The very first step on the path to recovery is allowing yourself to suffer.
You read correctly! I repeat: suffering is the first step to recovery.
Think for a moment about how much of your life is designed to avoid suffering.
Here’s a common example:
Suppose that you are in debt, you have no savings, and you are living completely outside of the confines of your income. You have in your “possession” a large house in the suburbs, two new cars, a swimming pool, nice name brand clothes, cell phones, laptops and tablets. You are never hungry. You are never without shelter. Yet you still feel stress, living paycheck to paycheck.
Your approach? Keep living. Keep buying. Keep working long hours. Keep avoiding a budget or any lifestyle cutbacks.
What are you doing?
You, my friend, are avoiding pain.
Does it get any better or worse with this approach?
I recognize, as I write this, that finances are an area where many, of us are sticking our heads in the sand.
The same is true for those actively engaging in addictive lifestyles.
They turn to their addiction, because it feels good in the moment, and because it numbs them to the reality that despite their attempts to avoid it, they are going to suffer.
End of story. It’s a fact of reality. Everyone suffers.
Avoidance simply leads to more suffering, my friends.
So, how do you allow yourself to suffer? How do you face it?
I hope the following helps:
1. Acceptance is crucial.
As a person who suffers from OCD, I am grateful that I have OCD for this reason. It has taught me to accept reality.
In my case, the reality is that I am always going to struggle with really difficult thoughts, and keeping my brain out of the hamster wheel cycle.
Once I accepted that, true healing and ownership of my life began.
2. Resistance is futile.
Don’t deceive yourself! You are not going to escape the suffering inherent to life.
When it seems that others aren’t suffering, remind yourself that the outward appearance of their life isn’t the entire story.
The more my husband and I fought the need to look closely at his addiction, and my addictive past, the longer and harder we suffered.
When we finally said “this is a problem”, then we could develop a solution.
3. Awareness is key.
Addictive behaviors keep us numb to reality, so much so that we are unaware that we are suffering.
One of the most important aspects of our program at Feed the Right Wolf, is cultivation of awareness- awareness of triggers, awareness of unmet needs, awareness of thoughts and feelings.
It is painful, I know, but allow yourself to feel, to suffer.
It is part of the story of our lives. Once you become aware, stop resisting, and accept the inevitability, you can move on with your life.
You will no longer experience the kind of pain brought on by cognitive dissonance- when your beliefs (“I shouldn’t suffer”, “I cannot suffer”, and “I never suffer”) and reality (life is suffering along with the good stuff), then you can roll up your sleeves, take action and start reforming your habit of addictive behaviors.
Want to know how we can help you do this at Feed the Right Wolf? Call to learn more about The Mindful Habit System, (304) 514-1688. I am a certified life coach, trained and endorsed by Craig Perra, founder of The Mindful Habit System, to work with men and women who struggle with porn, sex addiction, and other compulsive behaviors. I also work with partners of addicts to help them get back their lives.
Call me for a free consultation! Learn more about my story, click on the link below: