According to a study presented by Sarah Davies and Professor Gail Kinman (University of Bedfordshire) at the British Psychological Society’s Annual Conference in Stratford-upon-Avon, recovering alcoholics who focus on past positive experiences are more likely to succeed with their sobriety.
They had 101 members of the Alcoholics Anonymous complete questionnaires assessing whether they were more focused on the past, present of future, and whether the orientation was a positive or negative association. They were then also asked about their level of abstinence, spiritual experiences, anxiety, and their compulsion to drink.
Results showed that problem drinkers who were generally focused on past events with a positive view of previous experiences tended to be more likely to find success while managing their dependence on alcohol. Those who had a negative reflection were more likely to drink, just as the participants who were in-tune with the here and now had a stronger compulsion to drink. High levels of spirituality also proved to offer protection against relapses, while helping them manage the anxieties surrounding addiction and withdrawal.
“Our findings suggest that therapeutic interventions that help problem drinkers view their past experiences more positively might aid recovery,” said Davies; “It is also likely that helping addicts develop a more balanced tie perspective, where they are not exclusively oriented towards the past, the present of the future, will be helpful.”