We’ve learned through experience things don’t improve simply because we hope they will- the Optimistic Addict is an oxymoron. Our addictions teach us tomorrow will simply be a repeat of today: a scramble to feed our addiction, to cover it up, to put on the face we think the world expects to see.
When we encounter people who see the bright side, we often dismiss them as unrealistic and assume they don’t know the truth of living. They are willfully refusing to see what is happening around them, and we believe ourselves to be realists. There’s no need to pretend that life will improve because over and over, we have learned that it just isn’t the way the world works.
The thing we forget is that things are transitory- nothing is permanent and living with addiction, there is nothing beyond the right now, and that whatever is happening now will stay that way for the remainder of our lives. When things do go “right,” we write it off as chance or some circumstance unlikely to be repeated. Because addiction robs us of our self-worth, we find it difficult to see ourselves as deserving.
Trust The Process
There is some proof, though, that we can learn to be more optimistic. Dr. Martin Seligman, in his book, Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life, developed a system to teach optimism. He suggests that when we experience something, our first act is to think about it and that our thoughts are heavily influenced by what we believe. Beliefs lead to consequences, positive or negative. If we automatically go to negative thinking, we can dispute it. We can challenge our thinking, distract ourselves when our thinking becomes negative, or, we can simply refuse to accept negative thinking as automatically true.
This is not easy. Beginning when we are young, experience teaches us how and what to think of situations. It is as much a habit as our addictions, and we all know that habits are hard to break. However, maybe the first step would be to prepare for the worst but hope for the best and to accept that when the worst doesn’t happen it is more than just a fluke. Maybe we can pry the door open and accept that sometimes good things happen.
At Fort Worth Recovery, we can help you see that the world is not simply a pit of darkness. You can recover and those good things can happen to you. Call us at 817 382 2894 or contact us online today.