Living in Positivity

Old 08-22-2007, 03:40 AM
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Living in Positivity

I am fascinated by the idea of "the power of positive thinking" as my mind largely operates on the precepts that I do not "Deserve" to be optimistic about anything and doing so may be dangerous.

I am wondering if anyone has any ideas or opinions, E, S & H regarding positive thinking. I honestly believe that so much of my day could be turned around simply by altering my thoughts to illuminate the positive and take the focus off the negative. This is something I feel that WE can control.
But it seems SO difficult for me!
I often fantasize about the person I would be if I was able to be upbeat and have a positive outlook and attitude towards life.

So much has happened that has hardened me again - made me believe that I do not deserve happiness or good things and has even made the idea of challenging these thoughts scary.

I think for some people it gets easier with practice.
For me- it's so difficult to turn off that inner critic in my head and get him to shut up long enough for me to try something else.
It's almost embaressing and unexplainable to have this fear of simply believing I deserve to be positive.
But before I blabber on any longer- I want to know if any of you have found ways to overcome your fears and live in the positive.
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Old 08-22-2007, 03:58 AM
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For me, the antidote to fear is faith. I find that through prayer every day, asking God to lead me and then trusting that He will.

I too have had to learn to think more positively, not in a fantasy kind of way, but in a way that lets me know that whatever life hands me, I can handle and that I am not walking this path alone.

One single phrase made a difference to me, and it went something like...."When you can't change your circumstances, change your attitude."

For me that meant seeing obstacles as God's way to redirect me. And seeing difficult days as lessons from which I will learn great things. I see struggles as a way to make me work things out "inside" and I see stars in the darkness as my signature indicates. It's all about attitude and faith and acceptance, for me.

Recovery has given me many gifts, and this has been one of them.

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Old 08-22-2007, 05:58 AM
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Living in the light
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Self doubt, self hatred, self condemnation are an inside job as is happiness and a positive attitude. Much of these negative thoughts are "old stuff" that keep one from living in the hope, endless possibility and reality of the present.
In early recovery I attended lots of meetings and discovered when I got stuck in
" self " and negative, grey, dismal thoughts, there was a powerful way out of them, out of "self ". I let go let God ( HP) have all the junk hindering my bright, filled with promise, shining road to recovery. I learned to replace old useless habits of living and thinking ( the grey gunk) with faith, hope and began to experience the many
brighter, beautiful colors of the spectrum. I asked HP each day to guide me on my way and to make me an instrument of light, hope and faith.
I worked with a sponsor six weeks into recovery. She helped me see, one of the best ways out of the quagmire of " self " was to be of service to others who were
in the same lifeboat as I, as well as those still suffering. I had much to offer the newcomer, made coffee at my home Alanon meeting, greeted the newcomer and carried the message of hope to families of As in my local rehab center by sharing my ESH with them.
I found being useful to others as God's instrument strengthened my own recovery and I reaped incredibly positive blessings. Through the recovery process and alot of vigilance my thoughts evolved more and more into positive. I found I could replace
negative thinking with positive as I had the power to change the things I could.

Grey is only one shade while there are so many others to experience, bask in and accept into one's life.

I am in charge of my attitude, my thoughts and my ways and ((( HKangel )) so are you when you make a decision to change the things you can.
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Old 08-22-2007, 06:17 AM
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Living in the light
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By the way, I'd like to share this bit of irony with you angel.
Early in recovery, being an ACA, I sure as heck didn't like alcoholics.
The wonderful woman, my first sponsor, had a solid ten years of Alanon under her belt. After knowing her a short time she revealed she was also a recovering alcoholic
with twenty years sobriety in AA. WOW!
I loved her dearly and God was certainly working in my life when I asked an alcoholic/alanoner
to sponsor me. LOL I gained a whole new perspective on the A AND grew in compassion.
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Old 08-22-2007, 06:29 AM
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Silly question, what is ESH? I've been wondering that for weeks and keep forgetting to ask

Heather, I know exactly what you mean about thinking negatively. I still do it all the time... or at least more than I would like to. Before I began my recovery, it was literally all I did, about everything from my student's standardized test scores (not that I would tell them that, of course, but I felt like I had not been a good enough teacher, as it was my first year) to whether or not my sister would find recovery, to what was going on in my relationships, to my appearance... every thought that permanently engrained itself in my mind was negative. If a positive one managed to peek out from a corner somewhere, it would quickly be chased away.

