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Sunday, November 10, 2019

Rolling Stops: Skirting Along the Edge of Disaster

A counselor years ago told me that healthy people view bad choices or decisions as stop signs and take heed of them.   From what I understand, have heard and seen, a full-blown addict will either not see the stop sign, deny the stop sign exists or just resign themselves to the fact the 'brakes are shot' and not make a serious attempt to stop. 

That is to say, they
  • Will not see the choice or decision they are making as bad (delusional)
    • I'm stopping in for one drink to celebrate with friends.
    • They cannot see them that one drink leads to another and before you know it, you are being carried out drunk.
  • Will minimize the impact of the choices or decision they make (denial) 
    • No one will know if I lie/steal/cheat.
    • The problem is even if no one else knows--which often is no accurate anyway--such behavior changes who you are.
  • Will know the stop sign is there and say well there's nothing I can do anyway (resignation). 
    • What does it matter if I gamble my last bit of money, I'm screwed anyway.
    • They cannot see that even in a bad situation that looks hopeless, that you can make it worse.
    • This is fatalistic.

Like many people, I've done what law enforcement would consider a rolling stop.  After one particular time, it occurred to me, some people do actually see the rhetorical stop sign and heed it (mostly).   They know there is a stop sign and they know proceeding without hesitating or making an attempt to checking if it is safe to go into the intersection is bad.   They know it is a disaster waiting to happen.  So, they stop short of just running the stop sign and look out for oncoming traffic before finishing their pause.  In reality they are tempting fate.  That is to say, they catch the danger most of the time and are able to stop their momentum and do a complete stop if necessary.  However, it just takes one time of rolling at stop and misjudging traffic to get hit by another car they've missed after a quick glance.  To me this describes a person with some addictive or at-risk tendencies.  Like a recovering alcoholic who drives by a bar he used to frequent when he has an a good alternative route or a recovering gambler who carries too much cash on him as he passes by the casino, they are just asking for trouble.   They may be able to resist feeding their addiction, for a day, a week, a month or a year or more, but eventually they are a putting themselves in a dangerous position of relapsing.   Yes, they may be able to get away with their 'rolling stop' for a long while, but eventually they risk getting 'hit' by their addiction. 

As always my posts are a reflection of my experiences, the experiences of those surrounding me or my observations about the world that surrounds me and it they aren't meant to be considered scientific research or indisputable fact.  However, I am always hopeful that through my words, others will find comfort, relate-ability or just a different or new perspective.

Thanks for reading and remember: it is better to follow the 'rules' and always practice doing a full stop, so when it is time that it is absolutely necessary to do a full stop you will be so practiced at it, that you will be likely to make the wisest choice under pressure.

Cheers,
Rich


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