Stop the world; I want to get off! This is the title of a musical I did when I was eighteen. Many years later, however, the title remains very meaningful. Dealing with emotional, drug or alcohol issues can be so overwhelming that we may dream of stopping the world just so we can catch our breath or gather our thoughts. It’s clear however, that stopping the world is impossible. We may have tried moving or going on a trip to put the world on hold, if only temporarily. The trouble is, our thoughts, feelings and behaviors come with us. We don’t know how to stop drinking, using, overworking, overeating, or a number of other destructive behaviors. You know, “wherever you go, there you are”? With this knowledge, our reality can seem hopeless. How will it ever change?
For many, going to treatment is not easy. There are things to do, people who rely on us, fears that there is no other way to live or that we aren’t capable of change. Whatever the fear, we are well served to ask ourselves this: “We’ve tried it other ways and it isn’t working. Why not try a new way?” In looking at life as a whole, the time spent in treatment is the blink of an eye. What is thirty, sixty, ninety days in comparison with the rest of life?
With this attitude treatment gives us the opportunity to not only hit the pause button but to learn new ways of thinking and acting so that when we press play again, we have learned new tools. It gives us the safety, time and freedom to get to the bottom of why we continue to engage in harmful behavior. We don’t have to go back to an old way that doesn’t work. Able to choose new ways of living, our lives become manageable and even joyful. We may not be able to stop the world but treatment gives us the next best thing, a chance to press reset.