Overcoming nonproductive​ habits.


I have been reading Awakening the Giant Within, by Tony Robbins.  I lovingly and jokingly refer to it as “staying awake for the giant”.  It is one of those mammoth books jam-packed with so much information that you may pass out after a few pages from sheer mental exhaustion.  I’m only on page 145 and I started sometime this winter…it’s late summer now.  I will read a chunk and then I have to take a break with something fluffy with sparkles and hues of pink like The Secret or Law of Attraction.

I love this man! He’s this giant, all man kind of man, but also very full of love and compassion… and deep!  He is plugged into the Source for sure. There is a great documentary on Netflix called Tony Robbins; I Am Not Your Guru.  It was inspiring and I would love to go to one of his big seminars, however, I’d have to sell one of our cars to make that happen right now.  I’m setting my intentions for him to call me one day and invite me to just sit in as a guest.  I can dream…that is free and fits into my budget.

I was reading a section of his book that discusses addictions and habits and how to overcome them.  Well, one of the 5 or 6 steps.  A big part of overcoming a habit/addiction and NOT going back is to replace a bad habit with a fun activity, hobby, career or routine that becomes as fun and/or comforting if not more than the original “problem” habit.  I have discussed this in my books, especially the Plug in the Jug book.  No, it’s not so simple as getting a hobby to kick that booze habit.  Yes, it’s so very important to replace a bad habit with something of equal value that is positive.

Now, time for examples, because that is how we understand and process big information.  If you were to quit smoking, to replace it you could start jogging, crocheting, take up some hobby or sport.  It’s crucial for the survival and success.  You will not make it if you leave a void.  You will sit and think about how much you miss the smoking.  You will struggle and suffer and, eventually if not right away, you will be at the corner store buying a pack of ciggies the minute you have an excuse to fall back into smoking.

If you have a drinking or drug problem you will need a full community and all the support that comes with it.  You will also want to reconstruct your whole life.  Does this sound extreme?  In AA they love to say, “all you have to change is everything!”  It is so true.

I’m listening to Pandora and there is a traditional gospel song I just love for this scenario; “Satan, We’re Gonna Tear Your Kingdom Down”, by Shirley Caesar.  It is a powerful song and Satan to me is our addictions.  These things take over our lives and run the show.  Once you are addicted to pills, alcohol, cigarettes and even pot…you are no longer running your life.  Your life, your focus, all your thoughts, and emotions are on and around getting that first hit, that first drink or pill of the day.  This is what you are creating from… the illness.  And this is what you manifest…more of the habit, more of the drink, pill, pot…

To get your life back, you must create a new one and leave that broken one behind.  How do you do that?  You find meetings, community, support and help from those that are in the same boat and know how to navigate the stormy seas of sobriety.

  • You let go of the old life and surrender to the process of building something new from scratch.
  • You stop hanging out with the old crowd and friends that are still drinking, smoking or whatever they are doing.
  • You find new places to hang out, you listen to different music, not your old drinking music.
  • You go to the cafe for lattes with new sober friends and NOT the pub with old drinking buddies.
  • You read books and do research to help you understand your brain, your mind, and your addiction.
  • You fill up on funny movies and popcorn or even cake on a Friday night, not clubbing at the local dance club.
  • You learn to go for power walks when frustrated and you learn to clean, take up baking and knitting when bored, sad or lonely.

This is how you do sober.  Then there is all the spiritual work and praying, the meditating and relearning.  It goes on and on.  It’s so hard in the beginning, but it DOES get easier and easier and one day it is so worth it when you look at your brand new fabulous life filled with good and real friends and your great career, your new loving relationship and your happy family.  One day you realize that you would never go back for anything.  This doesn’t mean you won’t backslide or got back for a bit.  Some people go back to the old life and never come back.  I don’t understand that.  I think that to prevent this you have to build such a huge network and amazing lifestyle that you wouldn’t do anything to lose what you have.

It’s also a great idea to create and build hobbies, a career or side job that you love MORE than the former habit.  For example, I have motherhood and my writing.  I have gone back to nonproductive habits temporarily in the past, but I love the writing and home life so much that when I felt the habit was interfering I quit and returned to my more wholesome lifestyle.  My children and my writing give me so much more than the habit ever did. I have creative and fun outlets and that is key to continuing on a new path to healthy living.

It’s hard work.  Even for the little habits.  They are taking over more than you think and you will see just how much control they have when you try asking them to move out.  Load up on that gum and candy, get some books on the subject, watch some Tony Robbins and find a friend to talk to.  If it’s more serious, look up your local AA and get my Put a Plug in the Jug and Start a New Life!  It will lead you through the first year (the hardest) and set you on the road to living a wholesome and sober life.  Mind you the book is for everyone from a teenager to the grandma.  There is something for everyone in there.

Good luck and know that if you can overcome this habit, no matter how small or big, it will be the most empowering thing you will ever do.



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