“It is not the beauty of a building you should look at; it’s the construction of the foundation that will stand the test of time.” — David Allan Coe
Two contradicting thoughts crossed my mind as I listen to this guy go on about his hopes, dreams, and visions for his future.
The first one is: “Dude, you’re kidding yourself. If you don’t start getting your life together, you’re not going to do any of it.”
He’s an aspiring songwriter who’s unfortunately got a drinking problem and hangs around dealers, junkies, and your garden variety riff-raff.
Every inch of me wanted to call him out on it and basically told him the ugly truth. That he didn’t have his shit together and he was trying to build a skyscraper on a rocky foundation.
The second one is: “You’re going to be fine. But before that, you’ve got to hit bottom. And this isn’t it.”
When I listen to him recount stories of how everyone keeps telling him he can’t do this or he should do that, I realize that there’s nothing I can say that’ll make him want to change. It has to come from within, and while he talks a good game, it’s clear he’s not ready to start on that path.
He doesn’t need another voice to tell him what he should do, nor does he need people who enable his behavior.
I ask what he’s got going for him, potential issues that could arise, how he would tackle them, and so on. My intent is to get him to envision more specifically what it’ll take to make it to where he wants to go.
While I find some of his answers delusional, others are really insightful, and I focus on the insightful ones.
He sees issues like the fact that he’s got to start hanging around other people who’ll lift him up. While at the same time saying things like: “At least I’m not as bad as them.”
Well, drunk driving and assault isn’t exactly “good”.
It’s a weird feeling when you know that you can’t really help someone because they’re not ready to make a change.
All you can do is listen, try to make your conversation as constructive and non-judgmental as possible, and be there for them whenever they choose to make that change.
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