One last drink. One last roll of the dice. One last goodbye. We tell ourselves every day that we’ll do it differently the next, whatever our vice may be.
We convince ourselves that there is no better time to start than tomorrow. Why face today what our future selves are totally capable of handling down the road. A few more times won’t hurt anyone. But a couple of days usually turns into a couple of weeks. And a couple of weeks runs into a couple of months. And soon it has consumed way more time in your life than you ever thought you would give it.
The thing about a bad habit is they are usually only visible in the rearview mirror. We don’t recognize the beast that it is until we can’t remember the last time we didn’t drink. Or a casual cigarette becomes a pack a day. Or ten extra pounds turns into fifty. We can’t see the broken pieces until we’re standing in the landfill of them.
Bad habits are as much of a sickness as anything else. Always looking for one more fix before “it’s different this time.” Before “tomorrow will be better.” Before “only once more, I swear.” We promise ourselves a string of tomorrows until we are so deep under that the tunnel has went black. The light that we told ourselves we would walk toward is out of sight.
But one day we have to sever the limb and cauterize the wound. We have to stop making the same destructive choice over and over again. Because a vice isn’t a vice because it makes a positive impact on your life. These aren’t things that will help us grow. Actually, the only growth we’ll ever experience when it comes to these black marks in our lives is when we let them go. And the only person who can force us to do that is the only person who is addicted to the bad behavior.
You have decide you deserve a little better from the world. You have to choose to give that to yourself. No one is going to do it for you. You’ll have people on the sidelines, with no power in how your life will play out, who are rooting for you. They’ll cheer against whatever is weighing you down. They’ll watch sadly when you take your hits. But you…and me…and your friend…and your family member…whoever it may be. Only the person in the game can take themselves out of it.
Maybe if we try making that one good decision, just for one day. And then tomorrow, if we’re feeling strong, we make it again. Perhaps, if we force ourselves to just take it one day, one hour, one minute at a time, then regaining our footing won’t be such a beast to behold. Maybe if we stop looking at the mountain as a mountain and we look at it as just a string of steps in a row…that could make it doable.
So don’t be afraid of blowing the whistle. Be afraid of letting a lifetime pass and realizing you never called a losing game.