By: Marilyn L. Davis
Fears Reside with Us on the Fence
Unfortunately, as my mentor told me, “All you get by sitting on the fence is splinters in your ass.” Well, that just said it all.
Of course, he didn’t stop there – he never did.
He’d get my attention and then ask me questions to help me see where I might be resisting, unwilling, or seemingly unable to change. Not to label myself as your mentor, but to pass on the questions he asked me so that if you’re sitting on the fence, you might find the courage to get off it.
Examine Your Attitudes and Actions
- When do you choose not to change?
- What are the circumstances where you will continue to act on old behaviors, even when you know you do not like the outcomes?
- How do you stay stuck in old behaviors?
Still Sitting on the Fence?
There are just as many reasons for sitting on the fence as there are people, so how you state your reasons for not changing might differ from others, but they tend to fall into the following rationalizations for not changing:
“I do not change because:
- “I’m afraid of success or failure.”
- “You expect me to change too many aspects of myself.”
- “I’m comfortable with the way I do things now.”
- “I believe that the way I do things is right.”
- “People don’t have the right to tell me what to do.”
- “I don’t think I can recover.”
- “Too many people think I don’t live up to my potential now.”
- “This is all overwhelming.”
- “If I change one thing, people will expect me to change more.”
These are all possibilities. However, the most important reason is the one that keeps you sitting on the fence.
Sitting on the Fence Creates Conflict
When I’m conflicted about choices or decisions, I try to remember this quote, “I can attempt to stay on the fence. However, the problem is that the fence is a figment of my fear, not a reality of my journey.” ― Craig D. Lounsbrough, Stuck in Fear, So We Justify It
While you’re honest and admit that you have not liked all aspects of your life, you will sometimes stay stuck in the mindset that prompted the problems in your life, and you stubbornly refuse to change.
Only when you are willing to replace rationalization and justification with the right actions and the process that can help you change, will you change and improve.
Below are some of the ways you can stay stuck:
Ready to Get Off the Fence?
What can you do when you realize you’re sitting on the fence about changing? What are your options for help?
When you realize you are stuck, ambivalent about changing, or just scared of changes, one alternative is to bring this up in your recovery support meeting to discuss with your peers. They also face or have faced many of the same stumbling blocks in their recovery, as you may now be experiencing.
They are a valuable resource, and learning to use them as such gives you other perspectives on what, how, and why to change. Furthermore, they are often encouraging and supportive of you when you are struggling with the conflicting emotions and opinions about the changes you want to make in your life.
Which Side is More Appealing?
“When the fear of staying the same is greater than the fear of change, people will change.” ~Author Unknown – It’s amusing to me that ‘author unknown’ means it could be any of us.
Pick a Side
On the one hand, you know you need to change, but on the other, you are afraid that your changes won’t be good enough. When you talk about your ambivalence, you can hear yourself being conflicted.
You can decide which side of the fence you will land on because sitting on the fence in the case of addiction vs. recovery is risky.
Maybe it’s time to decide which side do you want to be on – staying the same or overcoming your fear and changing?
Besides, those splinters hurt!
Writing, and recovery heals the heart.
When you’re ready to tell us how you got off the fence and found recovery, consider a guest post.