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But I Want It Now!

Sometimes, we do things we don't want to do at the moment for a payoff in the future.

Now, That's a pretty broad statement that could encompass many possibilities. So I'll break it down a bit more for you and swing it to relate to my life in recovery. In my days of active addiction, and even before that, I experienced trauma that guided me toward making decisions that avoided conflict and anxiety of any kind. That anxiety avoidance lifestyle grew over the years and would end up causing me a lot more anxiety in the long run. I would lie, make promises I wouldn't keep, couldn't keep half the time, just to avoid a negative confrontation in the moment. Every. Single. Time. This caused more anxiety and suffering down the road. It's taken an embarrassing amount of time to change this in my life.

In fact, I really didn't even start to notice this in myself until after being in recovery for a good period of time. And, at first, while trying to face things up front, instead of avoiding them, I experienced intense anxious reactions. Shaking while trying to make that phone call or open that piece of mail to check on a debt or deal with the friend of the court. This anxiety was so bad it would keep me from being able to speak. The only way out of situations like these is through them. The fact of the matter is, if you're in recovery, chances are you have a mess to clean up from the poor decisions you made while living in active addiction and the life of early recovery. I'm not directly picking on you either. I've lived this and have heard many others identify with this as well. The most important part to take from what I'm sharing is that there most definitely is a way out of this anxiety trap.

Discipline is choosing between what you want now, and what you want most.” — Abraham Lincoln

That's the main thing I'd like to communicate today, there's a way out. And similar to how we escape the grasp of substance use disorder, or other addictions we may suffer, it takes effort. It takes effort, self-awareness, intention, willpower, a support system, and time. Having patience with the time it takes can be one of the hardest parts. Like a lot of aspects of "getting our shit together", we want to handle it all right away. We want that change and relief from the suffering part upfront and quickly. But just like how we got ourselves into the suffering of addiction, it doesn't happen overnight. This is where that one day at a time principle, or lamp unto my feet doctrine, comes in. The reality is that opportunities to address this portion of our healing process tend to trickle in.

Take them in stride as they present themselves to you. What made me think about this was something I did recently. There was an eventual reward if I took action on something in the present. There was an easy way to accomplish this but it just wasn't working. So, I had the choices to abandon the situation and lose the reward completely or put in some more effort to get the possible payout, which was still something I'd have to use patience with receiving. My old habit of wanting to take the easy way out almost kept me from doing it. But I realized that unhealed Mitchell's habits don't have a place in the life I'm building and the life I'd like to have in the future. Action was taken and my reward is waiting for me in the near future. The discipline today pays off tomorrow.

We need to have patience and grace with ourselves moving through processes like this. You're not going to get it "right" the first time and it only gets easier the more times you get to try again. If I can do it, you sure as hell can.

Until next time.

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Well said my friend!

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