There’s no question that the thoughts we think cause us to behave in a certain manner. This is even truer when someone is battling an addiction. The mind wreaks havoc on an addict’s life simply by allowing irrational thoughts to manifest.
Even the most intelligent person can fall victim to these irrational beliefs if addiction is a factor.
Irrational Thoughts and Addiction
Irrational thinking has become a known sign of addiction. The two seem to go hand in hand with each other. The individual finds themselves on a trajectory downward stemming from the cycle of irrational thoughts and poor behavior.
Usually, the addict doesn’t even recognize what is going on. Some addicts become increasingly delusional and start to think there is a conspiracy occurring to stop them from enjoying life. This mode of thinking puts them in a battle with the loved ones and they conflict with reality.
Most of the suffering that occurs in addiction has to do with the irrationality stemming from the addict. Let’s take a look at some of the poor thoughts they battle with in common irrational thoughts examples.
1. If I Quit Drinking, I’ll Have Nothing to Do
The first lie that an addict believes is that without the drug or drink, life will be boring. The addiction tells them that there will be no reason to live anymore, which is one of the most dangerous types of irrational thinking.
This irrational belief is exactly what keeps them stuck in addition. Without any hope, there is no reason for them to do anything different. What they fail to recognize is that life without drugs and alcohol is far more fulfilling when recovery occurs. Their irrational thoughts are keeping them from seeing how beautiful life with sobriety can be.
2. If I Quit Now, I Won’t Be as Creative, Social (Whatever the Passion is)
This irrational thought is common in those who are artistic or musically inclined. They believe their “success” is a result of their addiction. In other areas, this is prevalent as well. Consider the college student who thinks their drug use helps them achieve higher grades because they can study later. Rehab for college-aged children and adults can help these patients overcome these types of irrational thoughts.
Or, the high school kid who used to be shy but is social and outgoing thanks to drug use. These people all believe that they can’t achieve their dreams without the use of a substance.
You’ll even see this mindset in the heads of successful business people who think their rise to the top came from their drug or alcohol usage. That somehow these substances put them “on top of their game” in some sense.
What they would find is that through recovery, they would be able to get in touch with a deeper side of themselves that would perform even better than they do now.
3. I Can’t Calm Down Without My Drink or Drugs
It is not uncommon for an addict to believe the only way to deal with life is to drink or use drugs. What they don’t realize is all those problems remain even after they’ve self-medicated.
In fact, the problems tend to get worse, which creates even more stress. Through recovery, addicts can learn how to deal with life on life’s terms. This way, as trouble and stress arise; it can be dealt with immediately so it doesn’t pile up.
Life isn’t easy for anyone, sober or not. Finding ways to cope and deal with stress in a healthy manner is an essential aspect of living a fulfilled and peaceful life.
4. Everyone Else is So Uptight
Many addicts feel that their loved ones who don’t participate with them are uptight and trying to ruin their fun. What they don’t see is that person is busy dealing with the messes created by the addict. Not only do they have their own lives to deal with, but they face the financial burdens, legal issues and other ramifications of knowing the addict.
What they would much rather have is someone that participates in life with them. Someone to walk through the good times and bad while remaining sober.
5. I Can Stop Drinking at any Time
This is classic irrational thinking and it’s been around since addiction existed. Most often the addict doesn’t believe they have an issue. It takes something drastic happening in their life to show them that there is a problem.
By telling themselves that they can stop if they wanted to, they think they gain some control over what’s happening when really they have none.
What Causes Irrational Thinking?
Irrational thinking doesn’t just occur in active addiction; it’s just as prevalent in recovery. Here are some reasons that recovering addicts have irrational thinking patterns.
- Quitting drinking and doing drugs doesn’t make a person healthy. Without help to change behaviors and thoughts, they remain a dry drunk and continue to act in the same manner they did before.
- People who spend time with others in addiction can continue to take on their belief systems and thought patterns. Without surrounding themselves with sober individuals, they will constantly be challenged with old thoughts.
- If the person has grown up in a home that suffered from irrational thinking, it might take additional time to break the negative cycles. This is especially true if they grew up with other addicts who believed substance abuse was acceptable.
- Bitterness, hatred and anger make it harder for a person to think rationally. When these feelings are left unchecked, it is easy to find the mind deep in irrational thoughts.
- When a person has two beliefs that conflict with one another, the internal tension needs to be resolved by adopting an irrational belief. This helps the recovering addict to explain the discrepancy found in the conflicting ideas.
- When a person fails to have an open mind, they often refuse considering any other belief except their own. This then shows up when an irrational thought occurs and they don’t want to look at it, but simply accept it for what it is.
- If a person holds to their beliefs as a link to their self-esteem, then any question of them is seen as a personal attack. This causes them to get defensive over the irrational thoughts that occur.
- Misinformation from others or the Internet can also help to create irrational thoughts.
How to Deal with Irrational Thoughts
Since addiction is a disease occurring in the brain, the only way to treat the irrational thoughts that manifest from it is to treat the disease of addiction. This takes getting sober as the first step, but that’s not the only one. The recovering person must then commit to retraining their brain to live in reality.
This requires learning how to cope with life and deal with the stresses of the world. Success can be found with the right support and help set up around the addict. With hard work, diligence and a commitment to success, the recovering person can achieve a long, vibrant life filled with thoughts based on reality.
Follow these tips for combating irrational thoughts:
- Counteract negative irrational thoughts with positive ones
- Practice meditation to gain better control of your thoughts
- Question the reality of the thoughts, where are they coming from?
- Spin the thought into a positive or something creative you can do to build from this
- Recognize what is in your power to control and what is out of your hands, only hold yourself responsible for things that are within your control
- Start every day with affirmations, there are many affirmation apps to help
Contact Clearbrook Today
If you or someone you know and love is currently struggling with addiction, help is available.
For 45 years, Clearbrook Treatment Centers has been treating those who suffer from alcoholism and drug addiction. With the use of comprehensive and customized treatment protocols, we are able to offer our patients a level of care that is unmatched.
If you are ready to take the first step and change your life, please contact our Admissions Specialists today.
Recovery is possible…and it begins here!