"I can’t stop at one of anything.” I hear this all of the time from people in programs of recovery. It sort of makes me cringe. I want to ask them, is that really true? Anything? Do you have to drink ten glasses of water at a time? Or do you eat fifteen sandwiches in one sitting? Isn’t it different for everyone?
Maybe a person, whom is still struggling with bulimia, might eat fifteen sandwiches, drink ten glasses of water and then purge. Would an alcoholic that has been sober for twenty years do that? Probably not. What if you were a person that was completely addicted to pain medication, turned to heroin, never really drank alcohol, and is now sober. Is it really true that you wouldn’t be able to stop after one glass of wine? Would having sex once a day mean you had to have sex until you just couldn’t perform the act again? This might be true for the human grappling with a sex addiction, but wouldn’t that person possibly be able to have an occasional cup of coffee?
Personally, I wrestled with bulimia, drug addiction (meth, cocaine, ecstasy) and alcoholism. Even in the height of my addiction, I rarely smoked marijuana. When I did, I mostly hated it and I could always stop. So, for me, drinking spirits is not an option, and I bet I could smoke pot, hate it, not bat an eye, and never smoke it again.
Before you go getting all wound up over this, I know all about transference of addictions. I did that in a major way. My bulimia patterns calmed down when I was using drugs that made me not eat. Duh. After I got sober, it took me three years to quit smoking cigarettes, which really blew my mind. I rarely, if ever, smoked cigarettes unless I was drinking or doing drugs. Why, was I smoking now and WHY was it so darn hard to stop?
I would LOVE to smoke a cigarette today or even sometimes, I get the desire to drink. I don’t, because I have what I consider, a very healthy fear, that if I pick up again, I may never stop. This fear helps me take the action of NOT following through on those short-lived thoughts.
I have to pay attention to many things that can easily suck me in: Netflix, social media and dating apps to name a few.
Sometimes, I have to watch it with food. Can I stop any of these things? Yes. Yes, I can. Even after one.
The trick is in the belief system; I KNOW I can stop. I also have the tools to ask good questions. Questions, like, “What am I distracting myself from? What feelings, memories, beliefs and behaviors am I trying to avoid?”
You can stop. You do stop. Think about it. Question your thoughts. Yes. We are powerless over certain behaviors and substances and those, we shouldn’t mess with. With other things, take your power. You are so much stronger than a belief that says you can’t stop at one of ANYTHING.