How do you go from believing nothing is ever going to work out for you to feeling anything is possible. In this episode, Veronica and Chip discuss their shifts in mindset, how they viewed everything negatively, and how they discovered hope in recovery.
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Most people come to recovery feeling disappointed about the past and gloomy about a future where it’s more of the same.
Chip and I were no different and it comes down to the stories we tell ourselves.
Until my late 20s I felt like nothing ever worked out for me. It seemed like no matter what I did, I never felt like I was good enough and nothing ever worked out for me.
I did my college degree when I was in active alcoholism and the entire experience was a constant battle with my anxiety, drinking to get through the day, and doing everything outwardly to pretend that I was okay.
What kept me going year after year was the idea that I have to get my degree so I can get a better job, get out of debt and have a better life. And I did it. I did my dissertation and got a good degree.
For about five minutes, I was excited. Then I rationalized.
“It couldn’t have been that hard if I did it. It obviously wasn’t actually a big deal.” – Veronica Valli
That was my thought pattern throughout my life. I achieved things then I made them into something that wasn’t worth achieving.
Chip’s story looked a bit different. As he tells it,
“There was a reality to the fact that my life was a failure. I had never achieved anything. I had never finished anything.”
Regardless of what your past looks like, an important part of sustainable sobriety is going to be shifting that mindset.
It’s not a quick and easy task to undo decades of believing you’re not good enough and intrinsically less than everyone else.
Looking back, I’m incredibly proud of myself for what I did. Nothing changed about the circumstances but my mindset has shifted gradually over time.
So how can you start to shift those beliefs?
The first thing you have to recognize is your thoughts create your experience. The good news is that if you’re recognizing those negative thought patterns, you can change it.
Here’s where support groups and group programs are extremely important. It’s really hard to see yourself in a different light but when you begin to share your story with others, in a safe space, you’ve got people to challenge your faulty beliefs and show you what you didn’t see for yourself.
We need to be around people who can help us to set our story straight and start to incorporate small shifts in our daily life. That’s what helps us to start to change from pessimistic defeat into optimistic hope.
We had very pessimistic mindsets and we have shifted them. You can change your thoughts and when we change our thoughts we change how we feel and we change our experience of reality.
Your history doesn’t dictate how your future has to be.
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