Sometimes we KNOW we have to give up a habit or a relationship— but we’re just not ready to yet.
It’s not a matter of self-sabotage. It’s a matter of feeling safe.
Certain habits and relationships help us feel safe. They’ve been reliable. They’ve been sources of pleasure or stability in our world.
Even if they have created more problems than they’ve solved at certain points, it can be very difficult to relinquish certain habits and relationships when they’ve been important parts of our world.
One of the hardest tasks of recovery is giving up or setting limits on habits or relationships that are in the way of our growth or freedom— but to which we are attached.
Other people may not always understand why we’d want to hold on to a habit or a relationship that seems to be hurting us.
They don’t realize that many of us experience the world out there as VERY uncertain.
We don’t know if or when we’re going to find reliable sources of pleasure or connection out there.
When sources of pleasure or connection have been very inconsistent in our lives, you’d better believe we latch on to feeling good and feeling attached wherever we can find it— even if those sources of pleasure and connection aren’t always ideal.
Part of us is often truly worried that if we give up certain habits or relationships, we won’t find replacement behaviors or connections that will fill the void.
We’re truly afraid that the world will become a harsher, lonelier place WITHOUT those habits or relationships.
Giving something up that has made us feel safe or understood is never quite as easy as other people think it “should” be.
If we’re attached to a habit or a relationship, it’s never simple to just say “no more.”
Giving up certain habits or relationships often involves mourning. Losing them from our lives represent losses.
Some people might read that and think it’s silly. Aren’t certain “losses” good, if the habit or relationship was hurting our ability to grow and heal?
As usual when attachment is involved— it’s complicated.
Unfortunately, the truth is that recovery very often involves sacrifice. And we often don’t want to hear that, because Lord knows we have lost PLENTY of things on this journey already. Who the hell has the right to lecture us about more “sacrifice” at this point?
But it’s true: we just can’t carry certain habits and relationships into recovery with us.
As much as we want to think we can manage our exposure and response to certain behavior patterns or people, we simply can’t.
That’s not a personal weakness of ours. It’s not about character. It’s not about willpower.
It’s about the fact that certain habits or relationships are just antithetical to our healing.
It’s always sad when we lose something from our life that has been important to us.
It’s always sad when we have to give up something aspects of which we like.
It’s always sad when we have to choose between hanging on to something we know gives us pleasure and comfort, and the lifestyle we know we have to live in order to take the next step.
We don’t have to downplay how much it sucks to make some of those sacrifices.
We are perfectly within our rights to acknowledge our losses as losses, and mourn them.
But the old saying turns out to be true: your new life will cost you your old one.
Sometimes we’re going to wonder if it’s worth it.
It’s anxiety provoking and tiring and frustrating and complicated at times.
But recovery, and the chance to heal? Is ABSOLUTELY worth the sacrifices we have to make along the way.