Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

As I write this article, it is the Tuesday following Memorial Day weekend.  Perhaps you joined family and friends in celebrating with gratitude the freedoms we have in America because of those who serve in our Armed Forces.  Memorial Day is a great opportunity to re-orient our perspective about how we live in light of where we live. 

Perspective is important in life for several reasons.  First, reality is not always what we think it is.  We have a way of seeing things in a skewed direction usually in our favor and against others.  Second, right perspective helps us to ascertain the best plan for moving ahead.  Last, perspective can be a game changer, especially in the life of an addict/alcoholic.

When a person begins using drugs and alcohol, they usually are uncomfortable with some sort of aspect of reality that does not fit their perspective.  For example, a girl breaks up with her boyfriend.  In the depths of despair, he decides to shoot heroin because the loneliness feels too overwhelming.  Reality is that the loneliness is not overwhelming and will pass given enough time.  

If, on the other hand, the heroin addicts’ girlfriend breaks up with him and he is aware of his gnawing loneliness, the right perspective would lead him to call a friend or sponsor to talk about it and not shoot up heroin.  The right perspective (I will get past this break-up and these lonely feelings) will lead to the best plan for moving ahead (I will call a friend so my sobriety is not endangered).

In the wake of the break-up, the heroin addict may realize that this is an opportunity for personal growth and exploration.  He might ask such questions as:  Why did this happen?  What was my part in this failed relationship?  What type of person do I want to date in the future?  What type of person do I want to be for my future significant other?   What do I do with these uncomfortable feelings?  

As we continue living our lives this week, let us take a hint from our Memorial Day weekend observances.  Life can be difficult.  Life can be tough.  The right perspective is important and can be a game changer.  After all, not getting hit by artillery would be a great birthday present for me, at least, from my perspective!

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