December 2nd, 2018 Insistence Of Truth
Yesterday: I maintained the integrity of my reduced calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I met my daily water goal, and I stayed well connected with exceptional support.
Yesterday started with a firm foundation and continued to be a really good day. I was able to do what I set out to accomplish. Setting the intention, creating some accountability measures, and following through brings an incredible amount of positive energy to a day.
In yesterday's post, I wrote a familiar phrase found in recovery circles for decades, "nothing changes if nothing changes," however when I think about it a little more, it isn't completely true.
If nothing changes, then in time, the natural decline and deterioration; the progression in a less than desirable direction, will happen. Nothing stays the same forever. This thought process was one that resonated deeply with me very early in this decade-long experience. It's the basis for my mantra, "I'm choosing change before change chooses me."
If nothing had changed, I might've been dead by now. My blood pressure would have become worse, I likely would have developed diabetes, my right leg could have been amputated, not surviving the constant threat of infection from the open sores created by intense lymphatic pooling/swelling--and who I am, or was, would be reduced to memories, stories, and pictures relayed to my grandchildren about a man they never knew.
The threat of gravely negative consequences from inaction never worked for me as a stand-alone source of motivation. I had to believe in the possibilities--those visualizations of what could be the most positive consequences of action. With some thought to the consequences of inaction, but mostly a focus on the incredible possibilities made real by positive, supportive, intentional, and measured actions, eventually I was able to start along this road.
I first wrote about "I'm choosing change before change chooses me" on Day 25 of this blog. I had a lot of learning ahead of me when the following excerpt was first written in October of 2008, but still, there's plenty of truth even though, at the time, I didn't have a better understanding and appreciation for the dynamics of how addiction works.
From Day 25 in October of 2008:
I've learned that not everyone has arrived at the proper place mentally to take on this challenge. They know that they need to, they understand the deadly effects of not doing it, they understand the wonderful benefits of doing it. But like me in that doctor's office back on June 10th, they're just not ready.
I know I've talked about how easy this is, and in the proper mindset it does get really easy, but I also understand that if a person isn't ready to accept and adapt to a major lifestyle change, then it's nearly impossible.
I once thought that the only way I would ever do this would be to go into a hospital like setting, where everything is done for you. A place where they control everything...what you eat, drink, sleep, exercise...The schedule and food are all handled by someone else. I really didn't know if such a place existed until just recently. I was watching Discovery Health or some channel like that. The program featured people that were much bigger than me. People that had to be rescued and put into a hospital under strict supervision. It was their only way out of certain and very soon death. It was very sad to watch and know that for some, the right mindset never happens.
I have to thank God every day that I have been given the strength to get into the right mindset and stay true to this mission to the very end goal. I'm one of the lucky ones. It's amazing how when you think you're the only one, when you feel like you have it the worst, and you feel completely hopeless to change, you're shown somebody who can only dream of being in your present condition.
I'm very blessed and I can't forget that.
I had an opportunity to choose change before the changes chose me. I'm forever grateful for that strength. I pray that others will also find that strength. And it certainly doesn't come from reading this blog, it comes from a very deep and personal place within each of us. And once the decision is made to change, then perhaps this blog can be a daily booster. It's certainly helping me. ###
What strikes me as untrue from that Day 25 excerpt is a couple of things. The implication that not making positive changes is the product of some kind of "lack of strength" flaw and the idea that there's some kind of "end goal." I was so headstrong back then, right? My goodness, Day 25 and I just knew I had it all figured out! Thank God I kept an open mind for learning along the way, although my mind had to be pried open several times by the insistence of truth via consequences.
Strength alone isn't enough. In fact, it's not what's most needed. Personal human strength rarely makes a fair fight against the dynamics of addiction. Lack of strength isn't a moral failing or an unanswered prayer. Willingness or quite simply, a desire to change things, is all that's needed to start.
About that "end goal" idea--every diet has one, but what I discovered along the way is, if long-term sustainable results and continued wellness is what's desired, a diet isn't needed. A daily practice designed to help keep me well doesn't have an end date. With no end date, it becomes clear that in order for long-term sustainable results to be possible, the focus must be squarely on developing a personal daily practice that's designed specifically with my needs in mind. Making it a daily practice that's not only doable but enjoyable, becomes one of the goals.
Maintaining a personal daily practice helps keep the changes evolving in a positive direction.
Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Practice, peace, and calm,