How to Accept Good with the Bad

How to Accept Good with the BadLife in recovery from drugs or alcohol can often seem more bad than good. You may have gotten clean from Lortab addiction but are now often left feeling empty and pessimistic about your future without drugs. However, learning how to find the positive things in life and effectively cope with the negative things is a crucial skill for any recovering addict. There are many ways to recognize the good things and remain optimistic even in the midst of the bad things.

The way that people view situations in life is often the filter for how they experience the world and what they get out of it. A person who constantly finds the negative aspects of every situation will likely be an unhappy person who is more likely to abuse substances in order to feel better. On the other hand, a person who has developed the skill to find the positive aspect of every situation is more likely to be happy and have no need to turn to mood and mind altering substances to feel better. This can be especially true for people in recovery from drug or alcohol abuse. A former addict in recovery who is pessimistic will be more likely to relapse, while the optimistic addict in recovery will be more likely to succeed and be happier in life.

There are numerous benefits of positive thinking, such as decreased depressive symptoms, boosted immune system, reduced stress, increased problem solving skills, and a better quality of life. When a recovering addict learns how to practice positive thinking and remain optimistic in life it can actually make her healthier physically, emotionally and mentally. Being optimistic can create a trickle-down effect where it continues to positively affect other things throughout life. For example, being optimistic can allow a person to be more stress-free, which can eventually lead to better health and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Optimistic people tend to have more energy, which makes them more productive, which then increases the likelihood that they reach their goals in life.1

Developing a Positive Outlook

Optimism is a learned behavior that takes time and practice to become a natural habit. Simply deciding to be more positive about things typically will not work, as it will not come naturally. However, there are many ways to develop a more positive outlook on life that can become second nature. Keeping a journal of positive things that occur throughout each day and writing down what you are grateful for can help put things in perspective for a recovering addict. After writing a gratitude list, you can go back through and read them to get a better understanding of all the positive things happening around you. This can serve as inspiration to continue searching for the good in every situation.

The world today often dishes out a lot of negative information either in the form of entertainment or daily news, which can negatively affect anyone. In order to combat the constant negative feeds in life it is important to consume positive and motivational information from inspirational sources. Reading books, watching movies or listening to podcasts that are inspirational can be a great way to get in the habit of being more positive in life.

Volunteering is one of the best ways to gain perspective on life and can help recovering addicts be more thankful for what they have. When people volunteer to help the poor and needy they often witness people who are less fortunate and yet more optimistic about life than most. This perspective can help people develop their own optimistic outlook on life and with regular volunteering that optimistic feeling can become second nature.

Building and staying committed to positive relationships either with friends, family or a romantic partner can help make a person happier in life. Spending time with loved ones helps people combat negative feelings such as loneliness and depression. The more positive interactions a person has with loved ones the more optimistic they can become about life. Doing healthy activities such as exercising with friends or other loved ones can be even better for developing a positive and lasting outlook on life. When people love and feel loved while developing a healthier body and mind they simply feel better about themselves. They have more energy to explore interests and find hobbies that make them even happier down the road. They develop new strengths, discover new qualities and are better equipped to reach their life goals.2

Being happy in life and optimistic about the future will directly affect the recovering addict’s chance of long-term sobriety. This is why it is so important to take the necessary steps to develop positive thinking and practice it in real life scenarios. Meeting with a professional therapist can help fast track positive thinking development.

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1 Dara Thailand, “The Benefits of Positive Thinking,” AlcoholRehab.com, http://alcoholrehab.com/addiction-recovery/positive-thinking-in-recovery/, (Cited February 14, 2016).

2 Promises Treatment Centers, “7 Tips for Staying Positive in Recovery,” Promises.com, https://www.promises.com/articles/addiction-recovery/7-tips-staying-positive-in-recovery/, (July 8, 2014).