As you continue your recovery, you may want to recall some of the more intense experiences you had while under the influence of mind-altering substances. There is a temptation to say to yourself something like: “Thinking about it can’t cause any harm. I’m not going to actually do anything.” In actuality, this can be very risky and can be destructive of your recovery. The more you think about using, the more likely it is that you will return to your former using behavior.
Jesus suggests something like this in the Gospels when He says that a person who hates somebody has already committed murder in his heart. By thinking about using or by remembering times you used, you are already using in your heart. We often forget how close thinking is to doing, but the two are powerfully connected. If you think about it, much of what we do or say are things we thought about first. It works both ways, of course. If you think about helping somebody else with something or if you think about forgiving somebody for something they did to you, then you are already most of the way to helping them or forgiving them. Our words and actions generally start in the mind before they are acted on. Sure, there are occasions when we simply react to something or when we make a ‘spur of the moment’ decision, but most of what we say and do begins in our thoughts.
You might think of it this way. There have probably been moments in your life when you simply blurt something out. Afterwards, you look back and realize that you should have thought about what you were going to say first. Those moments stand out in your memory because you didn’t think first, like you usually do.
Recovery isn’t easy in the best of times. There’s no need to make things even harder for yourself by filling your mind with thoughts or imaginations of substance abuse. On some level, you enjoyed your abuse of addictive substances. There are probably many pleasant memories there. To fill your mind or your imagination with the way things were or with the way they might be is to sabotage your own recovery. Keep your mind and heart focused on recovery and sobriety. Dredging up the past will only make your continued recovery more difficult.
Think about the good things you want to achieve. That is the way forward.