Friday, January 24, 2014

Day 319 Ruts and reasoning

As I struggle to climb out of the sugar trough one more time, I've been thinking about the irrationality of addiction. It isn't just that will power doesn't work against the cravings or the submission to them. That's one of the first beliefs that you give up in the treatment center. And it isn't a moral failing of your ability to make good decisions and stick to them. Good and bad has nothing to do with it.

The difficulty is finding the way to be powerless and powerful at the same time, to hold the paradox of those two. Addiction isn't something you can self-talk your way out of. It doesn't work to try to be rational about something that is not rational. I can't reason my way out of this rut. It's too comfortable, too familiar. The soothing becomes paramount and nothing else seems to matter.

What does work for me is remembering the images from a movie called What the Bleep. An animated section of the movie is devoted to describing neural pathways, the rut of our old pathways, and the exciting and life-saving ability of our brains and nervous systems to let disused pathways (or habits) die off and new ones be created.

Every time I step back into sugar, I reactivate the old pathways. Every time I do the new healthier habit, I reinforce the new pathway. It creates a place of choice for me in a way that the rut never will.

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