Addiction and destructive behaviors are often rooted in thinking. Anxieties, feelings of shame, or a sense of out of control-ness are often the root causes for which addictive behavior is a powerful symptom. Addiction can also be sustained by overly positive understandings or justifications for your behavior, that keep you from recognizing your problem or need for help.
These fearful and overwhelming feelings may be caused by delusions or powerful but incorrect ways of seeing or processing the world within or the world around us. These deep-seated beliefs color the way you think about everything that happens, to the point that it can be difficult to even consider they may be inaccurate or hurtful to you.
An important part of recovery is learning to correct these misunderstandings, and learn how to see the truth. Simply labeling a false belief can take away a lot of its power, and so is an important first step in creating positive change. Here are some ways you can begin to confront and correct the delusional thoughts that may pop up in your recovery journey.
Common Untrue and Unhelpful Thoughts:
Here are just a few of the examples of the false interpretations that can be deeply disturbing and disempowering. Recognizing and confronting these thoughts can help us get out of these mental traps that keep us from a full recovery.
Catastrophizing is imagining only the worst thing that can possibly happen with each situation.
Minimizing is dwelling only on the good or bad of yourself, another person, or a situation, so you see only the good or only the bad. This gets in the way of helping you see the whole picture.
Grandiosity is exaggerating your own importance or ability. You may think yourself capable of more than you really are. Conversely, you can become anxious thinking you caused things that are not your fault.
Magical thinking is putting faith in some kind of ritual or behavior that you think must happen in order to avoid a negative event, or make something positive happen. Not engaging in the ritual can make you feel frozen with fear.
All or nothing thinking is refusing to see the gray or the mixture of good and bad in life. You may think of yourself as either a complete success or an abject failure when the reality is you are doing many things well, and are growing in doing certain things better.
Paranoia is becoming consumed by fear about how people may be viewing you. Many people may feel that others around them may be judging or trying to hurt them, but the truth is that most people you don’t know are simply ignoring you and not giving you a second thought.
Answering with Truth:
The way around these harmful delusions is to remind yourself of the truth. Whenever a fear pops up, answer with thoughts of gratitude or self-affirmation, reminding yourself of your power and abilities. In this way, you will begin to make the false thoughts less powerful, until they no longer get absorbed and believed.
One of the most important things you can do to deal with these delusional thoughts is to talk through them with other people. Whether a supportive friend or loved one, a trained therapist, or people in a support group facing similar issues, it can be very helpful to put your delusions into words. Other people can help you get out of your own head, and help you understand the truth. Whether you are denying something troubling or made anxious out of inappropriate fear, people who can truly see you the way you are can help you challenge those damaging misconceptions.