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  • Writer's pictureNora Coulter

Avoiding Change

Before I began recovery, I found endless reasons why I wasn't ready to change. All the reasons seemed valid to me, but fear and anxiety were distorting my thought process. So instead of changing, I made a laundry list of things that needed to happen before beginning. At the time, I was a member of a recovery support site, one that I would later help moderate. The founders of that site would often tell members, " it's time to do the wash." Many of us were good at making a laundry list of things that needed to happen before we made a change. Whether it was finding a new job, lowering stress, finding or ending a relationship, finishing school, or a litany of other significant events. We thought getting past these things would make us ready to tackle recovery. We completely believed the stories we told ourselves. That there was this magic moment when we would be ready to commit fully to the process, without fear or hesitation and nothing holding us back or interfering with the process. In reality, this moment never comes regardless of what type of change one is tackling. Even if we begin the process fully committed, it usually does not take long before the voice of doubt creeps in and makes us question the wisdom of our decision. Change of any kind rarely happens without fear, anxiety, or outside interference. There will never be a perfect moment to tackle behavioral changes or to face the often daunting emotional factors that come with it. Even when in therapy, we can avoid real change by continuing to make these lists and believing once difficult issues are addressed or resolved, the changes will be easier. Saying it takes a leap of faith to begin to let go of unhealthy behaviors is an understatement; it takes courage at a level that few can understand. It takes a willingness to face the unknown, to accept that things will get messy, and at times painful and doing it anyway. What changes have you been holding off making? What laundry lists of reasons for not changing have you made in hopes of finding that perfect moment that will make moving forward more comfortable and manageable? Perhaps it is time to set the list aside and finally do the wash.

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