“We are wise to believe it difficult to change, to recognize that character has a forward propulsion which tends to carry it unaltered into the future, but we need not believe it impossible to change. Our present and future choices may take us upon different courses which will in time comprise a different identity….The identity defined by action is not, therefore the whole person. Within us lies the potentiality for change, the freedom to choose other courses…if we then invoke the leopard that can’t change his spots, saying “That’s the way I am, might as well accept it, ” we abandon the freedom to change and exploit what we have been in the past to avoid responsibility for what we shall we be in the future.
Often we do not choose, but drift into those modes which eventually define us. Circumstances push and we yield. We did not choose to be what we have become, but gradually, imperceptibly become what we are drifting into doing those things we now characteristically do. Freedom is not an objective attribute of life; alternatives without awareness yield no leeway…” Source: How People Change. Alan Wheelis, Harper and Row, NY. 1973. pp.14-15.
Our 12 Step recovery program gradually dismembers our compulsive circle of negative behaviors and thinking.
“Now I have to dig in and dismember those core beliefs that keep us repeating the same thinking, the same behavior which can keep us imprisoned in our depression. We have this compulsion to repeat -this ritual of defeat – because, first of all, it is comfortable and secondly it keeps us from having to do something different, namely something that we haven’t done before. We continue to move around in a circle always meeting up with the same me – no major changes evident. If we don’t start the process of change, then not without surprise our life then stays the same. But this also closes the door to the future and with it a sense of hope and relief. It seems that to believe that we have no future and that we will always feel this way can imprison us as we empower these absolute beliefs that nothing good will ever happen for us. We are thus chained to our own self will and not only are we imprisoned but we are the jailer as well. The key is in our hands and it is there for the asking.”
Source: I’ll do it when I feel better.(2013) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 18.