Wednesday, November 21, 2018

I shall do anything... Anything, but what it takes.

Note: This is the first post in our new, exciting #WalkaboutWednesday series.

40 days from today, the year 2018 will come to an end.
Amid the festivities that will take a large part of December, the holidays will thankfully, present an opportunity to look back in retrospection at the past 11 months of this year.

For many, it will go something like this:
I know a man who's been doing some thinking
He's as bitter and cold as the whiskey he's drinking
He's talking 'bout fear, about chances not taken
If you listen to him you can hear his heart breaking
He says "One day you're a boy and the next day you're dead
I wish way back when someone had said..."
- Carolyn Arends, Seize the Day.

Speaking of seizing the day, I have realized that looking back in a bid to find out where we go off the rails isn't as important as looking within (introspection).

For some weeks now, I have been watching a number of TV shows on YouTube that highlight morbid obesity, particularly in the USA and Britain.
In almost all cases, the patients seem very determined to lose weight once they are confronted with the truth about their continued obesity: the risk of heart attack, strokes, diabetes and obviously, an early death.

But as happens in many life situations, the comfort and compelling craving for unhealthy foods and a sedentary lifestyle does overcome that resolve to regain good health.
I have always wondered why someone who repeatedly says "I'll do anything to lose weight..." is just a few days later caught eating unhealthy food.

It was while reading the Personal Stories of people who lost nearly all [PDF, 367KB] thanks to alcoholism that I stumbled upon a hidden truth:
Many people are honestly willing to do anything it takes to effect change. Anything, except what it actually takes.

Consider the following from my favorite story in the A.A. Big Book - Safe Haven:

For starters, the featured A.A. found that the process of discovering who he really was began with knowing who he didn't want to become.

Thanks to not being genuinely willing to do what it took to sober up, he later finds himself in prison for a lengthy, 20 year long sentence, a situation that is both traumatic, humbling and sobering. The beauty of being in prison is that it gives him a second chance at life.

All in all, he realizes he now has both his sanity back and an all-round sense of balance. He is now willing to listen and take suggestions. Much as he cannot go back and make a brand-new start at life, he is in a position to start now and make a brand-new end.

Finally, there is a valuable life lesson in here:
That the power to overcome (in this case the A.A. program and the 12 steps) is much like the power of an airborne airplane - it only works when the pilot is doing the right things to make it work.

* * *

As 2018 comes to a close, it is important to look back at what we were able to achieve and be thankful. For the goals that were not met, it is time to identify what went wrong by conducting a searching and fearless inventory of ourselves.

As for the aspirations we have in 2019 and beyond, it is worth noting that it will take much more than resolve and a strong will.
Nothing will be achieved unless we actually do what it takes.

* * *

There is no better time to effect change or get things done like now. And even better, right now. "But where do I start?"  you wonder. Well, how about here?
Go right ahead and seize the day.


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