Monday, January 11, 2010


Happy New Year! As this New Year starts, I am excited about this new book I am reading. It is called Blink: the Power of Thinking without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell. The premise of Gladwell’s book is that too often people rely upon their rational, logical, and problem-solving thinking skills to make decisions at the expense of their “intuition”, “gut feeling”, or “inner vibes”. Gladwell tells the story of a man who sold a fake statue to a prestigious museum for $10 million dollars. The museum had their “experts” check it out for authenticity and ruled that it was an original. Later on, however, some of the original experts confided in Gladwell that their initial impression was that the statue was a fake but felt that their initial impression was wrong. In other words, they over thought the obvious and made a costly mistake. Gladwell points out that had they gone with their initial impressions, the museum would not be out $10 million dollars. A very costly mistake indeed!

In recovery circles, there is a common phrase given to those struggling with addiction to use when they feel tempted to use drugs and/or alcohol. It is, quite simply and ironically, “think, think, think!” It is important to understand the wisdom of this 3 word mantra. Every decision is preceded by thoughts. Every thought can influence a decision for good or for bad. The emphasis on thinking is to help the addict be aware of the dialogue that is going on in his or her head right before they use. When practiced consistently, it has been known to stop an oncoming relapse.

In addition, I would add that Malcolm Gladwell’s position that paying attention to our “gut feeling” is just as useful as our logical thinking patterns. So, the next time you think about using and that little voice inside your head says, “You know where this leads. It leads to death. Don’t do it. It’s not worth it and it won’t satisfy.” Listen to that voice! Understand that, just like the statue at the museum, the drugs and alcohol on display in your life are nothing more than a fake. They will rob you blind and leave you “thinking”…what just happened?!?

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