The cost of change
“We continue to do the same thing over and over, all the while expecting different results,” was the way he started the conversation.
“Then when nothing has changed in our lives we blame everybody and everything except ourselves, then we go and repeat the same cycle for the umpteenth time.” Eighteen years on the street gave him some good insight.
As we were talking about another person who had slipped once again, it reminded me about a parable from the bible that was so apropos. The story goes like this.
A man paralyzed for thirty-eight years was lying by the side of a pool where every once in a while the water was stirred up by an angel, (An Israeli jet tub; circa 33 AD), and when it was, the first people in the pool were healed. Jesus came along and taking pity on the man came up to him and asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
Every time I read that parable, I always think to myself; want to get well? Duh! Of course I would want to get well, what a question to ask!
In our discussion, it dawned on me that the question was an extremely loaded one that both the recipient of the original question and I did not realize. The paralyzed man, because his focus was only on getting to that pool on time, whereas, mine was influenced by a life where I had become somewhat used to choice without consequence.
It’s almost as if the question should have been, “If you are healed, are you ready to take on the challenges and the changes you will have to make in your life to accommodate the healed you?”
In several of my articles, I have touched on the issue of what happens when a person comes out of Detox or Rehab. In a high percentage of the cases, when a person has finished the program that they chose, they have nowhere to go but right back to the same environment they came out of, thereby greatly increasing the chances of rehab failure.
But every once in a while, a person in their addiction low time for whatever reason, will come to the realization that they have to do more, plan more, and resolve more in order to truly get away from that lifestyle, and that they will have to make many uncomfortable changes to maintain that new lifestyle.
I get really irked when some individuals make comments like, “Just quit the stuff, and things will get better,” or “Just walk away.” Or these same people will withdraw their support when they see a person fail once again.
I smoked for fifty-three years. In the last fifteen years I probably quit or tried to quit twenty times. My wife, my children, and my friends never gave up on me, they encouraged me each and every time that I went through the same stupid cycle; then three years ago, the pressures put on by society, family and friends; as well as the desire to be able to live to see my grandchildren gave me the impetus to finally quit for good.
I had to take on the challenges that a smoke-free life presents including the cravings, but being surrounded by a supportive group of people made the effort more readily attainable and definitely worthwhile.
So, if we ask any person who needs it, “Do you want to get well?” we better be prepared to provide the encouragement and support that a person needs if they indeed do want to be healed; not just for an hour or a day, but for a lifetime, if that is what it takes.
I’m really beginning to see it that way.