Lesson 30 of Recovery Nation is more helpful to me than several of the previous lessons. This passage is reassuring to me:
“Unlike emotions, which change rapidly and are heavily influenced by perceptions (and yes, our perceptions are also influenced by our emotions), values are the foundation of stability in a person’s life. They remain relatively consistent throughout the course of your life and in adults, only change through focused effort.
That’s good and bad. It’s bad in the sense that you will have to make the effort to learn a new way of looking at what you have previously taken for granted — that being, your decision-making process. It’s good in the fact that, once these new patterns are established, it will take another conscious effort to change them again. This durability aids those who are committed to a permanent recovery by ensuring that one misstep will not lead them to an instant and devastating crisis.”
The following passage helps me answer the question of how and why I did things that were not even in my own overall self-interest: “Most people struggling with compulsive behavior have learned to see their life in the here and now. Yes, they have memories of the past, and yes they can consider and plan for the future; but in dealing with their EMOTIONAL self, the only focus is on how they feel at the moment. And, it is this EMOTIONAL self that dictates their immediate actions.” Despite the fact that I don’t consider compulsion as the explanation of all my years of selfish behavior, this passage still makes sense to me in explaining how a person can do things that even conflict with their own beliefs, values, and long-term self-interest.