Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, an 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992, when he had a year sober. He's in his 28th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he often disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Just do It

A client in aftercare had several things he wanted to do. He wanted a job. He wanted to go back to a former career. He wanted to start working out. He wanted to find someone to sponsor.

"I'm going to try..." He said, hesitation in his voice

"I'm planning to start..." He continued.

"I'm thinking about doing..." He went on.

This client is not unusual his inability to get things done, or to even get started. As group went on I pointed out to him that he needs to change his language. If we insert qualifiers like "going to," "planning on," "thinking about," we're never going to get anything done.

I suggested instead that he make more positive statement if he has something he wants to do. I suggested he try "I'll apply for 10 jobs tomorrow," or "I'm signing up for a class today," or "I’ll find someone to sponsor today."

If we make wishy-washy statements about what we're going to do we'll never get anything done. I'm not sure whether it's fear, lack of confidence, or plain laziness that keeps us from doing the things we want or need to do. And the reality is that if we try something and fail at our attempt what's the worst that can happen? We'll be right back where we were before we made the attempt. Right? And other than having a bruised and battered ego we’ll be ready to make another attempt.

When Thomas Edison was questioned by reporters about how it felt to have failed some 2000 times to invent the light bulb he had a wonderful response.

"Why I didn't fail," he replied. "I just discovered 2000 ways that the light bulb wouldn't work."

Maybe if we apply the same kind of attitude to our own lives we'll get a lot more done.