Emotions such as shame and guilt can be paralyzing. We’ve all made decisions in our past that have led to these powerful emotions, and we can still feel their residual effects in our lives today. For those recovering from addiction, these emotions are common, but can also be detrimental when trying to move forward with your life. If you have suffered from addiction and are struggling with past emotions, here is some advice to stay positive and keep your recovery going strong.

Start a conversation

Your first step toward building positivity will be opening up and building a dialogue about your addiction. Seeking a therapist or counselor is a good way to begin this conversation. Therapy will not only help you discover how and why you fell into destructive habits in the first place, and help you better communicate with others about your addiction.

You might even consider therapy in a group setting with family and loved ones, so they are part of the conversation from the beginning. Getting to the root of your addiction will be a confusing and emotional experience, but understanding your substance abuse is an important step in conquering it. Additionally, marriage and/or family counseling can help facilitate healthy conversations with your loved ones and pave the way for stronger relationships.

Cultivating Positivity

After opening yourself up, you need to immediately begin the process of introducing positivity back into your life. Though many times we wish it were true, positivity is not just a switch we can turn on and off. Positivity is shaped by our behavior and perception. Therefore, it takes action and the right mindset to begin to let positivity back in your life.

When wallpapering, both the wall and the paper need to be primed to allow one to stick to the other. Similarly, your mind needs to be ready to receive positivity. To do this, you need to forgive yourself for your past actions. Forgiveness is how we come to terms with who we were, and is essential to becoming who we want to be. If you aren’t able to forgive yourself, you won’t be able to accept the possibility of becoming a better person. Taking the steps to forgive yourself through meditation and introspection will help shape your mindset to accept the positivity you let into your life.

Shape new behaviors

Your addiction was the product of negative habits, which brought you down and resulted in a version of yourself that left you guilty and ashamed. Now that you have opened up about your addiction and have adopted the right mindset, you can start shaping new behaviors that reflect the person you want to be. These behaviors should be actions that promote self-care such as eating healthy, exercise, and getting plenty of rest. Living healthy will make you feel better and give you the energy to achieve the goals you have set for yourself.

These behaviors should also help you build and maintain the valuable relationships in your life. Surrounding yourself with friends and family will be essential to your recovery. These people will be the ones who pick you up when you are down, and help keep your priorities in order. The effort you put into maintaining your friendships will steer you away from negative behaviors and keep you honest, compassionate, and appreciative—making you a better person overall.

The power of positivity

As you begin to adopt these behaviors, little by little you’ll notice that life is pretty good. This is the power of positivity. It doesn’t enter your life all at once, but is built by having the right attitude and making good decisions. Through positive living, you will begin to move further and further away from old addictions and the negative emotions that came with it.