The Power of Perspective
A major part of overcoming addiction and sabotaging behaviors is learning to change our perspective. We can be the victim or we can be the person who has been presented with new opportunity. Remember that negativity can be an addictive behavior in and of itself. Last week I brought a client to what was for me the worst 12-step meeting I have ever attended. The message didn’t resonate with me at all and it seemed as though there was more talk of being in the problem vs. living in the solution. Three years ago there is no way I would have sat through 10 minutes of that meeting let alone complete the hour having gained quite a bit. During the initial moments of the meeting I noticed myself becoming frustrated that the speaker was going on and on about only his perils with drugs and that every other word was “F@#!”. He seemed to be rifling off drug addiction statistics out of nowhere as if he was the all mighty expert. While he was at one time homeless and his story was nothing like mine, I suddenly couldn’t believe how ridiculous I was being and how “in my old energy” I had become. I was able to quiet the judgmental mind and look for all of the ways I could identify instead of compare. I looked for things I could GAIN during the meeting vs. count the ways it was a waste of my time. Also, instead of reacting impulsively, I relaxed, breathed, and settled into my body. I thanked the universe for showing me where this disease very well could have brought me. I also thanked the universe for the fact that even though this man was not directly helping me, in speaking he was most likely helping himself and certainly some others in the room. I looked around at everyone in there and recognized that each and every one of us was fighting out own battle and that the beautiful thing is that we were all there to better ourselves. Because I didn’t walk out of the meeting, I was lucky enough to hear some wonderful people speak at the end. I was struck primarily by two young men in their 20’s who both felt like “they shouldn’t say much since they are really new to the program”, and it reminded me number one of how equal we all are, but number two that I was once the newbie who thought I was less worthy because I didn’t have years of sobriety. There was another young man in his 20’s whose ride ditched him at the last minute but he was still able to get to the meeting. Now that was inspiration, he had every excuse in the world as to why he didn’t have to be there, but he was. Because I like to force myself to speak as frequently as possible, I raised my hand. I sincerely thanked all of them for being there that day and for reminding me of things I can’t ever forget. But in my mind I was also grateful to be humbled and to be aware of the fact that I can’t control many things in my life, but I CAN control my behavior and my attitude and my perspective!
What D.A.R.E. Forgot To Tell Us
You may recall the 1990’s campaign “D.A.R.E. to Keep Kids Off Drugs” and the program that accompanied it. Ironically in the 6th grade D.A.R.E. play, I played the bad chick who peer pressured everyone into drinking and using drugs. I don’t know if anything would have been different had I known the magnitude of the mental health issues amongst my ancestors. One side of the family had a history of alcoholism and the other untreated eating disorders, which I now understand are virtually one in the same. I do know that for someone with a rebellious addict mind, programs like D.A.R.E. only made me want to experiment more. Some things like stages of alcoholism or drug addiction statistics were perhaps a bit premature for what I was ready to listen to at 12. I also know that had I understood the neuroscience of why drug or alcohol abuse in someone under 25 affects the brain in a drastically different way than that of someone older, it would have caught my attention. Neuroscience tells us that if you take someone with possible addictive tendencies and introduce them to substances at a young age, their brain will essentially light up those neuropathways which can lead to craving, addictive behaviors, and substance abuse. There is no longer room for the, “it won’t happen to me” denial, because the proof is in the CT scans. The brain science that aids us in understanding addiction continues to catch my eye today. We need to start being more specific with kids so they understand HOW they are harming themselves from the first time they touch a substance. Read some fascinating information here on The Effects of Drugs and Alcohol on the Adolescent Brain.
about the master coach
Danielle, the Founder & Master Coach of RealYou Revolution, is a woman in long term recovery with a passion for helping others overcome their own personal demons – whatever they may be.