All forms of therapy require action to be effective. Without action, there’s only talking. Talking alone doesn’t change behaviors. True behavior modification is done through repeated action.
Addiction is a form of behavior modification.
We did the same thing over and over until we got very good at it. What we got good at was destroying ourselves with the repeated use of drugs and alcohol. Our behaviors changed along the way. Some of us became thieves. Most of us became liars. A good majority of us became incapable of handling day to day responsibilities like jobs and families.
The solution to addiction is repeated action in recovery.
No matter what path we choose for our recovery, it will require action to change our lives. We must take our talking and writing, and put our good intentions into action. Instead of merely talking about honesty, we must practice honesty. We can write pages about our past, but we have to then do things differently in the present. Otherwise, all the talking and writing is for nothing. We can’t just talk about our problems. We have to do something about them.
The key word is DO.
The more we do, the less we have to talk. Talking is reserved for planning what we’re going to do. Then we do and keep doing until we’ve changed our behaviors. Along the way, we can talk about what worked and what didn’t. We take our information, go back out into life and practice doing things differently. There’s not much reason to talk unless we’re going to take action based on our talks.
Motivation is not required to take action.
We don’t need to WANT to do it. We just need to do it. If we wait around for motivation, the action will probably never occur. We’ll start finding all the reasons why we can procrastinate or avoid it entirely. Necessary action can be inconvenient, uncomfortable, or difficult. It’s still necessary. None of the unsavory qualifiers take away the value of action. In fact, things that are inconvenient, uncomfortable, or difficult can be the most valuable things to experience. They teach us how to handle those (inevitable) situations in the future. Avoiding those things only makes us less capable and stuck in misery.
Delayed gratification can be learned.
The courage and motivation usually happen AFTER we take necessary action. That’s also known as delayed gratification. We don’t get our emotional reward until after we put in the work to earn it. This is counter to addiction, which teaches us to scheme and lie to get our way and to avoid difficult situations. Recovery is about honestly doing what is right, whether it’s difficult or not.
Take action today. Start right now. It might be hard, AND you can still do it.