Journal Entry: Andrew Gerald Millas-11/19/2023

Journal Entry

11/19/2023 (Day #4344)

Rational thinking…

One of the most essential things I’ve learned through therapy and treatment is rational thinking. I’ve learned that my impulsive thoughts and actions were connected to irrational thinking. For me, that was analogous to athletes’ referring to their sport “speeding up”, so they look to “slow the game down” to promote success. “Slowing the game down” for me meant learning to employ more rational thinking.
In SOTP-NR, beginning in Pre-Treatment, Rational Self-Analysis (RSA) is taught as a tool to help break down irrational thinking and build the foundation for rational thoughts and behavior. Repetition becomes a key factor with the Rational Self-Analysis by way of worksheets to write out the analysis and review it. The worksheets entail describing the irrational approach, with an activating event, beliefs, and consequences, and then applying the Five Rules for Rational Thinking to describe a rational approach with a camera check (objective facts, what a camera would “see” or “depict” of an activating event, no subjective “details”), rational challenge, and desired consequences. After a while, the repetition of the written worksheet imprinted on my memory and I’ve become adept at RSA without always needing to write it out. Sometimes I can abbreviate the RSA by mentally reviewing the Five Rules and moving on.
What are the Five Rules for Rational Thinking? I’m glad you asked. Here they are:
1) Are your thoughts based on objective reality/facts?
2) Are your thoughts helping protect your life and health?
3) Are your thoughts helping you achieve your short- and long-term goals?
4) Are your thoughts helping to keep you out of conflict with others?
5) Are your thoughts leading you to feel the way you want to feel without the use of alcohol and other drugs?

For me, I’ve instilled these 5 questions in my thinking process to guide my daily being. The end result is drastically improved impulse-control, more rational thinking, and emotional balance (that I was lacking for DECADES and didn’t realize, nor did I realize the detrimental effect it was having on my overall mental health and well-being). Am I completely devoid of impulsive thoughts and behavior? No, that would be inhuman and unrealistic. Spontaneous amusement, laughing at something funny that happens unexpectedly – that’s impulsive thinking and behavior. So the objective fact is that we all are subject to impulsive thoughts; the idea is to manage those thoughts for healthy and constructive living.
Am I successful, have I been successful in that regard? I feel like I am and have been. I’ve accomplished more, learned more, grown more, since 12/29/2011, and I attribute that largely to learning rational thinking. And I’ve got more drive in me to continue learning and growing.

Driven to learn, to become my best me.