I have to agree with what Ann said, though, about lifting things up to my HP and going on. I have found that when I pray about the things that are bothering me, I feel a sense of relief about it somehow. I just know it will not work out as badly as I fear it will. This at least helps me to sleep at night, and I wake up in a better mood too that way.

I'm still working on this very issue everyday, but gosh darnit, if I deserve to have happiness in this world, I know you do too. It will get better, I promise.

Refresh my memory on something, aren't you still in school? I just ask because I know that my last two years or so of college were some of my most trying times emotionally, maybe because I was spreading myself so thinly. Now that I have a little more consistency in my life, things have gotten a little easier as well.

Wow, I hope there was something of use in my ramble here. This is definitely a case of take what ya like and leave the rest

*hugs and prayers*
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Old 08-22-2007, 07:16 AM
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Living in the light
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((( Jewel )) ESH is Experience Strength Hope.
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Old 08-22-2007, 07:54 AM
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For me, I am having to make a conscious choice to be in the positive. Too much of my life has been wallowed away in negative things. I have to choose not to allow those negative things to overshadow my life any more.

I've been given a prescious gift, I have been given today. There may never be a tomorrow. So I have to decide how I'm going to use this gift. Do I make the most of today? or do I languish in the past and disgard my gift in regrets.

I make myself get still. I have to stop....and just listen. Absorb all the sound and sights around me. I lived in tunnel vision mode way too long. But when I stop, and really start noticing everything around me, it's almost like a whisper in my ear, be careful, or you will loose this day, this gift. Do I have so many days at my disposal that I can afford to just throw one away? No.

So in the end when I look back on my life, I made a decision, that I didn't want to look back and have any regrets, I didn't want to think that I had just thrown my gifts away and wallowed in all the negatives that can draw you like moths to a flame.

Thoughts like those and similar ones, help boost me up every day. I make a choice. Do I open my gift today, or push it aside. I choose to open it. (most days)

Hope some of that helps.

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Old 08-22-2007, 01:14 PM
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How perfect is perfect?

When I find myself in that negative self-spiral, I try to listen to what I'm saying to myself. I hear a lot of "right" and "wrong" and "should have."
There's a right way to pour coffee, there's a right way to get up in the morning, there's a right way to dress. In my head there's a "right" way to do everything, and it's never what I am doing. The crazy thing is, that there really is no "right" way to do things. It's just some idealized picture I have in my head and an excuse to beat myself up. Are you doing that with your picture of yourself being happy? If I were just more positive, I would be happy - therefore I must be wrong.

I try to remind myself that maybe the way I'm doing things right now, is "right" for me, right now. Why should I accept someone else's idea of "right? (it would be so much easier if I could get that person OUT of my HEAD)."

The other thing I do is watch out for "should have." That's just another way of saying to yourself that you did something wrong. I try to catch myself and replace it with "I could have." That implies that I chose to do it that way this time and can make a different choice next time. No heavy "right" or "wrong."

Finally, I think the most powerful thing to stay positive is "Let Go and Let God."
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Old 08-22-2007, 01:44 PM
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My thinking is much like Anvil's -- the word "deserve" is not one that I use very often. Do I "deserve" to be happy? "Deserve" to enjoy a great cup of coffee, a sunset, a kiss, a morning all to myself? Do I deserve to eat? To breathe? To be alive? To go to the bathroom?

Deserve is such a ridiculous word, in my view. We ALL deserve all of the great things that life as human beings has to offer. The question is: what will we allow ourselves to seize?

