Members of 12 Step Fellowships in recovery often catch themselves asking ‘why?.’ We are usually encouraged to talk to our sponsor, go to meetings; let go, let God.
Good and most often successful solutions. But we are also usually encouraged to get active. These eight questions are complimentary to the 12 Step program.
I am writing this with a broken neck… One minute I was playing footy, the next I was stretched out on a hospital bed with my neck in a brace which I will be wearing for the next 6-12 weeks. When faced with a crisis, our natural response is to ask "Why?" Why did this happen now? Why did this happen to me?
But "Why?" may not be the most helpful question to ask. Sure, sometimes we need to understand the cause of the problem – particularly if it has been caused by poor decisions or wrong priorities. But often there are no easy answers, stuff just happens! And then asking "Why?" can quickly trap us in a cycle of inactivity.
So, here are eight questions that will stop you spinning your wheels in a crisis and lead you to solutions and positive outcomes:
1. How can I see this differently?
Changing your viewpoint will change your response. Don’t focus on what you can’t do, focus on what you can do and do those things.
2. What is one thing I could do right now which would improve my situation?
Asking this daily will continually move you in the right direction. Taking action will assist in overcoming feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.
3. What are my strengths and how can I use them to meet this challenge?
We all have strengths, skills and abilities. Make a list of your strengths and then look for practical ways that you can apply these to your current situation.
4. How can I learn and grow from this situation?
Every challenge offers us the opportunity to grow. It is actually the tough times that build strength and resilience. This neck brace is strengthening my character as well as my spine!
5. Who can help me to face this challenge?
Conquering Life’s challenges single-handedly is only for Hollywood action heroes. We all need assistance when things get tough. Make a list of people – friends and family, neighbours and trained professionals – who could help you, then make some phone calls.
6. What can I be thankful for in this situation?
Look for the positives and focus on these. I thank God for a supportive partner and for the fact that my injury was not much worse.
7. Where can I go to get practical help?
Local councils, community groups, churches and other religious organisations all offer support, often provided by people who understand your situation. The Internet is another amazing resource. Try a life coach!
8. What can I do right now to support or encourage others?
Take the spotlight off your own problems and help someone else. This is the fastest way to break free from a victim mentality and it feels great! Inspire others with your positive attitude.
Finally, don’t stress if you don’t get answers to these questions straight away. Put the list up somewhere visible and give your brain time to work on finding answers.
By Jeremy Thewlis