Addiction Recovery

22: Saying I Don't Instead of I Can't

March 04, 2024 Steven T. Ginsburg Season 1 Episode 22
Addiction Recovery
22: Saying I Don't Instead of I Can't
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Transform your inner dialogue from self-sabotage to self-empowerment with just one word—this is the promise of our latest heart-to-heart with Steven from Restore Detox Centers. We dissect the remarkable effect of replacing 'can't' with 'don't' in our vernacular, a shift that fosters a mindset of control and positivity.  Steven, with his wealth of experience, brings home the concept of living in the now, sharing how 'just for today' can alleviate the weight of 'forever' and make recovery more attainable.

Helpful Links:
Learn more about Restore Detox Centers
Filling the Void book by Steven T. Ginsburg
Overcoming the Fear and Lies of Addiction e-book
How to Love and Set Boundaries Without Enabling Addiction e-book
Call Us for Addiction Recovery:  1-800-982-5530

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Steve Coughran:

So oftentimes I think we use this word can't, and if we can replace it with don't just that simple little trick, it can create so much more of an empowering effect in our lives. This is the Addiction Recovery podcast with Steven T Ginsburg, founder of Restore Detox Centers in sunny California. Enjoy your experience. I really liked last week's episode where we were talking about self-sabotaging. You had some really good tips, Steven, when it comes to not believing the rhetoric that goes on in our head and then also following the program and establishing these patterns in our lives to find joy and happiness. I wanna talk to you about something else today, and that is our language, how we use our words to convey meaning, not just for us internally, but externally to the world. I just wanna share this example here. We're past the New Year's resolutions, but I mean you see it all the time, people at the beginning of the year, they hit the gym hard. The gyms are super busy. You go out with your friends and they're like nope, I gotta pass on that, I'm on the special diet, whatever it may be. But oftentimes I observe this language and I wanna center our conversation around it and it goes like this Somebody may be on a diet, they're trying to lose some weight, and they say, oh, I can't eat chocolate cake right now I'm on a diet. Or I remember when I used to smoke cigarettes. I love smoking cigarettes, it was like my favorite. But I knew I had to quit because it's like terrible for my health and everything else getting in the way of what I wanted to accomplish physically and I wanted to run more and do all this stuff, but I was smoking. So I tried so many times to quit but in my head I thought, oh my gosh, I can't smoke for the rest of my life, like I can't have another cigarette. And that was very disempowering and it didn't build me up and it didn't give me the courage and the strength to move on. So oftentimes I think we use this word can't and if we can replace it with don't just that simple little trick it can create so much more of an empowering effect in our lives. So, for example, instead of saying, oh, I can't have any chocolate cake, Steven, sorry, man, I'm on this diet I could say I don't need chocolate cake because this year I'm gonna care for my health, I'm gonna care for my body and I really wanna hit my goals.

Steve Coughran:

Or hey, I don't smoke, I'm not a smoker, I don't smoke, instead of I can't smoke, and it may be just a small little nuance in our language, but I think it has a powerful effect. But I wanna hear your thoughts on this, because you work with a lot of people at Restore Detox Centers and you're so great with your words. I mean, I've sat in multiple groups where you're facilitating these group meetings and people hang on every single word you say, Steven, and they're so powerful and I see tears in people's eyes and so I think the words that we use to express meaning out there once again to the world and to ourselves has a huge impact. What are your thoughts on that, Steven?

Steven Ginsburg:

So I love the topic, I appreciate the affirmation and what I am doing each day is, very simply, conveying and giving away what has been so freely given to me, but I am passionate about it, I am convicted about it and I know statistically people like myself who suffer from what I suffer from. The best possible outcome of us not to die is through our work in 12-step programming and in the program. So you know, along the lines of what you're discussing, which I really love, that we're focusing on this topic. I think it's imperative that we have a mindset that we are out to win the day because the day is manageable. That's where I think, as old school as it is and as look, it's the slogans and the bumper stickers. That's what brings me home, because that stuff has held up over time. It's about winning the day.

