Last Updated on March 20, 2023 by Dr. Alberto Solà

Anyone who knows about success and failure in any realm will tell you that attitude is a big part of getting to either end result. If you are optimistic and positive, things are much more likely to work out the way you hope than if you are pessimistic and negative. Of course, neither is always the case; even plans with the most positive intentions don’t always turn out right, but being optimistic seems to help to some extent the vast majority of the time.

This is as true in addiction recovery as it is in reaching any other goal you set for yourself, your loved ones, or your business or career. Although its easier said than done, people who are optimistic, upbeat and hopeful about their recovery journey tend to be much more successful than those who harbor negative feelings or feelings of defeat about it.

This is exactly why an individual seeking addiction recovery treatment must be ready to recover. If the individual is not ready, or does not believe recovery is possible, his or her efforts will almost definitely not be successful at that time.

Quitting drugs and alcohol is not easy by any means, and that’s why optimism in the process is vital. Keeping your eye on the desired result and, ultimately, on the prize of a happy and healthy, drug and alcohol-free lifestyle is what will get you there; complaining, feelings of defeat, and overall negativity and pessimism will not.

Read on to learn more about the reasons that optimism is crucial for success on the road to recovery, and why pessimism is a monster you must conquer if you don’t want to be defeated yourself.

Why Optimism in Recovery Will Help You Succeed

A 2013 survey found that 50% of people surveyed identify as optimists. The assumption, then, is that the other half of all people consider themselves pessimists, but that’s not actually the case. Only 4% of the people in that same survey said that they are pessimists, with the remaining 43% of respondents saying that they are somewhere in between the two extremes.

It’s good to know that the majority of people think they are optimists, and that only 4% believe themselves to be pessimists. If the opposite were the case, we would be living in a world where we would all be surrounded by some very dark and dreary people.

Optimism is important for a number of reasons, not only in recovery, but also in life. Being optimistic works within us to help fight depression and lowers stress. If you believe that everything’s going to be okay, then there’s no reason to get stressed about anything, right?

Furthermore, people like being around positive people and it makes them feel more positive too. If you want to make friends and build relationships, then being optimistic is the way to go.

In recovery, you need all of these things and more. Staying unstressed and happy, two things brought about by optimism will give you the strength and resilience you need. Optimistic people draw others to them, which means you will also have a lot of support built up around you.

Also, there is so much to be said for the power of positive thinking. Automobile inventor Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t – you’re right.” This powerful quote really says it all. If you believe you can achieve something – even something as big, tough, and amazing as recovery from addiction to alcohol or drugs – then you are one giant step closer to actually achieving your goal.

Why Pessimism in Recovery Will Sabotage You

Conversely, pessimism is your nemesis. It is dark and negative and lurks around every corner. Even the most positive and optimistic people find that they sometimes engage in internal, self-defeating self-talk. It happens to everyone. When the going gets tough, even the tough have doubts, and may begin to think that whatever endeavor they’ve undertaken is too big or too difficult and is insurmountable and impossible.

Pessimism will bring you down so deep, if you let it, that you will actually give up.  If left unchecked, it can lead to depression and anxiety and push people into negative cycles that are difficult to escape.

This is the sort of thing that is dangerous in addiction recovery. If an individual in recovery believes, deep down, that he or she is a good for nothing, no good failure who cannot break free of the cycle of addiction, then that is exactly who he or she will remain.

But the fact is; that is not true – anyone can break free of addiction with the proper will, strength, support, and treatment.  Sadly, too many who are still battling addiction don’t understand or believe this due to an attitude of pessimism both about treatment and about themselves and the future.

How to Be More Optimistic

It’s important, then, that individuals who wish to recover stay positive and optimistic from the very beginning of their recovery journey. People can and do recover, and you can too.

If you are having difficulty cultivating optimism, there are many suggestions out there that you can follow to help you get there even during the most challenging times. Here are some great ideas for building optimism during recovery and anytime.

  • Rethink your thinking. When something goes wrong, think about the lessons you learned. If you had a bad day, try to pick out the good parts. By always looking at the brighter side of things when you’re upset, you will change the way your mind works.
  • Begin a gratitude practice. At a scheduled time each day, write down five things for which you are thankful. Try to make them different every day. Remembering the good in life in this ritualized way will help to bolster your optimism.
  • Meditate and be mindful. Mindful people begin to understand that the moment that matters the most is the present moment. Don’t dwell on the past. Don’t worry about the future. Think about what you are doing now and how each moment is just one moment at a time moving forward from here.
  • Surround yourself with positive people. A Debbie Downer will pull you down – you need to rise up! Don’t ditch your friends and always be there when someone is in need, but if someone constantly complains and is pessimistic, limit your time with him or her – or soon you’ll be the same way.
  • Set reasonable expectations. You should always aim high, but if you aim so high you always miss, you’ll always be disappointed. Set goals for yourself, but make sure they are reachable goals, so you have reason to celebrate frequently.
  • Take care of yourself. Don’t let yourself get too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired and practice self-care all the time. Feeling good makes things easier in every way, thereby allowing and encouraging you to be more optimistic overall.

No matter how you get there, as you can see, being optimistic on your path to recovery will an essential part of your success on this journey. You need to stay positive and optimistic throughout the entire process and with the right tools, right support and right attitude you can.  Good luck!

It’s imperative that you or your loved one gets clean and sober immediately, and we are here to help.   At Clear Sky Recovery, we offer ibogaine treatment for addiction at our facility in Cancun, Mexico.  Ibogaine detox has been called a form of “addiction interruption,” and can be extremely helpful to anyone wanting to start moving on a clean and healthy, drug free path.   Our intake specialists are standing by to answer your questions.  Please call us today.