The problem with having a habit is it’s a habit.
And that’s it.
The body already knows what to do without needing any input.
The problem with being habit-minded is you’re habit-minded. To be any other way becomes unthinkable. And that’s the problem. The mind simply cannot conceive it living any other way. Whether the habit is smoking; whether the habit is food, drinking, smoking, sex, or whether the habit is working too much, sleeping too much; whether the habit is an addiction to say, emotion, depression, codependency or if the habit is based on self-harm, cutting, or any compulsion, which delivers a moment of gratification but the satisfaction is only fleeting, when it comes to the habitual mind, it becomes unbelievable to consider that life could be lived any other way.
When it comes to the habit; and I mean when it comes to the bad ones, when it comes to the habits that make you compromise yourself, when it comes to the sacrifices we make on its behalf, when it comes to the losses we endure, or the money we waste, the lies we tell, and when it comes to the changes in our health, when our appearance changes simply because we nurture the habit more than we care for our own life; and when this happens, no matter how much we want to stop, we can’t stop because don’t this is possible.
Not all habits are bad habits. Living healthy becomes a habit. Exercise becomes a habit. Enjoying life is certainly habit forming. Eating well is habit forming too.
Praying, meditating, and spiritual exercise is habit forming; however, for some reason, these habits, which come with exceptional benefits are somehow relatively easy to break.
But kick smoking.
Kick the self-harm, self-destructive process which only lead to a brief moment of relief and the idea of breaking this type of habit is impossible to comprehend,
We ask questions like, “How do people do it?”
“How do people live healthy?”
I knew a man that had nearly 10 years of consecutive sobriety. He relapsed and went right back to his old lifestyle.
He asked me, “How do you do it?”
“You should know,” I told him.
“You used to be my sponsor.” which meant, anything I learned, at one point, I learned it from him.
The mind is the problem. Even though my friend and one-time sponsor had nearly a decade of continuous sobriety, as soon as he went back to his old behavior and as soon as the habit took hold, it was impossible for him to see himself clean up again.
Unfortunately, life does not always allow for another opportunity. Sadly, my old sponsor died without ever knowing that he was completely well-equipped to live a happy, healthy, and sober lifestyle.
It’s not that he couldn’t do it again; it’s that he never believed he could do it again.
He lost before he even tried because the truth is he never tried. Why would he? Who tires when they have absolutely no faith in their ability to achieve their goals?
This is the problem with the habitual mind-
There is no relief
No way out
No way to stop the cycle
No way to settle the thoughts, the fears, or the concerns.
No way to contemplate a cure for the cravings
And no way to stop, kill, or occupy the boredom, which we used to fill with an old and less-beneficial behavior.
The idea of living without our vice is the same intimidation a child feels when letting go of his or her teddy bear.
The fear of life without the vice is more intimidating than the symptoms it creates. And until the desire to feel better outweigh the symptoms, until the desire outweighs the worth of our habits, the idea of quitting remains unthinkable.
But there has to be a way to quit, right?
There has to be a way to get away from the things which hold us back, right?
How else do people decide to change?
How else do people break away from bad relationships?
How else can someone kick a habit?
There has to be a way, right?
I mean, people kick habits all the time, don’t they?
And if or when they do quit (or improve) does this mean they are more equipped than anyone else?
The answer is no.
The truth is anyone can stop a habit. The truth is anyone can break a habit. It’s true. I know it’s true.
When I decided to stop eating certain foods, I was no better or less equipped than other people that chose my same way of eating.
Some people succeed and some fail. In my best efforts, I succeeded because I never questioned the process.
Instead, I became the process. I did not diet. Instead, I chose to pay attention to what I ate. I nurtured how much I ate, and more importantly, I chose not to cheat (as people say) or indulge myself with foods that would lead me back to old behaviors.
I understand that genetically, people differ; however, so long as there is a process and so long as their is a direction; so long as there is dedication, there will always be an equal success.
But in my case and speaking for myself; as soon as I doubt myself, as soon as I question my process instead being the process; as soon as I worry about the results instead of paying attention to the efforts, this is where I lose myself.
This is where the emotional mind steps in and takes over. This is where doubt and fear conspire. This is where anxiety builds and where the panic system begins to wind up tightly like a gear about to burst and go haywire. When this happens, this is when people give in.
The problem with the habit-mind is that it is habit-minded. And I can’t say this is easy to break the cycle. I don’t suggest it is easy to walk away from an old habits and routines.
But I cannot and will not believe it is impossible to improve.
Improvement is always possible so long as you believe in it, so long as you work at it, and so long as you never give in to the emotional mind.
By the way, there was a pool of people betting on me to go back to my old foods and gain all my weight back (and then some.)
Nobody won it though . . .
because I still haven’t given in
and I won’t give in either because I know my ability to improve is more powerful than my doubt, which tells me will never succeed.