Duct tape. Fast food. Credit cards. Fad diets.
If there is one thing we love as a society, it is quick fixes.
The temporary solutions that fail to address or resolve the much bigger problem. Not only do we love quick fixes, but we also love avoidance. When one quick fix fails, we seek out another one rather than doing anything to address the actual source of the issue.
I know because I was the queen of quick fixes. I used alcohol as my duct tape. It fixed everything for me. It was the balm for my anxiety, my companion on international business trips. I used it for relaxation, for courage, to be social, for romance. I could always, always find a reason to drink. If there was a problem, I was going to use alcohol to fix it.
Until my nightly wine habit became the problem. I had a slew of quick fixes for that too. Taking breaks from alcohol. Limiting the number of drinks I could have. Being the designated driver. Drinking water between glasses of wine. Not drinking until after 6 p.m. and stopping by 9 p.m.
All my quick fixes did was teach me how to drink faster or in larger quantities than before. My solutions were broken.
Why is it that we’re drawn to these quick fixes when we know that they do nothing for us long-term? That fast-food burger might get us through the next hour or two, but we know that, all too soon, our body will be sounding the alarm that it needs real, nutritious, and fortifying food.
Why would I go back to the wine to relax when I knew that ultimately it was causing my stress and my anxiety? Why do we insist upon exhausting every shortcut before we even think of addressing the elephant in the room?
From one-click purchases to same-day delivery—we are accustomed to getting what we want when we want it. Quick fixes are more satisfying on an immediate level. They make us feel as if we’re doing something about it. We notice a difference right away.
What we fail to notice is the additional amount of damage our quick fixes are creating when they fail and we pick back up exactly where we left off.
When it comes to excessive behaviors, it takes the average person 10 years to go from the onset of the issue to actually addressing it. A decade. Once again, I know because it was true for me. I drank excessively for over a decade before I stopped searching for quick fixes and actually started planting seeds of change.
Real growth and real change are hard. There are very, very few immediate payoffs. Instead, we find ourselves working the soil, establishing roots, fighting off pests, and all the other gardening analogies I could throw at you. The thing is, they are true. A seedling—which is what we all are at the beginning of the change process—is fragile. It must be protected and guarded closely.
The same goes for ourselves when we embark on a journey of creating lasting change, not a quick fix. Quick fixes are like a Chia pet—fast results but they die off quickly.
Creating lasting change is all about roots—finding and addressing the root problem, establishing roots and a foundation to create the change from, and rooting ourselves in all of the resources and tools available to us in order to not just grow but to thrive in any climate or condition.
Getting to the root of the problem may end up looking like a gardening project in reverse. You may need to peel through all the layers of the onion to get to the core. Quick fixes work on our timeline—we dictate how quickly we expect results. Lasting change has no timeline. It could take weeks, months, or years of questioning, discovering, and healing before you unearth the source of your discomfort.
The beauty is that once you do get to the source, it becomes the spring. It sustains you and allows you to grow, to flourish, and to expand into the world. No longer are you punishing yourself with solutions that create more problems.
While it is tempting to seek the immediate results a quick fix might bring, remember that duct tape eventually stops sticking and emergency repairs are always more expensive. We are the most important project we will ever take on.
Doesn’t it make sense to be patient and to approach the process with an abundance of devotion, love, compassion, and caring? You are worth the work. You are worth healing and you are worth loving. Don’t sell yourself short.
If you’re ready to stop looking for quick fixes in your relationship with alcohol and to begin working towards lasting change, join us in The Alcohol Experiment. It is forever free and has helped nearly 250,000 people take on a journey of growth and self-discovery.