Last week, Vanessa started our session by saying, “Things never change.” It’s always going to be this way. I’m always going to be like this.?

When I hear comments like these I get curious. What does “it’s” and “this way” mean?


Overall sobriety is a decision. Sometimes a momentary yet consistent decision to allow our feelings and avoid the substance or actions that keep us stuck. We are stuck in a loop of false temporary rewards or long term chaos and self-loathing.

Whatever circumstances are happening in your life your thoughts about those circumstances will create your feelings. Those feelings will drive you to take certain actions.

The thoughts and feelings that drive you to decide to indulge in your addiction are different than the thoughts and feelings you decide on purpose that keep you sober and living a life that is intentional.

We get to decide the thoughts we want to think and the thoughts we want to question and eliminate.

In a world where we may or may not have control over the circumstances, the only area of our sovereign power is in the thoughts and feelings we choose on purpose.

The behavioral cognitive model helps us see the effects our thoughts have on our feelings which then create our actions and give us our results.

The root cause of any problem is always our thinking.

It’s not the circumstance but our thoughts about the circumstance and what we make that circumstance mean that causes us to feel a particular way and then take the actions we take.

What we create in our life is always because of our thoughts and the decisions we make based on them.

So often we think we do things because a situation caused us to feel something. For example, we think we feel bad because we’ve lost a job. What we really feel bad about is what we make losing that job mean, i.e., I can’t survive without that income, the boss is unfair, I’ll never be able to pay my bills, I’ll end up homeless etc.

It makes sense if your thought is, I’ll end up homeless. You might feel hopeless and from that feeling of hopelessness, you might decide to throw back ten or twelve beers, shoot up, max out the credit card in a shopping frenzy, or binge on Oreos and ice cream because your brain and neural pathways have learned and been conditioned to seek a super hit of dopamine that effectively soothes the feeling of hopelessness. But you know that when that artificial surge of dopamine wears off, the feelings of remorse, guilt, and self-loathing flood in.

The ninja trick is being on to your thoughts and pushing the pause button long enough to examine what we think are factual observations and decide if those are the thoughts we want.

Take the thought, I’m not good enough. Like many who believe this thought, they can cite a lengthy list of evidence that proves they weren’t a good enough friend, daughter, son, wife, mother, sister, brother, employee, business owner, or investor. They can share all the stories and testimonials of people who will agree with them.

But the THOUGHT,  I’m not good enough is full of ambiguous holes. What is good? and what is enough?

If you asked ten different people you would get at least twenty different answers because good and enough are totally subjective words.

For starters getting to the bottom of this thought will take some thoughtful exploration.

Every second of every minute of every hour of every day we are deciding.

Even those times when we think we’re NOT making a decision, in fact, we are creating a result.

I am not suggesting we go for the immediate thought swap- switching from I’m not good enough to I am amazing, because it wouldn’t pass our brain’s sniff test of truth. But we could begin to ask ourselves how thinking that thought could be useful or harmful. We could question if we wanted to continue thinking that thought. How thinking that thought makes us feel and what actions we’d take if we continued to think it.

We could begin with a ladder thought and inch our way up from I am a loser to I am worthy.

Try on the thought, I am human.

Humans are imperfect.

Even valuable humans make decisions that sometimes hurt themselves or others.

Humans have choice.

I am a human. I have choice.

I can choose my thoughts.

I can decide which thoughts serve me and which do not.

I can decide one thought at a time.

I can decide I am a human who may be worthy.

I can decide I want to see my worthiness.

I can decide to make choices that move me closer to seeing and knowing my value and worthiness.

As long as we are alive we have choice in our thoughts.

Your time to seize this power is now.  Just Decide.

By Tsgoyna Tanzman, Certified Life Coach

Author of Just Decide: Fail-Proof Strategies to Up-Level Your Life, Career, and Relationships

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