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.