Friday, October 7, 2022


Terri Rivera – Guest Columnist

I have always believed that you make the choices that will pave your own path. There are some that only see their situations, or reasons for bad decisions set by their past, by others, society, peers, and sometimes their own family.

You try to mask the pain, bury it, or even change it with alcohol, drugs, or other unhealthy addictions. You feel helpless – and discouraged. So, to validate the life you created, you find others who are making the same bad choices.

People, places and things; you are who you surround yourself with and what you choose to do. It’s not bad luck, it’s bad choices that leave you with negative consequences. You gradually create distance from those who love you, and assume they are the reason you must make the bad choice. Especially when they question your new surroundings and the company you keep.

Don’t mistake a blind eye for ignorance; those who love you may have already decided to stop supporting the bad choices, and eventually the bridge you had will burn. Let’s just hope those who loved you the most, are not on it when it does.

It’s sad that the same company that supports your bad choices was a group that you would never have allowed around your children. But add the magic ingredient, and suddenly, they become mentors, role models, even heroes, as long as they are providing you with an instant gratification.

The Problem with Instant Gratification (P.I.G.) is just that, it only lasts an instant. When it’s gone, so is a little of your dignity, your life, and, often, many of those close to you who actually care.

P.I.G., we can chase it for a lifetime, continue to seek a satisfaction that ironically enough ends up leaving you feeling worse the more you experience it.

So, why continue? Because, it’s easier to face the consequences, no matter how bad the cost, than to take the steps that can lead to a lifelong contentment. That road takes time, it takes work, it takes feeling uncomfortable for a while. How much time depends on you: your reasons, motivations, and willingness to take your own step; no longer blaming others or carrying the heaviness of the past.

Recovery from an addiction takes time; it takes patience. There will not be instant gratification just because you decide to quit making these bad choices. Honestly, it can sometimes even be lonely. You will have some bridges to rebuild, and regaining trust only comes with proof. People, places, and things are still the key. You decide which path you want to pave – and who you want handing you the stones that will pave it.

If you’re ready to follow your own path and take the time to make a change, it will create great benefits further down the road. Think about seeking support and help. There are meetings, groups, and good supportive people. Need resources? You can call Colusa County Behavioral Health Substance Abuse Services at 530-458-0520. ■

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