Could you imagine attempting to cook for the first time without any advice? Without a teacher? Without some method to work from? This would not only be daunting but costly!
Everything would be left to chance – hit or miss, trial and error – hammered out on the anvil of “what in the hell did I just concoct?
But hey, Olympus may favor you, and maybe, just maybe, some decent food will emerge.
Oh, wait… what about the poisonous berries?
Perhaps a tester is required?
You know, that guy who checks to make sure all the food and drink is copacetic and not deadly. The king’s of old had these fellas. If the tester died they knew what to avoid. Sure, let’s bring back the tester-method.
That sounds absolutely horrifying.
Nevertheless, I raise my glass to our ancestral food testers who died during the making of our cookbooks.
Luckily, in terms of addictions treatment, our shelves abound with cookbooks of sorts. Unfortunately, the cost has been significant.
Below are solid illustrations why books – which are tried, tested and proven – can provide the necessary instructions for overcoming your addiction. Let the tester days be a thing of the past. Without further ado, the five advantages of reading books and why there are a necessity for your recovery.
1st Advantage: Navigation
The mind of the addict is laden with land mines. Seriously. They’re everywhere. So, how on God’s sweet earth does one navigate such terrain and make it out in one piece? Well, is not the answer a map? Books can perform this function.
Like a pregnant mother who reads material on what to expect, she is effectively preparing herself for the good and the bad. Namely, she wants to be informed on how to best handle the situations she will soon encounter.
No rational soul will deny that this is a prudent path for her to take. Moreover, if she doesn’t read some type of content, be it a blog, magazine, book, or something of that nature, she most certainly will listen to a narrative from a relative, close friend, YouTube channel, or perhaps dialogue and instruction provided by her specific healthcare institution.
Either way, the map exists, be it helpful or harmful. We never, in a true sense, just fly off the path and chart our own course. We work with what we have been given.
And if what we have been given thus far is failing to avoid the land mines than perhaps it’s time to modify the map. Increase what we have been given. Augmentation is available via books.
Literally, numerous books exist giving clear-cut instructions on how to spring from the muck and mire of active addiction and the common everyday struggles of humanity.
But, as previously stated, you can only work with what you’ve been given. Do yourself a favor and allow an author, or authors, to give you more.
2nd Advantage: Crisis/Tension
This might seem odd if not completely counterintuitive. However, are you under the impression life is designed to be crisis-free? That’s irrational nonsense.
A good author will make you question yourself. Will make you challenge your so-called better judgment. And will make you wrestle with concepts and preconceived ideas.
For instance, if you want to be a better baseball player you will play with those who are superior to you in the game. Why? Because they challenge you to be better. Nobody likes feeling inferior. Nobody likes feeling like they can’t hold their own. Competition is part and parcel of our nature. The adaptive value is to strengthen survival rates – adapt, adjust, and conquer etcetera etcetera.
Without constriction, there is truly no positive change. Consider the caterpillar and the cocoon. The most critical yet excruciating sequence of the metamorphosis is when the oil is applied to the wings of the yet butterfly. If this process is skipped over it will never take flight. If it’s endured, it’s under the most intense constriction of its tiny lifespan. Yet, I believe this a valuable life lesson: do not fear the cocoon, fear never flying.
I’ve noted elsewhere, “What makes an author truly remarkable is in their ability to create tension within the reader. This tension becomes the narrative; the internal conflict becomes the antagonist and the internal-resolve-drive becomes the protagonist. This is where books can become momentous vehicles for growth. By sparking a story within, wherein the tension is resolved and resolution, of course, is growth.”
3rd Advantage: Broaden Perspective
It’s easy to fall prey to the belief that perspective is solely enlarged by experience. Undoubtedly, much is only understood by experience – the smell of a rose for instance. It’s a pleasant smell and by experience, we know we enjoy that which is pleasing.
Therefore, it’s not unreasonable to take a whiff of a rose subsequent to an individual’s advice that the fragrance of a rose is delightful. Granted the individual can be trusted.
The same holds true regarding foul smells. For example, our predecessors rightly dubbed this certain plant the “Eastern Skunk Cabbage.”
Surely the implication is that this plant smells awful, similar to the kill shot of the skunk – the warning is clear: STAY AWAY. Once more, granted the caveat comes from a trusted authority of sorts, we can rely on the information and not go abuse our nostrils.
The more we know, the better off we are, right?
I’m sure we have all heard Francis Bacon’s declaration that “knowledge is power.” Yet, I’m curious as to how many of us understand what he was professing.
Well, firstly it means that knowledge is ultimately more powerful than physical strength – that is, no great feat can be accomplished without great knowledge. The brick and mortar house first began in the mind, then was transferred to a blueprint, then constructed.
Moreover, a knowledgeable person has more power regarding the prediction of future outcomes. For example, without knowledge of the stock market, what’s left is not an investment but a gamble.
And finally, knowledge is seemingly infinite. What a person can learn appears to be boundless…no matter how enormous is the problem, there lingers a curative slightly more enormous to solve it – which presupposes a greater knowledge and ability to use it.
Books give us this capacity which would otherwise take multiple lifetimes to acquire.
4th Advantage: Skill Set
It’s important at this point to differentiate between content and skill set. It is easy to assume after absorbing content on a certain subject that one had acquired a skill set, however, this is a fatal mistake – one that keeps self-help books lining the shelves.
If I read a book about music theory, I’ve merely been educated via content. Musical theory without application is like a shovel with no dirt, it’s useless.
If one’s reading does not turn into application it’s only entertainment. Certainly, I would never be dismissive of fictional works for entertainment purposes – but just keep in mind for books outside of this entertainment sphere, if it’s not morphing into a skill then it’s more or less being abandoned.
5th Advantage: Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is “the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgment.” Value judgments are inescapable, all day long we make judgments either for our betterment or for at our own peril. Elsewhere I’ve commented on this subject,
“Try operating in any conceivable fashion without making value judgments. It’s not possible. It’s not even conceivable! We are constantly discerning the best course of action for ourselves. Sure, it’s debatable what is the ‘best’ but that debate, of value theory, will forever go on.”
This debate as to what is the “best” is in the department of critical thought. Want to know how go the extra distance? This is critical thought. Want to discover your values, whether your decisions align with said values? This is critical thought. Psychology, biology, anthropology, theology, philosophy, sports, etc., all require critical thinking.
How do you begin to think critically? Well, this brings us full circle to the five reasons you should read.
First, by refining your map and seeing yourself and the world around you more clearly.
Second, this is most adequately done via crisis, which is usually the means our brains use to stir up change.
Third, the crisis is pacified by a broadening perspective and the discovery that life is not as narrow and short-sided as was initially perceived.
Fourth, when your perspective enlarges thus in a proportional manner so does your skillset; the two presuppose each other. A change in perspective implies an increase in skill set and an intensification in skill set implies a ballooning perspective.
And lastly, as alluded to earlier, all this gives birth to the capacity for critical thought.
In sum, reading books endows you with four massive benefits:
- The ability to acquire the right perspective
- The capacity to pass the right judgment
- The power to determine the right response
- The potential to predict favorable outcomes
So what are you waiting for? Pick up a damn book.
Timmy G (2019)