If people want their life to improve they will usually need to take action to make this reality. Just deciding to have a better life is usually not enough by itself – if it was the world would already be perfect. It is the actions that people take that determine their future. Those people who have given up an addiction will have done so in the hope of achieving a more comfortable existence. The fact that they have quit alcohol or drugs is a vital first step, but it is not the end of the journey. They will need to follow this up with more positive action in the future. If the individual commits to daily positive action they should find that this ensures that their life continues to improve.
Positive actions can be described as the deliberate things that people do to improve their own life. For example, if the goal of the individual is to lose weight then taking up daily exercise could be considered a positive action. It is based on the assumption that people can make a difference to their own future by their actions today. Positive action is closely associated with the philosophy that doing the right things causes the right things to happen.
The reasons why daily positive action can be important in recovery include:
* Not doing things can feel like more of a hardship than doing things. If people focus their recovery on taking action it should increase their positivity.
* Most addicts suffer from low self esteem, and this can continue to hold them back once they become sober. If people take positive action on a daily basis they will obtain positive results over time, and this will help to boost their self esteem.
* When people first become sober they can feel a bit overwhelmed by all the changes they need to make. Daily positive action is something they can subscribe to without it becoming an added burden.
* It is often said that recovery is about progress and not perfection. It is not possible for people to fix their life overnight but it is something that they can do over time by making one positive step after another.
* Getting sober is only the first step in creating a meaningful and enjoyable life away from addiction. Daily positive action will take the individual towards their goal of happiness.
When people commit to not doing something they can feel like they are being deprived. If those who give up an addiction view it in terms of being deprived it can dampen their motivation. It is much better to view their decision to quit in a more positive way – to see it as adopting a more positive lifestyle that will benefit them. If the individual is focused on what they are getting, rather than what they are giving up, they will have more chance of success.
In recovery it is easier to commit to positive action than to be always focused on giving things up. For example, if people want to lose weight they may find it is easier to commit to doing things rather than not doing things. This means that instead of cutting calories and watching TV all day the individual commits to adopting a healthy diet and becoming more active. Because the individual has decided to take action they should find it easier to achieve their goal. Be approaching their goal in such a positive way it increases motivation, and as they take each small step towards their goal it raises their self efficacy.
Self efficacy is the belief that an individual has in their ability to achieve a goal. If the individual has low self efficacy towards a goal it is unlikely that they will be able to achieve it. This is because their lack of self belief will prevent them from developing the motivation they need to take the right actions needed.
There are a number of possible ways to increase self efficacy but one of the most effective is for the individual to gain experience of setting goals and achieving success. Even if these goals are quite modest to begin with they will increase the individual’s confidence in their own ability to get things done. It will increase self efficacy so that the individual will feel capable of tackling much bigger goals in the future. This pattern of setting small goals and achieving success can be achieved by taking daily positive action. This is because these actions will produce positive results which can be viewed as the goal.
Those people who manage to break away from an addiction will usually still have a great deal of work ahead of them. This is because there are sure to be reasons for why the individual turned to substance abuse in the first place and these reasons are likely to be still there. It has been suggested that a common driving force behind substance abuse is the addictive personality. This is a set of personal characteristics that addicts tend to share and that get them into trouble. These personality traits include:
* Low self esteem
* A tendency to behave antisocially.
* Feelings of alienation from other people.
* Difficulty when it comes to delaying gratification.
* Tends towards attention seeking behavior.
* A tendency to act in an impulsive manner.
* The individual believes that they have a high degree of stress in their life.
* They value nonconformity and rebelling against mainstream society.
* Prone to self absorption and selfishness.
* Often suffer from anxiety or depression.
* They become highly insecure in their relationships.
* There tends to be a feeling of alienation in regards to other people.
* They have a high degree of tolerance for deviant behavior. This means that they are more willing to break the rules and may view other people who break the rules in a positive manner.
In order for the individual to build a successful life in recovery they will need to overcome many of these personality traits. It will not be possible for them to achieve this in a few days or even a few months. This will be a task that will become a lifetime’s work, but as the individual chips away at each of their character flaws they will notice improvements in their life. This is what it means to say that the goal is progress and not perfection. If the individual expects to fix everything overnight they are certain to become disappointed. They could then use this as an excuse to relapse. The best approach is daily positive action so as to slowly overcome these character flaws over time.
A common problem for people in recovery is that they suffer from low self esteem. This can mean that they don’t even feel like they deserve a good life so they can sabotage their own efforts- this can sometimes occur subconsciously. In order to find real happiness in recovery the individual will need to increase their self esteem. The best way for them to do this is to experience some success in life. By performing daily positive action the individual will get to see how their actions can make a difference to their life. This proves to them that their feelings of powerlessness and unworthiness are completely wrong.
The list of daily positive action is almost endless but it could include:
* Meditation or other relaxation techniques
* Fitness activities
* Devoting time to other people
* Reading inspirational material
* Helping other people
* Learning new things
* Attending fellowship meetings
* Spending time in nature
* Eating healthy food
* Devoting time to listening to their child
When people get caught up in their life it is easy for them to forget their personal resolutions. In order to stay committed to daily positive action the individual can:
* It is a good idea if people tie their daily positive action to an overall goal. So for example they might decide that their aim is to become a less selfish person, and so they can do things each day to bring them nearer to this goal.
* Create a schedule where they write down the positive actions they plan to take and when they are going to take them. It may sometimes be necessary to adjust these schedules so it is best to view them as a tool and not become a slave to them.
* Journaling at the end of the day is important because it gives the individual the chance to reflect on the positive action they have taken that day. This way the person can track their progress and ensure that their actions are taking them in a direction they want to go.
* Another important reason for why journaling is important is that it keeps people motivated. Progress tends to occur slowly that it is easy for people to miss it – by looking back on a journal the individual will be able to see how much of a difference their daily positive actions have made to their life.
* If people have some type of routine it usually makes it easier to commit to daily positive action.