Recovery Exercise 8.1: Freedom Bound
The objective of this exercise is to foster new thoughts and insights related to addiction, self-control, and personal freedom.
Addiction involves a loss of control. Paradoxically, most people, in the course of a discussion about the subject of addiction, verbalize powerful sentiments against letting anyone or anything control them.
One way in which you can gain a deeper awareness of your addiction is by writing an essay entitled, “Addiction, Self-Control, and Personal Freedom.” In your essay, reflect on your own personal feelings about being controlled by anyone or anything. From there, try to distinguish the different things you have done (in regards to your addiction) that have been outside of your control, versus instances that were a matter of personal choice.
Conclude your essay with thoughts in regard to how self-control, especially in context with your addictive activities, will ultimately lead to greater personal freedom.
Recovery Exercise 8.2: This Message Will Self-Destruct
The objective of this exercise is to reflect upon suicide and other varieties of self-injurious behavior.
To expand further, most people want to live their lives to the fullest. They seek out other people with whom they can relate to in a meaningful and uniquely human way. They seek out activities that entertain, enrich, or otherwise reward. They have a general desire to eat nutritious food, exercise, and take care of themselves, even if they do not always do so. Most people hope to keep themselves healthy and active for as long as possible.
There are other people who exhibit behavior that stands in marked contrast to such life-affirming behaviors. They seem not to care very much about living a healthy and active life. In fact, at times they seem intent on self-destruction. They may gravitate to people capable of inflicting harm on them. They may involve themselves in activities and situations at which life and limb are placed at greater risk. They may neglect themselves in different ways, some of which include poor nutrition, exercise, and medical care. They may even unintentionally hurt themselves on their own or through the provoking of others.
When high levels of self-destruction are exhibited, oftentimes the underlying behavior is the hidden assumption that the worst that can happen is death. Consequently, death is not seen as such a horrible outcome, because it is viewed as a form of freedom. However, in reality, no one can say with certainty that death does, in fact, bring freedom. Perhaps the only thing we can say with certainty about what death brings is an end to life, and an end to life does not have the look of freedom.
Questions to consider…
- What kinds of self-destructive behaviors have you engaged in in the past?
- What is the “message” that comes to your mind to prompt such behaviors?
- What do your thoughts convey to you in order to give yourself permission to engage in self-destructive behavior?
- What does your self-destructive behavior communicate to others about who you are?
- In what less destructive ways might you be able to send the same or a similar message to others?
- Are there other more constructive messages that need to be sent to other people about who you are?
- What messages will help you to reverse your course toward a healthier life?