I chose to seize positivity. Thought it was incredibly strange-feeling at first, and phony-feeling, I thought about all of the different ways to live, and chose to start shutting dark negative things out of my life left and right, instead FORCING myself to focus on what was going to propel me forward toward joy....even if it meant devoting all my spare time to working on it (therapy, even antidepressents briefly)

Pardon my french in advance, but, in order to achieve that, HK, I had to get myself an inner champion who taught me the "F You" reflex. Soooo hard, for someone like me who is quiet and acquiesced to everything all my life. But in order to choose joy, it takes a certain amount of courage -- WHICH CAN BE LEARNED -- to stand up in the face of pain, fear, and misery. An inner champion is your personal bodyguard, your secret service agent, your bouncer, who would do anything for you. And in the face of the chance to be miserable, they flex their muscles, smile -- and say for you, "Don't bring that around me, dude. That's not how I'm living from here on out. F You, I'm just not going to do it that way any more, thanks anyway, now scram."

I am NOT a brave person. I am NOT special, or different, or evolved. I just practiced. A lot. For years. And it helps that my inner champion is a righteous bada$$

Contrary to what most TV programs, movies, magazines, popular songs, and books have to say, keeping one's self in perpetual drama & misery is about as glamorous and honorable as sticking yourself in the eye with a fork. If there is nothing else on earth worth fighting for, developing the courage to be positive and joyous IS. Hugs and strength that you continue to move toward it, and that you learn to say "F You" to whatever it is that threatens to drag you back into old negative behaviors and thought patterns....

Love, GL the Queen of the Loving F You
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Old 08-22-2007, 01:47 PM
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Before I could start having a positive attitude outside of me, I had to stop the negative messages inside of me -

I never realized how horrible I talked to myself. And yes, I talk to myself - I told myself "Stupid you forgot to stop at the store to pick up milk" "Dummy, you didn't put washing powder in the clothes" "Shut-up whiny baby, quit crying, you don't deserve to hurt"

How could anyone be positive about anything with these types of messages in your head?

So now, when I hear those same ole messages, I have to stop and say "No, I'm not a dummy, it just made a simple mistake" "Life is not about perfection, it's ok to forget something" "Feelings are a good part of you, not a character defect"

When I started talking positive on the inside, it made it easier to start being more positive on the outside. I didn't always believe those messages at first, but with the help of my sponsor and my other recovery tools and my HP the truth took root in my soul and helped get rid of the negativity.

Hope you are able to start with those positive messages to yourself because you are really a wonderful person & deserve to hear those wonderful things from yourself to yourself.


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Old 08-22-2007, 02:14 PM
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I've been given a prescious gift, I have been given today. There may never be a tomorrow. So I have to decide how I'm going to use this gift. Do I make the most of today? or do I languish in the past and disgard my gift in regrets.
Thats something so important for me to remember.When I do, all is good and I am happy.
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Old 08-22-2007, 04:30 PM
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I very much enjoyed reading your thoughts on being positive. Right now Iam not at all positive. I had 13 years sober and went out. And Iam sober today but not sure I can make it back. Any sugestions or hope you can give me would be much loved. Right now I feel I won"t make it. Iam in so much FEAR.
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Old 08-22-2007, 04:46 PM
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You ARE back...if you are not drinking today, then you are back. This is not the end of life...just a bump.

Does your addicted son live with you? Maybe you could post a "New Thread" at the following link and tell us about him, and what's happening in your life. It's good to talk it through with people who have been there too. I know there are tons and tons of parents out here who have been through similar situations, and will all have some very good ideas and support:

Take care of yourself
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Old 08-22-2007, 04:48 PM
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Rest peacefully Sonny Boy
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Try and be positive for today. Today, you are sober. That is what counts, today. The past can't be changed, the future isn't even here yet, but you have today.

I know this is the friends and family part of the forum so I haven't been in your shoes. But I'll bet there are a whole lot of people in the other forums that have been right where you are. Have you posted there? Start a thread, pour your heart out, talk about that fear.

