Positive self talk in sobriety is a powerful thing because words really can harm or heal, as I’m sure you’re aware. How we treat ourselves and how we talk to ourselves affects how we feel about ourselves. And, if we can change the way we feel about ourselves then there is no stopping us.
This blog is going to help you to change the way you feel about yourself, which will change what you believe can be possible for you. And it starts with the practice of positive self talk. Here’s how
- Notice that you are doing it and acknowledge this. Then let it go.
- Accept that this is human nature and these negative thoughts come from millions of years of hard wiring, so don’t feel bad. Show kindness and compassion to yourself.
- Take it slowly and try to find some neutral ground to stand on first. You can’t go from saying you’re useless to you’re amazing overnight and expect your life to suddenly flow.
- Gratitude is always a super powerful way to change things in an instant.
- Be active in finding ways to bring more positivity into your days.
- Talk to yourself like you would your best friend or child or loved one
- Affirmations are really powerful and can help us to go from feeling down and negative to uplifted and inspired.
If you’d like to take this with you on a walk and listen to the podcast then click below or find me on your favourite podcast player.
If you think about it, we are constantly engaging in some sort of inner dialogue whether that be in the form of thoughts or actual things we say to ourselves and sometimes this is on a subconscious level and we may not even be fully aware of it.
Are you aware of how you talk to yourself and the kinds of things you say? If not, then that’s the first step toward cultivating positive self talk. If you are aware of the inner chatter, what kinds of things are you saying? Are you being loving, kind and encouraging? Or are you putting yourself down, beating yourself up and making yourself feel small?
Words have power
This is very important because the kinds of things we say to ourselves affects what we do, and how we feel about what we’re doing and our ability to do it well or not. In sobriety, as with anything this has a huge impact.
If you say things like, I’ve been trying to quit for years and can’t make it stick, or I always go back to day one again, or I really can’t do this, I always struggle with cravings, or I just haven’t got the willpower, then guess what – those words will shape how you feel about yourself and therefore, your reality. Quitting drinking has nothing to do with willpower by the way as this blog explains.
But quitting drinking is a big thing that of course, requires effort, and support and I feel we can get caught up in all the shame and stigma surrounding quitting drinking and get stuck on labels and unhelpful words that over complicate things and add unnecessary blocks and layers to what we’re trying to do.
Quitting drinking, being sober when it comes down to it, is something we choose, something we want, it is a positive and healthy way to live our lives and it is this message that we should be repeating to ourselves over and over.
Because, the key to achieving a goal or manifesting our desires and living the lives we dream of which in this case, is of course quitting drinking, comes down to our thoughts and more specifically, our beliefs, which are a result of what we’ve seen, heard, been told and of course, the kinds of things we tell ourselves.
Feeling worthy and deserving
If you tell yourself that you’re rubbish and you’ll never do something then guess what! Similarly if you celebrate yourself, practice positive self talk in sobriety, and say really kind things to yourself which encourage you to keep going, then guess what! We begin to change what we believe about something, in this case, being sober or rather our ability to be sober and perhaps more importantly be sober and happy!
What we get is usually what we believe we deserve.
I will say that again for dramatic effect
What we get is what we believe we deserve
And how do we know what we believe we deserve? By the way we talk to ourselves and treat ourselves which consequently has an impact on the actions we take.
“The first step is to start by saying nice things to yourself.”
Because ultimately you have been staying stuck on this never ending stop start cycle because on some level, you don’t believe you can live alcohol-free and be happy about it.
Well, I’m here to tell you that you can, that believing this is possible is the first step and how to get there is to start by saying nice things to yourself.
Staying small and stuck
Now, if you’re thinking that switching to positive self talk in sobriety is far too simple to be effective, or “ I tried that and it doesn’t work for me”, or “I can’t go around saying nice and encouraging things to myself, that’s ridiculous”. This is just resistance showing up. This is your inner critic or the addictive part of your brain taking over wanting you to stay small and stuck and in your comfort zone.
Yes, crazy as it sounds staying stuck and keeping drinking even though we really don’t want to, is a way that our brain is keeping us safe. It’s what we know, it’s what we’re used to and the idea of anything else throws up all sorts of fears and doubts.
The thought of living a different life is so alien, no matter how much we want it, something primitive kicks in and tries its best to keep us down. And I mean this in the nicest possible way when I say it, but it is just an excuse.
In the words of Yoda:
“Do or don’t do”
You know that people quit drinking and have wonderful lives, you’ve seen the evidence yourself when you’ve has a few days weeks or months off the alcohol how amazing you feel and how much better your life becomes, so I’m not fibbing – you know this.
Yet something, deep, something hidden away will sneak up on you and announce: ‘that was great, well done, but you can’t seriously think you can keep this up can you? This is not you! You’re a party girl / busy business person/overwhelmed mum, whatever, and you will always need alcohol in your life to help you be happy, socialize more, relax, cope… bla, bla, bla.’
And this thing, the wine witch, or wine whisperer as one lady I worked with called him, your inner critic is the horrible mean voice we use on ourselves.
This is what shows up in the way we talk to ourselves and is a reflection of what we really believe we deserve.
Now this is already going deeper than what we can cover in a blog so if things are resonating with you right now and you are nodding your head because you need some deeper level support than do book a coaching call with me so we can go into this in more detail and on a personal level.
