Categories
alcoholism CBT distorted thinking Uncategorized urge

Distorted Thinking and Urges for Alcohol

 

Originally posted in Psych Central

https://blogs.psychcentral.com/triple-winner/2017/05/distorted-thinking-and-urges-for-alcohol/

thinker

I have abstained from drinking alcohol for 6 months. Day to day, I rarely think about it. I go to weekly meetings and have tools. But, occasionally I get tempted. I went to a restaurant where the drinks were flowing and they looked good. But, I just looked.

Then, I got an annual review at work. It was mostly good, but I focused on the negative comments. It upset me and I felt sad. I came home and I had a strong desire to have a drink to numb my emotions. But, I did something else. I distracted myself. My son had a concert and then I kept myself busy until I fell asleep. I made it to another day.

I went to my group and we did a cognitive therapy sheet. In this sheet, you look for the activating event, the belief(s) (distorted, irrational), consequence of that belief. Then you dispute the belief to come up with more effective ways of thinking, and better emotional consequences.

The activating event was the review and the consequence was the urge. I had all kinds of distorted thoughts. The main one I came up with was that it was “all” bad. The members helped me come up with more. Then we disputed the thoughts and came up with something more balanced. I thought the negative comments are things I can work on. Even if I don’t believe the new thought 100%, it helps.. And, I am not as anxious, sad, moody now.

You don’t have to have a mental illness to have distorted thinking. Anyone can. Based on the work of Aaron Beck, David Burns wrote about 10 types of cognitive distortions in his book “Feeling Good- The New Mood Therapy”1

The types of distortions he lists are:

All-or-nothing or black-or-white thinking. This is one thing I was doing where since part of the review was bad, it was all bad
.
Overgeneralization- If it happened once it will repeat itself.

Mental filter– This is another thing I was doing, where I was only seeing the negative and not seeing the positive

Disqualifying the positive– dismissing compliments, praise

Jumping to conclusions by Mind Reading or Fortune Telling

Magnification (Catastrophizing) or Minimization

Emotional Reasoning– Feelings are not facts

Should Statements

Labeling- Mislabeling or name calling

Personalization– attributing the blame to yourself when it is not all yours

By working through the Activating event, Belief, Consequence, Dispute Belief, effective ways of thinking and better emotional consequence, you can learn to deal with these distorted thoughts. They can help not only with urges but with anxiety, depression and just looking at things in a more balanced fashion.

1 “Feeling Good, The New Mood Therapy” by David Burns

2 photo credit

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Categories
CBT DBT distorted thinking relationships Uncategorized

A pause from automatic thinking

My husband was grumpy and moody over the weekend. I automatically go to being a frightened child thinking I did something wrong and am 100% to blame. That I am guilty and have to fix things.

I started assuming what could be wrong. I thought maybe he was resentful about housework, so I took care of some chores. As time went on, I wondered how to talk with him.

I didn’t want to be confrontational. When I asked if he was mad he would deflect it with a joke.

Finally, when we both had free time in the evening i asked to speak with him. He seemed like he was ready to defend himself. But, I just said “You seem unhappy. Is something bothering you?” I did it! I could talk like an adult and not cower down.

He says he is just a grumpy old man and not unhappy. Nothing is bothering him. He seems sincere.

So, presto, problem solved- I guess. I was worrying about nothing it seems.

Categories
12 step AA alcoholism CBT Recovery schizophrenia SMART Uncategorized

Someone Has A Sense of Humor

I have attended a few Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings. They are supposed to be more of a spiritual, than a religious program. I never felt like I belonged at the few meetings I went to. It also felt more religious than I am comfortable with, from the higher power, to the Serenity Prayer.

I looked around for alternatives and found SMART recovery which is cognitive behavioral therapy oriented. Many people do both AA and SMART together, but for me it is a good secular alternative. I have been attending meetings in-person and on-line since September. I have found a meeting where I feel I belong. I have learned a number of tools already and there are still more.

I work as a peer mentor and am excited about this program and have approval to bring it to my work 😀

I have a different group that is at a bad time, when the center is slow, that almost no one comes to. I was told to find something new. I found an organization called schizophrenia alliance and asked for materials. When they arrived, I found they were formally Schizophrenia Anonymous and it is a 6 step program, based on the 12 steps of (AA). It looks like something our members will enjoy snd I will run it.

I feel awkward. Why me of all people? I know about schizophrenia, and recovery, but not about this program.

My co-worker is going to help me prepare and I have all the material.

Who knows, maybe I will learn to appreciate step programs more.

Categories
alcoholism anxiety CBT Stress Reduction

‘High’ Anxiety

anxiety

How I learned to cope with stress without alcohol

I was at a SMART recovery meeting tonight. We were talking about how we deal with stress. I used to turn to the bottle to avoid uncomfortable emotions. Awkward social situations seemed easier. Anxiety didn’t feel as painful. But, as I mentioned in the meeting, I am in my 50s learning to handle things, like speaking in a group, that others do in their teens.

I have since learned a number of stress reduction techniques and aids and each helps a little. The little bits add up and I am able to function. Enough, that people notice a big difference.

One of the first things I did was find I have social anxiety, which was pretty much a “no-brainer” and is the lesser of my psychological problems. There are all kinds of treatments for anxiety and phobias. I take a ssri medication that helps with anxiety and depression. It helps, some. It isn’t a crutch to rely on medication.

The next thing I do is breathe. I take deep breaths and concentrate on my breathing. Then I visualize. I picture something coming up, going well.

I stick to a routine. Not so much that my days are boring but I try to have sleep schedule and take my medications on a schedule. I also try to plan for change ahead of time.

I once took a 12 week cognitive behavioral therapy (cbt) group course. We all rated our anxiety and depression throughout the course and everyone’s went down. We used a workbook called “Mind Over Mood”. It is about having balanced, rational thoughts and not negative or irrational ones. SMART is based on cbt and Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT).

I had a time when I was depressed where I had trouble with the laundry. I would wash and dry, but folding and putting it away seemed like an impossible task. So, I had this mountain of clean clothes. I would pass it by and cry. I told a friend and he said “Do smaller loads” which sounds simplistic, but it worked. It made it manageable and I could handle the smaller amount. Now, I take that into other areas. If I have a large task, I break it into smaller pieces. Otherwise, I freeze and nothing is accomplished.

Journaling or blogging helps me get the anxiety out or calling someone to talk about what is bothering me. I also go to therapy.

I tend to isolate and being alone can lead to trouble, so if I am invited out, I push myself to go. I usually have an okay time, it is just getting out the door.

A life without stress would be stagnation. You need some stress. You just need to know how to deal with the stress that comes so it doesn’t overwhelm you.

I still have challenges with sobriety and go to meetings. These are some tools of mine that help make the urges not so powerful.

Reposted From Medium