It is not unusual for Partners of people with addiction to find that the things they find themselves thinking about can be upsetting and distracting. Many find their thoughts can be racing and over whelming. Often into directions that may not be helpful. The thoughts may increase your likelihood of blaming yourself, or being critical to yourself, or mind reading, or seeing the situation you are in more negatively and impact on any possible hope.
There are various different types of thought errors that are so common that they are named and are universal. You will sometimes hear them being called cognitive distortions, which mean the thoughts can distort the real picture, and in addiction this can be used to create denial or ignore the reality of what is happening by both you and your partner. Part of any recovery process is to consider your helpful and unhelpful thought patterns.
Each of us may have typical thought errors that are as a result of our own story and we can be caught by thought worms that go in and out of our heads and repeat again and again. Once you can become aware of the way your thoughts can catch you out, you can begin to notice them, ask yourself how much truth they hold, ask yourself if they are helpful or unhelpful and then consider alternative ways to think that may be more helpful. It takes time to learn how to take charge of your thoughts and it take practice to stay in charge of thinking when events may be happening around us.
In our course we will look together at thought processes and how to spot them and manage them as part of your recovery. If you are unable to attend the course there are useful downloadable resources on www.getselfhelp.com on thoughts. There is also a free downloadable app called Woebot that is designed to help you with negative thinking. If you type in your thoughts it will help you spot which sort of error you are making and encourage you to pause and challenge yourself to think more helpfully.
- by Sally Openshaw