Behaviors like addiction or eating disorders can be seductive.
They whisper in our ear constantly.
They don’t get tired. They don’t get discouraged.
And they stay on message— that message being: “your problem will be solved if you just Do The Thing.”
The problem in question could be whatever.
It could be something we’re feeling. It could be a practical problem we’re struggling with.
But whatever the problem is, our addiction or eating disorder WILL find a way to frame just Doing The Thing as a perfectly reasonable solution.
The thing about addictions and eating disorders that we need to understand is, they have access to ALL of our data.
That is, they KNOW us. They know us WELL.
They have access to ALL of our past experiences. ALL of our hopes. ALL of our fears.
And they are NOT shy about USING the access they have to our data.
The strategy your addiction or eating disorder will employ to get YOU to Do The Thing will be tailored to YOU.
Whether our addiction or eating disorder chooses to use our most personal hopes or our most dreaded fears against us on an particular day will depend upon the state of mind we’re in, whatever is most real and important to us on that particular day.
Yes. That’s how good addictions and eating disorders are at picking and choosing their tactics.
Once we know what our addiction or eating disorder “sounds” like, we can begin to create strategies fo dealing with their shenanigans— but we have to keep in mind that addictions and eating disorders are ENDLESSLY adaptable.
They are REALLY good at not “sounding” like themselves.
Addictions and eating disorders are kind of masters of disguise that way.
In the end, though, they always tip their hand.
Remember that your addiction or eating disorder DOESN’T care about you.
They’ll SAY they do— but they don’t. Not really.
They just want you to Do The Thing.
And that, ultimately, is what makes them so recognizable— the fact that they always bring the “conversation” back to how Doing The Thing will Solve The Problem.
Any ultimately successful strategy for managing an addiction or eating disorder has to start with an unambiguous commitment: that Doing The Thing is off the table.
Once we COMMIT to the principle that we won’t Do The Thing, no matter WHAT ingenious, seductive argument our addiction or eating disorder comes up with, we are ultimately indomitable.
We WILL win.
But our addiction or eating disorder WON’T go down without a fight.
They’ll try to adapt. They’ll TRY to tap into all of your very personal data, they’ll TRY to take advantage of the mood you’re in right now, they’ll TRY to take advantage of your energy level and even your deepest, darkest fears.
All to get you to Do The Thing.
Wanna know a secret, though?
Our addictions and/or eating disorders can’t MAKE us do anything.
They can’t GET you to do a goddamn thing.
They need YOU to Do The Thing.
All they can do is try to convince you, try to coerce you, try to scare you, into Doing The Thing.
As seductive, as persuasive, as coercive, as scary as addictions and eating disorders are, they are ultimately limited.
They are ultimately powerless.
When they next try to get in your head, remember this blog.
Recognize your addiction or eating disorder, even in disguise.
And remember these four words: they can’t make you.