As kids, most of us watched The Wizard of Oz. We remember the lion, how he pretended to be fierce when really, he was a coward. He knew he needed to be braver but didn’t know how. What he did know, though, was that he needed courage. Due to this, he went along with some friends to ask the wizard for courage.
We can be a bit like the “cowardly lion” ourselves, roaring through life, pretending to have all the answers, and pretending to be comfortable with who we are. However, what we desire most is the courage to change. What we don’t tell people is that we lack the courage to make changes in our life; that would show vulnerability and expose our weaknesses.
Life is not a movie, and there are times when change is necessary. Finding the courage to take that critical step is essential. We don’t need to have the answers to everything when we start our journey. We just need to place one foot in front of the other to begin.
In life, we are often called to do something outside our comfort zone, provoking anxiety, and causing distress. In these moments, our natural desire is to avoid the situation or at least put off what should be done. The problem with procrastination is that we never challenge our fears. We never allow ourselves the opportunity to rewrite whatever narrative we have around that fear; therefore, the outcome remains unchanged.
In terms of addiction and rehabilitation, even when we know we want to change, the uncertainty surrounding what life without relying on substances might look like can make us think twice about getting help. When we talk to others about changing, we might edge around the topic, avoiding a commitment to any action. We may barely be heard at all.
The Quest for Courage
The following 5 suggestions may help you discover the emotional courage you need to make critical decisions in your journey to living addiction free.
- Don’t overthink. When you overthink, your mind creates problems and demands answers. Overthinking keeps you glued to one place. Accept that it is okay to not have all the answers. When your brain asks twenty questions, answer one or two, and leave it at that.
- Don’t focus on the big stuff. If you want to enter detox and rehabilitation, concentrate on finding the best program that best meets your needs. Don’t think about what will happen when you get there. When we focus on things beyond our control, we begin to overthink things, which then leads us back to asking for answers to twenty questions.
- Commit and stick to it. By creating accountability, we are more likely to push ourselves further out of our comfort zones than we would have done if we kept our plans to ourselves. Announcing our intention about attending rehab sets expectations from others. This is understandable because they want the best for us. While we don’t want the pressure from others to pile onto us, telling those we trust about our decision may provide the support we need before entering rehab.
- Imagine how your life will look in the future. Seeking help for addiction is a huge step. Think about the ways your life might improve if you deal with issues in a healthy way. Make a list of things you could see changing for the better. Get excited about it, and use that momentum to make the call and take the next step.
- Make two lists. List all the things you imagine could go wrong, such as the negative things people might say about you on learning of your addiction. Now take that list and tear it up; as you do so, tell yourself you are at this moment banishing all such negativity from your brain! Now make a list of everything you believe will go right, the positive comments people will say when they learn you are taking responsibility and getting help for your substance abuse.
Remember that the small actions we take each day can help us challenge the past, rewrite our narratives, and give us courage. Do you remember the lion from The Wizard of Oz? No one could give him courage; it was there all along. Like most of us, he had to find it first.
The problem with procrastination is that we never feel the need to challenge our fear. We never give ourselves the opportunity to rewrite the narrative we have written regarding that fear. Therefore, the outcome remains unchanged. Fear steals our courage, making change impossible. Challenging our fears with emotional courage is an essential step in supporting long term addiction recovery. Surrounded by the Rocky Mountains’ inspiring landscape, the Detox Center of Colorado offers a solution-based transitional residence program aimed at accountability and recovery. Call the Detox Center of Colorado at (303) 952-5035.