We can all use an attitude adjustment from time to time. That includes me. I’ve been sober for a long time (over 14 years as of this writing), but I still have to keep a positive attitude every day. My default modes, like that of many alcoholics and addicts, are pessimism, sullenness, and self-pity. I often wake up in a foul mood, and if I’m not careful, I’ll carry that poor attitude into my entire day. My “stinking-thinking” will pollute not only my day but can also negatively impact my wife’s day as well as that of friends and even strangers. Beware the poor soul who crosses the path of a recovering addict in a foul mood.
Resentment. Self-Pity. Anger. These are some of the most common traits of recovering alcoholics and addicts. We carry a lot of emotional baggage, often developed over many years of addiction. We often see the glass half-empty instead of choosing to see it as half-full. How we see the world is a matter of choice. We can either be angry or happy; it all depends on the actions we take and the choices we make each day.
- Do you want to be happy? Then choose to be happy.
- Do you want to feel good about yourself? Then choose to feel good about yourself.
- Do you want to surround yourself with friendly people and beautiful things? Then choose nice people as friends and find beauty wherever you look.
- Do you want to be successful in life? Then choose to be successful in everything you want to achieve.
Happiness, peace, and joy are all within reach to anyone willing to take the right steps by developing simple habits to improve their attitude and outlook on life.
In my opinion, Steve Martin, one of the greatest comedians of all time, once quipped, “Before I go out, I put a slice of bologna in each of my shoes. So when I’m on stage, I feel funny.”
It’s unlikely that Mr. Martin was serious when he said this. Still, it demonstrates the point of this book, and it is worth noting that we usually have to take some kind of action, no matter how silly or odd it might seem, to change the way we feel and to move our attitude in a positive direction.
Developing healthy habits in recovery is similar to adding drops of clean water into a glass filled with dirty water. Eventually, drop by drop, the clean water will replace the dirty water until only clear, nourishing water is there to drink.
This is how you have to attend to your attitude in sobriety; drop by drop, habit by habit, replacing your negative, polluted thinking and actions with clear, clean thoughts and actions. Once you develop these habits on a daily basis, the world will become a more beautiful and friendly place to explore and enjoy. You will experience more happiness and success once you learn to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.
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