At my older son’s school, kids who do something “bad” are told to “make good choices.” And I figure what’s good for kids is usually good for adults too. So, on that theme, this week’s safe coping strategy is:
List your options. In any situation, you have choices.
When I was trying to get sober on my own, I would always want to choose to not drink. But, I would eventually end up drinking again. I was making the wrong choice. I knew my options and I opted for the easiest, quickest way out: drinking.
I could have told myself a million and one things to remind myself why drinking wasn’t a good idea at that time, or ever. But my brain ignored all that and instead chose to listen to the few justifications I had for drinking again.
This goes for more than your addiction though. You can list options for any situation and make good choices. How to deal with your kids when they misbehave. How to drive safely. How to get along with someone you don’t like. How to think positively in the face of a challenge. And there’s always a choice that will help you deal with the situation in a good way, and a choice where it will end poorly. And the right choices are not always the easiest, but still the choices that need to be made.
We can choose to go through life making wrong turn after wrong turn, but we will find a dead end. If we make the right turns, we can keep on going. We can choose to be miserable and negative, but the road will be tough. If we choose optimism and positivity, we can smooth the way.
Practice listing your options in your daily life, and making good choices will begin to come naturally.