Tree that is half dead and half alive

Entertaining Negative Thoughts

Many who struggle with co-occurring depression and substance use disorders carry a mindset of negativity, pessimism, and hopelessness. This becomes one of the primary targets in combating depression. If you win the minor skirmishes against negativity, you can win the war against depression. Remember, you can change how you feel by learning to think differently. While not easy, it is possible with guidance, perseverance, and practice.

Sustaining Negativity

The negative things you hear or see may be fact, but continually reviewing them increases damage by adding to worry and increasing your level of depression. The possession of a poison may be risky and unwise, but it is the sustained ingestion of the poison that produces eventual calamity. Having a short-lived disappointing, pessimistic, or worrisome thought is not the same as continually rehearsing it.

I explained this concept to a client and asked her if she had just a casual or fleeting negative thought or if she more fully entertained it. “Entertained it?” she asked in humorous disbelief. “Well, I heard it knock, invited it in, cooked it dinner, and then I slept with it! Yeah, I’d say I entertained it!” She understands, at least on one level, the tempting and seductive nature of negative thinking.

Kick it to the Curb

As quickly as you can, put aside each negative thought as it arrives. Don’t give in to it. Kick it out and replace the pessimistic reflection with something wholesome, positive, and true. Addiction is formed upon pessimism, doubt, and negativity. Long-term recovery is built upon many right choices and a multitude of positive thoughts.

Recovery is a Journey. Enjoy the ride!