Change. What are you going to do about it?
So today is Friday the 13th and it's been a while since I've posted anything on the Blog. So I thought to myself, "Today is as good of a day as any other to write something."
Over the past few weeks thater have been changes that have been happening with the magazine, ie... going from a bi-monthly to a quarterly format and with that the word change come up a lot in various discussions. Ther have also been some changes in my personal life. Some good... Some not so good! But life happens and all you can do is take it as it comes. ..Sometimes its one minute at a time... sometimes its one speed bump at a time... and sometimes you just have to sit back...be patient... and wait. We all know how hard that can be for some of us.
So since it's the day before I leave to go to the Issues of Substance conference in Montreal, I thought I would talk about change.
Change… It’s just a part of life. It happens to everyone. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your status is, change is a BIG part of life. Like Bob Dylan said, “The times they are a changing,” He is right. It’s even more evident when you are in recovery from addiction or in mental health recovery. You can’t avoid it…you can’t run from it…and you can’t hide from it…Eventually you will have to deal with it. Like a counselor once said to me in a Bronx like accent; What are you gonna do about it?”
So, when people decide to give up an addiction, they are agreeing to make a major change to their life. The benefits of change can be wonderful, but change also comes with the unknown. It takes a great deal of courage to change and to let go of old habits. As soon as you stop using, that doesn’t mean that the process of changing is complete. It continues indefinitely. Anyone who builds a successful life away from addiction will constantly face changes and challenges. It is part of what makes their life away from addiction so wonderful.
So…Why is change necessary
The reasons for change are pretty obvious, and necessary if you want to live a productive life.
Let me paint a picture for you; if the human race was unable to get over the resistance to change, we would still be living in caves and struggling just to stay alive each day. Not all change is good, but the process of change is vital for survival.
If everything in life just remained the same it would soon become boring. Change is what keeps life interesting and makes it so wonderful to be alive. Without change, it would not be possible for those of us who have taken a wrong turn in life to get back on track. People in addiction and in recovery would not be able to escape their addiction and nobody would be given a second chance. It is not just people recovering from addiction who can have problems with change. It is a common difficulty that many people struggle with.
The most common reasons for resisting change in recovery are:
Fear of the unknown:
Accepting change almost always involves taking a leap of faith and some people struggle to do that. This is why so many people will remain trapped in their addiction. People who lean towards being pessimistic about change, are the most likely to fear change, because they most often expect things to turn out badly.
Not seeing a need for change.
People in this position view new innovations as an attempt to fix something that is not broken. In this light, change becomes something that is going to be an unnecessary hassle. However, it is true that changing things for no real reason can be a waste of time.
The comfort zone.
Even if the current conditions that these people are in are far from ideal, they get used to where they are at and where they are at. It takes effort to leave the comfort of the familiar.
Others are telling them they have to change or else…
This almost always leads to resentment and resistance, even when the change is likely to be beneficial. Most people are more likely to approve of change when they feel they have a choice.
The importance of change
If people are new to recovery they will need to be prepared to make many changes to the way they do things. It’s pretty obvious why the change is needed. One of the most repeated sayings is that, if you keep on doing the same things, you will keep on getting the same results.
So here is the reality of life: The world is constantly changing. Those who resist change are fighting reality. Of course, this does not mean that people need to accept every proposed change. However, it does suggest that they need to choose their battles wisely. Some change is going to occur whether people like it or not.
The way that people develop in recovery is by meeting challenges in life and overcoming them. The more they do this the better they get at it. Overcoming a challenge in life usually means changing behavior. Resisting this makes it impossible to overcome obstacles. Change is what keeps life interesting and exciting. Living in a bubble where everything stays the same is boring. It is only by embracing change that a person can get the most out of life. Memory can play tricks on people, especially as they get older, (uh... I can relate to that). The old way of doing things can seem far more attractive than it actually is.
So here is the reality of life whether you are a normie or someone in recovery. Change… It’s a part of life, it’s a BIG part of the people we become…and NO ONE and I mean NO ONE can even reach their full potential and become the person that they were meant to be, without change!
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old but on building the new.” Socrates
Thanks for stopping by… Luke D