If someone were to ask you, “Why do you want to get sober?” Typical answers may be:
– Because I’m cheating on my wife
– Because I’m spending a lot money
– Because it’s controlling my life
– Because I’m going to get arrested one day
– Because I’m going to get an STD
– Because it’s just wrong
All of the above reasons may be true. But they really don’t tell me exactly why you want to be sober. Actually, continually focusing on those reasons may ensure these problems remain in your life.
Why? Simply because you’re continually focusing on them, and by Law of Attraction, you will continue to draw these problems to you. It is similar to the football team who plays not to lose rather than playing to win; losing is on their mind.
So let me reframe the question: How do you think you’re going to feel when you’ve stopped doing this behavior?
And that is the real reason behind your desire for abstinence. Because you believe you will feel better in the having of it. It is the real reason behind all of your desires: finding true love, getting large amounts of money, eating good food, etc.
So what then, is the real reason then that you feel so bad after you engage in your acting out behavior, be it pornography, prostitutes, affairs, etc? Because afterwards you’ve judged what you’ve done as bad or wrong, which causes you to feel terrible anxiety, depression, shame, guilt, and self-loathing. Here’s the secret: It is really not the specific behavior that makes you feel bad, it’s your judgment of that behavior.
I am not giving permission to engage in sexual acting out behavior. I am drawing attention to the idea that trying to stop any compulsive behavior by negatively judging it and then feeling terrible will not result in sustained change for most. It may lead one to an initial period of abstinence. But for many, trying to gain sobriety this way eventually leads to relapse or an inability to begin any satisfying period of abstinence at all. This is understandable, because you end up feeling bad, which makes the pleasure of the addiction all the more alluring. Do you see the never-ending cycle?
“Okay, Mike” you may say. “I see your point, but now what?!”
It seems counter-intuitive, but changing from negative judgment to acceptance will actually help in taking away the allure, the magnetism, and the cravings. Why? Because you’re not making the behavior such a taboo subject in your mind.
“But Mike! If I continue this behavior, my wife’s gonna leave me! I’m gonna get arrested!”
Look, if any continued acting out behavior will definitely lead to a more disastrous consequence for you, then yes, I do advocate for abstinence based treatment or programs. Understand though that using the energy of fear, anxiety and nervousness is not sustainable for most people. This is why the relapse rate for addicts, even with treatment is so high. But if that is not the case when you really analyze at the situation objectively and the only person who is making you feel bad is you, then you may want to consider changing your judgments about the behavior first. I guarantee you will feel better immediately.
As you’ve read this post, ask yourself and be honest (no one is watching!), did you feel nervous? self-righteous? or better? And as I’ve already said, feeling better is the real reason for wanting to be sober. Isn’t it?