The moment of temptation
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Dave Cooper
21st March, 20160 Comments
Hi. Thanks for taking the time to read this. We are on a journey of change from an unhealthy pattern of ‘exits’ from our life to a healthier pattern of facing and processing difficulties. How do we do this exactly? Today I want to give you more of an understanding of the compulsive side of addiction! By the time you have read this you will have a better grasp on what is going on during those moments of temptation!
To understand this moment of temptation we should first place it in context. If we think of addiction as a form of OCD, then we have two sides, the obsessive side and the compulsive side. The obsessive side is the part of addiction that will not let you alone, dogging your thoughts and affecting your state and feelings. The compulsive side is what we want to look at today, this is the moment of temptation, it is that moment when a bad idea becomes a ‘good idea’, when something you are not going to do becomes something you are going to do. This is compulsion.
So what is happening at this moment? What can turn a bad idea into a good idea? Well the best way to understand this moment is to take a look at what just happened. If you look back you will find something that you could not cope with. This could be a few moments before the temptation/compulsion or it could be up to a few hours but the important thing is that if you open your mind to this idea you will see it very quickly.
Remember that our process is Awareness Acceptance and Action. So first make up your mind to raise your awareness, allow yourself to know what bothers you, what upsets you, what you do not want to deal with. It is in this area that your moment of temptation was created.
We now need to connect to the general concept of ‘exits’. Without an exit you would not have addiction or moments of temptation.
So here is the process, we first develop gaps in our awareness because we do not want to face or deal with certain things. These become ‘blind spots’ and include things like resentments and fears, offences and shame. Next we come up against these things as part of our day, we cannot avoid them. Finally we have a moment of temptation as we look for an ‘exit’ from our life following this moment. What often happens next is more drug use, or at least a time of desperate fighting off temptation.
It may shock you to think that you could keep such secrets from yourself but believe me it is very common amongst addicts. It develops over many years and drugs and alcohol as well as gambling and internet gaming provide exits that seem to work so well in the early days that it feels like you have your answer! Of course this leads to even more ability and practice at hiding these things from ourselves.
I have worked with lots of people who have said to me things like “it just comes on me and I can’t fight it” or “I was doing so well and then I blew it”. These people did not know yet what they were up against. They were fighting the invisible man!
So what is the solution? How do we begin to deal with this in our life? Let me give you a process;
1. Make a commitment to AAA (awareness acceptance and action).
2. When the moment of temptation happens, ask yourself 'what just happened that I can’t cope with?'
3. Take the resentment/fear/shame you just discovered and tell someone.
4. Make a note of any ‘themes’ emerging in your experience and take them into any counselling/mentoring you have.
It is at the first step that we do the commitment work. It is at the second step we do the brave work of allowing ourselves to know things. It is at the third step we do disarming work of sharing and it is in the fourth step we do the deeper work of therapy.
Of course, like all these processes it is the commitment to practice that counts, not just the knowledge. I hope that helped you.
Thanks again for taking the time today.
About the author
My name is Dave Cooper. I recovered from my own addictions in 1984 and have not returned to them. Since then I have been working in the field of recovery in one form or another.I have been a qualified counsellor since 1990 and now work in private practice and for several charities and companies.
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