Useful Bits of Advice

Being Tortured Is A Choice

Pain-Is-Inevitable-Suffering-Is-OptionalI’m a glutton for punishment.  At least I used to be.  Looking back at how I handled many of the trials and tribulations in my life, I can honestly say I chose to be tortured.  I don’t think I necessarily made those decisions on purpose.  But suffering was the path I embraced.

Its hard to stay even keel when going through tough times. Especially when it feels like there are life altering, negative implications.  I know it’s a hackneyed platitude, but sometimes It’s hard to see the forest for the trees.

However, there are ways to utilize these arduous events as springboards to something positive in life.  Looking at my own life I find this to be true.  Out of every tragedy (or what I perceived as tragedy at the time) there has always been a lesson to learn and an opportunity to make my life better in some facet.

There have been times where I felt my world would end.  For example, two years ago I had to stop using steroids, give up my very lucrative illegitimate business and move away from the place I had called home for many years to start a new life.  I had to change everything I had known for the past decade (for better or worse) and become someone I had no understanding of.

I didn’t know what life would look like for me without the facade of who I had become.  It was the most uncomfortable time in my life.  At least it felt like it was at that point.  Today I realize it was a minor bump in the road.  I had previously survived adversity that felt like the death of “me” many times.

The results stemming from my behavior snowballed into more torture for myself.  I lost my relationship and the family setting I had so desperately wanted.  I ended up relapsing back into my opiate addiction.  I even debated making the ultimate mistake, committing suicide.

I chose to be miserable and create pain and suffering for myself.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but that’s what I was doing.  I had options, a multitude of them in fact.  However, I didn’t recognize them as such.  I was too focused on what I perceived I had lost.

I was unable to be observant of my environment.  I couldn’t focus on what my life could look like in the future.  I did’t understand that I could choose to be happy in that moment if I kept a level head and reminded myself that what I was going through would pass.

Learning to step back from my own situation and applying a less emotionally charged perspective has taken a tremendous amount of time and practice.  Quite often I fail at this.  Its like anything else, it takes a lot of reps to build that mental muscle.

We all have choices in our lives every day.  From the simplest choices like what we eat and what we wear.  To the most difficult choices of what we think about and allow into our lives.  There’s a quote I used to hear in AA when members would discuss the recovery process.  They would say “its simple, but its not easy”  The same holds true for how we choose to view adversity.

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