Rut – noun: A very long grave.

March 13, 2009

I spent time today with an elderly man who I have known my whole life.  As long as I have known him, he thought a certain way.  Now in his 80’s, no matter how plainly the truth stares him in the face and knocks him on the head, he still thinks the same way.  A rut worn by his patterns of thought.

rutIt is painful to watch.  Painful to listen to.  Sadly, he has practiced ignorance over and over about a particular matter.  Wearing a rut so deep for so long, I do not believe he could change his thinking if he wanted to.  There is evidence to contradict what he believes all around him.  It seems obvious to all of us in his life.  But he goes on believing the way he does.

Makes me stop and ask myself, what ruts are forming in my thinking?  I know I have got out of some of the ruts in recovering from alcohol, drugs, and depression.  But that does not mean that new ruts cannot be formed.  Or that I can’t simply fill one rut by digging another one right beside it. 

Even positive thinking can become a rut if it does not progress with changing circumstances of life.  I have met many who found a new way to think decades ago, then immediately made that thinking into a rut that is not relevant to today’s bizarre and changing world.  They are in an outdated rut.

For this reason, I continually challenge my own thinking as best I can.  Posting on blogs is a major part of it.  Dialogue and debate help limit rut thinking.  I also do my best to listen to those around me.  This can be painful.  But then again, so were changing my thinking patterns that kept me drunk and depressed.  The work was painful, but the result was marvelous.

But I guess we either feel the pain now of filling in our ruts, or feel the pain later of being stuck in one.  I am going to go with the former… as best I can.






  1. Excellent post! I’ve never thought about things this way. But now that you mention it, you’re absolutely correct. I know a bunch of “progressive thinkers” who are in the rut of thinking progressively. No ability to see another point of view.

    You’ve given me major food for thought. I’m going to have to chew on this for a while to realize its full implications.

  2. I really enjoyed this post, Chaz. I think that so many of us find ourselves stuck but then we fail to do anything about it…Developing a dialogue with ourselves as well as talking with others can often help us to see our way out of such negative, unproductive ways of thinking.

  3. MarkHouston….

    I find that one advantage to 12-step programs is that they provide ongoing mechanisms to keep change happening.

    Where else does this exist? One might say in Church or other disciplines of faith. This is true. Yet a uniquness to AA or other 12-step programs is that we show up desparate. Basically we are in a “change or die” situation. Not always the case with church etc.

    So ya. change does not stop with recognition of the fact we are in a rut. We then need to do something effective to make the changes and keep the changes. Am sure you see this in your recovery programs. I have read you page and see you embrace the 12 steps.

    Thanks for your reply.



  4. Great post. Your right, its so easy to get stuck ‘in a rut’ thinking in a certain way (see my brief thought on selfishness!). As you say, discussion – whether that be face to face or online – is a great way to keep yourself challenged and thinking…

    Speak soon


  5. Lores…. glad to hear from you. Will check out your selfishness (lol).

  6. Wow, now I really want to hear from you after you read Blessings in Disguise. We should definitely have something to talk about.

  7. Well, I figured out the comment situation Chaz!! Geesh, I felt real dumb. Anyway, again, I loved this post! It was very enlightening. Great job!


  8. That’s a good point! I was very successful at drinking, but it’s not a game anyone wants to win.

  9. thanks, it was a nice piece of writing i liked it.
    i wish you happiness in all of your days

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