Mental Filtering and Drinking

This is times when I focusing entirely on negative elements of a situation, to the exclusion of the positive.  I guess for me and drinking that would be thinking about when I was moderating and how when I started to drink heavily again how I could not think about the times of moderating as positive and how each time I was learning new tools for my sober toolkit.  They weren’t wasted they were valuable learning opportunities but I saw them as negative relapses.

Also, it is the brain’s tendency to filter out information which does not conform to already held beliefs.  So if someone said something nice about this blog post I might still think it was not good enough and that it should have been better written because I believe I am not creative.

This is mental filtering.

As Almost Alcohol wrote: Look at how I drink. Obviously I’m an alcoholic. I can’t even quit when I try really hard. I fucking relapsed.  In this piece of writing she focused on the fictional relapse and not on the successful quitting before that night.

The new way of thinking includes:

  • Checking the evidence to support the statement
  • Write a list of all the ‘good bits’ no matter how small they seem by comparison
  • Try not to filter out all the bad stuff and just focus on that

Every time you attempt to moderate and do so successfully, for however long a duration, this is a good thing if you are trying to cut down or stop completely.  I spent years moderating before I finally nailed this quit and I wouldn’t have done it without all the good things I learned about my drinking and myself during the process.  It’s not always the outcome but the process which teaches us the most or to use the oft used expression ‘it is not the destination but the journey’.

What great things did you learn when you turn your mental filter to positive?  I’d love to hear them 🙂


12 thoughts on “Mental Filtering and Drinking

  1. I think the best bit for me of (at least having started to) changing focus from the negative to the positive aspects of my life was just the quiet of it. the silence of the incessantly repeating voice saying cruel things about me in my head. the peace when that was (mostly) gone was just heavenly. like a bully being sent away from school. no more fear of it. and how much of that negative voice was fuelled by alcohol, and how much of the drinking was fuelled by the voice, I don’t know. but taking alcohol out of the equation has helped so much that I think it must be significantly the former.

    I would second writing down positive aspects – I am still struggling to maintain the habit of writing a gratitude list every night, but find that when I do I consciously notice positive aspects of my life during the day – “oh, look, a woodpecker, how amazing!” – which act as little shots in the arm of positivity all day. which can only be a good thing, yes?

    am enjoying this series, you good-writery person, you 🙂 xx

    1. It’s amazing how we abuse ourselves isn’t it and the chicken and egg dilemma of how booze supports/feeds into that. And yep a gratitude list is crucial in keeping the mind out of the sink hole of negativity. 🙂 Thanks Prim xx

  2. Maybe I should try gratitude list? Not heard of it before. Can only help. Thanks for this x

  3. I remember every time I relapsed after a few days of not drinking, I would see myself as a total failure, rather than congratulating myself on the few days off.
    Today, I’m so much more able to see the positives in life, beacuse I’m not completely absorbed by my drink-indused depression I get a buzz out of getting up every morning without a hangover, or even going to the park in the rain with my dog…having to do quite a bit of that at the mo, good job I can get some positives out of it! 😀

    1. Indeed a perfect example of how reframing moderation or a quit attempt can turn a failure into a success 🙂 Being present is such a gift.

    1. We all make mistakes when typing fast and going about our busy days 🙂

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