“Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.” – Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams, second President of the United States, and mother of John Quincy Adams, the sixth U.S. President
Why is it important to learn how to say No? There are times in our recovery when we try to tackle too much, too soon. There are other times when we need to learn how to graciously decline an invitation when we know that the people, places, or things will cause us to want to engage in our past addictive behaviors. Everyone knows that life doesn’t come with any guarantees. We don’t know what will happen tomorrow, or whether or not we’ll have the strength and courage to stand up and say no when we most need to. But we can practice saying no today. Begin with something small. If we feel like we want to eat another helping of mashed potatoes and gravy, say no instead of yes. If our co-worker asks us to finish up his project while he does something else and it’s going to interfere with our own workload or schedule (like attending 12-step meetings), graciously decline.
Gradually, learning how to say no to things that aren’t in our best interests will get easier. It won’t necessarily become second nature, but we will be able to handle it with confidence.