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I have a fascinating topic for you today and it was one of my favorite things to learn in my own recovery process. We’re going to talk about common thinking errors – in AA they say stinking thinking – in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy it’s called cognitive errors or cognitive distortions. As we know, everybody is recovering from something- it’s just a part of life, we are exhausted and wounded and usually overwhelmed between jobs, kids, spouses, bills- it’s exhausting.

For example, they’ll only point out the negative aspects of someone and entirely disqualify the positive. This distortion assumes that other people must change their behavior in order for us to be happy. These are also people who tend to read negatives into every situation, often drawing on the all-or-nothing thinking pattern in ways that are not at all connected to the situation. These distorted thought processes lead to intense emotions ranging from excessive hyperactivity/happiness to situationally inappropriate outbursts of anger. When this happens, the individual unknowingly isolates himself from members of society who view him as unstable. At the moment, most of us in the US and elsewhere are under lockdown to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19.

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For those in addiction recovery, addressing these distortions may be a matter of life or death. When addictive thinking is present, the harmful consequences of drug or alcohol use don’t outweigh their euphoric effects and will eventually lead to relapse. So, it’s important to change those old destructive thoughts and behaviors to maintain your sobriety.

20 common thinking errors of addicts

Although these thought patterns are common for an addict, they can be changed. Seeking mental health counselling as part of a substance abuse recovery program can help alter those patterns, leading to improved thinking and an improved life. Thinking errors are a created habit, that you spend years practicing, and like every other habit we talk about here, it also takes practice to start neutralizing bad habits and change them. SO- no more talking about it or thinking about it, let’s get into action and create some amazing change we can feel proud of. Once you’ve gotten the hang of ABC, you can then move on to D, disrupting irrational beliefs, and E, finding effective replacements. The best way to disrupt irrational thoughts is by looking for evidence that contradicts what you’re thinking.

Cognitive Distortions in Addiction Recovery

Here are four tips that can help to expose the thought errors, and help you start overcoming them. Once you have identified any of your thoughts as thinking errors, it’s time for a reality check. Ask yourself whether they are actually true and remind yourself that these cognitive distortions are known to be unrealistic, extreme and irrational. However, the two most famous approaches go to psychologist Aaron Beck and Dr. David Burns, who helped popularize these negative thinking patterns giving more examples and easy-to-remember names.

Regardless of what happens in life, we always have the power to choose our attitude. So what’s the difference between someone who remains hopeful despite experiencing great suffering and the person who stubs his or her toe and remains angry the rest of the day? DBT is another behavior-focused psychotherapy that is highly effective in treating individuals with a substance use disorder.

#2: Say Goodbye to Black and White Thinking

If you’re stuck at home, it might be a great opportunity to read, make art, or learn new skills. In times of crisis, it’s far too easy to focus on the negative, especially now, since all we see on the news is the rising death toll and the shortage of medical supplies to treat new patients. For the first one, overgeneralizing horizontally, as it were, you will What is a Halfway House? What to Expect in Halfway Housing probably find some aspects of recovery harder than others. When new, realistic and balanced thoughts are adopted, replacing the unhelpful, irrational ones, you will start to notice a reduction in the intensity of your anxiety reaction. The more unhelpful thoughts are recognised and replaced with helpful, realistic ones, the more anxiety loses its grip on you.

20 common thinking errors of addicts

Anxiety alerts us to danger and spurs us to prepare for upcoming challenges. Telescoping is when you focus on the bad aspects of a situation to the point where you can’t even see the good. For example, you might enter treatment feeling ambivalent about being there and immediately start looking for reasons to leave. You become laser-focused on every little thing that’s wrong with your treatment program or facility. People slip up, they have full relapses, but they keep at it and eventually have a long recovery. It’s also pretty common, when this happens, to think, “Well, I’ve already ruined my recovery, so I might as well go all the way.” In reality, a slip and a full relapse are not even close to the same.

Overcome Thinking Errors starting Today!

This fallacy assumes that things have to be measured based on fairness and equality, when in reality things often don’t always work that way. An example of the trap this type of thinking sets is when it justifies infidelity if a person’s partner has cheated. In this pattern of thinking, a person may expect divine rewards for his or her sacrifices. This cognitive distortion, similar to discounting the positive, occurs when a person filters out information, negative or positive. For example, a person may look at his or her feedback on an assignment in school or at work and exclude positive notes to focus on one critical comment.

Angie sees local clients in the office and is also available for telephone coaching and/or consultation. Click here to contact Angie with appointment requests, questions, or feedback. John A. Smith is a Senior Psychotherapist at The Dawn and an internationally accredited Addiction Treatment Professional (ISSUP), Certified Life and NLP Coach.

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For several reasons — whether self-medication, stress or impulsivity — many of these individuals start using drugs and alcohol as a coping method. Although drugs and alcohol might seem like a temporary solution, they quickly become a primary source of relief. Mental filtering is the habit of only seeing the bad things that happen. It’s a special case of the larger phenomenon of confirmation bias, which is when you only look for evidence that supports your current beliefs. When you do mental filtering, you’re only seeing evidence that supports your belief that something bad is going to happen or is already happening. The first thing to realize is that anxiety is a normal and useful emotion.

Many times, addicts violate others’ boundaries, values and morals to obtain drugs and release stress that is produced by the obsession of addiction. The limbic and autonomic nervous systems are involved in the body’s perception of pleasure and pain and both systems receive signals from different stimuli. The limbic system houses the hypothalamus, which is responsible for regulating thirst, hunger and response levels to pleasure, sexual satisfaction, aggression and anger.

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