Alcoholics and addicts that make it into sobriety and then a stable recovery have undergone a miraculous transformation. How they think about themselves, how they feel towards others, their attitudes and outlook on life have all dramatically changed. They have become reacquainted with their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual self and needs.
Does it stop there? Baring relapse, will such a transformation ever again be required? Is transformation only for the addicted seeking recovery? The answers are no, yes, and an emphatic no!
No one has a perfect life. That goes for the addicted, the recovering and the non-addicted individual. Change is everywhere. Isaac Asimov once said “the only constant is change.” Sometimes change is welcome. Sometimes it isn’t.
Change is often out of our hands, out of our control. It is how we react that determines how we will be affected by change going forward. Rapid dramatic change is often easier to deal with than slow change over time. Rapid change forces us to react quickly. With slow change we can become complacent or comfortable, even when the change is undesirable. We allow ourselves to be fooled into thinking that this is just the way things are for us. We stop growing. We stagnate.
It is then that we fall into the trap, the I Can’t Change This trap. We can reach a point where we feel that we are incapable of changing our circumstances or ourselves. Have you ever felt this way? For most the basis for this is fear. However, that is just symptomatic of the development of an unfortunate mindset, a mindset that has forgotten how to dream, to welcome challenges, to consider the potential for dynamic growth, to open up to new possibilities.
It is very easy to stay in that trap. It is familiar. We know what to expect from it, no matter how undesirable it may be. So, caught in the trap we get by. In the trap there is no living. We just exist. It takes a tremendous amount of effort to get free of this mindset, this trap. It grips us and holds on to us like grim death. The thought of getting free of the trap brings to mind a single word – impossible. That is how tightly it grips us.
This is why people will stay in dysfunctional homes, loveless marriages, an abusive relationship; hated, despised, dead-end jobs, stop dreaming and pursuing happiness. This is not unlike the alcoholic or addict feeling trapped by their drug of choice. The task of freeing oneself from the trap is just as difficult for the non-addict as the addict freeing themselves form drugs or the alcoholic freeing themselves from alcohol.
The solution for all that are caught in the trap is simple. But, as I have said many times before, simple doesn’t always mean easy. It isn’t easy. What it requires is a transformation and I will spell out what that means in this series. It all begins with a willingness to change and a single step.
Are you feeling trapped?
More on this in Part II…