How to Stay Positive During the Recovery Process

Remember that your thoughts do not define you. Your actions define you.


By Trevor McDonald

When you’re in recovery from addiction, positive thinking typically doesn’t come naturally.

But that’s okay. It can be a good exercise for strengthening your mind. If you can get through recovery (i.e. the belly of the beast) with a mostly positive attitude, you can basically do anything you set your mind to.

Before you embark on this journey, know that it won’t be easy. Maintaining a positive outlook through the biggest struggle of your life is no walk in the park. It is, however, worthwhile. Positivity will help improve your chances of sticking with sobriety and having a happy life to follow.

Here are a few tips to help you stay positive during the recovery process.

Get into a routine

As you start your sober journey, plan a routine that will keep you busy from the time you open your eyes in the morning until the time you close them at night. Our thoughts can often work against us, and they’ll sabotage you if you let them. But action is one of the best cures against damaging thoughts.

When you’re actively working towards something positive, you don’t have time to dwell on the past or think about the future. You’re simply in the process of improving yourself, and that’s exactly where you need to be. Remember that your thoughts do not define you. Your actions define you.

Meditate in the morning

Set aside 15 to 30 minutes each morning to meditate. It’s okay if you’re new to this and feel like you’re fumbling through it. You’ll get there with practice; everyone does.

Meditation is another amazing cure for the damaging thoughts that could lead to a relapse. When you meditate, you actively bring yourself into the present moment. For that moment, your thoughts are not in control—you are. The more you practice, the better you’ll get at controlling those runaway thoughts.


Much like drugs and alcohol cause the brain to release feel-good chemicals, exercise causes an endorphin release that makes you feel good. An exercise high won’t be as intense as a drug-fueled high, but it’s enough to boost your positivity and keep those negative vibes out of your head.


No one gets through recovery alone. This is a great time to connect with people who truly love you and want only the best for you. Stay away from toxic people who bring you down. Their negativity will eventually rub off on you and dull your vibe. You can meditate, stay busy and work on yourself all day, but if you hang out with someone who is chronically negative, it’ll bring you back down again.

Recount your progress

No matter how hard you try to remain positive, you’re going to have bad days. When they come up, take a moment to recognize your bad thoughts and feelings for what they are: Passing.

Then, sit down and write about your progress. Make note of every victory you’ve had since you’ve recovered. Even if you’re only one day sober, that’s a victory! The act of thinking about your successes should help lift you out of your funk.

When all is said and done, all we have are our thoughts and actions. This is why it’s so important to maintain positive thoughts and actions. It can be difficult at first, but it gets easier over time.

Think positive and you’ll lead a positive life.


Remember that your thoughts do not define you. Your actions define you. ~ Trevor McDonald Click To Tweet


Trevor is a freelance content writer and a recovering addict and alcoholic who has been clean and sober for over five years. Since his recovery began, he has enjoyed using his talent for words to help spread treatment resources, addiction awareness, and general health knowledge. In his free time, you can find him working with recovering addicts or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable.


Photo: Pixabay

Editor: Dana Gornall


Did you like this post? You might also like:



The Night I OD’ed

  By Debbie Lynn Yes, I have seen the light and came back to tell about it. It was 36 years ago. I was 19, and it is something I rarely talk about. It took a long time for me to process and somewhat understand the experience, and after all these...

Compassionate Recovery: A Vision for an Alternative to Addiction & Recovery

  By Darren Littlejohn The number one principle of Compassionate Recovery (CR) is to love ourselves and others. As addicts or attached persons, most of us will need to train our hearts and minds to do this. The main purpose of the program is to enable individuals...

Snapshots of Meditation: Deb Taylor

I used to roll out of bed and meditate in my room. However, in August of 2020, my boy died in his sleep of an overdose after years of struggle with mental health and addiction. From that day to now, I’ve gone into his room every morning to read and meditate. It helps...

The Fifth Precept: Meditation is Not About Getting High (and Why I Don’t)

By Alex Chong Do Thompson This year, I did something a little different for New Year's Eve. Instead of partying with friends or sitting quietly at home, I took part in a 6-day silent meditation retreat at Buddhist Insights in Rockaway Beach,...



Latest posts by The Tattooed Buddha (see all)