18/05/2015 18:19 BST | Updated 18/05/2016 06:59 BST

Change or Die

When I was doing a 23 day water-only fast, up a mountain in Panama, to get cured and get out of my wheelchair, I met a young lad with a tattoo on the base of his neck.

Fasting is weird because either you can recall things with totally crystal clear clarity, or not at all. And I remember the conversation with hyper awareness. Like I remember most words of the four books a day I would read whilst fasting. But I don't remember whether this tattoo was Hebrew or Chinese. And I wouldn't be able to recall it again if l saw it now. I asked him what I meant. He replied.

"Change or die".

To this day it's the single most accurate sentence I've ever heard regarding recovery. Any type of recovery. Physical. Addiction. Emotional. Bereavement. Doesn't matter. Whatever the catalyst is that's enforced the need for change in life. We have to go with it. We have to allow it. We have to seek it out.

Change or die.

In some people there isn't a major internal or external crisis that occurs to bring on this 'Change or die' revelation. They just wake up one day with the absolute knowing that there is more to life than what they are living. So they make dramatic change. Ending a marriage. Leaving a lucrative career. Finding religion. From the outside we look at them and call it a midlife crisis. From the inside its just:

Change or die.

None of us can go back. Back to the Before. Before the thing happened us to change us forever. Or before the realisation occurs to us that there is a better fit out there than the life we are living. We can try and drown these thoughts out. Try and medicate ourselves so we are numb enough not to notice we have outgrown our beliefs or surroundings. But it can't last. It's not an effective long term solution. There is only one solution:

Change or die.

It doesn't matter if that change involves learning how to walk again. Or learning to live life sober. Or overcoming an Eating Disorder. Whether it involves emigrating. Or a total career overhaul. It won't go away. This need for change won't leave you alone if you decide to simply ignore it. It will get bigger. It's supposed to. It's just trying to get your attention and it will shout louder until you accept you need to listen to it and go wherever it takes you.

Change or die.

It's far easier in the long run to simply let go of the brakes. Stop clinging on to the old. Make a choice to make the changes that will allow us to move forward. Some call it being our Authentic Selves. Others describe it as Living Our Truth. But for those who have ignored this searing need? Ignored it until it takes us to the very depths of despair. The very end of the line? The very edge of reason? It simply becomes:

Change. Or. Die.

Luckily we don't all need to go up a mountain and live on water to know the truth of it. Or get it tattooed on our neck. Or have our body fail totally on us before we figure it out.