Affirmations can help you change your life, but first, they help you transform your attitude. Are you a negative thinker? Do you think everything you do turns out “bad” or “wrong”? This kind of approach can help you stay stuck in negativity. When you feel negative most of the time, it can lead to depression, anger, complacency, and even relapse.

If you’re too hard on yourself or have self-esteem issues (who doesn’t?), then affirmations are an essential tool to work with in recovery.

Negative Thinking Doesn’t Work in Recovery

When you were using drugs and alcohol, you may have been stuck in negative thinking patterns. Negative thinking can become a self-fulfilling prophecy in addiction. You think you’re going to have a terrible night, so you do. Or, being cynical can help you avoid disappointment.

Everyone’s had a rotten attitude about something, but beliefs like this hold you back from growth and prevent you from reaching your goals. You can quickly become frustrated with your progress in recovery when you’re stuck in negative thinking.

Creating Affirmations

All of us have had negative self-talk every once in a while. Do you call yourself stupid, cowardly, or dumb? Many people in recovery have beat themselves up for their character defects for years. Creating affirmations changes that pattern of self-talk into more gentle, healing self-talk that will help you grow.

What are your biggest challenges right now? What fears are you battling? Think carefully about the types of feelings and thoughts that hinder your growth. Change doesn’t happen overnight, but becoming negative won’t help.

Combat your weaknesses and fears into affirmations, even if you don’t believe them. Here are some examples:


  • I’m clean and sober and getting better every day
  • I am willing to do what it takes to be sober.
  • I am grateful for each day sober.
  • I’m a good person.
  • I’m smart enough to get an A.
  • I work hard every day.
  • I deserve good things.
  • I’m a survivor, and I’m strong.
  • I have value.
  • I am more than my disease.
  • I deserve to be happy.
  • I will focus on the positive in life.
  • I am a good father.
  • I believe in myself.
  • I trust my higher power.
  • I can do this!
  • I’m getting stronger every day!
  • I am willing to do what it takes.
  • I am not my body.
  • I am getting better every day!


As you can see, there are a lot of affirmations that you can try out to get started. Talk with your peers, your sponsor, or therapist to get a good idea on what issues you can address through affirmations.

Try to start your mornings with a few affirmations. Keep them on index cards and read them to yourself in the mirror in the morning. You can also tuck a few in your pocket to read quietly to yourself throughout the day.

Everyone recovers at their own pace, and affirmations can help you start to believe in yourself and the process. Aim for progress, not perfection. Affirmations are just one great tool at your disposal.


Learn More About SD-SOAP


San Diego Society of Addiction Professionals is an excellent place for people who work in recovery settings to connect and network. Browse the website to learn more about who we are and what we do.