After a relatively recent split up that took me by complete shock (as I had no idea anything was wrong – typical man!) I was left completely numb, I felt nothing and thoughts seemed to vanish as I was in disbelief. But after a few days the thoughts and feelings started to creep back in and then take over. The barrage of emotions and memories was relentless. The pain was real, and far more than I’d experienced before. I quickly realised dealing with change is incredibly difficult.
I started drinking. Doing anything to find a way to get some sleep. I wasn’t previously a big drinker, for me it would be the occasional beer with a movie or the odd party once a year where I would have a little too much and throw caution to the wind.
But I’d started having a glass of Southern Comfort every night in order to get a couple hours sleep, only to wake up and spend the rest of the night thinking. This quickly moved into two glasses… and when I thought three glasses was probably too much, I just had two bigger glasses.
For two weeks I had drunk myself to sleep – not in a ‘passing out’ way, but more in a controlled way in order to just have that few hours of shuteye that I desperately needed – I was so tired emotionally, completely drained, and to function with all the constant thinking I was doing had become impossible.
One night, a thought came on like a switch in my head. “What the hell am I doing? I am going down a road that I don’t want to be on.” I knew what was going to be at the end of that particular road, and it was not something I ever thought I would do, but I’d found myself on it anyway. In that moment, everything changed.
I struggled to get to sleep that night; the thoughts of shame, guilt, jealousy, envy and fear all went around in my mind one after the other. Yes I was still angry, still sad, I was still hurting desperately and didn’t know how to get out of it. But I knew drinking was not the answer. I had to find an alternative.
Change occurs in a moment; it occurs when you decide to do something different. When you say ‘I have had enough.’ When you decide that you have suffered too much already and you are not going to make yourself suffer anymore. That is when change occurs. Not in the months or years of training and exercise and reading and actually doing something different.
Change happens in that moment when you decide you’ve had enough.
Decide what you’ve had enough of and make a conscious decision to change it. Make a decision and stick to it. Decide right now what part of your life you’ve had enough of, and then do something about it. I gave up smoking the same way, I stopped myself developing a potential drinking problem the same way, and I also eat a lot healthier by making similar choices.
That night when I decided I’d had enough, I started to read books. It was the only way I could block the thoughts that I wasn’t ready to deal with. The very first book I read was ‘As A Man Thinketh’ by James Allen, as it was free on my iPad. A book most people could finish in a couple of hours took me several weeks because I hadn’t read much beyond the newspaper headlines since I was diagnosed dyslexic at age six. It was an uphill struggle, but I persevered. Now reading has enriched my life with so much knowledge, wisdom and vertical growth.
So from a really painful, emotional and low part in my life I had to make a decision: either drink myself into some hole that would’ve been so much harder to get out of, or do something different. The real change didn’t occur in the months and years after that night, the change occurred in that moment that I decided ‘no more’.
It is for these reasons that I have learnt to love the bad times and not just good times. The bad times give us the nudge and the resolve we need to make these kinds of changes, they enable us to grow and become something from inside ourselves. Something more than we already are.
Life isn’t about what you’re going to do next month, it is about the decisions you make today. The decisions you make right now. If you don’t like something in your life, if you’re fed up with something then make a decision to do something about it. Loads of people think about changing or making progress every day, but many of them don’t ever do it.
Massive change is done in an instant, and lasts a lifetime.
- Decide what you’ve had enough of.
- Decide what you will replace it with. Replacing is far easier than giving something up.
- Write it down, stick it on post-it notes around the house and in your diary.
- Stop and notice how amazing you feel every time you act upon it.
What are you going to change? Let me know!