1135 Days Sober: Not Knowing How to Change

Butler practicing wheel pose at home

Waking up and not knowing how to change is scary.

In throes of my addictions, every day was a new day to change my behavior, and every day I’d find myself compelled to use or drink.

“Every day is an opportunity to begin again”

I wanted to believe this with all my heart, but I kept repeating the same pattern.

Compelled is the key word. There was no choice in the matter, not in a moral or intellectual sense. I was conscious there was a choice to be made. I was aware I wanted to make a different choice, but I was compelled to take action my higher self didn’t want to take.

Being stuck in this loop is scary especially when you are hiding your behaviors out of shame. Shame you are not strong enough or disciplined enough to make different choices. Shame how you’ve treated people.

It left me depressed. I thought the only way to end the cycle would be death.

Changing your life, even when it is the right thing to do, is hard. I could only focus on the consequences the change might bring not the benefits even though the benefits were apparent.

Change will not be immediate. The path may not be apparent or direct.

It took me nearly a decade from the point I knew I needed to stop doing drugs and desperately admitting I needed help. It would take years more to realize I needed to stop drinking and longer still to have the strength to do it.

Some emotional, chemical or neurological pattern is not allowing you to make a different choice.

My advice, begin taking a different action, even if unrelated.

Starting an Ashtanga yoga practice, therapy, writing about my life, and the study of philosophy are some of the actions I’ve taken.

These actions loosely map to the concepts in this Yoga Sutra 2.1 “The yoga of action consists of discipline [Ashtanga] , self-study [writing, therapy] and surrender [Stoicism, Vendanta]”

Through these practices I've seen gross changes occur like losing weight and improved speech, but it was the unconscious more subtle shifts I believe granted me the ability to make more profound changes in my life.

Taking “right” action, even without stopping the “wrong” behavior has worked for me.

Thanks for allowing me to share.