To make lifelong change to any Unhappy Habit (to change the way we drink/eat/shop and all the rest), we need to know and understand where we are, how we got there and what we are dealing with.
So let’s start with taking a little look at at the structure of our Unhappy Habits, of what they would look like if we could actually seem them. And the analogy of an iceberg is perfect, as it represents both our physical acts and the emotional intentions that drive them.
Above the water is the smallest part of our iceberg, and make no mistake, that smallest part can be pretty damn big. Its icy tip symbolizes our behaviour and its visible consequences.
It’s what we see reflected back at us in the mirror. It’s the weight we hate, the signs of our alcohol consumption, the dehydration and anxiety in our dull eyed stare. It’s in the stress we see so clearly etched on our faces when we have spent money we don’t have and all the lies, desperation and hopelessness that all of these, and many more, our inexplicable behaviours bring.
That cold white ice is the what we ‘do’ of our habit – what we put into our mouths, what we spend, and seemingly, very sensibly, when we try to make changes, that’s where we start. I mean, if something we are doing isn’t working, just do something else, right……….
So, we circle our visible iceberg warily, thinking through our options, taking into account what has and hasn’t worked before, maybe there is a new diet plan, a new quit drinking, inspirational, motivational, prayer book even, that might just work this time. Then we attack our icy peak with our unprotected hands in an attempt to mold it in to the new, improved ice sculpture version of ourselves, the one we know we can never really be. The slim one, the sober one, the one that just isn’t who we are right now.
And how do we know we can never be this new version of us? That’s easy. We have been practising our ice sculpting skills for years and they always fail us.
At best we can create a temporary ‘new’ us, but then the ice starts to shift and re-arrange itself as we try desperately to shape t it back into place, until with bloodied, defeated hands we give up and accept our drunk/fat/broke destiny. Ok, so starting on our icy peak doesn’t work. All agreed?
The only other part of our iceberg we can look to then is the huge, submerged and brutally ragged mass that lies beneath the water, supporting our visible peak.
Dark and seemingly unknowable, this is the foundation of our iceberg, and it is formed by what we believe about both ourselves and our habit. What it brings to us, how we feel we will be without it, what we will lose, how we will cope, and added to that is our experience around our habit in the good times. All of these have been frozen into what we accept as our reality.
Freezing cold and menacing, we know it will rip at us apart both physically and emotionally and so we flinch from even approaching it, dwarfed and cowed as we are by its sheer size and power
Many brave souls who have understood this truth still take up the battle, donning protective clothing and attacking the submerged iceberg with all the weapons in their personal arsenal. They launch missiles of self-hate, recrimination and abuse at its silent mass, they meditate, join support groups, read endlessly on their poison of choice, and hope that one of these explosives will detonate on impact, smashing a tunnel to freedom. And still, no, that doesn’t work either.
So, what does?
To take down our iceberg we simply have to raise the temperature, the temperature of US. To bring out our sun and let it shine down brightly, warming the air and giving light to the self-awareness that is key to any transformation.
Awareness brings questioning to the boundaries of what we believe and our experience. It allows for the possibility of a different view of the reality we had previously created, and a different view allows for a different behaviour.
So, as awareness grows, our icebergs naturally melt away as we expand our understanding of both ourselves and our Unhappy Habit.
Thoughts and beliefs, frozen for so long, take on a softer, gentler shape, allowing us the flexibility to gently challenge what we do, what it gives us, what it takes from us, which gives us the opportunity the opportunity to act and be who we are meant to be, habit free and whole. Who we deserve to be. Who we were born to be. Then, as our iceberg completely dissolves, we are left with an untroubled expanse of water, peaceful and calm, with no need for us to do anything, just to ‘be’.
If you need help in understanding & changing any Unhappy Habit, please contact me today. My Recovery Coaching comes from a place of deep understanding and compassion of a former addict, who knows the way to freedom and peace. x
Location is never a problem, I offer 1-2-1 Consultations, via Telephone & Zoom.
If you would like to know a little bit more about me, take a look at my About Sonia page.
I am also the author of “This Isn’t Me“, the story of my personal journey through both drug and alcohol addiction, and then finally and thankfully, into recovery.
