Overcoming Negative Thoughts – Alcohol Relapse Prevention
Overcoming Negative Thoughts : Alcohol Relapse Prevention — affiliatemarketingmc at YouTube.com
What happens to you when things go bad? What happens when your girlfriend breaks up with you and you’re trying to be sober? Or you lose your job? Or someone passes or something crazy happens in your life? What do you do?
The normal inclination for an addict is to go back to the source—the drinking, or whatever it may be.
Today we’ll be talking about two different things: content of the mind and structure of the mind. I believe if you can understand what’s going on in your mind, and if you can understand what’s going on with your emotions, then this will make a lot more sense.
Content of the Mind
When something bad happens to you, your mind will go crazy trying to think of different repercussions. It will think, “Okay, I lost my job, so I’m going to be broke. I’m going to be on the street. I’m not going to have anything to eat. I’ll lose my house. My car will get repoed, and everything will be terrible. Everyone will stand around, pointing at me and calling me a loser.” You’ll feel sad and depressed.
This is all what we call content of the mind. The content of your mind is the audible thoughts are going through your mind.
Structure of the Mind
There is something else at play here too, and that’s the structure of the mind. The structure of the mind doesn’t care about the content. The structure doesn’t care what you’re thinking about. It’s running a process, just like your computer. There’s a process it goes through, and whatever you feed it, good or bad, it’s going to take that process.
Affect of Both
When bad things happen to some people, they may not overall care too much. The contents of the mind are not going to matter too much, or affect them too much.
However, when you’re dealing with an addict, or someone prone to depression or anxiety, the structure of the mind can have a much bigger affect. You might get bad circumstances, and then your brain goes and catastrophizes things. It starts running loops.
One of my favorite quotes is by Alan Watts, who says “You can worry about anything, if you’re the worrying type.” What that means is that, if you’re the type of person that worries, no matter what happens you’re going to worry. You might think, “Well, my lawns not growing. That means there’s not enough water, and that means there’s a drought, and that means we’re all going to die.” It’s just what’s going to happen.
When you think about the worrying type, that is the structure of the mind. That’s how your mind works. The content doesn’t change this.
The problem is that here in Western civilization, as opposed to Eastern civilization, we’re focused mostly on the content of the mind. We’re focused on the thoughts themselves. So when something bad happens and we’re going through these loops, the loops keep running. We try to do something about the content of the mind. But more bad stuff happens, and it leads us back to drinking, or using, or what I call a relapse of the mind.
Our mind goes back to the old thought pattern. That’s thinking, “I went through a break up, it’s terrible, nobody loves me, everybody hates me.” It’s a loop, and you feel like crap, and then you go and get a drink. Then you go through the actual physical relapse.
You dwell on the thoughts, the content of the mind, rather than looking at the process, the structure of the mind. If you could see that a process is going on, you’d see that the content isn’t as big as you make it up in your mind. You have the bad circumstance and it’s going to run that loop, and it never really ends. It will just keep going, and that’s what your mind does. That’s how your mind works–that’s the structure of your mind.
Fixing the Problem
We need to start intercepting and realizing that the process is happening. Start looking at it for what it is. Instead of diving into the content, think about the process. If we understand that it’s what our brain does, that’s how it processes stuff, then we don’t have to dive into or explain the content. We can just allow it to happen.
We all know in our rational mind that one little breakup, or one little job loss, is not going to be the end of the world. Sure, it might hurt. It might suck. Yeah, you might not be able to afford the car payment or whatever, but the fact of the matter is, is you’re going to be okay. We know that no matter how bad things get, we don’t need to drink again. But behind the scenes, this is going on. We focus on the content, and our mind loops out of control.
So, let’s decide to focus on the structure. Ask yourself, “How do I change the structure of my mind? How do I change the path that my thoughts go down?”
First, if you just pay attention and realize that it’s happening, you’ll start to understand it. And then you’ll be able to stop. You can take a breath and tell yourself you won’t need to drink, or pick up, or do whatever makes you an addict. Instead, you can look at the two different things going on in your mind. You can recognize that this is the content.
What is the content? If we look at it rationally, what’s going on?
“Well, I lost my job. You know, there’s other jobs I can get. There’s tons of them out there, regardless of what the news says. There are lots of jobs out there, and there’s lots of opportunity.”
Don’t give in to that loop, thinking, “catastrophe = panic = fear.” Instead, look at it rationally. Say to yourself, “Well, here’s the content, and here’s what my brain would usually do. Instead, I’m choosing to interrupt it by doing something else.”
Emotion is based on motion. When you get up, when you do something, it’s like energy in motion. When you do something to break the pattern, whether it’s taking a walk, reading a book, making a video, going to meeting, or whatever it is, you’re going to interrupt that. You’re going to start to feel different.
Don’t get down on yourself for the fact that the structure of the mind has been distorted, and don’t get frustrated by the content. We all have content in our mind. There are certain people–you know them, I know them. No matter what happens, they spin it bad.
Then there are other people who say, “Well, I lost my job, but there are 10 more opportunities. It was just a blessing in disguise.” And you’re like, “shut the hell up.”
The fact of the matter is, they just have a different working of the mind. They have a different process that they run.
Up until now, you might be running your process like I did, where the process was like, “Well, bad circumstances = get depressed = go down the dark hole == feel this way = explain it = what is wrong with me?”
Nothing is wrong with you. What’s happening is there’s content, and then there’s process. Separate them, and you’ll start to understand how your mind works, how to get yourself out of depression and how to understand what’s really going on with your addiction, with your anxiety and with your life. Watch out for the content of the mind and the structure of the mind, because often times one little tiny thing will blow up a ton of content in your mind, which will run a process, which will make you feel bad.
Let’s start looking at the difference, and let’s start feeling good.
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