The Power of Affirmations
One of the many-faceted tools utilized in addiction treatment is the basic affirmation, yet all too often it is taken for granted. We can get so caught up in using the latest technology or exploring some unique new technique, that some of the tried and true methods get given short shrift. An affirmation itself can actually be very powerful as we encourage the addict to reflect upon it, transform that thought into words, and finally give it life and muscle memory by writing it down and sharing it with others. Done correctly, the simple affirmation is inspirational and transcends the mere words used to express it.
Some of the best affirmations start with the ‘personal’. They begin with ‘I am’, ‘I have’ and ‘I love’, and are excellent initial breakout points, to get things headed in the right direction. It is important to avoid ‘I want’ and ‘I need’. The idea is to affirm things you already possess, not things you desire that are still beyond your grasp, this way the affirmation is tangible.
Your affirmation should also focus on the positive and not things you are seeking to eliminate from your life. For example, “I am free from alcohol” is much more motivational than “I am not addicted to alcohol”. It may seem like semantics, but it makes a big difference. Speak the affirmation into existence, even if you are still working toward the permanence of your goal. Imagine something ‘to be’ and you are on your way to making it a reality.
Finally, write your affirmations with passion and feeling and express yourself in the NOW. Your expressions should be in present tense, as though you are experiencing them at this very moment. Moreover, these expressions are meant for YOU. While you are sharing them with others who are also likely to benefit, a passion infused message will resonate more profoundly to foster true change. Get yourself excited for this brand new part of you.
Ignore the affirmation at your peril
Ignore the affirmation at your peril. Okay, that’s a bit over-dramatic, but I’m trying to make a point. There are many important reasons affirmations have been a mainstay of therapy for so long. Embrace the affirmation as part of your program and consider new twists on making it fresh. Therapy can be fun, but it’s up to professionals like us to make it so, so that our patients can get the most out of what we have to offer.