“I don’t want to.” “I don’t feel like it.” “This sucks.”
If you find yourself saying or thinking these words, you are experiencing resistance. It’s a sensation similar to being pulled back by reins when you know you need to keep moving forward. I am feeling it right now in the process of writing this article. Resistance is common. Non-addicts experience it too. The problem for us addicts is that resistance can lead to procrastination, anger, resentments if we don’t acknowledge it, feel it and let it go. There isn’t a quick fix for this.
Our primary objectives for living in recovery are to stay clean and sober (or free from other addictions) and to become more spiritual people. Some addicts only have the first objective. But that’s for another article. So we ask ourselves if resistance is helping us meet those objectives. The answer is no. Many of us resisted seeking help for years and our lives crumbled.
Much of daily life is filled with activities that we don’t want to do. Take a shower, brush your teeth, go to work, do it well, eat healthy, pay the bills, pray, meditate, help others, and on and on…Sometimes we give into resistance and we simply don’t do these activities. We get an attitude and do what we want instead. If we do this enough times, our lives become unmanageable again. And we become miserable again and more susceptible to relapse. (I just had to look up the spelling of “susceptible”, and I felt resistant to that too!)
Well, we have to start somewhere, so let’s begin with acknowledging the resistance. We can even talk to it if we want. “I feel you. I know you’re here. I know what you want. You want your way. You want me to erode to misery again.” By talking to it, we own it and feel it and don’t try to run from numb it. It’s real. It’s our experience. If a young child is having a tantrum and we say something like “I hear you.” Or “I know you are upset.” and then hug the child, more often than not. the intensity of the tantrum lessens. Works the same way with embracing resistance. It loses its power. and we regain our spiritual empowerment.
Another action we can take that is actually a long-term practice, is to not attach the label of “want” on activities. When desire is no longer in the equation, we are far more likely to flow through the tasks with inner calm. Nike’s long time slogan of “Just Do It” applies here. And contrary to what I thought at first, getting rid of wants does not make us robotic. It actually makes us more organized, productive, serene beings.
So if you have been feeling resistant while reading this article, own it, talk to it, embrace it and then let it go. You will be able to return to the flow of life and will feel much better…whether you want to or not.