Is NO sometimes better than YES?

My addiction cost me almost everything I had ever been given. I include family, friends, freedom, health, and, very nearly, my life.

People, places, and things that should have mattered had become commodities, used as a currency to feed both a drug addiction and a puffed-up ego.

Some professionals assert that the first word we learn as a child is ‘NO’, yet as we grow older it can be the most difficult word to use or to hear. For more than 20 years I have been in recovery, trying to follow Jesus the best I can, and I have found ‘NO’ to be both painful and, more importantly, liberating. On many occasions ‘NO’ has certainly saved me from heartbreak and setbacks.

Learning how to respond when the answer is NO.

It’s important we learn how to say NO to ourselves when appropriate, but just as important to learn how to accept NO from someone else. Train yourself to not take it personally. Remember, everyone hears the word NO.

I am learning to think more positively when I hear a NO and to recall that if my son only heard the word ‘yes’, he would become temperamental, insecure, and stubborn, just as I was in my addiction. I didn’t place proper value on anything.

We have very fragile egos, so hearing NO can provoke a reaction rather than a considered response. Instead, let a NO provoke a desire to achieve more, to develop confidence and character and to identify your place in God’s wonderful plan.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing, and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)

Learning how to say NO.

Saying NO has helped me with social anxiety, overcoming my fear that I might not be included, the fear of rejection. Using the word NO has helped me to understand, and to set, my personal and professional boundaries. I need to communicate carefully, but when I do, I am not responsible for how a person feels or behaves when I need to use the word NO. We grow in character and maturity when we learn to use the word NO wisely.

NO is such a short word but can be so difficult to put into practice in our everyday lives!

When I am willing to learn from a NO, my personal journey only gets better. I have the privilege of helping to release the gifting and potential in others and have come to see how true this is for all of us! 

David JJ Crowther

David, a former heroin addict and dealer from Royton, Greater Manchester, decided, in 1998, that enough was enough. He has been committed to sharing his experiences in drug and alcohol residential homes for the last 20 years. He is currently the Operations Manager at the Walk, in Stoke-on-Trent.