I am a human being. I assume you are as well.
We are creatures of habit. Our minds have a default setting that allows us to repeat certain actions almost unconsciously. For the most part, this keeps us on track with important stuff – like breathing, the beating of our hearts, and sleep.
It also comes in handy when navigating ourselves to work each day, writing, typing, talking… It boggles the mind to think about what this default setting really does for us.
It’s actually part of the “map of reality” you and I have that serves us well, allowing us to learn certain skills and perform most functions without getting nervous or frightened. Imagine how stressful your day would be if you had to relearn everything over and over – not to mention how unproductive you would become… “now let’s see, how do I turn this thing on?”
But even though this default setting – for the most part – serves us well, it can also work against us in our recovery. By allowing the default setting to kick in everyday, we remain stuck in our daily addictive habits.
These habits are so strong that they seem to be ‘hardwired,’ almost as if we’re unable to avoid repeating them.
I’m talking about our default setting: Half the time we’re not even conscious of what we’re doing. Something triggers us in the moment, and we compulsively respond by acting out in our usual addictive manner.
But what we’re trying to do in recovery is break free of old behaviors. We’re trying to establish a new default setting – one that steers us in a direction that serves us better, and allows us to break free of old, destructive habits.