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How Does Language Impact Our Recovery?

woman struggles with addiction recovery

What we say matters, but how we say it is even more important. We must monitor how we talk to ourselves. The self-talk that goes on in our heads can either further our growth or hinder it. We must practice speaking to ourselves more positively. We can do this by being mindful of how we talk to others. Continue reading for more information about how language impacts our recovery. 

What we say

When talking to others, we often take care not to unnecessarily harm those around us. We filter our comments so that we leave out things that may be hurtful to other people. However, we don’t often do this with ourselves. We let harmful things fly through our minds and influence our recovery. Negative self-talk is often at the root of depression, anxiety, and substance use. What we say isn’t the only thing we should be paying attention to, though. 

How we say it

How we say things is just as important as what we say. When talking to others, or even ourselves, think about the words you’re using. Person-first language is something that comes to mind. Instead of saying that a person is an addict, say that the person has an addiction. Putting the person before the condition helps to remind us that the person is not their addiction. We don’t want to define someone by what they battle. Use this logic when you are talking to yourself, too. Avoid using harsh words when you are trying to motivate yourself. The harder you are on yourself, the more likely you are to relapse. Instead, try to be uplifting and push yourself to the positives. 

“That’s life”

Often, people will use the phrase “That’s life” when things aren’t going well. Author Kiran Sidhu for In The Moment magazine wants to push back against this phrase. “Language affects the way we think and how we look at the world,” Sidhu says. “And if you keep saying something long enough, you’ll start to believe it’s true.” Instead of chalking up a relapse as something that’s bound to happen, change the way you talk about it. Take control and accountability for your actions. Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Instead, vow to do better next time. 

Arbor Behavioral Healthcare is here to help you when you’re struggling. We want to change the narrative around mental health and recovery from substance use. Call us today for help at 844-413-2690. We can’t wait to speak with you and get started today!