Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Anatomy of Hope and it's Mythos

As a Chiropractic Physician and Attorney I have been fortunate to practice two professions over the course of 26 years in NY, NJ, PA, and FL. I can tell you unequivocally that doctors, lawyers, and clergy are all in the same business. We sell something called, "hope." 

Hope to most people means "that tomorrow is going to be better than today." The answer to that or the path to that goal to be lead by the professional of the law, medicine, or religion. They can somehow help us, counsel us, and guide us to achieve this better future.

First, let's destroy the myths of hope:

1. There is NO "better" future merely a "transformed" future.

Life is always going to be a series of trade offs. There is always a pain with a pleasure and vice versa. People who are single want to be married and sometimes people who are married want to be single. Is one really better than the other? It is all a matter of perspective. 

There is gain and loss with each and every thing. In legal matters involving accusations of wrongdoing, your money, your relationships, your emotions, and your mental state will all go through transformation. What lessons you gain from the experience are up to you. Some lessons in life need repeating, that is neither good nor bad just a truth. That is why some people get involved with the same type of person or relationship over and over. 

If you suffer from a chronic medical problem, the long term healthy solution is usually a lifestyle change not a fast and easy medication or surgery. People go to the doctor expecting them to just fix things. Often the real fix (solution) lies in a personal change. 

2. Nothing is free. Whether it is your health, your liberty, or your sanity.  

There is always a cost to everything. Doctors, lawyers, and clergy want our money but sometimes the most expensive things cost nothing financially. This is because the price of a thing, maybe our freedom can come as a trade of our liberty. Before I go further let me stop, and explain this one.

Freedom is your ability to move about, unrestricted. While liberty is more your ability to do as you please as you move about. This is the real difference between jail and probation. Jail is complete lock down while probation is having someone watching you, checking you, and monitoring your choices.

So having a "choice" of jail or probation is really the lesser or greater of two evils (if you consider punishment evil). These can sometimes be goals for those accused of crimes that they did commit. 
Often county jail is a much better outcome than state prison. Often a conditional discharge is a better outcome than probation. 

The value of what anything costs you in time, money, or emotions is yours to decide. Sometimes you can not place a monetary value on a license, or six months or three years of your life. People need to be reminded that time = money. If something remains open, and is hanging over their head, what is the value of fast closure?

3. Whether you are happy or sad about your transformed future is all based on your expectation. 

If you expected nothing, to get off scott free, then any punishment is bad and you are sad and maybe even mad. Are your goals realistic? Real for your situation? In other words are you thinking, talking, and acting with a reality base? 

Real is based upon the facts of your case. The facts of your background, your history, and the detailed breakdown of your situation yield a foundation grounded in the real. What would be a real outcome in this court with these charges for you? Not for someone else, not somewhere else, but here and now.

Comparing yourself or your situation to a TV police drama or a celebrity in California or a relative five states away is the beginning of doom. This is fantasy thinking. Comparing to something that is in fact incomparable. 

I recently had a client accuse me of taking away her hope. She had continued to drink with the ignition interlock device in her car. Well after a night of hard drinking, she blew a big number on her morning drive to work. Now she was in a real fix. A violation which was bringing her back in front of a conservative Judge.

Her first aggravated DWI resulted in lesser DWI with the minimal punishment now she faced a violation of that CD (conditional discharge). I told her to expect some jail, possibly probation, or a combination. She wanted a "stern" warning. She felt that that was hope. She was hoping for a fantasy. She discharged me, and found another lawyer. I didn't give her BS just a real look at what she should be expecting and facing. 

Hope Made R.E.A.L.

Quite often I am asked for my opinion. I do offer people hope. But it is HOPE that is REAL.

R means Reality

But first it is hope that is grounded and real. Grounded in reality. As a chiropractor, if they were 70 years old, a 100 lbs overweight, and full of arthritis, how real would my hope be if I told them they would be disease free and perfectly straight?

What if I told them they could achieve all of that within six months, and a cost of only $1000? What if I told them they would have to do nothing to help me to help them? 

E means Expectations

I always keep my clients and my past patients expectations in line. What can they or should they reasonably expect at each stage of their process (legal or medical)? Client/patient unhappiness or depression is directly related to their expectation.

A means Alternatives

What are their choices if any? Can they have to pick and decide between things? Empowerment to patients and clients comes from the power to choose. They want to know they can participate in the process and affect the potential outcome. What are their alternatives? Is it time, is it money, is it treatment, is it liberty? 

L means Lessons

If they don't get the lesson, they will be doomed to repeat it. One of my favorite teachers, Dr. John Demartini used to say, "every problem is a lesson and a blessing." Can they see the lesson? Can they interpret the lesson? Can they see the benefits? Every loss has a gain, so what have they gained from the loss? 

Lawrence (Larry) Newman, D.C., Esq.

Doctor of Chiropractic
Attorney and Counselor at Law

504 North Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY 14850