- What is obsessive thinking? What are some other words?
- Wallowing (in negativity/fear/anger)
- Resentment (as we discussed last week)
- Ruminating / chewing over (past wrongs / future problems)
- What sorts of obsessive thoughts do I have? (… have I had?)
- Getting the alcoholic to stop drinking.
- Counting drinks.
- The problems I had in my life (as a result of the drinking).
- Money problems.
- What could happen (the worst, of course).
- Things I did that I feel shame about (kicking myself over and over.)
- Why is it a problem?
- Takes time from things I can do.
- Depresses my mood.
- “We who have been affected by someone else’s drinking find ourselves inexplicably haunted by insecurity, fear, guilt, obsession with others, or an overwhelming need to control every person and situation we encounter.” How Al-Anon Works Chapter 1
- Tools for relieving obsessive thinking?
- Slogans: “How important is it?”, “One day at a time”, “Just for today”, “Let go and let God”
- THINK / Pause (Courage to Change – Mar 4) Before I get into trouble, before I open my mouth to react, or get lost in obsessive analysis of another person’s behavior, or worrying about the future, I can Stop. Then I can Look at what is going on and my role in it. Then I can Listen for spiritual guidance that will remind me of my options and help me find healthy words and actions.
- Letting go
- Gratitude list
- Often I’ll detour at a particular letter and find myself giving thanks for apples and alexandrites, apothecaries and astronauts, ants and anchovies, or bottles and bakeries, bumblebees and blueberries, bathtubs and brushes. The more overwhelming the problem I’m entertaining, the more my gratitude list helps me. First, by taking my mind off of my obsession, and second, by reminding me of the multitude of delightful and peculiar items in the world around me. (Having Had a Spiritual Awakening Chapter 8)
- Think of something positive: “… when my thoughts race out of control, I need to stop. I may do this by breathing deeply and looking at my surroundings. It can help to replace the obsessive thoughts with something positive, such as an Al-Anon slogan, the Serenity Prayer, or another comforting topic that has nothing to do with my problem.” Courage to Change Nov 1.
- Do something: listen to music, go for a walk, play a game, do a puzzle …
- Serenity Prayer (praying for HP will)
- ‘We can pray, “Am I too far gone, or can you help me get out of my isolated self-obsession?” We can say anything to God. It’s all prayer.’ Anne Lamott Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers (p. 5).
- “God Box”
- On a note, I write down the name of the person about whom I am so distressed or angry, or describe the situation that is killing me, with which I am so toxically, crazily obsessed, and I fold the note up, stick it in the box and close it. You might have a brief moment of prayer, and it might come out sounding like this: “Here. You think you’re so big? Fine. You deal with it. Although I have a few more excellent ideas on how best to proceed.” Help, Thanks, Wow (p. 36).
Some other links:
Deepak Chopra: How to stop anxiety and obsessive thoughts
Georgia Psychological Assn: How to Stop Obsessive Worry
Upcoming topics include Alateen, parenting, and the “adult child” experience. Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
Music from the show
Sarah Bareilles: Gravity
The Police: Every Breath you take
Norah Jones: Carry On