Why? or Why Not?

The illusion is that if we just know why, we can effect change. Not so. "Why" is the refrain of the two year old and of the teenager. Never ending and always prompting another question, not a solution, "why" becomes a mental gyration. "Why" is the booby prize! We can speculate, understand the psychodynamics, believe we know the pathway we have followed to our present state of being, perhaps our present state of self destruction, and still continue down said pathway!

Adults may ask, "Why do I weigh more now than when I started this stupid diet? Because I still eat more calories than I burn up. Duh! That, my dear, is simply a math problem. The answer to "why" is not the solution. The more appropriate questions, "how can I do this?", "who can help me", "what can I do differently" and "how can I acquire and sustain a new way to eat and exercise, and then maintain a new weight?" may produce answers that are useful.

"Why don't I finish that course work, take the test, pass it and graduate?" "Because I refuse to give up enough of my precious leisure time, time I spend on the mountain, in the bars, on the internet, phone, and at parties, and do the work." Okay, now you know "why". So? The real issue is "how" can I do it differently and "where" do I find help.

"Why did I get loaded AGAIN!?" "Because I am an addict."

"Why am I an addict?" " Because I use too many drugs." " Because my solution to the problem of life is in one more chemical." Or, "because both of my parents are alcoholic." Or, "because God made me this way." Or, "because I had a crappy childhood." " Maybe I am self-medicating my ADHD." (How's that working for you?). Has "why" helped? I don't think so.

"Why?" Answer: 1. It doesn't matter.

If you want a different way to be, ask different questions.

Try asking, "what, where, how, who can help me change and be the person I am meant to be." Choose a path, take it. If you get the results you are seeking, stay on the pathway. If you don't like the results, choose a different path.

Use your brain, when it is not clouded with drugs, to make reasonable and logical decisions. Get help from someone who knows, preferably someone who has been there. Act on your decisions. Continue to get help to sustain your changes. Surround yourself with people who live the way you want to live. Students, hang with those who study and get the grades you want; join their study group. Druggies, don't go back to your old friends; stick with those you meet in recovery groups. Want better physical health? Find others who are physically healthy and do what they do. Change your playmates and playpens. Eventually the new way of living becomes habit and reflex. Yes, it does, which does not mean you get to become complacent. Continue to pay attention to being the person you want to be. Keep asking "how do I continue?"

If a specific method has worked for others, it may work for you. Students who attend class and do the homework, often pass the course. People who do a little research about food and exercise and eat fewer calories than they burn up usually lose weight. And addicts (including alcoholics) who embrace 12 step groups, read the books and work the steps, have a good chance of recovering from addiction.

One catch is that as spiritual beings, we must include some spiritual component to all, yes all, aspects of our lives. Compartmentalizing does not work. Excluding spirituality from one segment of our life, like work, or drinking or overeating just takes energy and confuses us. If God is God, then He can help with every aspect of our lives.

So, Mr. or Ms. Spiritual, where is your God in all of this? Can you humble yourself and try believing in something bigger than you, perhaps a "Force of the Universe," or "Collective Good" and ask for spiritual guidance? Maybe that guidance will be straight to a human being who can help you.

Dr. Dawn Obrecht is the only MD addiction medicine specialist on the western slope of Colorado. She is a Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and her office is in Steamboat Springs. She teaches a communication course to medical students at the University Of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver info@docdawn.com.


 

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