Thoughts on the Habit, Addiction, Diets and the Books – Essentialism, Bright Line Eating, the Power of Habit
My husband and I were having a conversation tying together our current research into habits and addiction, our life experience, our previous Shadow Work, and the books and resources discussed below. Specifically, we were talking about how these apply to addiction.
While often presented with information that there are 2 parts to addiction and recovery, we believe that there are 3 parts.
1) The physical dependence – which can often be broken in days or weeks. He deals with this every shift, as an ER/ICU nurse; patients come in and have to detox from their particular physical dependence. It’s usually a harsh detox by fire, i.e. a cold turkey kind of thing, done in the hospital. It doesn’t take long to end the physical dependence. It’s the other parts of the dependence that stay active.
2) The habit – this is complex and has a multitude of factors and parts. I am not qualified to speak on it, having not been educated in this area, but I can speak from an experiential way, as I have had ‘small’ addictions (cigarettes as a teen, running, and ….cookies, to name a few).
The habit is the dickens to resolve! Why – because they are habits! Unconscious patterns that take over. That is what they are designed to do – to keep us doing the same things. This is where Bright Line Eating, by Susan Peirce Thompson, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, by Greg McKeown, and The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, by Charles Duhigg, excel. The authors give a thorough grounding in the background of why habits work – and how to start to think about undoing them.
The third part is often not mentioned:
3) The Shadow behind the behaviour – i.e. the underlying cause, or in yogic terms, the Samskara. My discussion below of the author of Bright Line Eating is hinting at this. There are many ways to describe this, but simply put, until the underlying cause, the deep issue is addressed, the addiction is only a behavior away.
There are several resources to look into Shadow Work®. The originators are Cliff and Alyce Barry. There are related work, such as Integrated Family Systems, by Richard C Schwartz and Parts Work, by Tom Holmes. The Mankind Project, serves as a great place for men to practice similar work, in a safe supportive group. There are chapters across the country and overseas. For women, there are unfortunately fewer resources. There is Women in Power, a women’s retreat lead by ALisa Starkweather, and there are certified Shadow Work® facilitators and workshops.
We both like the sound psychology in these books. They dovetail well, with lots of information regarding making new habits (and breaking old ones.) It also fits well with Chad Hinkle’s Program on Resilients, and building resiliency, in which he specializes.
We have ongoing conversations about addiction and recovery, habits, and shadows. The subjects come up around gardening, mental patterns, eating cookies or having a ½ beer when the day has been upsetting. It comes up around bad relationships, good sex, and marriage. It comes up around our studies in sex coaching, and the concepts of compulsion vs. addiction. Mostly it comes up around alcohol; his quitting all alcohol, my struggle with wine-and-cookies. i.e. I rarely drink, but if I have red wine, it’s hard to drink 1 glass, not 2, and then I consistently end up hitting the cookies! No these aren’t life decimating addictions. They are touch points to look at all our compulsions, inspect our minds, and how our minds work. THAT is the stuff we love.
I first saw a video promotion on Bright Line Eating. I am not sure why I stopped to listen to it – however – the science got me. I love knowing not just that something works, but why it works. What I heard, dovetailed the science I already knew. What fascinated me however, was its relevance to addiction and recovery. The psychology is the more interesting part of the book. This is where it dovetails well with other resources. I like Bright Line Eating as a text book on changing habits – of any type – because it is clearly and simply written. Again – I have lived these processes in my own life and body. The psychology make sense, the research supports it, and it works.
The author; she has quite a story – a dramatic fall, a long struggle, followed by a tremendous recovery. However, what I noticed was that she is still intensely caught up with food. This is at odds with her statements that this diet allowed her to live without constantly thinking of food. She is clearly constantly thinking of food – in a way that is very helpful to others, in a way that is not clearly damaging. However, after there are clues that not everything is resolved on a deeper level.
I stopped following her vlog about ‘slowing down,’ where tells a story, of which the details are now thankfully fuzzy, where her daughter asks if the mom will stop working to come visit the girl in the hospital. Wait – this is a vlog about slowing down, right? My heart bled, and I couldn’t watch anymore vlogs. I did get the book Essentialism…..And the book Bright Line Eating.
I read Essentialism. I put Bright Line Eating on the bookshelf.
However, I got it back out. The physiology is backed up by research. I like that. (We all like to be correct.) Physiology that makes sense, and is even backed by research. It’s clearly not the whole answer, however. Look at my previous foray into Lectin-free Diets. Bright Line eating, however, it also correlates with my experience – I like that even better. I was willing to start thinking it – but not ready to do a diet.
by Tama Cathers – self- explorer and introspective woman, full of personal opinion and thought.
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