I was talking to someone yesterday. He recently celebrated 18 months clean and sober. He told me that - sitting in jail - he, as so many addicts do, began to re-evaluate his life.
He said that he had lost all hope. He knew with absolute certainty that he was going to “be a junkie the rest of my life”. He knew of others who had gotten clean. He knew that there were programs and opportunities. But he also knew that they would not work for him.
And yet, some how, some way, he worked his way through the darkness and today does not just revel in the reality that he now has been clean for 18 months - when he hadn’t put 18 HOURS together in the past - but he is now certain that he can be clean the rest of his life.
Why does this miracle happen for some and not for others? He goes to Narcotics Anonymous meetings and tries to share his “experience, strength and hope” with others, knowing that there are those out there who feel as hopeless as he did at one time.
I could identify with this so strongly. I knew there were people out there who were obese and had lost weight. I knew that there were ways to change the trajectory of where I was going. I knew this intellectually but didn’t believe it.
I was absolutely certain that I would be fat my whole life. I knew that it was not in me to change. I didn’t have the willpower or the internal strength. This was my destiny. To be fat and, like my father, to die young.
So, what happened? How did I find the hope that things could be different? How did I take those first steps? Because without hope, there is no action. I wish that there was an easy answer to this - a three word phrase that could make it all make sense.
I suppose that for some people a radical lifestyle changes comes with making drastic changes immediately. But for me, it was the little steps. I didn’t believe that I could lose 200 + pounds. But I did believe that if I wanted to, I could stop drinking Mountain Dew. So I did that. And dropped a few pounds.
I didn’t ever think in a MILLION YEARS that I could run 13 miles. But I knew that I could take the dogs for a slow three mile walk.
Success breeds success. Change doesn’t have to come all at once. You don’t have to have 100% confidence in yourself. But can you find little things, small decisions you can make to achieve your goals?
If it can happen for me, it can certainly happen for anyone.