As I was gradually slipping into alcoholism, I was not actually aware that my state of mind constantly changed from hopefulness for the future to a gloomy, depressing landscape of inescapable failure. The transition occurred so seamlessly that melancholy and despair became the hallmarks of my way of thinking, being, and feeling.
Naturally, you donít really understand that allowing yourself to be engulfed by sentiments of desolation for the past and anguish about the future canít be healthy. And thatís what made alcohol increasingly attractive for me.
Iím also uncertain about the exact point when alcohol was no longer a viable coping method Ė the feelings were still there and gaining huge proportions Ė but I was still drinking because I didnít know what else to do about it. Youíre trapped by your own series of faulty decisions and you canít see the way out. For me, that was negative visualization, a mindset that implied everything I try would end badly and that I shouldnít bother looking for a solution because there is none.
Rehab and Positive Visualization
The obvious solution Ė well, obvious for anyone who wasnít a prisoner of alcohol abuse Ė consisted of getting sober and starting with a clean slate. It was pointed out to me several times by concerned family members and friends, but until I was ready to accept that I had a drinking problem, rehab was obsolete in my book.
After I eventually conceded to their demands and enrolled in a program, I learned how extremely important that step was for me. Iím not saying that I embraced the idea wholeheartedly from the first time or that my initial program allowed me to achieve sobriety. In fact, I was there three more times before that happened. But, and this is a big one, the program taught me a completely different way of perceiving reality and thinking about the future: positive visualization.
The Core of the Concept
You may have heard that positive visualization is often employed by professional athletes who are trying to beat a record or maximize their performance. From a broad standpoint, it involves visualizing your next course of action in an optimistic manner, seeing yourself try and succeed at the goal youíve set for yourself. There is another principle behind it, if youíre the spiritual type, suggesting that positive mindsets attract positive results, but Iím not going to debate that.
The real reason why positive visualization constitutes a helpful tool in beating addiction Ė for me at least Ė is that it replaces the previous flawed way of thinking. In all fairness, if you canít see any hope for the future, then youíve likely to fall into the ďwhatís the point of trying?Ē trap.
Utilizing your imagination to construct a series of positive scenarios for the near and far future outcomes of your actions will, in time, allow you to develop a positive mindset, become and remain motivated to stay sober, keep your confidence and improve your chances to succeed. Itís also a great coping technique for the moments when not everything goes the way you planned.