How a Positive Mindset Can Make a Difference in Addiction Recovery


Updated on 06/04/24

You have decided to stop drinking or using drugs, and you are ready for a new life. This huge decision will change every aspect of your life. Of course, it is exciting to know that you are already on the path to a healthier life; however, it is normal to feel ambivalent and scared. Approaching your recovery with a positive mindset can make the transition to a substance-free life smoother. There will be challenges along the way, and when you meet them armed with a positive mindset, you will be better able to rise to those challenges.

The Importance of Teaching Positive Thinking Skills in Treatment

Research has shown that aspects of positive thinking approaches and maintaining a positive mindset were effective in decreasing anxiety and depression. Life satisfaction, psychological health, hope and happiness also increased with a positive mindset. According to Snyder and Lopez, “adults with high hope can create more methods to reach their goals and can be motivated effectively to reach the favorable end. In contrast, people with low hope neither have the possibility to find available methods to reach their goals nor do they have the motivation to reach what they want.” 

Teaching positive thinking skills through therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has improved hope and quality of life for people with substance use disorders (SUD). Because increased hope and quality of life can significantly improve the lives of people recovering from SUD, treatment facilities need to teach these skills through various therapies to improve the chances of a successful recovery.

The Difference a Positive Mindset Can Make During Detox

One of the first challenges you may face when you choose to stop using substances is the discomfort of withdrawal. Symptoms will vary depending on what substances were used. 

Often, especially with alcohol and benzodiazepine withdrawal, the safest way to start your recovery is with medical detox. You will receive medications to help ease the discomfort and staff will be available to provide physical care and emotional support. 

During this period, it might be easy to view the discomfort of withdrawal as punishment for using substances. You must remember that withdrawal symptoms are not punishment. They are biological processes, and instead of thinking of withdrawal as punishment, try changing your mindset. What if you thought about these withdrawal symptoms as your body doing the work needed to heal itself? What if you decided to treat yourself and your body with kindness and give yourself the time to heal? No, this gentle, more positive mindset will not make the uncomfortable symptoms go away but switching the focus from punishment to healing can take away some of the mental and emotional distress. It also helps to focus on the fact that you will start to feel better when your body has healed.

What You Really Give Up When You Get Sober

You have decided that you want to be sober, but your friends are still using substances. It can feel lonely, and you may feel like you are giving up having fun. Staying sober will be challenging but focusing on thoughts that you will not have fun anymore or that you will be boring will not make the process any smoother or easier. On the contrary, it will only add to the challenge. 

If you would like to change this attitude and mindset, focus on what you are really giving up. By choosing recovery and sobriety, you will be giving up a lot of negative experiences like waking up after drinking or using drugs and feeling physically sick, worrying about the embarrassing posts that might show up on social media or being afraid you might have said or done something hurtful or offensive while under the influence. 

Focus on the Gains in Addiction Recovery

Having a positive mindset and changing your focus to what you will gain from a life of recovery can make the challenging times easier. Some of the gains you will get in recovery are:

  • Feeling great to wake up without a hangover
  • Thinking more clearly
  • Having more energy
  • Improving overall physical health 
  • Not worrying about what happened while being under the influence 
  • An amazing community of other people in recovery to support you 
  • Freeing up time to explore hobbies and interests you might not have considered before 
  • Becoming focused on other things rather than on how to get drugs or alcohol 
  • Enhancing senses that were once dulled by substances
  • Possibly inspiring your friends to stop or reduce their substance use

When you begin to change your mindset from negative to positive, you will focus more on what you are gaining from recovery and focus less on the challenges. As a result, life in recovery becomes richer and your experiences more vibrant. When you start to reap the benefits of being sober, it will serve as a constant reminder that even on the most challenging days, recovery is always worth fighting for. 

Choosing to stop using alcohol and drugs is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and your loved ones. For a successful recovery, having a positive mindset is key. At Casa Palmera in Del Mar, California, we are here to support you with levels of care ranging from residential services to the intensive outpatient program. While in treatment, you will receive the best evidence-based treatment and holistic therapies. We also provide trauma-based therapies for our patients who have experienced trauma. In treatment, family support is extremely important, and that is why we include family in treatment and provide education for family members. Our care does not end at discharge. All Casa Palmera patients who complete treatment can access our alumni program, classes and events for life because your recovery journey does not end at discharge. Call Casa Palmera today at (855) 508-0473. 


This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for medical advice. We understand that everyone’s situation is unique, and this content is to provide an overall understanding of substance use disorders. These disorders are very complex, and this post does not take into account the unique circumstances for every individual. For specific questions about your health needs or that of a loved one, seek the help of a healthcare professional.