Make Good Choices

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 theĀ 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.

You Write Your Story

I returned home from my second stay at my rehab house on Saturday afternoon, and I feel like I’m on the precipice of a new beginning. There’s a lot of possibility standing right in front of me this time. Freedom to explore new activities, new places, new parts of my personality. So, for this week I have chosen this safe coping strategy:

Create a new story. You are the author of your life.

This is just all-around great advice for anyone, any walk of life, facing any adversity. Our lives are what we make of them. We make our own choices, and as a result of those choices, we create our stories.

Some choices are small: paper or plastic? one cup of coffee or two? soup or salad? get up or hit snooze?

Some choices are big: take the new job? move to the new city? have a baby? go back to school?

But, big or small, every choice we make has some sort of effect on our lives, and changes the outcome of our individual stories.

It’s an important thing to remember when you are in recovery. The choices you make today affect the outcome of tomorrow. You have to remember your goals, and the things you’d like to have happen to you in life, and the way you’d like your life to turn out.

If you have a moment where you’re doubting yourself, maybe you’ve been exposed to a trigger or maybe you’re just having a craving, focus on the story you’re attempting to write for yourself. If you give in and use, what does that do to your story? What are the possible (probable) outcomes for the choices that lay in front of you?

If you take even just a ten second break to really think about what you’re feeling and what’s going on inside of your head, you will likely choose the right path. We all want our story to be a good one, to turn out the way that makes not only us, but all of our loved ones, have a long, prosperous, happy story to tell people later.

And most importantly, no one else can write your story. That’s all up to you. Take the time to consider your options and make the choices that will benefit you the most in the end. We can all have a great story if we stay strong and focused on our goals.