Lesson fifty-one of Recovery Nation says, among other things, “By mastering the skill of decision-making, you will have developed the ability to look upon each urge that you experience as a trigger for growth. . . . From the moment you have mastered decision-making, the remainder of your experiences with compulsive behavior will be limited to the times when you will get lazy, complacent or when you lose track of your values and goals.” Whether you blame my problems on compulsions, urges, bad decisions, or all of the above, this line caught my attention. I think it caught my eye because I consider laziness, complacency, and losing track of my values as the biggest risks to my overall wellbeing.
Lesson fifty-one’s exercises are:
A. Consider one of your specific compulsive rituals. Identify the point in that ritual/chain when you should begin considering the options that you have available. What are these options? (consider reasonable options only)
How about the urge to hide the truth? I think the sequence of events is the following. First, I fear angry or uncomfortable questions or lectures about my behavior, regardless of whether that fear is warranted or rational and whether my actions were truly wrong or just subject to discussion. Second, I feel an urge to hide the truth, an instinct of self-protection. Here I suspect that by the time I feel the self-protective instinct it may be too late to consider options. It seems better to start considering options as soon as I feel the initial fear. What are those options. One, I could hide, by lying. Two, I could summon up courage and use it to be honest and transparent. Those may be the only two real options in this scenario.
B. Of the options listed above, which would be automatically filtered out because of your boundaries? What would you do in the case of a value conflict? (i.e. when the same option would create both positive and negative influences on your value system)
Hiding, by lying, should be filtered out by applying values of honesty and integrity. There should be no value conflict in this scenario. The conflict is simply between the values of courage, integrity, and honesty, on one hand, and the emotion of fear, on the other hand.
C. Of the remaining options, what would be the anticipated consequences of the following:
i. You make the decision to act on this option
The consequences of acting courageously and honestly in this scenario might be building a track record and habit of honesty and transparency, as well as standing up to scrutiny.
ii. You make the decision NOT to act on this option
The consequences of choosing not to act on honesty and integrity might include further undermining the trust I am trying to rebuild in our marriage.
iii. You make the decision to act on this option, and that decision becomes known by others
What happens if I choose to act with honesty and integrity? I think that should help improve my relationship.
iv. You make the decision to act on this option, and that decision remains secret
What happens if I choose to act with honesty and integrity and it remains secret? While it may not help my relationship, it will provide me valuable practice, aimed at behavior modification.