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Missing Our Old Habits

Monday, May 14, 2012

Missing Our Old Habits
Enduring Discomfort
by Madisyn Taylor

Sometimes when we break a habit or addiction we find ourselves missing it like a dear friend.

Whenever we make the effort to free ourselves of an addiction or a habit we no longer need, we are often surprised to find ourselves missing the old pattern as we would a familiar friend. This sounds counterintuitive, because we think we should instinctively gravitate toward that which is good for us. And yet, it makes a lot of sense when you consider that we humans are creatures of habit. This is why we gravitate to people and places—and patterns of behavior--that make us feel comfortable. Therefore, many of the habits we form are not conscious and are based instead on learned behavior from role models who were not always making the healthiest decisions.

Most addictions begin as a way of avoiding feelings that are extremely uncomfortable, so it makes sense that stopping the addiction means, for a time, a fair amount of discomfort. The same, of course, is true of habits that we have developed over time that we are ready to release. Just knowing that this is hard, and having compassion for ourselves as we work through this process, can help us to stay the course when we feel the urge to backtrack. It’s also helpful to remember that in time we will establish new, healthier patterns, and the yearning for the old ones will disappear. Eventually, we will instinctively reach for things that are good for us, and the longing for positive change may form the basis of a new habit.

The only way to get to this new place is to endure a time of difficulty, which is a challenge we can confidently handle, if we remember that it will lead to the change we seek in our lives. Our bodies, hearts, and minds always need time to adjust to a new way of doing things, but they will adapt, and even become our allies, if we remain true to our vision of a new way.

From Daily OM email

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
ROSALIEESTHER 5/15/2012 3:47AM

    I really appreciate this blog Thank you. Clearly, most of the time we want something from our addictions. We do miss them when they're gone. Just like a friend.

I am glad to read this because I have often wondered why I keep yoyoing back and forth between very disciplined and very not disciplined.

I think this will help me stay aware. Awareness is what I seek.

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1CRAZYDOG 5/14/2012 8:23PM

    Fabulous information. The analogy of an addiction as an old friend is so true!! To me that says so much about WHY it is so difficult to change habits and addictions.

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NWFL59 5/14/2012 6:50PM

    This certain goes along with my personal experience when changing habits and getting out of my comfort zone. emoticon

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SHERIO5 5/14/2012 8:55AM

    This is very thought provoking...thanks for sharing!


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CONRADBURK 5/14/2012 8:11AM

    So true!
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