Hugs and Prayers
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Old 08-22-2007, 07:59 PM
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((((Bleau2))) I totally agree. Congratulations on picking yourself back up and taking each day one at a time and welcoming those positive thoughts.

Heather, I too really have to practice positive out anything negaitve, but the more I practice it, the more often it works and becomes habit. I needed to walk away from toxic people...walk away from situations that would fill me with dark thoughts. For me, talking to myself and to my HP aloud when it is possible, helps me to drive out obsessive or negative thoughts. I also try hard to think in terms of what I want, not what I don't want. (For example, instead of thinking I don't want to be depressed; I think I am happy) I keep books on this type of approach and about recovery close to me and pull them out, open a page and read when I need to, and even when I don't...I know I have to work my recovery every day.

I totally agree that looking at the positive rather than wallowing in the negative is well worth it and leads to increased happiness and spirituality. Finding gratitude...making myself think of what I am grateful for in the midst of the worst life can offer has made a huge positive impact on my life.
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Old 08-22-2007, 08:26 PM
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Great thread!

To me, the idea of Positive thinking was alien and frankly, did NOT work! And to think that you are not deserving is a cop-out to yourself. It's not about deserving, it's about CHOICE.

We want, desire and expect that our loved ones who are the addicts in our lives to make a CHOICE to stop using! We don't think about whether they "deserve" that or not or how they feel; we simply realize they have to make a choice and take that step forward to allowing that choice to take shape.

Same with all of us. We have to make that very difficult CHOICE in WANTING something positive for ourselves and when we do, we will reach out to things positive. If we choose not to, then we will continue in the negative way.

It's not easy; no one would ever say it was but it starts with YOU! And baby steps. And support of those around you. And those who do not support you are to be avoided!

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Old 08-23-2007, 01:20 AM
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I have tried to work with positive thinking, and it is a good start. However it being at the level of consciousness and intellect, I find it does not go quite deep enough to become authentic. The fears, the helplessness, the unmerciful judging goes far deeper into the subconscious. I have just begun truly focusing on the inner child(ren) work. I do not bully these doubts and insecurities, I hear them with deep compassion and speak to them as a loving parent, knowing that I would never treat a/my child this way. I speak to my hurts with hugs, love and reassurance...the same with my doubts and insecurities. I address them with warmth and understanding and nurture that little one inside me. I give the fear a place of comfort. I am just beginning this practice, but it seems to bring me to a place of safety. When these things are comforted and helped to feel safe, it encourages them to feel accepted. I feel more loved. And freer.
To bully them is to abuse, discount and demean these feelings and that is something we do not wish to do to ourselves. I hope to heal them.
This also means that we educate the parent role in us and evolve it so that it has greater power to love well our innermost selves. I believe that through this process, we will naturally grow into self-acceptance and love and a more integrated self, who is no longer ruled by the old tapes of harshness that are both buried and always burbling up.
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Old 08-23-2007, 09:26 AM
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That's awesome, liveweyerd, and I agree. Inner child work is very wonderful stuff. Without it, I would not be the healthy and happy person I am today.

But I had trouble doing that work in an unsafe environment. Softening and opening my inner self didn't work when there were people all around who kept doing things that made her feel unsafe. I really made strides when my inner champion arrived, and leaned against the playground fence filing her nails, ready to rip the arms off anyone who attempted to harm my inner child again (is a bodyguard a bully?). And the inner child notices. When she felt safe -- that there was someone watching out for her -- she came out to talk, to play, and to heal.

Without an inner protector/champion, we are all lost in the woods, a meal on the hoof for anyone who wants to step in and feed off of us. Don't you ever wish, HK, that there was somebody looking out for you, watching your back, struggling next to you in all of these things we're forced to go through? Creating an inner champion for yourself, whether or not they're potty-mouth like mine helps you to feel like that all the time.

Hugs to all,
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Old 08-23-2007, 01:58 PM
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Great point!
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