The spiral of change

I’m reading this great book called ‘Almost Alcoholic: Is My (or My Loved One’s) Drinking a Problem?’ by Robert Doyle, a Psychiatrist from Harvard Medical School and expert on alcoholism and Joseph Nowinski, a Clinical Psychologist.  It is really worth a read.

In it they talk about using dialectics to promote an inner dialogue to allow insight and maybe even the catalyst for an ‘aha’ moment!  Dialectics is a way to understand the way things are and the way things change.  The 3 simple rules of dialectics are:

  1. Every thing is made of opposing forces/sides (be it object or process)
  2. Gradual changes leads to turning points, where one opposite overcomes the other
  3. Changes move in spirals, not circles


This makes me think of the expression ‘being trapped in a downward spiral’ which is often how my drinking felt.  But we can also have upward spirals which is where I consider myself now as my health, wealth and happiness improve on an almost daily basis.

They give some great examples of dialetic thoughts and questions to ponder such as:

Who am I vs Who do I think I should I be?

What do I want vs Why am I here?

Where have I been vs Where am I going?

I find these questions useful both from a still drinking perspective or a post stopping perspective.  When I was drinking these questions were helpful in aiding my resolve to change my drinking behaviour initially temporarily and then permanently.

Now I’ve stopped I’m thinking about what I want to do with all the time, energy and resources that are now available to me and how I can best use them to make my life feel like it is moving forward and I am growing, learning and reaching my full potential.

7 thoughts on “The spiral of change

  1. so true. thank you. change IS a spiral. moving around and around a central point – sometimes in an extremely elliptical path so we seem to have moved a long way away from our core selves and aims – but if we can just keep going we will see periodically as we see our path lower down that we are indeed moving upwards! P xx

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