Most people go into recovery not feeling the most optimistic.
Most people feel like life couldn’t get much worse and will never get better! That’s less optimism more desperation! What’s more, many people who are seeking treatment for depression, depression has many different aspects and facets – one of these is the inability to envision a better situation in which recovery has been attained.
This can quite often stem from ‘learned helplessness’, or the belief that nothing you do will make you feel better or improve the situation. Optimism is the antithesis of this – it’s the belief that with the right effort and changes your future can and will be better.
Here’s why this is very important.
If you don’t think life can improve – then why should you even bother?
Sobriety can be really hard for those in or following alcohol rehab. It may take months or years for you to feel normal again. Meanwhile, life keeps coming at you like a freight train, triggering off your habitual response – tempting you to escape into using again. Staying sober takes daily effort and awareness, if you don’t believe that your efforts will lead to a better life then it’s difficult to keep that effort up.
Several studies has intensely investigated the connection between staying sober and staying positive – what they found is that more optimistic stay sober longer. The reason for this seems extremely simple – If you think that you can stay sober, then you will try to stay sober! If you don’t think that you can stay sober then you won’t try – or give up! It’s what we call a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’.
In reality, it’s a bit more complicated than that, otherwise why wouldn’t everyone just choose to believe to stay sober? It could be that she has already failed many times or doesn’t know anyone who has successfully recovered! That’s why it’s not always the best idea to visit online forums as it’s full of people who are still tackling their issues – while those who have overcome may have moved on! People tend to need some kind of evidence to support their belief that their effort will pay off.
Optimism makes you less depressed
This gets to the root of so many addictions that people suffer from. Your chances of recovery after the rehab clinic are increased if you address the underlying psychological issue and for so many people this is depression. Optimism is very helpful against depression, and that might seem pretty obvious – but this is important to consider! If an optimist and a pessimist experience a similar kind of setback, the pessimistic person is more likely to get depressed as a result. What happens to you is not nearly as important as how you respond! If you believe a negative event is temporary misfortune, you’ll move on quickly whereas if you feel utterly defeated you could feel depressed and give up.
Optimism reduces stress
Stress is a major relapse trigger. A reason for this is that when people are in recovery feel stressed, their reaction is to feel overwhelmed. They believe that they can’t do anything about the subject they are stressed about so they may as well drink the problem away. Optimistic people have the opposite response they believe they can solve an issue even if they don’t know how they’re going to do it. That makes them feel more likely to attempt a solution rather than hide away in a hole of self-pity. Problems are smaller and less stressful as they feel like they are in control.