By: Marilyn L. Davis
“What if you decided not to go backwards, but forward? What if doing what you have never done before was the answer to everything that didn’t make sense? What if the answer wasn’t to be found in words, but in action?
What if you found the courage to do what you really wanted to do and doing it changed your whole life?” ― Shannon L. Alder
Tired of the Way Things Are? Then Change
When you seem dissatisfied, but do not take actions to change, this sets up disappointment from others when they attempt to help with a solution, and you reject it by not following through with it. If you find yourself in the cycle of only identifying the problem and complaining about it, ask yourself, do I have the want to change something? Am I willing to make the effort to change the problem? Have I explored all my options for help with changes?
We Can Control What We Change in our Recovery
In our addiction we had little control; our substance use dictated our every waking moment. We were constantly thinking:
- “Where can I get drugs?”
- “When I can I use them?”
- “How soon until I can have a drink?”
- “Can I use and no one will know?”
- “Can I get away from my responsibilities?”
It’s comparable to saying that every citizen of Beijing, China or Sao Paulo, Brazil needs treatment. So why don’t people take advantage of quality treatment when they know they need it? According to National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), there are five common reasons why people don’t make the effort to get treatment.
- Not ready to stop using (38.8 percent).
- No health coverage/could not afford the cost (32.1 percent).
- Possible negative effect on the job (12.3 percent).
- Not knowing where to go for treatment (12.9 percent).
- Afraid of adverse reaction from family or friends if they need treatment (11.8 percent).
We Can Decide to Get Help
I understand how difficult a decision to enter treatment can be. However, here you are reading about substance abuse treatment. Could it be time for you or a loved one to investigate treatment options?
We are often torn when we’re trying to make a decision to enter treatment. Uncertainty and doubt happen when a person holds two opposing attitudes or feelings about a situation. It can be as simple as liking and disliking certain aspects of a situation. Ambivalence delays changes, because we have both positive and negative feelings about someone or something.
Pondering is Nonproductive When You Don’t Take Action
- Living in unsatisfactory or stressful relationships
- Staying stuck in a dead-end job
- Living here and there with whoever would take them in
- Making money/not earning money
- Eating at the soup kitchen
- Being in trouble with the law
When Reluctance to Change Is Evident, Question Your Motives
In active addiction, we learn to live with the conflicts and uncertainties of not changing and we learned to survive. Survival is about endurance, carrying on, living to tell the tale another day. It can be nothing more than drudgery. Even knowing this, many are still only thinking about changing and finding solutions.
- What do I get out of staying the same?
- What would be enough incentive to prompt a change in my actions?
- What might I learn through the process of change?
- What might be the benefits to me of change?
- What are my feelings about changing?
- What efforts are necessary to change this situation?
- What is my hesitation in changing?
- Why am I reluctant to change?
- What are my fears about changing?
- What outcomes could I expect to get if I changed?
- What benefits would I expect if I changed?
- What would making changes cost me: financially, physically, mentally and emotionally?
- How much time, energy, and effort would I have to put into changing?
- What feelings and attitudes are holding me back from changing?
The Answers are Within You
When you go within to find answers, you can also see your resistances. At this point, you have to decide if continuing to take the opportunity for further change is something that you want.
Unlearning and Overcoming Reluctance to Change
- You want to change but do not know how to change.
- You do not wish to change enough to do the work required to change.
- You think if you say you want to change, that should be sufficient.
- You think if you do change, people might expect more changes.
- You think that your changes will never be good enough.
Changing Is About Problem Solving
Don’t give up on finding useful solutions.
You know that you would ask multiple people for answers if it involved your use, so you have to be just as diligent in asking for help with change. If you ask enough people, there is sure to be someone who had a similar problem and had a solution, and you can go from pondering to productive actions.