A wise man told me… “In life, pain is inevitable.  Suffering is optional”.

A gross simplification? Yes.  Yet true nonetheless.  What this simply means to me is that painful situations absolutely will come up in our lives.  No question.  Nobody is exempt.

I have learned that we can make choices that will affect whether this pain turns into suffering or not.  These choices take a lot of work, practice, and repetition.  Many of us are in the habit of turning our pain into suffering without ever realizing we are doing it. 

We take a problem, and perhaps bathe it in self pity by churning and churning it over in our minds.  Thinking about all  the ways we were just wronged.  Talking to friends about it.  And we subconsciously choose friends who will cosign or enable it.  Maybe we look for similar situations in the movies and tv we choose tht will cosign our perspective.  Driving us deeper and deeper into the original pain of the original injustice.

Thus we have turned pain into suffering.  Pain hurts.  Thats why they call it…. pain. (deep huh?).   Yet it can be finite.  The cycle I mentioned above existed in my life.  It is taking a lot of practice, support and repetition to stop letting my thinking process from going down the same pathway.  This is in part why I created this blog.  To do something new instead of just sitting in my stuff.  Feeling it over and over.

Life’s amazing when we wake up to the possibilities.  We eventually cease to fear pain as much because we learn that pain can mean growth.


  1. Ok…. so I never said any of this was easy. Today I hurt. Badly. Miss my kids. I feel they are poisoned against me. May not be the case but just assuming it is and that is how I feel… imagine the pain.

    Yet somehow I know, this too will pass. It always does. Yet in the moment, it hurts. Pain seldom kills. So it should be ok.

    I could have posted on the Depression page. For me, they are almost a full overlap. Be encouraged, I am not going to park here.

    “When you are going through hell… keep going”, Winston Churchill.

    Easier said than done Winnie. But who said life and recovery were easy. They are not. They hurt. But then again, so does child birth, so does passing a kidney stone…. and those are steps toward the better are they not?

    Today I hurt. But thats ok. This too will pass.

  2. So since my last post, the pain has passed.

    It was not a linear passing of pain, it was a roller coaster ride and something tells me the ride is not over.

    I am glad to be able to live “Just for today”. This moment, the pain has subsided and for that I am grateful. I am grateful for my home, my job, my new wife, and for the soccer practice I was able to take my son to last night.

    I am grateful that I am clean and sober today. This is well over the 1,000th day of continuous sobriety.

    Gratitude is a great pain antidote. But it takes doing it and much practice.

    “Pain is inevitable but suffering is optional”. This is the distinction. I feel the pain, but I have some choices in my thinking and behaviour which determine whether or not pain turns to suffering.

    This stuff works. And for that I am all the more grateful.

  3. Hi, Chaz. Remember it’s the holidays and go gentle with yourself.

  4. Eve… oh ya. I am going gentle. Holidays are all organized. Have kids over and then going away a few days at NY.

    Things are good. Especially in light of where they had been. Thanks for the comment. Ciao. Chaz

  5. Hey…. miracles do happen…. I was contacted by my daughter after having not seen her for a while due to some tension over family matters. We are getting together next week for first time in a while.

    Pain never lasts unless we park ourselves there.

  6. Chaz. I like this approach, or rather, this distinction between pain and suffering. It is helpful.
    Wishing you good things for 2009.

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