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The Importance of Avoiding a Toxic Relationship in Recovery
October 1, 2018
Recovery Requires a Routine
November 7, 2018
The Importance of Avoiding a Toxic Relationship in Recovery
October 1, 2018
Recovery Requires a Routine
November 7, 2018

You view the world through a mental lens, and when this lens is fogged by negative thoughts, even the most minor inconveniences can seem like the end of the world. If you have dealt with addiction or mental health struggles, then you are probably no stranger to negative thought patterns and how they can enable unhealthy behaviors. This harsh inner critic can get the best of you, causing you to worry and leading to destructive actions. However, you can combat these thoughts with the right tools. Our Christian drug rehab shares some tips below on how to change negative thoughts to positive ones to cope with any challenges that come your way.

Types of Negative Thought Patterns

We’re all human, so we all have negative thoughts from time to time. These thoughts cause us to slip, lose hope, or prevent us from improving our health. They’re often discouraging, heart-breaking, and unmotivating. A negative thought is often a criticism of oneself.

It helps to recognize negative thoughts as they occur to learn how to best cope with them. There are different kinds of negative thoughts, including:

  • Excuses: These types of negative thoughts are centered on blaming others for one’s problems and claiming not to be able to help or control situations or one’s behavior.
  • Give Up: These negative thoughts are centered on giving up due to a lack of faith in oneself and are usually followed by other types of negative thoughts.
  • Good or Bad: These thoughts divide the world into good or bad and measure self-worth on success or failure, on or off track.
  • Not As Good As…: These types of negative thoughts cause us to compare ourselves to others. These also make us blame ourselves for not doing as well as others.
  • Should: These thoughts cause us to believe that we always must make the right choice, and we always get set up for failure, which tends to lead to anger.

The Bible tells us in Proverbs 23:7 NLT, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” Solomon, the writer of Proverbs (who was Biblically known as the wisest man to ever live), is trying to convey to us that whatever we are spending the most time on in our hearts is what we ultimately become. If we spend the most time with discouraging thoughts, we more than likely will become discouraged.

Another profound verse comes from Jesus recorded in Matthew 12:34 NKJV, “For whatever is in your heart determines what you say.” The abundance of the heart and overflow of thoughts, feelings, and emotions that are held inside only eventually come out not expressed in the most pleasant of ways.

During the addiction treatment process, expressing feelings incorrectly is often seen. Patients are so accustomed to negatively reacting that it becomes instinct to do so. Being defensive and negative becomes a form of self-preservation.

So how do we change negative thoughts? Consider interrupting the unhealthy thought process rather than feeding them. Feeding thoughts is rehearsing, highlighting, and becoming consumed by them.

Instead of entertaining bad thoughts, redirect your focus by journaling, reading, or speaking with a trusted friend. Whatever we feed grows! It won’t be easy at first, but the more we practice this, the better we will become at changing negative thought patterns and replacing them with positive ones.

How to Change Your Thoughts From Negative to Positive

There are ways to be mindful of negative thoughts and combat the constant influx of negative thinking on your own. Many people don’t realize how powerful the mind is. It’s possible to live a more fulfilled life when you are at peace and when you can cultivate positive thinking.

On this note, our Christian drug rehabilitation center shares tips on how to change negative thought patterns and replace them with positive ones that will contribute to your recovery.

  • Have daily Negative Thought Time (NTT): NTT refers to a period of only 10 minutes a day during which you allow yourself to experience negative thoughts, write them down, and tell yourself that you’ll only review them again during tomorrow’s NTT. This allows you to condense how much time you contribute to negative thoughts and prevents you from spending the whole day in your head. Over time, you’ll change negative thoughts to positive ones.
  • Replace negative thoughts: You can change negative thoughts to positive ones by replacing them. To do this, you have to first notice them, then acknowledge what you want to change and articulate what you want to be different and choose a different behavior. For instance, if you notice that following a particular Instagram account causes “not as good as” negative thoughts, then you might want to either restrict how often you’re on social media or unfollow the account altogether.
  • Strive to be your own best friend: You’ve probably heard this a million times, but we’re our own worst critics, and most self-talk is negative. Oftentimes, we say things to ourselves that we’d never say to another person because it’s hurtful, so why keep doing it? Instead, when you start thinking negatively about yourself, don’t allow yourself to dwell on it for more than three minutes. Identify where it came from and then reframe it with something more positive.
  • Focus your thoughts on a project: Transitioning to a more positive mindset can be challenging and isn’t always sustainable because – let’s face it – we’re human! However, avoiding negative thinking can be more easily done when you rely on an exciting project. Whenever you have moments of negative thinking, switch your mindset to the project. Focus 5 to 10 minutes on it or for as long as you need to.
  • Establish new habits: Rather than thinking of it as “overcoming” negative thought patterns, think of establishing new habits instead. You can do this by redirecting your attention to subjects where nothing needs to be “overcome.” This means focusing on things that make you feel good, such as painting your toenails, being outside, going to the beach, reading a good book, watching an episode of your favorite show, or other activities that make you happy.

Negative thoughts can not only contribute to poor mental health, but they can also contribute to unhealthy and self-destructive behaviors like substance abuse. As a Christian addiction recovery center that’s treated hundreds of people for their drug and alcohol addictions, we’ve seen the power of the mind in recovery.

For this reason, we encourage anyone who’s struggling with substance abuse to seek out professional care. Our faith-based addiction recovery programs incorporate both medication-assisted treatment – such as medically monitored detox – and a variety of psychotherapy and Bible-based services to support clients in physical and mental recovery.

For more information about our Christ-centered addiction treatment and how we can help, call Faith in Recovery today at 888-280-4763 or send us your contact information, and one of our admission specialists will reach out to you.

Related Reading:

What the Bible Says About Addiction

Benefits of Bible Studies for Addiction Recovery


Faith in Recovery will heal you from any addiction. We provide faith-based treatment, so you can connect to God while recovering. Contact us today at 888-280-4763 to learn more about our customized addiction treatment services.