“Find the Courage to Take a Scary Leap”
6:00 a.m. on almost any Sunday will find me back in bed – having been roused by Sophie my 16 year old rescue dog (who rescued whom?) – with coffee and the Sunday New York Times. I will work my way through the Book Review, Magazine, and Op-Ed sections before arriving at the Business news. I always start that section with the weekly interview which this past Sunday was with Paula Kerger, President and CEO of PBS.
The headline above is from her interview and was lead to the following:
“Life is often about those moments – you have to be willing, every once in a while, to jump, and it’s absolutely terrifying. Our nature as humans is to not change. We get comfortable, and we don’t want to be pushed outside that comfort zone … because it always feels so much easier to keep doing the same thing, even if it’s painful, rather than taking that leap.”
Talk about summing things up in a paragraph.
Of course, at least intuitively, we know this. It’s how any of us gets stuck in “contemplation hell” rather than give up the drinking, stop smoking, lose the weight, leave the job, the abusive spouse, or the dysfunctional family and friends.
And the “cure” is always the same: “Find the courage to take a scary leap.”
Easily said, and not particularly helpful.
So where do we, and yes it applies to us as well as you, find that courage?
Usually, that courage comes when the pain of staying the same outweighs the fear of the unknown. It’s also what makes alcohol so insidious because it makes vast amounts of pain tolerable. Drinking is called self-medication for a reason, you know.
But you’re not stupid. Quite the contrary.
And because you’re smart and generally successful in many areas of your life, you can name the conditions you are avoiding fixing by drinking. The list of suspects isn’t all that long for most of us: loneliness, boredom, depression, passivity, grief, ill health, and a few other conditions we’ve elected to drown out.
Now, however, drowning isn’t working anymore – if it was you wouldn’t have found us, subscribed, and be reading this, would you?
Please remember, that while taking the leap is scary, it isn’t really as scary as you’ve conned yourself into believing. Yes, it takes some effort, some delayed gratification, some altered relationships, and a new self-image. But instead of working overtime to convince yourself that these are all catastrophic changes, why not give equal time to the thought that they might all lead to a far more interesting life?
Intimacy rather than loneliness? Engagement instead of boredom? Contentment where depression dwelt? Assertiveness replacing passivity and passive aggression? Equal relationships instead of being permanently one down? Better health?
As we often note, why not take the chance? After all, if you decide you don’t like living and prefer medicating, you can always go back to drinking! But why not give yourself the ability to make an informed decision?
Successfully Ending Your Alcohol Abuse Means Becoming More Yourself, Not Less!
Misusing alcohol reduces us to being less than we are. We become spectators of our lives rather than participants in them. It also means that we self-select the activities and associations which support this regression rather than the ones that enhance our lives.
Once again, the “security of familiar misery” means settling for the ordinary while missing out on the extraordinary you are capable of. But becoming more yourself, in all of your uniqueness and competence, means avoiding the pressure to conform to society’s mandate that you agree to be a powerless diseased alcoholic who must be condemned to a demeaned and dehumanized state and relegated to a cult.
As noted before, if those were my only choices, I’d keep on drinking. Consider that that’s pretty much the decision you’ve been making too.
But you now know that’s not the only choice.
Indeed, you can choose to become more yourself, not less.
And there’s the rub. Choosing to be more means going against the grain, being uncomfortable occasionally, eschewing conventional “wisdom,” and trusting yourself to make good decisions even after you’ve made some bad ones. Especially after you’ve made some bad ones.
We can help with that. Help you sort out the good decisions you made, the successes you’ve achieved, the accomplishments you can be justifiably proud of, and the mistakes you can mitigate as well as avoid repeating.
“Success” will not come by following the herd down the chute. It will come by enhancing your skills, opting for information over mindless platitudes, accurately assessing your options rather than negating them, and LIVING!
Which door do you want? They’re clearly marked. No guesswork required.