Sunday, September 17, 2006

Delaying Tactics

"In virtually every major addiction, there comes a time when one resolves to master it. The addicted person decides to quit. "I've really got to stop. I just need a little more discipline and willpower." Sensing an impeding frontal attack upon its addiction, the mind comes up with the most cunning, inventive strategies possible. The more creative and intelligent the person, the more agonizing this process will be.

The mind will suggest, perhaps, that it is not wise to rush into such things. The "resolving to resolve" stage can effectively prohibit any real action from taking place for years at a time.

After a while, the person may recognize some of these delaying tactics for what they are. But they are never all recognized, for the mind is endlessly inventive; it always has another, more subtle trick up its sleeve. Even when the person realizes that it is time to "put up or shut up," the delays continue. Of necessity, they also become more ludicrous.

If the person makes it through these deceptions to the point of authentically deciding to quit, a profound sense of terror will arise at the prospect of relinquishing the addictive behaviour.(emphasis added) On the surface, the fear will seem reasonable; the addiction has become so much a part of the person's life that its relinquishment feels like death. But it is just another mind trick, another delaying tactic. The truth, of course, is that the person survived quite well before the addiction and could do so again."

~ from Addiction and Grace by Gerald May

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