The Importance of Attitude

“Man’s rise or fall, success or failure, happiness or unhappiness depends on his attitude…a man’s attitude will create the situation he imagines.” – James Lane Allen, American novelist and short story writer (1849-1925) When we think about having “attitude,” sometimes we think of something bad or too forward or outgoing. As if this is something we shouldn’t project. But let’s take another look at attitude, specifically, the importance of attitude when it comes to our recovery. We could get off the negative connotations of attitude by looking at it more like our outlook, or point of view. How we perceive the world has a great deal to do with our attitude, with how we choose to look at things. There’s the positive outlook, an attitude that portrays life and all its challenges in an optimistic or hopeful light. The opposite of this, of course, is the negative outlook, where everything is painted in shades of pessimism and black or gray. But life isn’t starkly black and white. It’s often shaded with a little bit of positive and a little bit of negative. Sometimes, what we feel as we look at our life in recovery may be more one-sided than at other times. Still, if we hope to achieve lasting progress in our sobriety, if we want to accomplish goals that we set out for ourselves in the short- and long-term, it would be very helpful indeed if we can figure out a way to turn our negative attitude into one that’s more optimistic and hopeful. This does take some doing, and at first, we may dismiss the effort as too difficult or not possible. We may tell ourselves that we’re going to be upbeat and positive and then be cast into gloom when we run into a challenging situation that dispels our good intentions. But we can’t give up just because we didn’t sail through the undertaking. What we do need to remind ourselves is that, just as with any other endeavor we begin in recovery, we need to keep at it. Over a period of time, our ability to look at life’s challenges as opportunities instead of obstacles may get easier. After repeated efforts to paint things in a positive light, we may just begin to really feel as if we are capable of tackling this or that situation with more self-confidence. We do need to act, however, since we can’t possibly achieve our goals or attain the happiness we so desire if we just sit back and wait for life to come to us. It doesn’t work that way. Another point that should be stressed is that we’re likely to realize the life that we envision – and put our efforts into achieving. So, if what we’re anticipating for ourselves is a life filled with trouble and disappointment, guess what we’re likely to find? That’s right, what we’ll probably discover is a continuing saga of trouble and disappointment. Isn’t it a much better proposition to make it a point to look at the bright side of things instead? After all, there are always two sides to everything. As soon as the negative aspect of a situation occurs to us, try to turn it around and figure out the positive aspect. Surely there is one. It’s this conscious effort to reverse what may have been a life-long way of thinking that will help us find more satisfaction, more happiness, and success in our life in recovery. It’s also completely within our grasp. No one else can do this for us. We have to make the effort and keep at it in order to be able to realize the results. Who knows, after a few weeks or months of giving this whole positive attitude a try, we may find that it’s not so difficult after all.

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