"Whatever!" - When Our Good Intentions and Optimism Take A Nosedive

"Whatever!" - When Our Good Intentions and Optimism Take A Nosedive

At some point or other in our human existence we all experience some varying degree or intensity of the following thought process:  'whatever', 'I quit', 'I give up', 'f@#$ it', 'I'm done', 'forget about it', 'screw it', 'screw this', or 'I don't care'.

We may retreat into this way of thinking when fighting, trying, or struggling to change a behavior or other aspect of our lives.  

Remember that new, popular diet you tried that lasted a week?  
Or that bad habit (biting your nails, swearing, etc.) that you wanted to stop?  
What about your decision to stop drinking or using other drugs? 

And let's not forget the ever-daunting New Year's Eve resolutions.  When our good intentions, optimism, and efforts begin to take a nosedive, we can easily slide into a way of thinking that ultimately ends our noble pursuits.

The Most Dangerous Thoughts

The most dangerous thoughts, or attitudes if you will, that any human being can contemplate are such as those as listed:  'whatever', 'I quit', 'I give up', 'f@#$ it', 'I'm done', 'forget about it', 'screw it', 'screw this', or 'I don't care'.  Because when you don't care………you really don't care, and this brings an end to recovery efforts or other changes we wanted to make.

It becomes easier to bury, caring about change, under the 'f@#$-its', or to retreat into the 'whatever' mentality, than to continue working towards our goal of change.  Throwing up my hands in surrender to urges, cravings, frustrations or fear can mean the end of sobriety, and ultimately, I end up making decisions that hurt myself or others.  In that state of mind, all of my efforts seem pointless, or all were done for nothing because restoration is a slow process and I want it to all be better now………. that's when hopelessness can settle in.  When I disappoint myself, guilt/shame quickly follow and this, in turn, can drive me deeper into a state of apathy.

Preventing Destructive Thoughts 

Therefore, learning how to prevent this destructive thought pattern is imperative for making change and living a life of recovery.  Thought stopping techniques, cognitive restructuring, 'doing one thing differently', 'eating the elephant one bite at a time', and many more such recovery tools, help us to learn how to take small manageable steps for making measurable progress.  We need to see and feel progress or success in order to keep pursuing changes.

We all have tried multiple times throughout our lives to make changes and more than likely we have all failed to make a change.  For those struggling with addiction to alcohol and other drugs, failure is not an option.  Meaning, the fear of failure prevents some from even trying to stop use despite the ongoing problems, heartbreak, and damage that alcohol and other drugs cause.  If you have ever tried and failed to change anything in your life, especially more than one time, you probably have experienced hesitancy to try again.  Usually, this comes from a place of 'fear of failure'.

It's Time To Combat Fear 

To combat a fear of failure and thus to prevent apathy regarding making a change it is helpful to learn how to fail well.  The concept of 'Fail Well' basically is the old saying, 'when you fall off the horse, get back on'.  There is not a person alive who hasn't fallen off the horse called Change.  Furthermore, most have fallen or failed to attempt to change the same behavior, over and over.  Yes, it would be great if we could get it the first time but valuable lessons are often learned through repetitive efforts.  If failure is unacceptable to you, put yourself in the shoes of an inventor.  Inventing is a process of finding a thousand ways something doesn't work before landing on the way that does (I believe some famous inventor said that once).  If we really knew the absolute best way to make a change, we probably were already doing it the way that works for us.

Fail Well 

When we learn to Fail Well, we can find the lesson, learn what does and doesn't work.  That does NOT make us a failure.  I would caution you, however, do not go it alone.  You need support, encouragement, having a noisy cheerleader by your side that will have your back no matter what.   But you also need a plan, a recovery plan that brings you success with your efforts.  Putting an end to the hold of alcohol and other drugs on your life is not just a matter of stopping the use.  Anyone quit, it's the staying quit that is the hard part.   Saturate your life and mind with things that provide you the opportunity for success.  Stay in treatment and therapy until you have the tools you need for each day of your recovery.  There is no 'one size fits all' in recovery, no magic pill, no cure, no willpower that is strong enough, no pseudo-legal substance that can replace what you really want.

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What Therapy Can Do

Recovery is a total change of everything, including your thinking and behaviors.   Anyone who has a problem with alcohol and other drugs can tell you that it is a no-brainer to change people, places, and things in recovery, but what often is not changed is the thinking. It is that lack of change that often leads to relapse.   Learning to change the way we think is difficult at times but completely doable. Therapy can help you through the process of changing your thinking in a safe environment where there is no judgment, no recriminations with a lot of encouragement and validation.   You can begin to work through and heal all of those parts of your past that have kept you in that dark place for so long.

Conclusion 

I know, just thinking about having to go there, can cause fear, and will make you not want to even try, but what has kept you in your addiction and prevented your efforts of trying to change from succeeding are those things that often you have buried deep down inside. Addressing and resolving these issues in counseling can bring you to a place of peace that alcohol and other drugs will never give you. You can learn the tools needed to change your life so you never have to retreat back under:'whatever', 'I quit', 'I give up', 'f@#$ it', 'I'm done', 'forget about it', 'screw it', 'screw this', or 'I don't care'.
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Comments 3

Carol on Jan 19th, 2021

These thoughts, from Dr. Machlan, bless me.

"But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior... ". Titus 3:4-6

These thoughts, from Dr. Machlan, bless me. "But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior... ". Titus 3:4-6
Sally on Jan 17th, 2021

Doctor Machlan,
This is my first exposure to your website, your presentation of yourself, Individual Therapy list from A to T and your writings regarding "When Our Good Intentions and Optimism Take A Nose Dive WHATEVER!"
Thank you!
Your awareness of that state of being in such a deep state of self loathing, for WHATEVER reason, to the Point of "trying to NOT care" is startling!
Have you lived that many lives or have you done your homework that well?
The Ph.D. allows that this knowledge could be purely academic. The way you express yourself assures me that you are not supporting us potential clients "academically"!
What a heart you have to acknowledge where we are, not leaving us there and beckoning us to let you co-labor constructively to resolution.
Thank you!
You extend HOPE where there has not been any, a lifetime , a lifesaver to health, peace, renewed mind, truly a lifestyle change for LIFE!

Doctor Machlan, This is my first exposure to your website, your presentation of yourself, Individual Therapy list from A to T and your writings regarding "When Our Good Intentions and Optimism Take A Nose Dive WHATEVER!" Thank you! Your awareness of that state of being in such a deep state of self loathing, for WHATEVER reason, to the Point of "trying to NOT care" is startling! Have you lived that many lives or have you done your homework that well? The Ph.D. allows that this knowledge could be purely academic. The way you express yourself assures me that you are not supporting us potential clients "academically"! What a heart you have to acknowledge where we are, not leaving us there and beckoning us to let you co-labor constructively to resolution. Thank you! You extend HOPE where there has not been any, a lifetime , a lifesaver to health, peace, renewed mind, truly a lifestyle change for LIFE!
Bobbie on Dec 22nd, 2020

This blog post is so life giving, encouraging and strength giving. I especially like the line, "There is not a person alive who hasn't fallen off the horse called Change."

It's so good to hear that I'm not the only one who struggles. This is strength giving in itself.

This blog post is so life giving, encouraging and strength giving. I especially like the line, "There is not a person alive who hasn't fallen off the horse called Change." It's so good to hear that I'm not the only one who struggles. This is strength giving in itself.
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