Thursday, March 14, 2019

The Elephant in the Room

When there’s an elephant in the room, we tend to carry on as though the elephant doesn’t exist.  We walk with him. We walk around him.  We make adjustments to accommodate him.  Often we never bother to do anything about him when he stands in the way of reaching our goals, dreams, and aspirations.

The elephant in the room is our addiction.  The list is long.  The website, Healthy Place, provides extensive articles on all addictions, from alcoholism and drug addictions to gaming disorders, and yes, even shopping.  The website’s purpose is to help us learn about addiction symptoms, causes, treatments and the struggles of living with an addiction.

The conversation is a tough one.  “What stops you from doing what you want to do?”  Often the reasons are anything but the real problem. People don’t realize the hold that the addictions have on them and the money it sucks from their bank accounts.   Their joy has been stolen.  The fun of living has vanished. Where’s the hope?  Let’s find out.

Asking for help is not a weakness. In actuality, it is a sign of strength and courage to want to improve your situation.  Seeing your money wasted on far lesser things than you would like may be a turning point. This is when progress can be made.   

If you think your life can’t change, then you are encouraged to read Johnnetta McSwain’s story in her book, Rising Above the Scars.  She had a traumatic childhood.  She dropped out of high school in eleventh grade and lived on the streets.  After years of barely getting by, she woke up on her thirtieth birthday, looked in the mirror, and didn’t like what she saw.  She writes,

“That day I woke up and realized I had absolutely nothing to celebrate–no money, no full-time job, no home, no husband, and no clue, not even the will to do better.  At last I knew it was time to make some changes.”

Her first step was to obtain her GED.  From there, she had a burning desire to go to college.  She attributed her success to her positive outlook.  “I realized I didn’t have to be smart,” Johnnetta explains, “I just had to be determined, motivated, and focused.  This came with a high price tag for me.  I had to exchange my thinking.  I had to think like a smart person.” And she did.  What about you? 

Living pay cheque to pay cheque because of an addiction or resorting to other means to support an addiction needs to end.  The elephant in your home needs to be acknowledged and talked about…

I first heard about Johnnetta’s story in John C. Maxwell’s book, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth.  In his book, a specific chapter is written about the Law of the Mirror, which reflects on the value you must see in yourself before you can add value to yourself.  The whole principle about change rests on our shoulders.  We must have the desire to want to change.  No one can make us change against our will.   If addictions stop us from reaching our potential, then this is the very reason we should latch onto someone who will inspire us to seek help.

Johnnetta was motivated by a profound thought:  “I get a chance to be anyone I want to be.” And she discovered a way.  

Randy Pausch, author of The Last Lecture, offers this solution, “When there’s an elephant in the room introduce him.”

Do you have encouragement to share with others?  Please feel free to provide your perspective in the comment section below.

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