Steven Ginsburg:

It's about a day at a time, sometimes it's about an hour at a time, sometimes it's about a minute at a time. So those you know wunts or plants need to really become the not right nows. Like it's not anything from Nicole and I to have an experience where we go to an occasion or go to a restaurant and there's wine glasses or champagne glasses out everywhere and if I'm asked or I'm offered, I will literally say not tonight, or not this afternoon, or no, thank you. That's addressing the immediate moment. That's all I need to take care of is the immediate moment in front of me. I can manage that. It's tangible. I can get my arms and my mind around it forever, or when I'm 70 years old or when my first grandchild was born. That's too far out for me to tackle.

Steve Coughran:

Yeah, I agree. Well, it's funny that you say this, because I was just talking to my wife about this last week, where, you know, that thought crossed my mind. When you know, some days are just super stressful, some weeks are just terrible. You know, I'm sure you've had those weeks too, but this thought came to my mind.

Steve Coughran:

It's like, Steve, all you got to do is just get through the day, like just get through the day. I mean, really, it's like you have four more hours left and then you're going to go to sleep, you're going to wake up the next day and you're going to have an entirely new perspective. So I love what you're saying there, Steven. When we try to just think for the rest of our lives, that could be overwhelming. It could also be disempowering as well, and I think that can lead to a lot of different problems, instead of just saying, hey, look, yeah, today I'm not going to do this and I'm just going to get through today, and then tomorrow's another day and I'm going to get through tomorrow and I'm going to do that over and over again, and that can be very empowering.

Steven Ginsburg:

There's something I'm thinking of as you're covering this, and it's something that a sponsor of mine shared with me a long, long time ago which I really enjoyed and appreciated. There was a guy in the Philippines who used to carve these little I know this is oddball, but like I don't care, Steve, you know me, I go with what I get Like there was a guy in the Philippines, Okay, and you're like, where, how is he going to dovetail this into what we're talking about? And I promise you I am. And he carved these little like Jade elephants beautiful, intricate, delicate little Jade elephants. And these kids would just be filled with wonder and these tourists would be filled with wonder.

Steven Ginsburg:

And time after time again, he'd be asked Like how do you carve an elephant? How do you carve an elephant? And his answer was so fitting and so relevant and so poignant and holds so much weight for me and for us where this top is concerned. He'd tell them time and time again I carve away everything that's not an elephant and I love that and that's what this journey is about. Everything that doesn't lend itself to the ability, on that daily basis, to stay away from that mind altering substance of any way, shape or form gets put by the wayside and the focal point, within the moment as we're carving our elephant, is continuing to abstain throughout the course of that day.

Steve Coughran:

Yeah, I love that. And I heard a similar thing. This ecclesiastical leader, his name's Deederaf Uhtdorf. He was giving this talk and he said no, oftentimes we get overwhelmed because we have a thousand things to do in the day. Right, I got to do this, I got to do that, I got to do this, I got to do this, and it just becomes overwhelming. And he said look, you know, just simplify things. Instead of doing a thousand things, do one thing in a thousand ways. And it's so simple. It's kind of like your elephant analogy and it's like just stripping away all the stuff that doesn't matter and focusing on the most essential can be really important for us. I mean, is that what you're talking about here, or did I miss the entire point about the elephant?

Steven Ginsburg:

You couldn't be more on point and you and I are bouncing all over the place, which I'm actually enjoying. It's about making it small, making it small for ourselves and taking care of what's in front of us and that's all we've got to do. And listen, I do that stuff too.

Steven Ginsburg:

My mind gets going and I go into all sorts of other places, places that don't serve me well at all, places that don't serve my sobriety well at all. And you know, I'm grateful, through the footwork and through the sponsorship and through the relationship I have with God, that I can. I can tell my mind hey, thank you for like that vomit. You can take a break. I'm focusing right now. Like right now, you know what I'm focused on you and I, on this call, and what we're talking about, and you know that's feeding my sobriety and that's allowing me to be of service.

Steven Ginsburg:

And yeah, I've got a pretty good list of going, of what's coming after this, but I'm not interested in what's coming after this. I'm interested in this moment and that's where I want people to keep finding that sanctity and that sanctuary and understanding. We are able to take care of the here and now, and abstinence is about taking care of things within the moment of here and now and going through the necessary steps, a few simple steps, and it's why I get so convicted about sobriety, and it's why I implore and I borderline, beg people please trust the process, please follow the steps and do the footwork. It gives you the ability to win the day and we are focused on winning the day.

