One of the things i have done for a very long time is listen to CD books on my commute to and from work. I get them from the library( free) and it makes for a much better use of my time than griping about traffic.
Recently i finished one called “Triggers” , which is mainly oriented to job situations but has a decent amount of material regarding other areas of life.The one term that really lit up my neurons was something i had never heard of called “Ego Depletion”.
Basically refers to the idea that “self control/willpower draws upon a limited pool of mental resources that can be used up”( wikipedia). Wow. I didn’t even know there was a term for this. Beyond hearing it in the book reference , i decided to research it independently( just in case the author made it up…cause you never know..lol). Turns out it is a very real, and very common state, although many are not aware of it. This is usually because we believe we are doing all the right things -so how could it possibly go wrong?
AND –it doesn’t just pertain to self control over a substance or any one bad habit. Hell, it doesn’t even just apply to recovery. It can relate to many times and situations in our lives- divorce, loss of career, homeschooling, mid life crisis…the list is endless. But for me at this time , recovery is the main issue.
See, what a lot of us do when we begin recovery in earnest is set about replacing the bad habit(s) with better ones. A good idea in theory. We start doing yoga, try to eat healthier, give up caffeine, try to quit smoking, begin meditating…all kinds of things that require self control and will power. I am a poster child for tis behavior. At first it seems wonderful because we are hopping off & on many pink clouds of success and start to believe we have a handle on it all. But here’s the caveat:
As a result of the constant discipline, restraint and pulling out all the stops in order to gain some control in our lives can actually get to a point of this “ego depletion” state. I KNEW there had to be an explanation for what i had/have been going through. It is this state in which we can simply give up or give in out of sheer mental and emotional exhaustion. For alcoholics, it can be a prime cause of slips and relapses.Something to consider, and consider i shall.
Here is one link that explains it pretty well, but there is much info online if you look into it:
Hope everyone is doing well and keeping in balance.