CBT – You are a lamp by Mike Searles

You are a lamp


Steve Chandler Death Wish

One of my favorite few lines from Steve Chandler's must-read book, Death Wish - The Path Through Addiction To A Glorious Life reads:

'You are a lamp. If you disconnect yourself from the circuit of electricity, you do not glow. You can't get bright. In fact you have no light at all. Not if you stay disconnected. Light comes from connecting. All light does. Including yours and mine.'

I have something in common with Steve Chandler. I hope you do too.

We are addiction survivors

Clearly, Steve Chandler is suggesting you don't need to try and figure out 'recovery' all on your own.

‘Just be with someone’ he says, ‘Sit with someone. Talk to someone. Get help.’

Connect. Let the light shine from your lamp once again.

One of the biggest breakthroughs in my own recovery was when I finally understood - I mean REALLY understood - that there was still hope.

All was not yet lost. God knows that in 2009 I was barely hanging on to the last shreds of life. So when I got that epiphany of the true meaning of hope and the lamp-light began shining once more - I quickly graduated from being a 40 watt light to a much brighter 100 watts.

Today, after seven years of continuous sobriety I shine brightly like that of a 1000 watt globe (is there such a thing?). Some of us stumble when on the verge of reaching out. We stop and turn the other way.  Because we’re afraid. Reaching out and connecting to go deep into conversation about only one topic - YOU - is a fearful thing to do.

It’s something that goes against the belief of one who thinks that to be brave, strong and secure in this world they must be seen to be a self-reliant, high-achieving and self-contained individual.

This is something congruent with high-achievers (pun not intended but noted) in the world of sport, business and the performing arts. Especially for those with a public profile.

What about you? How do you feel about connecting with somebody you don't yet know in order to start the engine of full recovery? What can you expect?

One of the therapy models used effectively at Hope Recovery Center Thailand is CBT or Cognitive Behavior Therapy. I know a bit about CBT. In fact I became a serious student of it by default simply by virtue of being engaged in so much of it as a client.

By chance I found the first book I was to read on CBT in a second hand book shop many years back. Snooping around the musty smelling isles of opportunity shops looking for old books remains a fave pastime of mine. I highly recommend it.

The book I found was titled A New Guide to Rational Living and authored by Albert Ellis and Robert A. Harper. Both were pioneers of CBT back in the 1950s and 60s. I still have the same book to this day.

According to my trusty (not musty) dictionary called Google, CBT is defined as:

A short-term goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment that takes a hands-on approach to problem-solving. Its goal is to change patterns of thinking and behavior that are behind people's difficulties, and so change the way they feel [I would add 'and act'].

Chapter 20 is one of my favorites. I go back to it every so often for a refresher course in sanity. The title of this chapter is, Living Rationally in an Irrational World.

Did I say this book was first published in 1961? And they thought THEY were living in an irrational world 50 plus years ago?!?

Anyhow - allow me to close with a paragraph from Chapter 20 of A New Guide to Rational Living:

'Your desires and emotions do not consist of mysterious, uncontrollable forces that drive you to do their bidding. Although they have deep biological and learned roots, and therefore remain partly beyond your immediate control, they directly relate to your thinking and imagining and consequently largely stay within your eventual control.'

As they say here at Hope Recovery Center....

‘live with hope - hope changes everything’


Mike Searles

Mike Searles is an addiction survivor and

freelance writer on addiction, rehab, and recovery

Posted in Blog.