Change or Continue Suffering: The Choice is up to You
by Hank Robb, PhD, ABPP
I think the title of this article is a good description of SMART Recovery®’s philosophy. Individuals can continue as they have been, or they can change, and they get to choose. Perhaps they can change their circumstances, perhaps not. They can always change the way they relate to their circumstances. Even if we cannot immediately change the frequency, intensity, and duration of urges, for example, we can choose not to act on them. As a practical matter of fact, when urges are not acted on, then over time they tend to reduce in frequency, intensity, and duration, such that they may not occur for months or years. So, urges can be changed eventually, if not immediately.
We don’t HAVE TO change. Continuing as we are is a choice the universe allows us to make. This is important because the more we pound ourselves, or others, with HAVE TO, HAVE TO, HAVE TO change, the more we feel like slaves to change rather than people exercising free choice. And, who wants to feel like a slave?! We may not be free to avoid the consequences of our actions, but we are free to choose the actions we take.
Choosing to have what we want in life is a choice we sometimes do have, but not always. We may be able to choose a neighborhood, or a dwelling, in which we actually want to live. But who chooses to have urges to act addictively? Hardly anyone! However, a choice that is always available is to relate to life in one way rather than another.
If your current way of relating to life brings more suffering than you want, then change or continue suffering.
The choice is up to you.
Source: Adapted from “Change or Suffer”, originally published in News & Views, SMART Recovery Quarterly Newsletter.