Have you ever come home to a frustrated spouse? What about arriving to work only to be greeted by an angry boss? How are you affected by the negative energy they are giving off? Most addicts in recovery would agree using drugs and/or alcohol can make dealing with the negative energy of others manageable. This poses a problem for the recovering addict: How do I deal with other’s negative attitudes without using?
Attitude is like a virus, untouchable even by the strongest antibiotic. Antibiotics have the power to slow, and even kill, the growth of the deadliest bacteria, nevertheless are powerless when confronted with the smallest virus. This leaves many of us overcome by another’s attitude, which infects us like a virus. Our smiles turn to frowns and laughter to anger as we let another’s negative attitude infect every cell of our being. There is no way to cure a virus, just like we cannot control another’s attitude. In the past we have used drugs and/or alcohol to suppress the virus multiplying inside us, and as long as we kept using our drug of choice, the virus remained suppressed and continued to multiplying under the surface.
In recovery we have made the choice to abstain from drugs and/or alcohol, leaving us vulnerable to the virus of a negative attitude which we are confronted with on a daily basis. This is why we must prepare ourselves with an arsenal of antivirals. Antivirals, unlike antibiotics, do not destroy their target, they inhibit development. Another’s attitude cannot be controlled and a virus cannot be killed. However, you can inhibit the development of another’s negative attitude within yourself. Support, meetings, counselors, groups and self-care are all antivirals we must use in our recovery in order to inhibit the development of a negative attitude within ourselves and maintain our sobriety.
So if attitude is a contagious virus, what kind of virus are you spreading to others?
Ally Neppl, CSAC, ES
Certified Substance Abuse Counselor