Imagine if you could wake up tomorrow and find all your problems had disappeared…what would your life look like? What would be different? How many barriers to happiness would be gone? Which people would no longer be in your life? And who would have taken their place? What car would you have in your drive way? Would you have children, if so how many? What would you be doing for money, would you be happy and successful in a job you enjoyed doing? Would you be in a loving relationship or perhaps you’d prefer to be single? What would your mind and body feel like? Would you, or would you not have substances in your life?
Sadly change isn’t as easy as this and most of us will wake up tomorrow to the same as we fell asleep to. Everything as it was and still in need of the attention that we keep procastinating around implementing. What would it take then, to acheive some of the changes that we so desire in order to become the people that we want to be?
THE DILEMMA OF CHANGE.
Most of us can appreciate that change has both positive and negative aspects, on a bad day, that change may seem impossible and overwhelming. Sometimes even contemplating change can create an atmosphere of fear, hopelessness, anxiety…etc, especially on a bad day! To initiate positive change it is best to wait until you are ready to address whatever change it is you are looking to change otherwise you will already be in a self-defeating thought pattern and this could be really destructive to your progress and have a really negative impact should your first attempt not be successful. An irony of life is that change is inevitable. Everything and everyone are constantly changing, either for the better or for the worse. Change is still change. It happens whether we instigate it or not. The dilemma kicks in when we actually set out to initiate change. The dilemma that follows change is that no matter what it entails, it inevitably brings with it an element of loss, getting thin means losing weight, a definative part of your identity. Growing up means losing our youth, moving house means leaving your home to start again. The same principle is evident when we give up a substance. We lose a comfort zone, we lose our excuses for our behaviour, we lose a complete way of life and of dealing with life on lifes terms. Ambivalence is a good word to describe how most of us feel about change, it means that we have mixed feelings and mixed emotions on whatever it is that we are focusing on, and it is normal! I’m so proud of my children growing up and eaving home to live their own lives but I’m so sad they are not around as much as thye usedn to be. I’m so glad I got the promotion but I miss the team and the shopfloor banter. I really need to give up the drugs as they are causing me so much pain but thye have been my crux for the last 20 years. We must learn to embrace both sides of the dilemma in order to make safe, evidence based, informed choice saround what change is needed and how to best implemeny that change. Both sides of every story are as real and as relevant as each other and both sides need to be fully understood in order to increase the success rate of your choices. As you come to the realisation that your substance use is causing you and your loved ones harm, you must also come to terms wit hthe fact that you probably still enjoy the effect produced by the drugs. Both these factors need to be fully explored prior to you making the final drive for change otherwise you may end up always sneaking around behind yourself having an ellicit relationship with the very thing you decided to leave behind.