware that YOU are not the one in control of the world, or even of the events that occur in your life.
- Spirituality has to do with being “other-minded” – not self-minded. In other words, thinking about others and what you are putting into the universe, rather than what others and the universe are “doing” to you
- Service Work: Service work, along with spirituality, is doing for others without expecting anything in return. Today, we receive sobriety and a quiet mind, that is our return.
- When we are not giving to others, or being a part of our community, we tend to get wrapped up in our own heads, aka, alcoholic thinking
- When we get out of our heads, our troubles, and our little concerns, by being of service to others and our HP, we can stop the alcoholic thinking in its tracks, change our perspective, and find some joy in the present moment.
- Service work means everything from picking up a meeting commitment, sponsoring, reaching out to newcomers, and even getting involved in volunteer work.
- Daily Rituals: Most of coming into this program with only one daily ritual, to get drunk or high no matter what.
- However, if we hope to stay sober, we have to develop healthier rituals and hobbies.
- Whether you like to do a morning reading and a little meditation, or if you find that yoga in the morning is the ticket, these healthy daily habits are what keeps our days and our thoughts in a positive light.
- If we start every morning with the idea that our day is going to be awful, then it probably will be. But if we start each day with a prayer of gratitude and how we have more than enough, chances are, we are going to be a lot more likely to see some beauty each day.
The thing about alcoholic thinking that is probably the most annoying, is that we will always have it. Every day, when we wake up, we are the same alcoholic that we have always been. This is because our disease lives in our minds. You’ve heard people say that their disease is always in the parking lot, doing pushups?
However, even though our disease is always going to be there (hint hint, we can never return to drinking or drugging, we will never be “cured”), that doesn’t mean that we have to always live in it. We get the choice today to decide how we want our lives to go.
“Life is 10% what happens to us, and 90% how we deal with it”
If we stay on our program, take those suggestions, go to the meetings, help the newcomers, and TRY to live a better life, the universe will always provide. The only requirement necessary being that we TRY. Alcoholic Thinking doesn’t have to be a death sentence, it is actually the opposite. We get the opportunity to start over, every single day. Not many people who ruin their lives have the ability to say that. So kick that alcoholic thinking to the curb, and start living your life!
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