There is only perception. People respond to their own map of reality and not reality itself.

We arrive at the here and now with all that has been imprinted and learned in our lives. So, what’s been imprinted? Fair question. The answer is all of our beliefs, values and attitudes about how it ‘really’ is. These become our reality.

How is this important to any of us? Here are a few examples.

Suppose we are observing a drug court client going through the process while we get to watch a split-screen of a drug court judge’s reaction to how the client is doing.

Based on the client’s map of reality it is okay to use alcohol and other drugs as well as to commit the crimes for which she/he has been charged. These crimes are by definition anti-social. But the client believes they are okay.

The judge on the other hand is thinking maybe this person does not get it. Maybe this client is just refusing to comply or change. Again, by definition, the judge is looking at the situation from a pro-social criminal justice point of view.

Between the two parties someone’s map of reality must change if the client is to be successful in the program and graduate. And – you can bet it is not the judge’s map that must change.

One of the judge’s in my area is known to tell the clients that “society is not going to change for you. It is you who must change your thinking and behavior (your map of reality).

The mother of the client may be saying “the reality is that the judge is not being fair with my girl.” The prosecutor’s map is saying that “the client needs to go to jail.” The public defender is saying “no, my client needs treatment, not jail. She needs to be free so she can work and support her family.” If this involved a burglary the victim is saying “she’s got to pay me back and then she can go to jail.”

We are talking about the same event (remember the map) but we can see that each party has a different perception or reality of what has been done and what needs to be done.

That is Recovery Theme #3 in a nutshell. There is no such thing as reality. People respond to their map of reality and not reality itself.

You must be ready to explore your reality or you would not be here.

The good news is…these maps can be changed. More on that to follow.

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