We have probably all lapsed into a victim mentality from time to time in recovery. The question is, how have you been doing with this lately? Are you making excuses about why things aren’t going your way, or have you decided to stay more positive?
Playing the victim role in life is a decision. It follows that the solution is based on a single decision as well. That decision is to actively create a new life for yourself in recovery.
This is about positive thinking. You might have to dig a little deeper into yourself and find a spark of energy. That’s what creating a new life is all about.
When you switch from a victim mentality to a creative one, problems become opportunities. You get excited about life and start welcoming challenges instead of complaining all the time. Yes, this is a shift in attitude. But what a difference it can make in your final results!
Why making this switch is important for recovery
The biggest reason that you need to get out of victim mode is so that you remove any excuses you might have to pick up a drink or drug and ruin your life all over again. Playing a victim role is perfect conditions to allow that to happen, so you obviously don’t want to go there! Instead, maintaining a positive outlook and having a progression of goals in your life can give you the energy and motivation to remain clean and sober.
This has very little to do with what actually happens in your life. It has to do with your attitude towards that stuff.
The creative mindset–held by those who are actively creating an awesome new life in recovery–is always looking for the positive side to things. This is part of the attitude change. For example, if a friend in recovery relapses, this is not an opportunity to jump on the pity-party bandwagon and get discouraged about our own chances at staying clean. Instead, the creative individual will use it as an opportunity to reach out and help their friend, with a firm resolve to learn from the experience and take something positive away from it.
External versus Internal
The victim mentality seeks relief and happiness from outside of itself. This would be the equivalent of an alcoholic walking into an AA meeting and saying “I seem to have a drinking problem. Please fix me.” There is an expectation from the victim that other people are going to (or should) solve their problems for them.
You can imagine how limiting this is for someone trying to pursue sobriety. Overcoming drug and alcohol addiction is an inside job. Meaning, the motivation must come from within. The soul searching and internal footwork must come from the individual. We can ask others for help, but ultimately we are responsible for our own recovery.
Recovery is an act of creation. We are literally creating a new life for ourselves. This takes energy and a positive attitude. The victim mentality would have us sitting on our couch, pointing fingers at people, and demanding that they somehow create this new life for us. Not a helpful attitude.
Action Items – What you can do:
1) Raise your awareness – keep a close tab on when you find yourself slipping into a victim mentality. If you catch yourself going there, increase your awareness and stay vigilant.
2) Impose a zero tolerance policy for yourself regarding the victim mentality. Whenever you catch yourself, shut it down immediately. Keep telling yourself: “No whiners!”
3) Embrace the creative life of recovery. Do some soul-searching and goal setting, then get going on the footwork. Make something happen!