(a chapter from Telling Ed No! by Cheryl Kerrigan©)
Often, during my days in recovery, I would be plagued by thoughts that would drive me towards one negative behavior after another. Ed wanted me back and he was not happy that I was committed to recovery and listening to my treatment team. I felt like there was a constant, exhausting battle going on in my head.
At times these thoughts put me into a trance like state, caught in the middle of the battle between “Ed” and “Recovery.” Ed would say, “Cheryl, I know what’s best, listen to me and you will be fine, I promise.” Then Recovery would say something similar, “Cheryl, listen to me, I am here to help you. You can trust me.” When back-and-forth conversations like this happened, my head would tilt and my eyes would become wide and still as I just stared straight ahead, concentrating on this fight in my head.
I discovered that being in this kind of trance was a setup for disaster. In fact, the longer I was in it, the greater the chance that I would participate in a negative behavior versus a healthy one. Snapping my mind back to the here and now was extremely hard, but crucial.
So I decided to work off the word “snap” and put it to literal use. I took a rubber band and put it around my wrist like a bracelet. Having it there didn’t look funny or draw attention to me in any way, so I was comfortable with it. When a negative thought came to mind and I began to be pulled down that road, I would “snap” the rubber band against my wrist to shock me back into reality. This gave me just enough of a jolt that my eyes would flicker, my head would lift up, and my mind would return to the present moment. Then I could think clearly and choose correctly—which meant choosing recovery.
During the day do you find yourself in a trance while listening to Ed and Recovery fight for you? Wear a rubber band around your wrist and snap it when you find yourself in a trance. Or list three positive steps you can take to snap you back to the reality of here and now so you can make the healthy choice.
With health, hope and strength,