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Why, do I keep doing this?

Arguably one of the most frequently asked questions I see on social media and in the sober community is, "Why do I keep doing this?" Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, the answer is actually quite simple. I say fortunately because, lucky for us, the answer to this riddle is not lost in some mysterious enigma like we are so often told. No, the answer to this riddle is right there in front of us every single day. I say unfortunately because, unless we are open to and ready for it, what is right in front of us may not always be as apparent as we would like. In fact, more often than not, we tend to look past what is right in front of us because we are too busy trying to figure out our past or our future to pay any attention to where we are currently. While our past may play a role in our daily decision-making, the most effective choices we make are generally made from the present. Yes, what happened yesterday affects how I see what is happening today. So does my perception of the future. But, today, I can choose to see the present in any way I want. It is up to me and it is up to you.

Why do I keep doing this? What? Why do I keep doing what? This is the part of the question I need to answer before unraveling this not-so-curious riddle. Do I mean, why do I keep dumping poison down my throat? Why do I keep lying about my mistakes? Why do I keep hurting people I love. Why do I keep destroying my mind and body? Why do I keep putting myself in situations of regret? Why do I keep sabotaging myself? Why do I keep acting like I am powerless? Why do I keep leaning on this crutch of self-pity? Why? Well, before we dig any deeper into this question, let's first define what the word why really means. Why: an adverb, for what cause or reason (dictionary.com). The first thing that comes to my mind when reading this definition is it is an adverb meaning, it describes a verb. So, looking at the above list of things I keep doing, I first have to pull out the verbs:


dump, lie, hurt, destroy, sabotage, act, lean.


The next thing I need to do is reflect on each one of those words for a moment. What do they mean? What action am I engaging in? What physical activity is occurring? Once I have a good idea of how I am enacting each one of the above verbs, I then need to ask myself this one very simple, yet potentially painful question: "of the above verbs, which of them do I NOT have a choice in doing?" Yes, as I said before, the question might feel quite painful. The answer even more so. Regardless, the question has to be asked and the question has to be answered before I can truly understand why I keep doing whatever it is I am doing.


The reality, however, is we do have the power, it is our fault, and it is up to us alone to acknowledge, fix and repair the damage we have caused


.I think there is some misconception about our addictions, in that, we want to place the ownness of our problem on something or someone else. We want to believe it isn't our fault or we have no ability to fix the problems we have created. It makes sense, on some level; it is easier to say I am powerless, I don't have any control, I cannot change, or it's not my fault. The reality, however, is we do have the power, it is our fault, and it is up to us alone to acknowledge, fix and repair the damage we have caused. There is no easier fix, there is no shortcut, there is only the reality we are left with after creating our current reality. While I am sure I am ruffling a few feathers on the backs of those who adhere to the powerless way of thinking, I believe we are the only ones who can make the necessary changes to achieve successful and even easy sobriety. Keep in mind, these are only my beliefs and we all have the right to believe whatever we want. If my beliefs do not work for you, find what does. That is the entire point.


Here is the problem I have with saying I am powerless. When I say I am powerless to my addiction, what I am essentially saying is, if I fall, it's not my fault because I am powerless. I don't know about you, but I personally cannot leave a door that wide open. As a species, we are hardwired to avoid conflict, to find the easiest routes, to survive by whatever means possible. So, if I believe I can fall and place the blame on someone or something else, I will. It's easier. Or, at least that is what I will tell myself when living with a mindset built on limitations. The truth is, there is nothing harder than giving myself permission to fail. There is nothing harder than starting over, again and again. There is nothing harder than believing I am powerless. I am not powerless. I am, in fact, incredibly powerful and amazing, and so are you. We can do anything we want to do. I never really believed that until I quit drinking, nicotine, and other destructive behaviors. Instead of giving myself an out, I choose to give myself a choice, and I choose to live well every, single, day.


There is nothing stronger than choice because, in order to choose, we have to have a reason,

and our reasons drive our motivation to succeed


What if I changed my perception of the above question. What if I asked myself, why do I keep doing this to myself, in regard to sobriety? Because I choose to. I choose to live a healthier life. I choose to live stronger. I choose to live better. I choose to remember. I choose to forgive. I choose to believe. I choose to give back. I choose to help. I choose to live alcohol-free. I choose myself and I choose everyone around me. Sobriety is a choice, too. And when chosen with clear intentions it is much stronger than when it is simply endured out of necessity or from a place of impotence. There is nothing stronger than choice because, in order to choose, we have to have a reason, and our reasons drive our motivation to succeed. Take the wheel, ease down on the gas peddle, and give yourself permission to travel down the road toward the life of your dreams.


It is time to stop asking ourselves why we keep doing the things we do not want to do.


It is time to start telling ourselves why we choose to live.


And then, it is time to go start living the life we choose.

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