The wisdom of the masses...

By Adam Glasgow - 6/21/2019

What happens at Support Group stays at Support Group – unless it doesn’t.

 

Last night, those who were there shared a remarkable evening together and at the conclusion – they wanted to be sure that those who weren’t there still had a chance to share in the moment and feel part of the SWLS family. Terry took great notes - and from what I am told - posted them on the FB page. We also agreed - with everyone’s consent - that I would pull together some thoughts and share them as well.

There was laughter and there were tears. There was vulnerability and there was strength. And what there was most of all – was caring and compassion and love and support for one and other. There was an acknowledgement that we are all in this together – each with our own unique set of circumstances and challenges – but bonded over the realization that ALL people struggle some of the time and some of us just do so more of the time.

In the words of one of last night’s sages – and there were many – “We are all great people. We just have a really lousy problem.” In this case we were talking about  food but it could also have been drugs, alcohol, tobacco, gambling, shopping, the list goes on and on. Sometimes, we are dealing with more than one of these challenges and sometimes not just with ourselves but with our friends and loved ones. What is critical to remember is that “We are not the problem. We are part of the solution!" Each and every one of us has the freedom and the power to choose our response to life’s twists and turns and the curveballs that we are thrown. Yes, such responsibility can at times feel overwhelming as much as it is empowering. At such times I think it is wise to remember the words of another sage – Winnie the Pooh: “You are braver than you believe. Stronger than you seem. Smarter than you think. And loved more than you will ever know!” Pooh is one freakin’ smart teddy bear. Pooh also offers us this great thought “I always get to where I am going by walking away from where I’ve been.” Two important corollaries are that “nothing changes if nothing changes” and“the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again yet expecting a different result.”

Last night, as we often do, we invoked Ruth’s Rule and I so wish she was there to hear it.“We are all journeying to the same place. We are just taking different paths.” There were so many great ideas and strategies shared last night – from 12 step programs, to personal trainers, accountability partners, mindfulness, meditation, prayer, family, friends, the FB page, etc… The key takeaway for me was to be honest with yourself. If what you are doing isn’t working – if it is not getting you to where you want to be – then it is high time you do something different. Change doesn’t happen by itself and no one ever wants to be considered insane. Stop doing what isn’t working and one small step at a time – start doing what does – one meal at a time, one pound at a time, one day at a time.

As you contemplate caring for yourself remember that selfish is not a four letter word. If you don’t care for you – ain’t nobody else going to either. And when you can’t do it by yourself – accept and lean into the truism that asking for help is a sign of strength and not weakness.

The last three big ideas that we discussed were desperation, motivation, and education. In reverse order – our challenges are not from lack of education or knowledge. Every single person who has ever come to SWLS for help – already knows all they need to know. They are just struggling to execute on that wisdom. I don’t really believe that anyone thinks that they can “eat their way to weight loss” any more than they can “smoke their way to health” or “gamble their way to riches.” It is often when we are most desperate, as desperate as we have ever been, that we make change and it is often dramatic change. We stop drinking, drugging, smoking, gambling, shopping, lying, cheating, and yes even eating dysfunctionally and unhealthily. Yes, quite often it is desperation that drives people to weight loss surgery. Then they have surgery and a year or two or three later they are happier, healthier, lighter, and certainly less desperate. What motivates these people now – now that the realization that this is a FOREVER ENDEAVOR – starts to set in. We discussed that this is the $10,000 or even Million Dollar question. Finding motivation in the absence of desperation is a major challenge and there are no easy answers or simple solutions. What we do know and we heard it last night is that there are long term successes – 30 or more years of sobriety, 15 or more years of weight maintenance. It is not only possible but probable if you are honest with yourself, selfish about your needs, choose your path wisely, and change it when necessary.

Good luck – a little goes a long way and remember - you are never ever alone.

 

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