Making Choices

Sometimes we can make the simplest things the most complex. We love to over think things. Instead of just taking things as they are and appreciating them as such we attempt to make more of them and in doing so make them so much less significant.

There are a wide range of scenarios that fit this common process of deduction. Everything from the evaluation of friendships, relationships and partnerships all the way to making the basic everyday choices in our live are often subject to the scrutiny of our over active minds. We seem to have an unquenchable thirst for breaking down every conversation, gesture and action involving all others in our lives. So too do we continually take the simplest decisions and make the making of them complex.

In all areas and in all choices there exists a constant. We are able to deduce the possible outcomes of any and all decisions prior to making them. There are a few very basic questions that we must ask ourselves as to what the possible outcomes of our choices could be.

Most recently I was in counsel with a resident in a recovery program. He was doing very well in house and on pass, but was very concerned with staying on his path of recovery. The program had enabled him to recognize the vast opportunities which are afforded to him via a life of sobriety.

I simply put it to him this way, “In every decision there exists a few possible outcomes; if you don’t like one of them than don’t make that decision.” In other words, suppose he decided to go to a party with friends knowing that there would be an abundance of drugs and alcohol there. What are the possible consequences of going there? Well, one may be a violation of his probation if the party was busted and he was found there. If that happened he would find himself back in court and most likely at the training school. If he used drugs while with his friends, he would fail his next drug test and be sent back into a mandatory recovery program. He could even get away with it all together and maybe never get caught. Yet, if there was only one negative scenario wouldn’t it be best not to participate at all?

In every decision we consider making there are always less than a handful of potential consequences related to that choice. We must get in the habit of asking ourselves;“If I do this than what could happen?’ If any of those results are something that we would not want to live with than we should not make that choice.

Court ordered into a recovery program will require another six months of residential treatment if a drug test comes back positive. Staying clean and doing the right thing will open many doors. Which choice sounds best?

Times have really changed over the years. Just about every job requires and initial drug test and many require periodic testing once hired. The days of partying over the weekend and starting fresh on Monday are quickly becoming times past. The high cost of insurances has forced employers to comply or pay huge premiums. Most have chosen to do what they need to do in order to lower overhead and secure a prosperous future.

There are also many choices that we face in relationships that can really determine the tone of our destiny and the direction of our journey. Fidelity is often a simple choice if we prove to carefully evaluate the potential outcomes associated with our actions. To cheat or not to cheat is often the question.

Let’s look at a common struggle in many marriages. Temptation comes knocking. Should we let it in? Again, we must carefully consider the possible outcomes of the path we choose. The best choice is often to leave the door closed, but let’s examine this scenario for its learning potential. What could be the initial consequences of opening that door? One could be that we begin to feel drawn to the temptation. We may begin to imagine the adultery and start to crave physical contact. Suppose we follow through and never get caught. How would that feel? If we would suffer under the guilt of our actions why would we put ourselves into that situation in the first place? It would probably be best just to walk away. What if we did follow through and got caught in an adulterous affair? Now what consequences would we face? If there are children involved we could quickly find ourselves with limited visitations and the cause of much anguish in their lives. The trust of our spouse would be destroyed and even if given another chance the freedoms we once enjoyed would only be a distant memory. Divorce causes so much negativity. Is this a scenario worth partaking? When there are more things that can go wrong than can go right the decision becomes easy. It’s best to abstain from that choice.

Even when it comes to friendships we must make it a point to choose those who we associate with very carefully. We must matriculate towards those who echo our beliefs. If they are doing things that we don’t want to do than we must consciously choose not to be with them. When we put ourselves in situations where certain people are in contrast with our moral and ethical beliefs we must remove ourselves from the equation. It all goes back to being equally yoked. Certain people will always find themselves with certain problems and if we are with them those problems will become ours very quickly. If we are to maintain our sobriety, our morality or our self respect we must evaluate all possibilities in every decision we make.

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