The Last of the Human Freedoms

Viktor Frankl (1905-1997) was a neurologist and psychiatrist from Austria who survived the horrors of the Holocaust. In his book, Man’s Search for Meaning he writes of his experience in a  concentration camp in Auschwitz where he would be witness to most degrading of human behavior. There he would lose his mother, brother and his wife Tilly.

Through this horrible experience, he observed fellow prisoners around him and how they coped with an unbearable environment, grief and multiple losses. He came to learn an important principle which, when integrated into our own belief system, can help us to overcome and grow despite the most difficult of odds. He wrote:

“Everything can be taken from a man (or woman) but one thing: the last of the human freedoms- to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances”.

The problem with addiction is that it takes away our willpower to make healthy choice. It fills us up with lies. Lies like “You can’t do it!”, “You never last more than a few days, just give up!” and “You are too weak, you don’t have enough willpower!” And when you believe the lies, they become your truth. But there is a freedom that addiction cannot take. It cannot take away your freedom to choose how you are going to respond to the lies of addiction. Just like Viktor Frankl, you can recognize that you do still have the last of the human freedoms - to choose how you will respond. You can listen and embrace truth rather than the lies! And the truth is that you can do it! And when you fall, you can get up and try again. Success isn’t measured by the accomplishment as much as it is measured by your choice to keep going!

Check out this great video clip of Heather Dornidan, who fell, got up, tried again and went on to victory. And you can too!