To make lifelong change to any Unhappy Habit (to change the way you drink/eat/shop and all the rest), you need to accept where you are now.
Accept that you are lost and confused about what you do, without judgement or criticism. It simply is what it is, nothing more, nothing less, and you want/need/must change it.
You don’t even need to now the ‘how’ of the path you took to get there, that is truly not relevant.
Its ‘how’ you maintain the Unhappy Habits NOW that matters, the rest is just a journey into your ’emotional past’ that has often long since gone, which can be both painful and pointless, when it comes to moving forward, other than it holds valuable information that you can use if you choose to.
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 see them. And for this purpose, the analogy of an iceberg is perfect, as it represents both your physical acts and the emotional intentions that drive them.
Above the water is the smallest part of your iceberg, and make no mistake, that smallest part can be pretty damn big. Its icy tip symbolizes your behaviour and its visible consequences.
It’s what you see reflected back at you in the mirror.
It’s the weight you hate, the signs of your alcohol consumption, the dehydration and anxiety in your dull eyed stare.
It’s in the stress you see so clearly etched on you own face when you have drunk, yet again, in a way you promised yourself you wouldn’t. When you have eaten an amount, you promised yourself you wouldn’t. When you have spent money you don’t have on stuff you don’t need….
As well as the looks of hurt, confusion, and lack of trust that you see in the faces of your children and your loved ones, when you have done again, what you promised them you wouldn’t, as well as the lies, desperation and hopelessness that are the ever present companions of what you DO.
That cold white ice is the what you ‘do’ of your habit – what you put into your mouth, what you spend, and seemingly, very sensibly, when you try to make changes, that’s where we start. I mean, if something you are doing isn’t working, just do something else, right……….
So, you circle our visible iceberg warily, thinking through your 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.
And with your new information, you attack your icy peak with our unprotected hands in an attempt to mold it in to the new, improved ice sculpture version of yourself, which sadly you have learnt to feel we can never really be….. because my God, you have tried before and always ‘failed’ to maintain your new ice shape.
The ice shape that is the slim you, the sober you, the one that just isn’t who you are right now.
And why do you feel you can never be this new version of you?
That’s easy. You have been practising your ice sculpting skills for years and they always ‘fail’ you.
At best you have been able to create a temporary ‘new’ you, but then LIFE and the ice starts to shift and re-arrange itself as you try desperately to shape it back into place, until with bloodied, defeated hands you give up and accept your drunk/fat/broke destiny, without even acknowledging how brave you were to try again.
And I want you to know and accept this now…..the very fact that you keep trying means that you are the bravest of the brave.
Ok, so deep down, long lasting empowering, relief and release giving change does not come from working on your icy peak….. Agreed?
So, logically, the only other part of your iceberg to look at is the huge, submerged and brutally ragged, confused mass that lies beneath the water, you inner world, that supports your visible peak.
Dark and seemingly unknowable, this is the foundation of your iceberg, and it is formed by what you have learnt to believe is the only truth about both yourself, and your habit.
What your habit brings to you. How you will without it, who you will BE without it, what you will lose, how you will cope, and added to that is your experience around your habit in the good times – and there were good times, because if you hadn’t experience the good, before you lost control, you wouldn’t believe in its ‘power’ to make you feel better.
And together, all of the above has solidified, been frozen into what you accept as your reality.
Do you recognise yourself here?
Do you recognise the feelings that come up when you try to approach change, even just in your thinking? Before you take any action?
Do you recognise the discomfort, fear, anxiety that always shows up first in the pit of your stomach simply at the thought of making changes?
Those feeling are the only evidence you need to know that you have a belief about what you do….it is the seemingly freezing cold, menacing, submerged part of your iceberg that you believe will rip at you apart both physically and emotionally, if you get to close to it, and so you flinch from even approaching it, dwarfed and cowed as you are by its unseen but definitely felt, 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 melt any iceberg you simply have to raise the temperature of the surrounding water.
And in the case of your Unhappy Habit, I mean the temperature of YOU.
To choose to bring out your sunshine of compassion, forgiveness and love of YOU to YOU, and let it shine down brightly, warming the air and and in doing so, allowing in the light to the Self-Awareness that is key to any transformation.
Self-Awareness can only be found in an expanded state of you. In your state of harsh Self-Judgement, Self-Criticism & Self-Despair, you shrink yourself down into a tight knot of fear and pain, and no new awareness’s can come in.
You rehash old information, that constricts and confuses you further. You tighten the straight jacket of your mind and completely close down any opportunity to the intuitive learning’s from your heart, that give you comfort, trust and faith in you, and allow you to look at what you DO, when and why differently.
Every new Self-Awareness brings questioning to the boundaries of what you believe and your experience.
It allows for the possibility of a different view of the reality you had previously created, and a different view, is an expanded view, which allows for different strategies and different behaviours, easily.
And as your self-awareness grows, you learn to have confidence in yourself, to pause and breathe before you ACT your Unhappy Habit, to recognise the patterns you run BEFORE you act, and to create new ones that truly do offer the comfort and support you are looking for. That is your always and forever TRUTH.
And in doing so, your icebergs naturally melt BECAUSE you expand your understanding of both yourself and your Unhappy Habit.
As you grow, any confusing thoughts and beliefs, frozen for so long, take on a softer, gentler shape, allowing us the flexibility to gently challenge what you DO, what you believe it gives you as well as finally feeling and accepting what it takes from you without your inner battle, all of which gives you the magical, joyful opportunity to act and be who you were born to be, who you are meant to be, habit free, happy, healthy and HEALED.
And the gift of letting your iceberg completely dissolve, it that you are left with an untroubled expanse of water, peaceful and calm, with no need for us to do anything, just to ‘be’.
I hope this message gives you comfort and insight and hope. I hope it resonated with you – it is my truth, and it is yours too. And I hope that it takes you to looking at yourself and what you DO differently.
The ‘different looking’ is the start of your incredible journey back to YOU.
If you need help in understanding & changing any Unhappy Habit, please contact me HERE today.
My LIFE Recovery Coaching comes from a place of deep understanding and compassion of a former addict, a lost woman and Mother, who now lives in acceptance of who I am, who loves who I am, and who is daily HEALING.
Be kind and gentle with yourself.
PS. if you would like to know more about my personal journey, from Pain to Peace, and from Hurt to Healed, 28 years of alcoholism, to peaceful freedom, take a look at my internationally acclaimed book, This Isn’t Me, described by Ranvir Singh, of Good Morning Britain as “Beautiful and devastating” (click on the link HERE). I wrote it for my son, as an apology for his younger years, and as an attempt to explain the un-explainable and it was where I started my journey back to LOVE