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Over-Thinking is a Danger in Recovery

It is common for those falling into addiction to become self-absorbed and this tends to follow them into recovery. One of the signs of this self-absorption is over-thinking everything. This can mean becoming so lost in your own internal debates that it prevents you from taking the positive action that would improve your life. One of the signs of a strong sobriety is a reduction in self-abortion and a far more open relationship with the world.

What is Over-Thinking?

It is perfectly healthy to think before taking action; in fact, failure to do so can lead to all sorts of problems. To say that a person is over-thinking something implies that they are spending far more time thinking about a problem than it actually merits.  This often happens because of a lack of confidence in one's own abilities, meaning being unwilling to follow their intuition. It is also often the case that this over-analysing of the situation is a type of procrastination - it will always be easier to think about something than to actually take action.

The Dangers of Over Thinking

People who tend to over-think things may console themselves with the idea that they are just being cautious; this reluctance to take action can actually be harmful though, especially for those in early recovery. There are a number of dangers associated with over-analysing things.

  • It can mean that you are always looking for reasons not to take positive action; if you look for these reasons hard enough then you will always find them.
  • Thinking too much is likely to mean you will be worrying too much over a challenge when you do not need to be.
  • Improvements in recovery are due to taking action and not thinking about which action to take.
  • You may become caught up in clever arguments and mind games that are actually self-defeating.
  • If you over-analyse what others are saying, you could easily jump to conclusions that are not true and could possibly by harmful.
  • Those who over think are so trapped inside their own heads that they often hear what they want to hear rather than what is actually being said.
  • Excessive thinking can lead to depression.
  • Over-thinking can just be an attempt to sabotage recovery, giving the person an excuse to relapse.
How to Stop Over Thinking in Recovery

Babies and young children do not tend to over-think things, which mean this is obviously a habit picked up growing up. The fact that it is a learned behaviour means that it can also be unlearned. There are a number of things that can be done to stop over-thinking:

  • Regular meditation can be an excellent way to still the mind, allowing people to see that thoughts are just like clouds passing through the sky; there is no need to become too concerned with them.
  • Developing emotional sobriety means that people become better at living in the moment without having to over-analyse everything.
  • One of the benefits of belonging to a recovery group is that members can be encouraged to spend less time thinking and more time doing - a sponsor can be great for providing this type of advice.
  • Getting involved in strenuous physical activity is a great way for individuals to ground themselves so that they are spending less time in their head.
  • Spending more time thinking about others is another effective way to escape this type of self-absorbed behaviour.

Recovery is to be lived but, if you spend too much time trapped in your own thoughts, you will end up missing most of the good in life. By taking steps to overcome this propensity to over-analyse everything, you can get to enjoy a new level of freedom.

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