CHANGE IS NO SMALL TASK. . .

     Nelson's poem is a powerful metaphor describing the change process that often occurs when dealing with challenging behaviors like substance use. It begins with the denial of a problematic behavior followed by the growing awareness that continuing it will lead to the same negative result over and over again. Recognizing and accepting that there is a problem often allows us to triumph over it by making important changes that might prevent it from happening again.


Chapter 1

I walk down the street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I fall in.

I am lost… I am helpless.

It isn’t my fault.

It takes forever to find a way out.


Chapter 2

I walk down the street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I pretend that I don’t see it.

I fall in again.

I can’t believe I am in this same place.

But, it isn’t my fault.

It still takes a long time to get out.


Chapter 3

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I see it is there.

I still fall in … it’s a habit … but, my eyes are open.

I know where I am.

It is my fault.

I get out immediately.


Chapter 4

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I walk around it.


Chapter 5

I walk down another street.

THERE'S A HOLE IN MY SIDEWALK

A poem about the process of change by Portia Nelson

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