By: Marilyn L. Davis
“Affirmations are our mental vitamins, providing the supplementary positive thoughts we need to balance the barrage of negative events and thoughts we experience daily.” Tia Walker, The Inspired Caregiver: Finding Joy While Caring for Those You Love
We Know What Is Wrong
Many of us struggle in early recovery with our guilt. We know the harm we have caused others; we are aware of the many character defects, shortcomings, or just plain bad behaviors we participated in during our addictions.
Even when we justify or rationalize them to others, we know.
Some people can take that information and use it to their advantage. “If you can name it,” you can change it helps many.
However, for others, they find it difficult to move through their defensiveness and make changes. Therefore, try processing from the opposite perspective. And remember, that nothing in our make-up is purely black and white; for most of us, there are shades of gray.
Perception: Finding Something Positive Is Not that Hard
Too often, we ask,
- “What is wrong with me?”
- “Why can’t I get this?”
- “Will I ever be successful at recovery?”
- “Will I always disappoint my loved ones?”
If these questions seem to defeat you and keep you stuck in the negative, then start by asking yourself:
“What is right with me?”
Then build on those strengths. If we approach some of our less than stellar moments – desperate to get drugs, we drove 80 miles on a mission to score, we can find:
If we apply those same qualities within us towards changing our lives, making goals, and staying in recovery, we can see that the same attributes have a positive value.
Since these qualities are within, we, in turn, have these aspects available to us, as well as our shortcomings.
My Mandela Approach to Affirmations
I have long admired Nelson Mandela’s grace, dignity, and passion. Many of us in his situation would have been bitter and only wanted retribution for the injustices. However, his approach was straightforward and simple, “As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”
Reflecting on this attitude in my recovery, I realized that if I stayed trapped in the “what is wrong,” I would not have the strength to move forward. By not moving forward in my recovery, I could find myself drifting back into the prison of addiction.
I hope that these particular Nelson Mandela’s quotes inspire you to climb the next hill, face the next challenge, overcome your negative feelings, and thrive in your recovery.
Affirming Words from Nelson Mandela
- “It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given; that separates one person from another.”
- “Having resentment against someone is like drinking poison and thinking it will kill your enemy. Resentment is a method of self-harm.
- “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
- “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
- “I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.”
- “As I have said, the first thing is to be honest with yourself. You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself. Great peacemakers are all people of integrity, of honesty, but humility.”
- “One of the things I learned when I was negotiating was that until I changed myself, I could not change others.”
Creating a Simple Affirmation – Just for You
Affirmations and inspirational quotes help us keep a positive attitude. Here are the ones I used in my early recovery. I hope they help you understand that you are valuable, good enough, and deserve recovery.
When you follow through on the actions of one of the affirmations, be sure you note how you felt. When you feel productive and positive about yourself, it goes a long way towards helping you see what’s right with you.
Writing, and recovery heals the heart