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By: Marilyn L. Davis 

 

Change is Doing Something Different 

“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Change doesn’t occur without a sense of urgency that we need to do something differently. But even when we know that a change is necessary, all adjustments, even good ones, produce stress. 

Hans Selye is one of the first researchers to give us a working definition of stress, “Nonspecific responses in the body to any demand, whether caused by or results in pleasant or unpleasant conditions.”

For most of us, giving up drugs as alcohol was the most challenging change we ever made. And yes, it caused stress, and for some people, stress was a reason they used, so it became a vicious cycle of trying to get and stay in recovery. 

Managing Stress and Making Changes 

If we have a well-defined emotional attachment to change, we can talk about our stressful feelings or write about them to help overcome them, which works for most people. 

However, some people know they need to change but continue to justify, rationalize, and make excuses for not changing. They will continue doing what they usually do, hoping no one notices they aren’t changing. Other people get stubborn, willful, and short-sighted and don’t change for different reasons. Usually, they make excuses for their lack of action. 

Can We Change the Subject?  

We know when we do not have a sense of urgency. Showing we’re bored with the conversations about us needing to change, we dismiss what others say. Sometimes, we even comment, ” Okay, enough about me; let’s move on.” 

We often see this lack of urgency for change in children when they:

  • Forget to bring their books home.
  • Don’t do assignments at all.
  • Leave their homework at home.
  • See no reason to turn projects in on time.

Many adults in treatment do not see that being inattentive in group or recovery supportive meetings is a problem. They are likely to miss valuable information about changing their lives for the better. They do not understand that forgetting to do worksheets for treatment is another way of being dismissive about getting to the root of their addictions.

It’s Feelings and Thoughts, Too

Our feelings, attitudes, and behaviors often stay the same beyond giving up drugs and alcohol if we aren’t emotionally invested in change. Many people are comfortable acting, reacting, processing, and feeling a certain way in a given situation. 

For instance, someone questions your behaviors– you become defensive, combative, rude, and disrespectful. You do this because you: 

  1. Don’t like “bad” things discussed if you are the focus
  2. Think you’re fooling people
  3. You still get something out of the behavior 
  4. You’re unwilling to go through the pains associated with changing.  

These are the actions, attitudes, and behaviors that need changing.  

We’re Not the Only Ones Changing 

The reality is that change will feel painful, unfamiliar, uncomfortable, and uncertain. Too often, people focus only on their pain, what they will have to go through to change, without reflecting on the pain their actions have caused loved ones and friends. 

They deny or minimize their impact on family, children, and society. They act as though it is some sacrifice to change without realizing how many other people are sacrificing for them to have an opportunity to improve. 

People complain that change is hard. Change requires certain things like mindfulness, giving up long-held beliefs and giving up one thing for the possibility of more and different things. 

But others are going through changes as well. 

  • The families are now raising the children so the parents can go to treatment. 
  • Families who are sacrificing monies they save for a vacation or new car are not going towards someone else’s treatment. 
  • Friends, spouses, and family now spend time in recovery support meetings to be helpful to their loved ones.

Actions May Not Be Immediate: Changing Your Attitude Is 

Too many addicts seem bonded to instant gratification, and that’s not what recovery is about; change takes practice. They will never get the better outcomes they want without effort, the emotional urgency to change, and an attitude of willingness to keep improving. 

Moving from the comfort zone of addiction is not frightening when you realize that the comfort zone more closely resembles a war zone. That comfortable place is full of broken lives, destroyed dreams, and damaged relationships. Click To Tweet

Getting Aware

When we become mindful and aware, we realize that we will have to change self-defeating behaviors to achieve long-term recovery.

In many cases, we know the opposite feeling, action, or attitude is change. Change also opens up the possibility of better outcomes. What are some simple changes to make today?

  • Careless, become careful.
  • Lazy, becomes productive.
  • Denial becomes looking at reality
  • Arrogant becomes humble.
  • Irresponsible becomes responsible.
  • If you are demanding, get in line. 

It’s Always Your Choice

 

You have a choice each day to do or not do something, say or not say something, cooperate or be dismissive, arrogant, or resentful, for instance.

For many of us, it was our way of doing things that got us into trouble, so maybe it’s time to listen to others, make changes, and give up fighting to be right.

Make small incremental changes today; become invested in bettering your life, don’t relapse, and see if changing isn’t something that no longer sounds scary but exciting.

 

 

Writing and recovery heal the heart.

 

 

Marilyn L. Davis is the Editor-in-Chief at From Addict 2 Advocate and Two Drops of Ink. She is also the author of Finding North: A Journey from Addict to Advocate and Memories into Memoir: The Mindsets and Mechanics Workbook, available on Amazon, at Barnes and Noble, Indie Books, and Books A Million.  

For editing services, contact her at marilyndavisediting@yahoo.com. 

How we say something is just as important as what we say. How you write about addiction and recovery will differ from mine. That’s okay because the more voices say, “Recovery works,” the more people we reach. 

 

Consider a guest post today and help someone struggling with addiction or recovery. 

 

 

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