To Stop Using Is a Choice

"I believe that we are solely responsible for our choices, and we have to accept the consequences of every deed, word, and thought throughout our lifetime."Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

In life, there are two types of choices:

  • Primary choices which require clarity, commitment, and realization. These decisions have lasting effects, broad ramifications, and can alter our lives.
  • Secondary choices which are spontaneous, sometimes impulsive, frivolous, and with limited effects. An example is buying a magnificent pair of shoes. If your size is available, it can "make your day", but if not, you'll get over it.

As addicts, our number one primary choice must be recovery, which inherently assumes sobriety! Let's break down the definitions in this choice, according to Merriam Webster Dictionary:

Choice: "The ability, freedom of humans to make choices that are not determined by prior causes (fate) or by divine intervention (God), free will, picking or deciding between 2 or more possibilities, the opportunity or power to make a decision, to select freely after consideration."

Clarity: "The quality of being expressed, remembered, understood in a very exact way, clearly defined, easily understood."

Commitment: "An agreement or pledge to do something in the future, the state or an instance of being obligated or emotionally impelled."

Realization: "Follow through to the end, to complete, to bring to a conclusion."

Throughout our lifelong recovery, we are faced with many opportunities to make responsible choices and rational decisions that will mold and shape our lives. We must be very strategic and thoughtful about our choices. Reasonable and positive choices lead to our greater wholeness as individuals, they give our identity more substance. No choice is without importance but at times we are unaware of the magnitude of the impact of our choice on our destiny. Sometimes there is no lightning strike when important decisions are made, but our future path in life becomes known silently. Consider the impact, the far-reaching ripple effects, and the consequences of each decision.

Pause and think through all of these questions before making any primary choice:

What is my goal or end result? Is my want or goal realistic and attainable? Or is it idle fantasy (setting me up for failure)? How will that result benefit me? Or will it cause me harm? How will this decision affect the future of not only me, but my loved ones, my career, my health, my financial and physical security?

Making critical primary choices are our own responsibility, no one else can make them for us. We are in control. It is our choice and we are free to be who we want to be. If we make the right choice, we contribute to the bigger plan for our life. But hindsight reveals wisdom. If we make the wrong choice, it may send us astray from our intended path, but sometimes we are given a chance to turn back and choose again. Other times, life changes in a split second as a result of a bad choice and it can never be reversed. That is why we have to be ever vigilant and forward-thinking. We face dangers, risks, and challenges daily. We can meet them fearfully with dread and doom or welcome them with pleasurable anticipation by embracing them with our spirit and relying on our faith and trust in a Higher Power to guide us. We must listen carefully to those around us and ask for support from our network of friends in the program. Sometimes our messages come to us through them. Our success and happiness are dependent on our attitude.

"A man is happy so long as he chooses to be happy and nothing can stop him." A. S.

Would you rather be with someone who finds joy and delight in small things or someone who does nothing but complain about what a mess their life is and how unfair?

"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do.Charles R. Swindoll

The choice is yours alone. How do you choose to live your life today for a better tomorrow?

Mal Duane is a best-selling author and personal life and recovery coach who has overcome life challenges using the steps in the Alpha Chick Process. Her personal mission is to help women excel in all areas of their lives from business to personal relationships. Mal has been featured with Fox 25 Boston Morning Show, CBS Radio, Aspire Magazine, Healthy Living and Metrowest Daily News. She has also been a featured guest on over one hundred Blogtalk Radio shows discussing recovery and personal transformation. Mal's book, Alpha Chick, Five Steps for Moving from Pain to Power, is a best-selling book and is available on

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