“Stupid Is As Stupid Does,” Says Forrest Gump

While I don’t favor words like stupid or crazy, I understand Forrest Gump’s intention.

We become what we do and sometimes it takes a valiant mental shift to do something differently.

I was with more than 600 people last week at the West Coast Symposium on Addictive Disorders.  All the attendees were connected to others who became addicted by doing the same things over and over again.

Many, like me, drank alcohol and became alcoholics.

Many others did drugs and became drug addicts.

Some ate, or didn’t eat, obsessively and became their respective disorder.

All of us, in one way or another, become the substance, behavior or disorder that we do obsessively.

Again, I’m not labeling any of these human frailties as stupid.  Forrest Gump’s words, for me, relate to whatever condition I’m frenetically feeding because it means I’ve become my obsession.

A conversation with Dad.

Earlier this evening, during a chat with Dad, he asked his usual, “What’s going on?”  I’m pretty sure he wished he hadn’t asked.

I blasted him with how overwhelmed I feel.  Working a job with long travel days in 118-degree heat, keeping up with my writing, moving to a new home in 10 days, selling stuff, buying stuff, movers, utilities people, carpet cleaners, the list goes on.

My sweetie’s beloved aunt died.  I’ve never known a death that doesn’t bring out weird family dynamics after a relative passes.

You know what my dad said?

“Well, honey, I guess those people are just being how they want to be.”


“You know sweetheart,” my dad said with his fatherly wisdom, “we don’t ever really know what people are up against.  Whatever they’re doing is right for them until they decide that it isn’t and they do something different.

“You just make up your mind what is right for you and do that.”

In other words, (he didn’t say this, but I drew the conclusion), “Tend to your own knittin’.”  That was one of Mom’s favorite admonitions.

What does my dad have to do with Forrest Gump?

Dad reminded me, in his own way, that I’ve become the frantic pace of my life.  I’ve become my worries and obsessions, my doubts and depressions.  The more I tangle with them, the tighter my wadded mess becomes.

When my sweetie called earlier–from her aunt’s services–I asked if there was anything I could do for her.

There was a brief pause.  Then she said that yes there was.  She would like for me to step away from the packing boxes, put down the tape gun and take a deep breath.

She asked me to trust that everything would work out.

In the hour and a half since that conversation, followed by the one with my dad, I’ve discovered that I can put down my obsessions much easier than I used to.  God knows I’ve had enough practice.

I encourage you to do the same.  Take a long look at what you’re doing obsessively and question whether you’re consumed by the obsession.

It’s okay; it happens.  Here’s the antidote:  Step away, put it down and take a deep breath.  When done mindfully, this tool works.  It really does.

For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. ~ 1 Corinthians 14:33

(Photo courtesy of Bruno Paiva)

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  1. Hi Beth,

    That was an amazing symposium! “Tending to my own knittin’” is what I’ve been striving for these past few years as I learn to readjust after going down the addiction road with my children. Great words of wisdom!

    Hope your move goes smoothly and life settles down for you. I know that feeling when you are overwhelmed and it is not fun. Stepping away and breathing is a great idea and just taking small steps helps me as well during those stressful times. Take care!

    • Beth says:

      Hey Cathy,

      Sometimes just knowing that others have been in similar situations and lived to tell about it is the best comfort. Thanks for reminding me that it is because I am sober that I have a full life today . . . I really am grateful.

      B Well!

  2. […] for today. We cannot control someone else’s life or their addiction. As Beth Wilson, from B Here Today mentions in her recent post, “Tend to your own […]

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