The Clearer the Vision, the Easier the Decision
By Therapist, Brian Alexander
Are you hungry? We have all asked that question of one another many times in the past and too often have found the conversation that follows to be common.
Yes. I’m hungry.
Where do you want to eat?
I don’t know. Where do you want to eat?
And on and on it goes.
As we breakdown ways we begin to narrow down options for dinner we can surprisingly learn something helpful about recovery. For example, a simple clarifying question, WHAT am I hungry for?, can limit my options and make the decision for dinner simpler. If I decide I want Sushi then I have removed a multitude of options of restaurants and actually made my decision for dinner easier. Now you may be thinking, What does this have to do with recovery? I am glad you asked. Recovery actually begins when we decide we have a need for something we currently don’t have. We look at what we are doing and what it is providing and realize that it isn’t working. In other words, we recognize we are hungry, but are not sure what we are hungry for. We know we want something different but are not sure what it is. Many upon making the initial call for treatment are saying, I am hungry for change. I need to do something different. I need to get clean and sober. The decision to reach out for help becomes easier when we are clear about what we need and begin to understand we need help to get it. The rest of recovery can be as clear if we can answer the question, What do I want from today and tomorrow?
I stumbled upon a principle a few years ago that states, The Clearer the Vision; the Fewer the Options; The Easier the Decision. Having a vision for sober living can be the difference between actually living life or simply being clean and sober. It can be the difference in “white knuckling” sobriety and being excited about sobriety. A vision for life that you develop is the difference in having a destination instead of just an exit. If we can break this quote down it can serve as a guide to stay on the path of recovery.
The Clearer the Vision
This is the answer to the question, “What do you WANT?” and as we begin to develop a vision we are able to see clearer the direction we need to go.
The Fewer the Options
After we can visualize our vision for tomorrow we can take the options put before us and break them into two categories; those that move us closer to our vision and those that drive us further away from our vision.
The Easier the Decision
At this point we have developed a clear vision of what we want and where we want to go. As a result we have limited our options, making decisions less intimidating because all we have to do is make the decision about the option/action/decision/etc. that is put before us that gets us closer to where we want to be.
If we define “recovery” as “all the stuff that now fills the void that addiction once filled” then we can see how having a vision for our lives sets a course in which it makes it easier to ask the question when faced with a decision, Does this fit with my recovery? Does this move me closer to my vision or drive me further away?
The answer to the question, Are you hungry? And if so what do you want? may seem unrelated to recovery. But the answer to that question is much simpler when we take the time to figure out what we WANT. Recovery is the same. Recovery is simpler when we have a clear destination rather than just an exit.