October 31, 2017

Interrupting the patterns of response

Over the past few weeks, I have been sharing thoughts related to change and trust as they relate to our habits, interactions, fears, and personal development. Keeping with this theme, I was reflecting on patterns I have developed in response to external triggers.

For example, when a person says, “Good morning,” we are likely to reply in kind with a “Good morning” back. Their greeting triggered a response from us.  As with many of these interactions, our responses are almost automatic, as we have conditioned ourselves to respond automatically to certain behavioral triggers. Over time, these responses are often unconsciously routine and, usually behaviorally appropriate, to the stimulus.

As most of our responses become somewhat automated, we may not be consciously aware of the limitations to some of our automatic responses; or, whether these responses reflect our evolution in what we learned about ourselves, others, certain situations or issues.

In my nine-year addiction driven journey, I would like to believe I have evolved significantly in my awareness, behaviors, responses, and attitudes as it relates to the repeated cycles in the addiction/recovery experience. One thing I have learned is the addiction/recovery can seem like a never- ending, repeating loop, I liken to a NASCAR race. A person battling an addiction may make, what seems like, an endless series of laps around the track – recovery, relapse, arrest, jail, recovery, relapse, etc. The non-stop cycle can be incredibly frustrating and confusing for those loved ones witnessing or experiencing the journey.

Even though someone we love lives on this Addiction Cycle, continuously repeating the cycles in their addiction recovery journey, it does not mean our responses need to stay the same.  While it may appear to us that their lack of progress, because they have not achieved sustained recovery (our measure of success and improvement), doesn’t mean we are not responsible for interrupting the habits we have created for ourselves around their triggers and behaviors.

Too often I read comments in FB, “my child has relapsed, here we go again.” Correction, here they go again. I am not on my son’s addiction/recovery loop. He is. Every time he goes around the track, I learn more about myself, him, his addiction, and the appropriate (read healthy) responses to his issues. With each successive lap, I force myself to evolve, learn, and grow from it. With each successive trigger, I have interrupted the habit I may have been in, with a new, healthier, enlightened response. Hence, with each successive loop, I have discovered how to be a healthier, loving parent to a child who is struggling with something I can only help them with, but cannot save them from.

As you move forward in your journey, take a look at your habits, your behaviors, your responses, and your life as it relates to the seemingly endless cycle of addiction in your life.

Are you changing your behaviors?

Have you interrupted your habits in response to their addiction/recovery cycle?

Are you doing the work on you to help you bring a healthier, balanced perspective to the issue?

If you are not, maybe it is time to interrupt the pattern and change your part of the narrative as it relates to your loved one’s addiction journey.  If you need to help develop a plan for walking this out, please let me know. I have been on a marvelous educational experience and would be honored to be a guide for you on your path through the adversity of a child’s addiction.


Want more insights from this blog?

Join me on the podcast “100Pedals Talk: Inside the Blog” as I delve deeper into this post and share personal stories or reflections behind the article. (Note: The podcast relating to any particular blog is released on Thursday of the same week this blog is posted.) Subscribe to this podcast on I-Tunes here.

This week’s blog podcast episode: http://theaddictionconversation.libsyn.com/interrupting-patterns-and-breaking-habits

I would love to hear from you.

What issues are confronting you today? Where are you currently experiencing fear and shame relating to the struggles in your life? I have some pretty cool tools to guide you and would love to help.  Please let me know: dave@100Pedals.com.

Control is my favorite power behavior. Little did I realize how much it interrupts my life in non-productive ways. In today’s article, I look at our controlling behaviors and how they really kick-in during adverse, difficult times. And, how I have learned to empower myself to mostly surrender to my controlling instincts.

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About Dave Cooke

Dave Cooke is a dad on a mission. His mission is to help parents get control of their lives over the powerful, destructive influences of a child's addiction. As the father of a son in a ten year heroin battle, Dave knows all to well the challenges parents and families face. He also knows there is a way to find peace in the chaos. It is his mission to help parents discover their path to a healthier, balanced life even if a child's active addiction is still part of their daily journey.