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The Role of Positive Mental Attitude

Old 03-20-2013, 08:46 AM
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The Role of Positive Mental Attitude

I read the newcomer forums and a significant number of the posts are oozing with negative emotions.

I can't do it
I'm a loser
I'm ashamed
So mad at myself
Failed again
This is too hard
I'm so stupid
I am disgusted with myself
etc.

I have certainly felt that way, usually within the first 24-48 hours after letting alcohol beat the dogsnot outta me. After a day or two that feeling dissipates and the positive feelings return.

Many posters, though, seem to linger in misery. That's gotta make staying sober difficult. It would for me. My beast loves it when I am feeling bad about myself. IT sees opportunity in misery. IT's a predator, targeting the sick and the lame.

My sense is that having a positive attitude is essential to defeating addiction. I often feel compelled to try to share mine with others in the newcomer forum. Is that helpful? Possible in a forum setting? Detrimental?

What are some opinions?
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Old 03-20-2013, 08:50 AM
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I am lost, I can't find exit three!

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Old 03-20-2013, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Coldfusion View Post
I am lost, I can't find exit three!

Don't need it anymore. Already brought home the bacon!
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Old 03-20-2013, 10:50 AM
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Non... Many, like me, suffer from clinical depression. Mine is under control but not for a while. Many here show signs that it is not.

It does seem like many suffer. To those with happier dispositions seeming unnecessarily. But I can see what things take so long. I understand those dark feeling. Hell... Ya read my last post. Some drugs take us to places and keep us dark long after stopping. A bit different than drinking.

The are those I have seen get back up. Those happy to remain where they are. Others ... And we all have met someone like this.... Never want to be happy.

Happiness is a muscle we must use to keep strong. Love to flex my muscles.
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Old 03-20-2013, 11:30 AM
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Also, many of us post when we are unhappy. If we were happy, we are outside doing something!
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Old 03-20-2013, 11:35 AM
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I believe that automatic negative thoughts (ANTs) are a hurdle to a healthy and lasting recovery.

They can be addressed with CBT.
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Old 03-20-2013, 12:29 PM
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I fought/ thought my way out of depression . Sometimes i guess my positive attitude rubs people up the wrong way .

I try to use my experience to maybe help people see a different viewpoint or several views , to me it's all about ones perspective .
I know most people will dismiss it but i think i get through to a few , a small crack in someones prison of depression can sometimes help them get purchase and leverage they can use to accept and change .

Bestwishes, M
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Old 03-20-2013, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Nonsensical View Post
I read the newcomer forums and a significant number of the posts are oozing with negative emotions.

I can't do it
I'm a loser
I'm ashamed
So mad at myself
Failed again
This is too hard
I'm so stupid
I am disgusted with myself
etc.

I have certainly felt that way, usually within the first 24-48 hours after letting alcohol beat the dogsnot outta me. After a day or two that feeling dissipates and the positive feelings return.

Many posters, though, seem to linger in misery. That's gotta make staying sober difficult. It would for me. My beast loves it when I am feeling bad about myself. IT sees opportunity in misery. IT's a predator, targeting the sick and the lame.

My sense is that having a positive attitude is essential to defeating addiction. I often feel compelled to try to share mine with others in the newcomer forum. Is that helpful? Possible in a forum setting? Detrimental?

What are some opinions?
Since people here can remain totally anonymous and it's so easy to just join and type a post, I think many more are actually in the pre-contemplative stage or very early contemplative stage about quitting than would be found in any other form of social interaction. I see this is a good thing.

So, yes, I'd say it's good to give a positive outlook to help them into the truly contemplative stage.

I guess in an AVRT sense, the undifferentiated person and Beast are still in the Denial stage of the five stages of grief over the inevitable death of their addiction. If they decide to use AVRT, the five stages of grief are immediately imposed only upon the Beast, and the person can move ahead more quickly to total abstinence.
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Old 03-20-2013, 01:53 PM
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seems a mixed bag, and very person- and situation specific.
in my years on forums, i think positive encouragement and hope are useful, to show people it's doable, butit's equally important to many folk to have a place where they/we can be safe speaking about their/our miseries and unhappinesses and pains, without running into overwhelming and silencing "you just need to have a better attitude..." message.
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Old 03-20-2013, 02:51 PM
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I tend towards skepticism about the whole positive thinking thing - despite having suffered depression most of my life, and it's still there, lurking much more insidiously (imho) in me than even my alcohol addiction.

