Beyond Positive Thinking

Several years ago, a best-seller called “The Secret” made waves in the self-help arena. This book suggested that the key to success and happiness lies in positive thinking and expectation, a concept that has been presented in many forms and repackaged in various philosophies.

Why Positive Thinking Falls Short

For individuals involved in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), however, the power of positive thinking has often proven to be insufficient. Many have envisioned a future of sustained sobriety, only to succumb to addiction once more. This philosophy of thought dictating outcomes, it seems, falls short for those battling alcoholism.

The Power of Action

What has proven to be more effective within the AA community is action.

An often-quoted AA saying is, “we can’t think our way into better living, but we can live our way into better thinking.” This reflects the understanding among AA members that actions significantly influence thoughts and, subsequently, outcomes.

Taking Action, Changing Perspectives

For someone in AA, the typical advice of “going off to think about it” is often counterproductive. Instead, engaging in some form of action, especially those geared toward problem-solving or being of service to others, is usually more beneficial. Interestingly, inspiration and new perspectives often emerge during these periods of activity, sometimes at the most unexpected moments.

So, if you find yourself feeling down and troubled, try to resist the temptation to overthink. Instead, take action. Engage in activity. Interact with others. You might just find that not only does your mood lift, but your thinking transforms as well.


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