Tools for Self-Help

Do you talk about your problems but fail to change?

Change Takes WorkYou may hear us say that in order to get better you’d better do the ABCs and Dispute your irrational Beliefs. But, you don’t. Instead, you talk about your problems, or just listen to others, and fail to change. That’s because little change occurs through “getting it out” and gaining in awareness. Most gain occurs through work.

Consider this. What would you think of a lady who wants to increase her athletic abilities, and she reads books about it, talks things over with a personal trainer, and then does nothing with what she’s learned? Would that work? You know it wouldn’t.

Then, let’s think further. Why do you hesitate to do the ABCs and Dispute your irrational thinking?

Maybe it’s because you like the socialization that occurs at SMART meetings, and you’ve decided only to have fun with the discussions and not to work on your problems? You can do both, can’t you? You can have fun at meetings and work at improving your life outside the group. Then you have more long term fun, can solve your problems better, and eventually become more independent from the group.

Maybe you hesitate because you think that change should be easy, and, if it isn’t, you can’t do it. Well, challenge these beliefs. Where’s the evidence it has to be easy? Prove that you can’t do it if it’s hard. Of course, you can’t. Actually, even though it is hard, you can do it an improve considerably.

Maybe you hesitate because you believe you have to do things perfectly well, and if you do poorly with the ABCs you’ll be a louse. Fortunately, you’ll never prove that to be true. So recognize that you do not have to be perfect and that doing better is good even though it’s not perfect. Focus on doing, not on doing perfectly well. Instead of hesitating at working on yourself, consider that idea that you come to meetings to deal with problems you’re having with your life and to gain more happiness.

The group will not do some of the most important work to be done. That’s for you to do. So, get started. Push yourself and overcome your inertia.

The best time is now. So do it!

This article was adapted from the Three Minute Therapy column by Dr. Phillip Tate, SMART Recovery® News & Views.

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