Chapter 27 of Recovery Nation continues talking about compulsive rituals and compulsive chains. But, I found some welcome nuggets of wisdom:
“Over extended periods of time, the patterns become so ingrained that often, only the most significant of negative emotional events are capable of triggering a willingness to eliminate these behaviors from their life. Many have come to identify such an event as “hitting rock bottom”. . . . A person’s life can always get worse; just as it can always get better. And so, ‘rock bottom’ becomes the time in a person’s life when the positive emotional stimulation received from engaging in such behaviors become incapable of balancing the overwhelmingly negative feelings that the person is experiencing. Catastrophic events such as divorce, imprisonment, passing life milestones (e.g. age, career, family) — ironically, events that are often the consequences of the very behaviors they were comforting themselves with — are all capable of producing emotions strong enough to trigger a ‘rock bottom’ situation. Not the possibility of these events, mind you…but the events themselves. For these patterns to change, the person must experience the realization that the choices that they have made in their life were wrong. Not morally, but wrong for the life that they want to live. Most often, this is accomplished at a time when they realize that no amount of compulsive behavior will allow them to re-establish a sense of emotional balance.”
The foregoing paragraph is a good description of the role D-day played in my life. D-day is what we call the day my wife discovered that I had been deceitful and adulterous. For me, that was rock bottom because it made the possibility of losing my wife, my best and only friend, real and urgent.
The exercise for this chapter asks me to give two examples of compulsive chains in my life. As with chapter 26, I think I have exhausted what I have to say about compulsive behavior in my life. I’m eager to move on to the next unit of Recovery Nation.