“It’s up to us to choose whether we wish to use them (words) to curse or to heal, to wound or to console.”   – Elie Wiesel

As I progress in my own recovery, I have come to the realization of the path becoming narrower as time goes on. At first, showing up and not using was enough (and is still a must!). But as more time went by, I found myself needing to look more in the mirror when things did not seem to be going my way. For example, I found myself blaming others when the realities of my life did not meet my expectations. I often had that old familiar anxiety come over me (I would have used in the past to medicate it) and I would lash out with harsh words. After I had time to cool down and process the circumstances, I found peace when I looked in the mirror. The reality is it is impossible for me to change others. I can only change myself and my reactions.  I found I had the ability to use my words for kindness and compassion, even when I was legitimately wronged, and the unexpected benefit was I actually felt better than when I exploded. Wow! I never knew.

Author and Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel, supplies today’s life lesson. When I use my words (and actions) to heal or to console, I benefit! When I use my words to curse or wound, I am the one hurt. The target of my venom often never feels a thing. As I practice this daily, I have found my anxiety goes down. I am more relaxed and resilient. I like myself better and I almost never feel the need to self-medicate.

When I curse or wound others, I am the one who suffers. It would be like me pulling the trigger on a gun whose barrel was bent and pointing directly back at me. How nonsensical would that be?

In all situations that upset me, my goal is to look myself in the eye in a mirror and take ownership of my role in the matter and do what I can to respond with healing or consoling words, and look to see how I can improve going forward. It sounds horrible! But the result is a better and more relaxed me who no longer feels a need to change the way I feel.

Stephen Loyd, MD, Chief Medical Officer

Stephen Loyd, MD

Chief Medical Officer, Cedar Recovery