Steve Coughran:

Yeah, I love that and I agree. Well, and it's interesting. I mean, let's take a step back about three years ago or more. I was going through a divorce and I remember coming out to California and you and I, you know, had a beautiful day together and I remember us even sitting down and we had a little poke outside. And it's just sunny morning and we're talking and you remember that day.

Steven Ginsburg:

I will never forget that day as long as I live. Brother.

Steve Coughran:

Yeah, and it's great. And we're just talking about life and you're asking me what was going on, and looking back, I mean I can admit, I mean it was what it was and that's where I was in life, but I was playing the victim role a little bit. So when we talk about I can't and I don't trust me, I've played the victim role too many times in my life. But here's the problem, here's the thing that I've learned and I'm not perfect at this, because sometimes I do fall into the victim trap but when we say things like that, like oh, I can't do this, instead of I don't do that, or why does this always happen to me?

Steve Coughran:

Or I'm just destined to be this, and we play the victim role like sure it could feel good because you get praise and you get some attention from people and you get a little bit extra love, but at the end of the day it doesn't take us anywhere and basically we're just giving our power away to somebody else or to something else, because we say, look it's, you know, it's the Democrats in office, or it's the Republicans, or it's the economy, or it's the taxes, or it's a new healthcare bill, or it's unemployment, or it's my boss, or it's my customers, or it's always somebody else. And when we do that, sure we may think that we're doing ourselves a service, but actually it's very destructive because we're saying, look, I'm out of control of anything and I have no power. Whatever happens to me, I'm just going to be tossed to and fro. What are your thoughts on that, Steven?

Steven Ginsburg:

It's a huge part of a huge setup, no matter what occurs. It's not about what anyone else says or does. It's not about any other circumstance. It's about the way we respond, not react the way we respond to those said circumstances. And it's about charting a different course and understanding there is a better way.

Steven Ginsburg:

Listen, one of the most powerful imperative papers, pages and the big book is page 417. And what is that page about? It is about acceptance and accepting things the way they are. And by the way, you get remarkably empowered by realizing the whole power comes from accepting circumstances the way they are. You don't have to impose some type of self-destructive behavior or some type of easy out where you're going to hurt yourself.

Steven Ginsburg:

So I'm going to drink poison and help the other guy dies and let's get away from this already. Okay, and you know the other person. If they even think about us at all, it'll be for a fleeting moment and they will go on to focus on what their own life, their own way of making sure that they're all right. And that's what we doomed ourselves over and because of it's ridiculous. And guess what? It's not our fault. It's a lifelong pattern and habit that we're breaking free of and that takes repetition. It takes work and footwork but, making no mistake about it, If we do our part and we stay the course and we're steady as we go, those patterns will get broken. Sometimes they're broken, Steve, and we don't even realize we've broken them until afterwards and we're like I'm out of that vortex finally, like free at last and we are living life on life's terms.

Steve Coughran:

Absolutely, I agree. And for everybody who's listening, I mean hopefully you can see this and you can hear it in Steven's voice and in his messaging. I mean he absolutely changed my life. That story I shared with you when I was out in California. I mean that was a pivotal point in my life. We're here to help you and there are a ton of resources that are available on Restores website. It's RestoreDetoxCenters. com. So be sure to go there. And best of all, you know, beyond sharing this podcast with your friends and your loved ones, you know, the biggest compliment you could pay us is by reaching out. We'd love to hear from you and hear what's on your mind, what's on your heart and what are some ways that we can help you out. So we'd love to hear from the audience. So please reach out if you feel the desire. And, Steven, always a pleasure. Thanks for doing this episode with me. It's always great to just talk these things through in real time. I've learned so much every time we do a show together.

Steven Ginsburg:

Right back at you and if you are out there and this is hitting home and you want to have some dialogue about this or we can help to shed more light on this, please know we are here with you and for you and all things. Steve, thank you, as always today, for focusing on the truth, for focusing on the solution and letting people know there is hope.

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