I Choose… Growth (by Julie Hryniewicz)

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I happened to witness a very loud and domestic argument that was taking place between a couple on the street. There were obviously some mood altering substances involved and I was lingering nearby, just in case it got physically violent. Although they had to know that people could hear them, as it was in the middle of a busy area, they obviously needed to vent the issue that erupted into a crisis and it got extremely heated.

The only thing that I could make out clearly was that one of the individuals screamed at the top of their lungs, ‘You’re high all the time!” It reminded me of the realization that so many people are dealing with various substance abuse and addictions issues and none of us are exempt. Addictions can destroy families, cause good people to turn into someone they are not and lead many relationships to suffer under trust issues, shame, stress, depression, anxiety, fear, financial hardship, sadness and loneliness.

All I know is that we all have a choice if we want to continue allowing theses external stimuli, crutches and substances to drive everyone else away or if we want to grow, get help, change, improve and take steps in the right direction, towards healing, self-development and inner peace. Addictions can plague us when we are trying to bury past traumas, when we are dealing with critical stress events, when we are feeling insecure for any reason, when we are suffering with situations where we cannot see a solution or when we have developed unhealthy habits that we are unable to shake.

I actually dropped my chocolate signs in a donation bin this past week and decided that although I will likely still use comfort food to soothe my weary mood, it is best that I don’t have constant reminders of how weak I am. My signs said, ‘I’d give up chocolate, but I’m no quitter’ and ‘Will work for chocolate’. My family members always know exactly how to instantly get me out of a negative funk and coax me with chocolate, but being that vulnerable to such a stimulant has never helped my waistline. Although I have temporarily moved on to Pop Tarts as my quick fix, at least they are located in the breakfast aisle.

Addictions, bad habits and vices are normal for most of us; however, at some point when they are interfering with our health, our relationships, our work, our finances, our goals or our family, it is no longer possible to ignore the negative impact.

At some point, we have to take 100% responsibility for making things better. At some point, we have to take a stand for our life and our future and commit to the decision that we will take the massive action necessary to heal. At some point, we can no longer blame anyone else for our troubles because there are so many resources, people who care and opportunities to get the help needed.

I know that food has always been my weak link. Food makes me happy. Food fills me up physically. Food causes me to momentarily forget the stress, drama or pain that I am feeling. Food gives me a temporary high until the medium, Dairy Queen, Skor Blizzard with extra Skor wears off. Then, I must face the reality of the situation at hand. I must address whatever is causing me sorrow. I must decide that my life, my health and my loved ones are worth the ongoing, difficult, long-term work that it will take to heal.

If you are like me, personal growth is a forever job. Growth is a committed decision to live better, year after year, month after month, day after day and hour after hour. Grow is declaring that one step at a time we are moving closer to where we want to be, instead of backsliding, sabotaging and building barriers between ourselves and our best life. I choose constant personal growth because if I have the ability to change it, why would I choose to stay stuck?

We are all a work in progress. We all need maintenance, repair, work and TLC. We also all need other people to get there. If we decide not to do anything different, what are we prepared to lose?

What is your vice? What action will you take this week? No one else can do this for you; you are the only one who can make this happen. What are you waiting for? What could you imagine for your life if you were to kick this vice (or vices) in the ass, for good this time? On that note, I am off to have an apple.

‘Addiction is the only prison where the locks are on the inside.’ ~ Author Unknown

Here is the link to the 211 Ontario North online resource. Their motto is, ‘When you don’t know where to turn’: http://search.211north.ca

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