Take a look at my How I Work for You page, my Empowering Incredible Personal Change page, Contact me today and let’s get this journey started. x
Every day we are faced with a multitude of choice points. The points where you decide which road you are going to take and its consequences.
Most days for me start with “What time do I get out bed?” and the consequences of, “If I choose the later time will I be late for work/ whatever”, on to, “Shall I wash my hair or can I get away with another day”, (with my fine hair it’s usually a, “No! Do it!”), and then the plethora of other choices we make during the day before we hit our pillows again.
All the years I was drunk, I didn’t even realize I had a choice. I thought drink had chosen me, that my alcoholism was the result of an unfortunate game of Russian Roulette in which I had spectacularly lost and that I just had to accept it, painful and desperate though that thinking was.
I remember crying tears of despair knowing that I would have given my eyesight to be the mother my beautiful boy deserved, that a physically disabled mother would have been better than the alcoholic one he had.
And honestly, that thinking was almost the entire reason I stayed in a trap of my own creation for almost 28 years. I had abdicated responsibility for my choices to a bottle of bloody vodka. A liquid that couldn’t speak, buy itself, open its lid and finally leap down my throat. I mean WTF! I actually believed that alcoholism had chosen me and that I just had to accept it.
Now I know differently, and here’s the thing about choice. It is the greatest gift we have as humans, our greatest cognitive skill. It offers ALL opportunities for change if we just own it.
From the day I understood that I had a choice, I was free from my drinking. From the day I understood that I chose what I ate and drank, regardless of the fears of the how I would live/cope/be without alcohol, those fears evaporated in front of my very eyes.
I allowed my fears in and they were like mists parting around me, I walked through them and they didn’t touch me! How could they, they were simply thoughts and memories, painful and difficult though some were, which I had a choice to either act on or ignore. Yes I felt unsteady and unsure, of course I did, I had used alcohol as a crutch for over half my life. I had used booze to protect me from pain even though it had become an even greater source of pain, and still I had felt I had no choice.
But I didn’t let that unsteadiness or any uncertainty of how I would cope affect my sober choice. And every time I stuck to my choice, guess what? I grew stronger, more resilient, and prouder of myself and, at exactly the same time, my fears weakened into a state where they could be acknowledged, comforted and understood, making my sober choice even easier. It will be the same for you, I promise x
The most empowering choice we have is our ability to chose who we want to be and how we want to feel. Make that one choice and all other choices fall into line to support it. Do you want to be slim? Choose to be slim and your food choices will follow. Do you want to be sober? Choose sober and your drink choices will follow.
If making one overriding choice feel too big for you right now, too ‘for ever’, make smaller ones consistently. Choose each day who you want to be, how you want to feel, and your choices to support it will fall into line.
When an old feeling of, “How will I cope in a stressful situation, when I am bored, lonely, out of my depth”, when you remember the pain of a broken childhood, heart, whatever your trigger is, comes, STOP. Pause. Breath deeply, fill your lungs. Hug yourself and remind yourself of who you want to be. Who you really are.
Let the feelings come and let them drift right on by. They will, all feelings do. And if sometimes unhappy feelings take longer to pass than you would like, be kind and gentle with yourself and know, with 100% certainty that all feelings are just thoughts that eddy and flow through our minds, that they are not physical and that you don’t have to react to them unless you to choose too.
To help you out, I want you to remember a really happy time, one that makes your heart sing.
Mine is my son jumping in to my arms when he was four, in our local swimming pool screaming ‘Geronimo’ as I taught him to swim. Even typing this makes me smile and shifts my ‘It’s too bloody hot in my office and I need to get out’ feeling”.
Take your heart singing moment and hold it tight. Step into it, feel it, hear it, see it and feel your body and energy literally shift to a happier place. Then make your choice.
My final words on the subject of choice are very important.
Your choice is not determined by anyone else’s view of us, your choice is determined by YOU.
You will often find yourself in situations in life that you cannot control, probably daily. These are external situations. However, only you can choose how you react to them, these are internals responses. Own that.
Stop saying to yourself, “He did/She did. He makes me feel/She makes me feel/I need it to cope/I need it to relax” and all the rest. When you own your responses and so your choices, everything, literally everything is yours for the taking. I promise you x
To find out more about my journey from alcoholism to peaceful sobriety, check out my book This Isn’t Me page.