The middle way seems to me a lot more helpful these days. So I actively seek out readings / reflections on just that. A recent example which totally resonated for me is 'The Antidote: Happiness for people who can't stand positive thinking.'

The Antidote by Oliver Burkeman - review | Books | The Guardian

So, yeah, re the SR posts of evident suffering, I try to remind myself of where I've been in that regard, and where I can go, any day or moment, if I allow that mental suffering to overwhelm me. It's simply where those souls Just Are, right now, when they post. Gentle listening and encouragement from afar is often all people are asking for.
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Old 03-20-2013, 06:29 PM
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I appreciate the responses, and I hadn't really thought about a great number may be having clinical depression of some sort. I am still concerned, though, that so many express feelings of being hopeless and helpless regarding their addiction. I just want to give them the sense that their addiction CAN be stopped, and, in fact, they are the only ones who can stop it.
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Old 03-20-2013, 07:56 PM
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It wasn't enough to hear that anyone can quit drinking, I needed to know that I could quit, as in me specifically. I had heard all sorts of conditions attached to sobriety, and the readership here know them all too well, and many of these conditions can't really be listed in this forum. 'Anyone can quit if they.....do blah blah blah', which is sometimes incorrectly stated as 'You will never quit unless you ....blah blah blah'.

No wonder there are so many glum long faces, and the whole depressive nature of the drug, coupled with the continual self bashing that results certainly add to the perceived helplessness and futility. Despair is only a few short drinks away.

I try to convey the idea that you most certainly can stop, you have the ability to do it. Harder for me to articulate, but I try anyway, is the concept that you may triumph, that you can become great and leave the depressed anxious defeated person behind.

I guess there is really a condition attached to this concept after all as I see it. The condition is this: you can quit drinking, just believe in yourself and your ability, and you will succeed.
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Old 03-20-2013, 10:09 PM
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Lots of great stuff here.

For me at least, I think maybe there's something to be said for despair. Desperation, self-loathing—those negative feelings were what drove me to quit. They'd been building a long time, and they didn't go away overnight. In those early days, I don't think it was possible for anyone to offer me a quick fix. I think I just wanted some hope that it would get better. That was probably the most important thing I got out of SR when I stumbled across this place.

Hopelessness led me here. And then all of a sudden there was hope in the form of all these people who had done it, and were telliing me I could do it too, just as Freshstart said. A smiley face hug or "You Rock" emoticon went a long way, too. And I always found Dee's muppet avatars oddly comforting... but I digress. My point is, sometimes what I needed most was just a reminder that I wasn't alone.
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Old 03-21-2013, 03:53 PM
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I think people come to forums such as this at their lowest. They often don't understand their illness and even if they are willing to tackle it they haven't really accepted the idea of a life without their drug of choice.

I know when I came here I used many of these rather hopeless phrases. I'm not suffering depression or any other mental illness and I tend to know my own mind, but I was just desperate for advice, some magic little nugget of information that would lead to sobriety. Such a thing doesn't exist of course and when you realise that it can make you feel worse, few people like the idea of serious work for what seems at times like a small reward.

I have only learned this in the last 2 weeks, that I need to stop focusing on the bad side of my addiction. When I fail and drink there is no point kicking myself again, it just leads to more drinking. It's better to start over, concentrate on the positive idea of not drinking again and moving forward.

I've always been described as a positive person and yet it took some real shifts in my attitude to see the positives rather than feeling like a failure, pathetic, useless etc etc.

I think the problem arises when you can't break out of that negative pattern. You need to move past it. But that's just one persons point of view and I know some people find the negative emotions help keep them away from drinking. I tried it that way but it didn't work well.

