Addictive Thinking Errors: Miracle Thinking

This is a rewrite of a column I wrote that was published in the mountaineer in July of this year.

“If I could just move to Florida, then I’ll be happy.” These words were spoken by a young man I was working with in a rehab program. He was a drug addict, had a list of convictions longer than my arm, his family life was a disaster, he was financially destitute, his education and job skills were non-existent; but he firmly believed that a geographical relocation was going to solve all of his personal woes. In reality, moving would change nothing. You simply cannot run far enough away to escape yourself. He was his own problem. His drug addiction was destroying his life. However, the work needed to deal with the problems he had accumulated was far more daunting than simply moving. This is an example of miracle thinking. Miracle thinking is essentially when a person comes to believe that their problems will be solved by accomplishing a simple, often unrelated task.

Miracle thinking comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but the common factor is that it generally doesn’t directly address or solve the presenting problem. It’s an easy option. I have spoken to people who believe that if they can just find Mr. or Mrs. Right then they’ll be content, or if they could just change jobs they’d be happy, or if they could get a new spouse they’d stop drinking. The specific form of the miracle can vary, but it usually involves externalizing blame for problems/feelings and a way out of the situation that is often unrelated and easier than dealing with the real problem. In reality, a single, depressed person who enters a new relationship may experience a flush of enjoyment, but will ultimately wind up depressed again. An alcoholic who moves to a new community will just find a new place and people to drink with.

Miracle thinking is a thinking error that is not confined to problems like chemical dependance. People use miracle thinking in relation to debt, marital difficulties, depression, weight problems, anger issues, and all sorts of other issues.

UnknownFiguring out if your solution to a problem is miracle thinking is difficult, and usually requires an outside opinion to help assess the thought. Outside feedback should come from a person who will be forward and honest enough to explain whether or not a planned solution is realistic or likely to pan out. In addition, the individual ought to have a history of making healthy choices. This sort of evaluation is especially important if an individual is dealing with an issue that is particularly difficult or if you recognize a pattern of drastic solutions that simply don’t work out.

The difficulty in self assessing thinking errors, like miracle thinking, is due largely to denial and clouded thinking that is typical among addicts. Self assessment is best accomplished by asking exactly how the solution will resolve the issue at hand. If the explanation is not likely to pan out as true, if evidence from past situations suggests that the solution is viable, or if it will not logically produce any real change; then it is likely miracle thinking. Its important to understand that miracle thinking isn’t a result of a person being crazy or broken. Instead, it comes about when a person’s thinking is clouded by strong emotions, stress, exhaustion, or mental protections of an addiction.

Regardless of whether or not miracle thinking is an issue, the practice of consulting with others for advice when dealing with major issues is a wise practice.
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6 thoughts on “Addictive Thinking Errors: Miracle Thinking

  1. Trevor says:

    Agreed. And sometimes, good intentioned Christians can be the most aggressive purveyors of this type of thinking. Sometimes God chooses to work life-changing miracles; sometimes it’s more like life-sustaining grace in the midst of hell on earth.

    Liked by 1 person

    • patchingcracks says:

      I’ve seen this more than a few times in Christians. It seems like the same rule applies, if they’re trying to avoid spiritual discipline or growth, it’s prolly screwy. Certainly God does occasionally work change quickly, but believers shouldn’t shy from work toward spiritual growth, regardless. Thanks for commenting Trevor. I really appreciate your perspective.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. 🙂 Thank you for your post. It is exactly what I need to remind myself of.

    And I also want to tell you the exact opposite of what you are writing here because magic did once happen in my life and it was actually named magic as well! I worked for a company that almost went broke, I had still had 5 months salary and expenses outstanding. I was young, had just broken up and moved to a new house but I got thrown out because the owner needed it back. So I had little savings and was lacking income but still wanted to hang onto the job I was in. I came up with a sleeping place during the week and friends offered to have me in the weekend. This went on for almost a year and I and everybody got very tired of me. I had been looking for a house but that was more or less half/half. Looking back I guess booze was taking over already. 😦

    In order to work out why I could not decide on a house I went to see a friend and we spoke about houses and how I felt about them for a while. I walked out of the building and right there on the pavement it felt like lightning struck me on the top of my head and the experience was that (yeah, I know it sounds funny) but it felt like a golden hand from inside my head reached out into the universe and grabbed ‘the possibility of a house’. The hand came back into my head and I thought ‘Yes, there is a house for me!’. I really believed that then.

    The next day I rang 3 people in the housing business, got connected to only 2 but the 3rd said: ‘This is funny… I normally only do appartments for expats of 5000 Euro a month, but a minute ago somebody gave me this file of a house, it is exactly what you are looking for…. I was supposed to call 2 people and you will be 3rd on the list. See you tomorrow’.

    I went, I liked it, told my story and got the house because she felt I needed it more than the others, even though they were on the list before me. I still live there. Everybody I told this story thought I was faking it. In my city it takes 3 to 6 months before you can even get close to a house. Not 1 day.

    To top things of: the company that arranged the house was called ‘Magic Appartments’.

    Magic? Magic!! 🙂 Real magic. This is truely what happened. Not good for my sense of reality, but this is how it went. Happy. It’s a good house. :-).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My husband is very much like this…I will be happy when…. Actually, I laugh because his newest thing is wanting to move to Florida. Oh well it is never ending. Thank you for stopping by my blog and liking it. Be blessed today. Meghan


    • patchingcracks says:

      Thanks for visiting and commenting. I really enjoyed your post on halloween and am glad you got a smile out of this. God bless.

      Liked by 1 person

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