by Tony A.
I was first introduced to the idea of using positive affirmation when I was in a treatment centre many years ago. We were asked to repeat several one-liners like, “I’m okay … you’re okay,” “I’m a valuable and lovable person,” and many others.
At the time, I was quite cynical and jaded from living a horrendous life in hard-core addiction and in my mind, I could not help but to think … you’ve got to be kidding me!! But I am quite happy to say that today I can see the relevance of these and actually try to use them as life-affirming slogans. They have proven to have great power to influence and reprogram my thinking.
For me, the desire to incorporate these facets into my life started when I reached a point of absolute surrender to my disease, acknowledged that I could not do this on my own, and turned to outside power for help. This came in all sorts of shapes and sizes that I could utilize – including using affirmations.
Now just to be clear, I am pretty much convinced that for me the spiritual solution was the necessary catalyst to facilitate recovery from addiction – but I’ve incorporated many tools into my recovery plan and this includes using affirmative thought to support a positive mental attitude. This has become increasingly important to me over the years in my recovery.
In the morning, I meditate and have a period of quiet time and reflection. During this quiet time, I read spiritual meditations and often try using affirmations. I will say these affirmations while looking directly at myself and into my eyes as I repeat them to myself. I must admit that sometimes this feels a bit awkward but I do it anyways. Like many of the practices that I have cultivated over the years, it all began with simply just doing them regardless of how I felt. The unfamiliar eventually does become the familiar.
For me, these practices are intensely practical and have proven to be quite enlightening. I’ve experienced inner peace and tranquility as well as a new confidence and shift in perspective as a result of these practices. And to think I almost missed them. Remember, when I was first introduced to them, I scoffed and thought it was a bunch of nonsense and would not work for me.
Step by step and day by day, these little gems have assisted in the transformation of my thinking and my energy. I have learned to embrace and honour the loving spirit within, which is something that I had been quite afraid of, actually. Being kind, gentle and loving in all of my affairs often requires work and practice. Affirmations can assist with this.
Believing that I am enough is another area that I need to pay special attention to with the use of affirmative thought. As I have learned through many fearless and searching inventories, I have acquired the painful belief that I am not enough and this is manifested in many forms. Having been privileged to sponsor many men and women over the years and to hold the sacred trust that has formed in many of these relationships, I have learned this is a uniform truth or core belief of many of us recovering from addictions.
I have found the workplace and my family of origin to be the institutions to carry this top priority rating as the emotional attachments that are formed remind me to pay special attention to these. For example, when I made the conscious understanding that freely giving was a big part to my experiencing joy in my life, I tried to bring this concept into my workplace. A simple little attitude change has proven to bring a profound shift in how I have come to relate with my workplace and serve the organization. Again, I say that affirmations are powerful!
It is like I am re-writing the script using a more positive framework and language that eventually changes my thinking and behaviour. Continuous action and vigilance are key. I also need to remind myself to be gentle with my growth, as none of this has happened quickly for me. Through the use and practice of affirmations along with other spiritual tools I have come to embrace, better understand and appreciate our wonderful “one day at a time” concept and this wonderful journey of recovery and healing that I have been privileged to be a part of.