A Tool for Change

Recovery involves change, and that is what Steps Six and Seven are all about. Change may require healing and transforming old negative ideas and beliefs about yourself, others, or the world. Affirmations are a tool for this change.

Self-Talk Injunctions

Listen to some of the things you say to yourself, or about yourself, that might sabotage your recovery at the onset. Any significantly negative attitudes form barriers to your recovery and personal growth. Imagine bad, old audio tapes that keep repeating, “It is hopeless,” and, “I don’t deserve recovery.”

Committee in the head You can recognize the negative messages from these old tapes, or the disease itself, that would deter you from getting better or from taking risks for recovery. Some people have fun calling them “the committee in the head.” If you plan to be assertive, these voices in your head might snicker, “Nobody will like you if you are pushy.”


You may have many old beliefs that can sabotage recovery, including those about yourself, your relationships, your family, your career, the world, or your idea of a Higher Power.

Many of your beliefs are deeply embedded, but remember that you learned them, and you can now learn something different. A good way to start is by using affirmations. These can help change negatives into positives.

Creating Affirmations

Douglas Bloch (Words That Heal, 1988) suggests that you take an area of your life that needs change and write positive statements about how you want things to be. It is important to write them in the first person, present tense, and avoid negative words. For example, instead of saying, “I don’t want to keep drinking or using or gambling or eating compulsively,” say, “I deserve health and recovery.”

Initially you may find self-defeating thoughts and ideas coming up, such as, “I’ve been too bad a person to deserve anything good.” Continue to replace each negative with a positive affirmation. Change thoughts like the above to “I am wonderful and I am now recovering.”

Repetition is the key Write the affirmation on a card, say it several times a day, and you will start to believe there is truth in what you are saying. It also will help you practice behavior that will reinforce the new belief.

Many meditation books have an affirmation after each daily reading. Using appropriate ones can be very helpful.

Exchange affirmations You can exchange affirmations with a friend, using the second person. “You are in recovery now. I support your recovery” This will help each of you validate your feelings and self-worth.

Affirmations, see also: Acceptance, Assertiveness, Attitudes, Behavior, Body image, Character defects, Dichotomous thinking, Family, Fear, Feelings, Forgiveness, Guilt & shame, Habit & structure, Obsession, Perfectionism, Prayer & meditation, Resentments, Self-image, Slogans, Step Six, Step Seven, Stinking thinking, Surrender, Willingness.

Updated 9 Sep 2015

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