I’ve been much more aware of my thinking as recovery progresses. The slogan, “I came for the drinking but stayed for my thinking” is very true. Even with all—or most—addictions removed it’s my thinking that causes me trouble. I write about this in “Out of the Woods”, and I found it was true all through the writing of that new book.
I find that the habit is a sneaky one. I just just slide into telling myself scary stories: “He will leave me”, “They won’t like me”, “I’ll get fired” or this or that bad thing will happen. The end of the story is always the same though: I am abandoned and I am defective.
But today –a perfectly good day—while I was walking around the track at the gym I realized that my mind wanted to scare me. I kept trying to shake the thoughts and redirect them but it was harder than ever. And then I got this idea: These persistent thoughts that seem to want to derail me are like cravings. I understand cravings –I’ve dealt with alcohol and food, and this is what they feel like.
Long-term recovery gives me these new “light-bulb moments” Today’s was: If I view these thought patterns as an addiction and if I approach the change as if I am dealing with cravings then I can apply Twelve-step principles here too: When cravings strike what have we learned to do?
Well, we can: “Move a muscle change a thought”, and we can pick up the phone and tell someone, and we can decide to not “pick up” the thought for one day, one hour, one minute at a time. And always, we can pray for this “craving” to be removed.