By: Marilyn L. Davis
Change: From Nowhere to Somewhere
“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether to accept our destiny.” ― Paulo Coelho, The Devil, and Miss Prym
Choice: Make Changes or Remain the Same?
Each day, we have choices in how to behave, think, and feel. We also have the choice to stay the same or change. We make decisions on which way to go, back to our addiction or move forward in our recovery. However, we often create barriers to change, even when we realize that a change is necessary.
Anytime we are attempting to change; we experience a heightened sense of anxiety or apprehension. And that’s just the thinking about changing, let alone the actions necessary to make those changes. Part of the reason for this anxiety is that we do not yet know the outcomes or results of these changes.These uncomfortable feelings are especially acute when it's a new behavior, thought or attitude. Click To Tweet
- “Oh, it might have worked for you, but I’m different because…”
- “Why should I go to recovery support meetings”?
- “People aren’t trustworthy; I can’t confide in them!”
- “Two years ago, I tried recovery and I wasn’t successful.”
• Am I willing to experience uneasiness or anxiety while changing?
Even if you’ve decided that you can tolerate feeling uncomfortable while changing, there are still barriers to change.
Five Most Common Barriers
1. Blaming Others
2. Fears: Assumptions about the Future
- What if I don’t like the changes? Then revert to your old behavior.
- What if I can’t change quickly? Make progress; we’re not striving for perfection.
- What if they’re still mad at me? Our families, friends, and employers need time to trust that our changes are ongoing, not just done to appease them in the moment.
- What if I don’t like the way I feel when I make changes? Learn to journal, talk about your feelings, and realize that all feelings will pass – be patient.
Rather than focus on the “What ifs” concerning the future, ask yourself if you are more afraid of staying the same or changing.
Staying the same, in your feelings, attitudes, and situations means that you will continue experiencing the same types of outcomes. That choice to stay the same condemns you to the misery of your addiction.
- Effectively Deal With Cravings
- Trust Others
- Rebuild a relationship with Family and Friends
- Change Self-defeating Behaviors, Thoughts, and Attitudes
- Stop blaming others
- Develop healthy coping skills
- Process issues
4. Mistrusting the Process of Change
5. Uncertain Rewards for Changing
When you realize how many opportunities you have squandered in your addiction, it makes sense that if you are not using, show interest in your recovery, and change those aspects of yourself that prevented you from capitalizing on opportunities, then the rewards will come. Just as importantly, there are self-defeating behaviors besides using that prevented you from realizing positive rewards.
For most of us, it was the simple changes that showed us doing something concrete, then evaluating the outcomes; we were motivated to make more changes.
Change From This to That and Nowhere to Somewhere
Here is a partial list that might help you see where simple changes in behaviors, thoughts, feelings, and attitudes could positively influence your recovery and life. Start with six universal negative aspects and make an effort to change them.
- Assuming to Asking Questions
- Careless to Careful
- Complacent to Interested
- Irresponsible to Accountable
- Arrogant to Open-minded
- Resistant to Willing
Remember, you always have a choice in how you think, act, feel, and behave.With each subsequent change that you make and then realize positive outcomes; it makes breaking down the barriers to change easier next time you need to change. Click To Tweet
Writing, and Recovery Heals the Heart
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When you’re ready to share how you’ve changed, encourage others to change, or simply tell your recovery story, consider a guest post.