Sunday, July 12, 2009

Habits - Their Power Over Us.

I have come to see that many of my self-defeating behaviors are habits, rather than active choices. I don't sit down and decide that I'm going to fret and worry, or obsess and try to control - I'm like a car tire following the path of least resistance - a deeply worn rut in my personality.

If I don't use program to force myself up and out of the rut, I will continue in my old habits. An entire day will pass, and I will hardly notice, preoccupied as I am by that over which I have no control. Worry and negative beliefs will dominate my thinking.

If the habit is a particularly powerful one, and I'm in HALT - hungry, angry, lonely, tired - I may be travelling for miles in the rut before I am aware of the negative flavour of my reflections. That's the power of habit in human beings.

Habits, even "bad" habits, fill a need. If I want to replace a habit, I need to seek out the need it fills for me, and then find a way to fufill my need in a different, healthier, 12-Step way.

I'm going through a period of insomnia at the moment. When I'm exhausted, old habits strive to reassert themselves, and it can take all my effort just to hold them off with one hand, while I grasp Al-Anon literature with the other - I need to remind myself many times in a day to Let Go And Let God.

I'm finding exhaustion simplifies my life in one way - I don't have the energy to do much of anything but the basics. Life stripped down to the essence, as it is right now for me, becomes wonderfully simple. It's all a question of: do I have the energy for this? Working myself up over the doings of others requires more energy than I have to spare right now.

I've had a few incidents lately, which in the ordinary course, would have bothered me for quite some time. Fatigue has made it possible to give them a quick examination, then let them go as "not my problem."


  1. When I am in that exhausted state, I allow myself the time needed to get recharged. I may nap or even sleep more often than normal. I don't do that extra thing I wanted to get done. When I give myself permission to go with the flow, all works out well and my energy returns.


  2. I can always tell when I need some sleep. It leads me down a dangerous path. When I stop and gather myself and try to find the root of what I am doing wrong and why it is usually that I have been getting less sleep than normal.

  3. I've been tired but happy lately. I agree that sometimes being tired reduces me to the basics.