Driving is the mosh pit of the ghetto. Being strapped in a car on those rickety streets is like being hand-cuffed in the center of a crowd during a never-ending breakdown. They toss out potholes like fliers that lay scattered about after a show. They handed the chalk to the drunk and let him draw the lane markers.
Maybe they do this to toughen you up, so when you get out of your car, you aren’t so scared. Whatever the reason, it didn’t work on me. When I got to Josh’s house, I was shaking in my boots.
This was my first meeting with my 12 step sponsor, and I was afraid.
Not because of the ghetto neighborhood I had to navigate through. Not because of the dudes selling drugs on the corner. Not because of the shady walk to his door. I was scared because of something else.
He led me to his living room where the enormity of his TV mocked me, and his couch swallowed me whole when I sat down in it. I felt my fear grip me as if the arms of the sofa had wrapped around my chest. Each breath got caught before it could fully expand, and each breath shot another jolt of anxiety through my body. But there was no undoing it now. I couldn’t leave even if I tried. I felt like a hostage.
He opened us in prayer which gave me some time to exhale some of my panic. But as the meeting progressed, I couldn’t shake the question my fear had been nagging me to ask. It felt silly and almost childish when it fell out of my lips, but I asked anyways:
“Does this 12 step thing work for everyone?”
Even when he answered, I had already made some kind of subconscious decision that I was going to be the one person it didn’t work for. I was going to be an addict forever. I was going to stay stuck. And any time I had success, that thought choked me out just like his couch did, and I started to anticipate when I would be disappointed next because I believed I was doomed to fail.
These negative thoughts we either consciously or subconsciously agree with keep us stuck. It’s like our bodies won’t let us do what our minds don’t believe. And if we think that we’re going to stay addicted, that we’re worthless, that we’re fat, that we’re trouble-makers, that we’re depressed, that we’re failures, that we can’t, that we’re not good enough, that we’re nothing, then we make it a whole heck of a lot harder on ourselves to change that. (I shared another personal story with my own negative thoughts and explained more about why they keep us stuck here.)
The good news is that your negative thoughts don’t have to keep you stuck! But you have to start doing something different:
PRACTICE BELIEVING in the reality you want as if it’s already happened.
If you want to stop masturbating, tell yourself something like, “I’m 10-years free from masturbation. I don’t even remember what it’s like to want to masturbate because it’s been 3,700 days since I did it last. My deepest desire is purity, and I make daily decisions to uphold that.”
Here’s how you create those kinds of beliefs:
- Imagine whatever it is in your life that’s keeping you stuck. Whether it’s doubts or depression or anxiety or masturbation or self-worth or anger or failing classes or drugs or alcohol or sex or porn.
- Let all of those things go as you re-imagine what your life would be like as you live life to the FULL–ten out of ten!
- Write down some words that describe that reality, and change those into present-tense statements that describe you as if you were living at a ten out of ten right now. (Instead of writing “I could be” or “I will be”, write “I AM”…)
- Say it out loud when you wake up. Say it out loud when you get tempted to believe or do otherwise. Say it out loud when you go to bed.
- Make the decision that you’re going to practice believing this.
- Develop a discipline of actively believing that you can. Because that’s the truth. It’s OKAY if you don’t believe it yet! Remember…it takes practice.
How can you overcome your addiction or your hangup or your habit if you don’t actually believe it’s possible for you? It is. Practice believing it. Let your new positive thoughts drive you in the direction you want to be going because they will help you get unstuck and help you live that ten-out-of-ten life you imagined.
You can do this. I believe in you. We believe in you.
What negative thought are you trying to overcome? Share with us in the comment section below.
Note: this isn’t ‘fake it till you make it’. Rather, this is accepting that you’re God’s masterpiece. He spent the beginning of eternity thinking of how best to make you. And when He did, He didn’t screw up or short-stack you. He created you with uniqueness and strength and purpose that only you have. No one else that ever was or is or will be could be or do you better than you can. And when He was done creating you, He said, “This is it! I couldn’t do any better than this. I wouldn’t change a single thing. It’s the best I could have done. This is my masterpiece.” You already have everything it takes and everything you need. You just have to believe it, and you’ll watch yourself begin to do what you thought was impossible. You got this.