No life without Hope.

It’s true, and if you don’t see why, then thank your lucky stars you are fortunate enough to have lived a life so far that involved having hope. Hope is something we all need. Everyone needs it. It’s key. Without it, you are not even looking towards something, yet alone moving. Moving towards something comes after hope, but without hope you simply cannot feel rewarded. You cannot feel anything, because nothing seems to matter. Without hope, there is no ultimate goal, there is no resolution, and without a resolution, no movement. Without movement, there is nothing. Just still motion.

For probably the first time in about 2 years, I feel I have hope. Hope that I can recover from various things. Some that I caused, and some that I didn’t. What ultimately matters is that having the hope, the dream that I can move forward, has put my mind at rest. I don’t feel as empty, as lifeless, as useless as normal. I’m starting to enjoy moments of life again, and when you’ve lost that, it’s not possible to describe what it’s like to feel it again, even if just for a moment.

This all comes from starting Physio. I’ve found someone, who believes like I do, that I can overcome my back pain. I can dissolve it, and move on with my life. Both of us know it will be tough, but what’s that compared to living without hope. I feel my life has been tough for a while, I cannot see how this being tough will stop me. In fact on only makes me want it more. I wouldn’t believe someone if they told me they had a solution for my problems that was easy and quick. The truth is, that doesn’t exist. Nothing worth doing comes as easily as that.

So how do I feel at the moment? Well physically, awful. My pain is worse. I don’t care though. It’s part of the process, and while my pain is worse, my mood is infinitely better. I would almost consider myself midly happy at the moment. I think I’ve been able to say that about twice in the past 24 months. It’s nice. I still have moments, or hours, but at least it’s not days or weeks. I’m starting to feel in control of my life again, and that feels empowering.

I still have quite a long way to go, but at least it’s a long way to go, on the last chapter of this part of my life. I firmly believe that. I have not been in a better position than now to climb my way back to where I was.

And the best part of it is, the experiences I’ve had, and the things I’ve been through, have changed who I am. How I think about things, what I appreciate and my overall outlook on life. It may still be tough, but I’m starting to feel I may actually be starting to see benefit from it all now, as opposed to just misery.

Life without Hope is an empty dream.

But you can always wake up.

The Least Bad Decision

Sometimes, we as humans, decide to make choices that we know aren’t good for us. It’s pretty understandable to say, that probably every single person alive does this to some extent. It’s a normal part of human nature and psychology, and ironically, sometimes it may actually be the best decision you can make.

There are always times in our lives where we know what the “optimal” decision is, but for some reason, we don’t make it. A lot of this comes down to factors that affect our thinking on an intricate and subtle level that may not be visible on the surface. I know that this happens to be quite a lot, and some of the methods I use to try and minimize the risks of it I’ll share with you here.

Yeah, you guessed it from the title. “The least bad decision”. Ok, so you’ve decided you’re going to get drunk, absolutely hammered, obviously, this is not the best decision you’ve ever made. How can you make it the least bad decision. You’ve accepted it’s not a good decision, and that’s important to recognize. Now, how do you minimize the damage or risk. This isn’t something I can answer directly, because each situation to each individual is different. It’s all about trying to keep yourself safe, and minimizing risks associated with what you’ve decided to do.

I can give you an example. As many of you know, I’ve had problems with opiates and drug addiction. A lot of this was caused by my struggle to control my chronic back pain, but ultimately I am still a recovering drug addict because of it. I know very well, that the optimal decision, is to never take opiates. (With the exception of Tapentadol when I absolutely have to because of back pain). Apart from that, taking it or any other drug because I have cravings is never the optimal decision. Sometimes though, I can’t make the optimal decision. Small factors and the nature of addiction leads me to the point where I cannot bring myself to not take something. So I accept that I’m not making the best decision, and I focus on trying to make the least bad one instead.

This may seem counter intuitive, but honestly it works really well. I’m not denying that I am making a bad decision, and accepting you are, is really important. I am however, understanding that sometimes I don’t have the control I would like, and doing what I can do make a decision that in a lot of ways is simply a compromise between the optimal decision and the decision I would like to make.

Yesterday, I wanted, but understood I didn’t need either codeine or tapentadol. A large factor of this was my mood. Something had unfortunately bothered me quite considerably and put me in a seriously down mood. This is always a catalyst for the desire to relief the emotional pain with drugs. I tried my best to resist, but came to the point where I knew that I wasn’t going to make that optimal decision. So instead, I discussed it with my Godfather, and we set about trying to find out what the least bad decision was. Originally, I was thinking about taking 2 or 3 boxes of codeine. The end decision, was that I’d instead just take my normal dose of tapentadol. This would nullify the cravings, and lift my mood slightly, but is far less dangerous than taking a large amount of codeine. It’s true that I imagine I would have enjoyed the 3 boxes of codeine more, but actually in some ways I think this isn’t entirely true. I felt much better about making the least bad decision, and as a result, I didn’t feel bad, guilty, or upset about the decision we (as a team) had made.

How a decision makes you feel after, is equally as important sometimes as the decision itself. It’s why sometimes making the least bad decision can actually be the right decision, i.e the optimal decision. (Paradox!!)

Of course I recognize that for me, the decisions are based around something that may be more complicated or dangerous / risky than most. However this strategy really can be used in any situation where you’re thinking it’s going to be difficult to make the optimal decision. It’s something everyone has to deal with at times, and knowing how to deal with this in a way that minimizes risks is a really good way to keep yourself safe, and in a good mental state.

Try it out, and let me know how it works for you.