For many years, I have lived my life as if my perceptions about people, places and things were real. I have learned in recovery that, in fact, they are not.
Having suffered from low self-esteem and self-confidence, I believed what my mind was telling me. Things like “you can’t”, “you are not smart enough” or worst of all, “you are inherently weak-minded”.
I always wished I had what other people (family and friends) had and I used others as an excuse for my inability to stay sober. The gremlins that were my thoughts consistently told me that nothing was going to go right, and of course, with that mindset, a lot of things went horribly wrong.
I realize now that my mental attitude really did hold me prisoner. It made me a people-pleaser, doing things I may not have wanted to do. It made me believe that by saying yes to everything, everyone would like me. It destroyed any boundaries I might have had.
The prison is created by negative thinking. I have learned that I can conquer those negative thoughts if I consciously choose to. Through the tools I learned in treatment, the knowledge I have gained from my own recovery program, and by listening to others with solid sobriety, I have a lot more control over my mind. My thoughts and the resulting behavior are now much more positive. It hasn’t been easy – I still struggle everyday with the power my own thoughts can have in my life. But freedom from that prison allows me to set boundaries based on my own values and beliefs. It means I get things done, I can focus on moving forward and taking the next steps in my life.
Those negative thoughts that were holding me prisoner have diminished a lot, and in place, I have thoughts of staying sober, and having a bright, happy future.