To find out more me and working with me, check out my About Sonia and How I Work For You, pages. In fact, take a wander throughout my website, my aim to is to bring you the transformation I love every day x
According to Industry Today, in 2015 the weight loss & weight management industry was valued at, take a deep breath here, $158.2 billion. Yes, billion, and it is the ONLY billion dollar industry that doesn’t work!
Can you imagine any other industry that fails its customer consistently and still keeps growing?
Yet, even though we can clearly see its failure all around us, week after week, month after month, year after year, we pour our hard earned cash into its greedy marketing machine, the one that doesn’t deliver on its promise of our dream body and the life that we feel must come with it.
There are the pound smashing wellness clubs/resorts/retreats. There are beautifully photographed recipe and healthy lifestyle books, often bestsellers and, on the whole, excellent – although there is plenty of weird and unrealistic stuff out there too.
I have found that over 90% of the healthy eating plans are straightforward, sustainable, inexpensive and absolute time savers. Having a body we are rightly proud of and love is easy then isn’t it? Sadly, no, it clearly is not.
Then there is also the plethora of pound shedding products; low-calorie/low-fat/low-sugar ready ‘meals’, shakes, powders, pills and so the list goes.
As does the obesity crisis, a huge drain on the NHS and a source of immense pain to those who struggle helplessly with their body image. A crisis that daily grows bigger and bigger too (excuse the pun).
Why? We are not idiots. Most of us know roughly what to eat and how. We may need a few tweaks and a bit of sensible food information, but it really is not rocket science.
Here’s my YOUtrition 100% sure-fire route to shifting those pesky pounds.
“Eat wholefoods when you are hungry, cut down on processed sugar, drink lots of water and move more”.
Lesson over, super body achieved. No book, no class, no handing over of more cash that could better be spent on, well, just living.
So, what’s the problem? It is very simple. Not one of these super easy, super healthy plans even touch the sides of the real issue. It is not the food. It is not the drink. It never was.
It is the way we think and feel about the food, the drink. It is about what we feel it will relieve us of in tougher/sadder/tireder times. What pain it will allow us to avoid or take away. What comfort it will offer. It is all about our emotions.
I know I bang on about this, but from my own experience of alcohol addiction & recovery, no book, no support group, no intervention, nothing made any difference to my drinking, until, after 27 years, I changed the way I thought and in doing so I instantly changed my emotional default settings around the ‘comfort’ of drink. And that was it, I was done.
If you are not sold on my message, ask yourself this,
- “Why on a ‘good’ day can I stick with my healthy plan and on a ‘bad’ day I struggle and give in?
- “Why does the crap I know will further ruin my day seem the ONLY way to make myself feel better?”
“How do I feel this wine/cake will make my ‘bad’ day better?”.
“What am I expecting the food / alcohol, I am pouring into my mouth to achieve, when the problem I am asking it to solve is not in my stomach?”
The answers to these questions can’t be found in any recipe book, clubs or in food (no matter how healthy).
The answers are in YOU.
They are lodged in your emotions and until you address those emotions. Until you understand accept and resolve those emotions, you will continue to spend your money and repeat a cycle that you KNOW doesn’t work and feel worse and worse about yourself with every ‘failure’. Let’s stop this now!
This takeaway is part of my Coaching strategy, give it a go. It works!
Just before your next food/wine smash and grab, ask yourself.
- What emotion am I feeling right now that makes me want to eat/drink this?
Maybe you will say, ‘fed up’, or ‘bored’ or ‘lonely’. Maybe something else.
Drill down. For every answer you give yourself, ask yourself,
- “What does this mean to me?” and again, and again, until you get to the bottom line. There is always a bottom line.
Acknowledge the bottom line emotion, it needs to be heard and understood. And as you work your way down to that emotion, your attention will be focused away from your desire and your craving will start to fade.
Merely by questioning what you are truly feeling over and over again, you will gain a new understanding of your actual needs are and be able to properly address them (if you choose too). Your mood will shift and the craving will simply drift away.
Free 15 Minute Discovery Coaching Call
If you need compassionate support & understanding to change your emotional default settings around food and alcohol, check out my Breakthrough Mentoring & contact me to see how I can help
Love & respect xx