Kindness is key
But no matter what is coming up for you right now, I want you to know that you can begin to change things now, today just by being kinder to yourself and talking to yourself in a more loving, gentler way.
After all, you’ve probably already tried forcing yourself, beating yourself up, imposing strict and ridiculous rules around your drinking and then being even harder on yourself, right? How’s that working out for you? I guess not terribly well.
You can’t beat yourself sober, shame yourself sober, be shamed, pressurized or forced into sobriety either. And telling yourself that you’re a failure or that you’ve failed again or that you have to go back to day one is not going to help. But you know that don’t you.
I say it all the time and will say it again and again, the most affective and powerful way to live an alcohol-free life that you love is through love, kindness and doing the things that bring you joy and light you up. Positive self talk in sobrety is the way to go, it really is.
Of course it starts with how you talk to yourself. And I promise you that once you notice and start to be aware of how you talk to yourself and begin to move away from the negativity towards positivity, you are going to see a huge improvement.
Now just because you say a few kind words to yourself now and then, doesn’t mean you will quit drinking over night, BUT you will notice that you start to feel better within yourself and about yourself.
And the better you feel about yourself the kinder you are to yourself, you start to respect your boundaries, or even have boundaries, you start to prioritize yourself, listen to your needs and understand that you are worthy and deserving of all the nice things you want (including a happy and uplifting alcohol-free life!)
You will begin to see the beautiful ripple effect and of course the more you do these great things, the better you feel and the more you will want to continue to be kind and nice, and so it goes on. The negative spiral slowly stops spinning that way and begins to turn into a more positive way of thinking and being.
So how do you do it!
Well, you won’t be surprised by some of the things I am going to share with you. Positive self talk in sobriety is not difficult, but it does take practice and commitment.
1. Notice that you are doing it and acknowledge this. Then let it go. Don’t dwell or beat yourself up for it!
2. Accept that this is human nature and that are brains are actually wired towards negativity. According to an article on headspace this is for survival, if we prepare for the worst then we have more chance of coming through. So, you are only human, these negative thoughts come from millions of years of hard wiring, so don’t feel bad.
3. Show kindness and compassion to yourself. Don’t try and be all Pollyanna about it because that won’t work either and it might have the effect of making us feel even worse when we do genuinely feel bad about something or have a negative thought. Remember you are human!
4. Take it slowly and perhaps try and find some neutral ground to stand on first. You can’t go form saying you’re useless to you’re amazing overnight and expect your life to suddenly flow. You won’t believe it for a start because it is too far removed from where you’ve been spending your time and it will feel fake and difficult, therefore easier to fall back into old ways.
5. Gratitude is always a super powerful way to change things in an instant. Instead of telling yourself how rubbish you are, think about what you are grateful to yourself for. Grateful for being on this journey, grateful for the water you drank or the time you gave yourself to go for a walk or prepare a nourishing meal. Say thank you and acknowledge these acts of self kindness. If you struggle with gratitude, this meditation will help.
6. Be active in finding ways to bring more positivity into your days by using some of the techniques I talked about in the last podcast. Practice meditation, spend time doing what you love, give yourself permission to feel good, listen to your favourite music or wear your best top and the nice perfume, just because. You are worthy and deserving of anything you desire, so show yourself.
7. Talk to yourself like you would your best friend or child or how you would have liked to have been treated or spoken to growing up if you don’t have this experience to relate to. If you want to be told that it’s okay that you will get through it, that you’re doing your best then say that to yourself. If you would tell your child that It’s okay to make mistakes, it’s how we learn and grow, next time will be easier, then say that to yourself.
If you want to hear that actually, you did good today, then say that. I have an evening meditation for early sobriety that will help you to end the day feeling loved and cared for which will in turn reinforce the positive thoughts and feelings.
8. Affirmations are really powerful and can help us to go from feeling down and negative to uplifted and inspired. Remember, you can’t think two opposing thoughts at the same time, so say your affirmation, say it loud and allow that to wash over you. Notice how you feel. How do you feel?
I want you to start to be intentional. Notice how you are speaking to yourself, that’s the first thing. Accept that this is human nature, it’s okay but it can’t carry on. Negative words are not inherently bad, it’s how we allow these thoughts to influence our behaviour, beliefs, and the way we feel about ourselves that can be toxic and keep us stuck.
So by noticing, accepting and choosing not to believe everything we say to ourselves we can begin to break this cycle.
And all the while we are doing what we can to be kind, gentle and loving towards ourselves, celebrating ourselves and treating ourselves with care and compassion.
You’ll see just how much better and more positive you will begin to feel about yourself.
This translates over to feel good sobriety because you are reinforcing the good things about living alcohol-free all the time, you are reinforcing the fact that you can do it, you do deserve it, you are worthy of having this happy, healthy lifestyle and there is no way you’re going to let one bad day or hurtful comment from you or from someone else, or stressful situation take that away from you.
Just like clouds floating across the sky, these negative thoughts come and go, so do tricky conversations, difficult days and challenges. You are here to stay though and you want to do it feeling good about yourself and your choices.
Never forget that you are wonderful, you are brave and strong and amazing just for being here on this path.
Play that on a loop if it helps and I hope it does.
Remember I am here for you, I want to see you succeed and feel good. If you need more support or coaching then book that call to chat about your options.
In the meantime, start right now and practice saying kind and loving things to yourself, because you are worth it.
Let me know your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.