Seeing others who are going through it, posting my feelings and thoughts and getting feedback on them is just great, really useful. I couldn't do this kind of thing in a face to face group.
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Old 03-21-2013, 03:57 PM
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I have noticed that when I would be w/ding and I would wallow in how sick I felt it would feel unbearable. The times I would be w/ding and would be positive and just force myself to do things and try to have a positive attitude I found that it was much easier to handle.

I have tried to explain this to friends I have and my boyfriend at times in the past and they usually think I am being arrogant or that the only reason it works for me is because "i must not be as sick as them".

Many people don't like a smiling face saying be positive when they feel like their world is crumbling. Sadly, if they would listen it might just help
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Old 03-21-2013, 05:47 PM
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bemyself, that was a good book review. I've had a big shift in how I view happiness. I used to view happiness as "the absence of pain". I don't see it like that anymore. Happiness, for me, means I don't fear the pain, or use any and all means to escape it, but rather I see it as woven into all parts of life.

As far as the negative talk that is in some posts, I'm torn on that. On the one hand, I don't view real talk as negative. ie when I say "I was not a good mother. I was disconnected from my children because I was a drunk. I put them in horrible situations. Some of the damage is irreparable." People might say, "aww, soberlicious, don't beat yourself up over the past." but I don't see it as beating myself up. I see it as acknowledging truth. Some amount of shame is involved, because shame is an appropriate emotion for me to have when looking at my very shameful actions.

That said, perpetual negative self talk that goes beyond acknowledging truth and moving forward...I believe that can keep a person stuck. I think the messages we give ourselves are very powerful. I also believe they can be changed. One who follows the AVRT paradigm might also see the kind of negative talk that you listed in the OP, Non, as straight up AV, plain and simple. Not separating from that, of course, can keep an addicted person drinking/using.

Maylie is right. There are times that being positive appears less than empathetic to someone in crisis. But you know, some people tend to be a little more "chipper" than others, kind of like a basic personality trait. I get messed with all the time about it by my friends "Could you please stop with the f*cking bluebird on your shoulder?!"
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Old 03-22-2013, 03:26 PM
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Well, Sober, your last post couldn't have been more timely: barely 3 days after I posted about watching out for my depressive thinking overwhelming me, I damn well picked up last night. All because I'd spent the last 2 or 3 days getting caught up in worries about my housing future as I have no real secure home, being a renter. Not a good place to be when you're not far off 60 and on yer own, unable to work.

When those anxieties hit, I tend to go into a weird dream / fantasy / clingin' n cravin' state: I hit property for sale websites, and obsessively trawl them for a decent house I might be able to afford with the bit of money I have apart from my government disability pension. Needless to say, these days, the housing market here in eastern Aus is so inflated cost wise, that to buy is still not an option. As each month goes by, each year, my fixed amount of cash of course decreases due to rent payments and living expenses.

So: I get frustrated, envious of those my age who do own their own place (most of them outright), despairing....then I start to think: huh! All very well to talk about Acceptance of what I can't change, Courage to change what i can etc......I'm gonna end up homeless or in a poky depressing government housing unit in one of the city's 'Bronx' areas. And on it goes.

So, I couldn't stand those thoughts and feelings yesterday arvo, and suddenly just wanted to drink - exactly like my previous recent relapses.

Damn n blast this addiction!

Anyway, I'm back again, nursing a rotten headache from dehydration, and thoroughly chastened. Nothing to be done except 'move forward' as you rightly say, Sober.
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Old 03-23-2013, 12:22 AM
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BTW...I should have done this earlier: I do apologise to Non and everyone for seeming to hijack this thread. Was just feeling so ****** at myself earlier today, and just jumped in rather than starting a new thread. Dunno if I even want to start a new one, or at least not on this increasingly tedious (to me) topic of regular picking up the drink again!

So, again, sorry. Please feel free to just sail on with this topic as if my post wasn't really there :-)
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Old 03-23-2013, 02:02 AM
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I hope you're feeling better today, bemyself. It seems the original topic has just about run its course,and if we can migrate into discussing something more useful for you, I have no problem with that.

And I hope your housing situation works out, soon. Stress isn't even helpful to non-alcoholics!
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Old 03-23-2013, 05:45 AM
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Gotta love Bluebirds!

Good thread, all!
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