Focussing on negative thoughts as opposed to positive ones leaves you feeling depressed and unmotivated.
If you concentrate on how many mistakes you’ve made, or how you haven’t managed to stop drinking like you wanted to, maybe how you’ve ‘failed’ yourself and those around you, then of course you won’t feel good about yourself. Notice when you’re thinking these thoughts, and take control of them. Here’s where you need to make a choice to –
Concentrate on positive thoughts instead :
- What will improve in your life when you’ve cut down or stopped drinking?
- How much better will you feel?
- What improvements have you already made?
- Have you managed some slight reductions already?
- If so, what benefits have you started to notice because of that?
- Are you still essentially a good person, even though you’ve made mistakes?
The theory of ‘negative suggestion’ warns that if you focus on NOT doing something, it’s more likely that you’ll end up doing it, than if you were focussing on something else entirely. So if you find yourself thinking, “I must not drink, I must not drink” it’s a warning sign that you need to start concentrating on something else instead – distract yourself with another task, something absorbing. Just telling yourself “I mustn’t think about not drinking” is clearly still in that loop.
Likewise if you need to quit for a while, but you’re thinking, “Oh no, I’ll never be able to drink again“, then that will undoubtedly keep you focussed on the negative. Maybe you can drink again in the future; you don’t need to decide that now, focus on the present moment, and how good you feel about not drinking today.