Update: Due to some technical issues, comments were previously disabled! Thanks to my friend who send me an email via my contact page to bring this to my attention and I’ve fixed it 🙂
Inspired by this post!
“Abstinence is as easy to me as temperance would be difficult.”
I find it far easier to give something up altogether than to indulge moderately.
If I try to be moderate, I exhaust myself debating,
“Does this time ‘count’?”
“Don’t I deserve this?” etc.
If I NEVER do something, it requires NO self-control for me;
if I do SOMETHING SOMETIMES, it requires ENORMOUS self-control, willpower.
People can be surprisingly judgmental about which approach you take.
As an abstainer, I often get disapproving comments like,
“It’s not healthy to take such a severe approach” or
“It would be better to learn how to manage yourself”
I’ve come to terms with the fact that people are “wired differently”. Every person’s nervous system has a different response to stimuli and triggers. What is easy and natural to some, might be a life long struggle for others. While each one tries convincing the other party of why “their approach” is right/ justified; it is a battle fought in vain.
I have been reading “The Pleasure Trap” by Dr. Douglas J. Lisle and Dr. Alan Goldhamer who manage the TrueNorth Health Centre at Santa Rosa, California. It has been an eye-opener for me. I now understand that our bodies are designed a certain way by evolutionary genes we’ve been passed on since the stone age. Why we crave certain kinds of food and fall back over and over again into the pleasure trap. A lot of it has also to do with the fact that:
We are a sum of our
Nature (inherited genes) + Nurture (personal life experiences)
THE RABBIT HOLE OF FAILURE – SETTING YOURSELF FOR FAILURE
Has it ever occurred to you that you promised yourself to just have “a few chips/ a small tiny slice of cake/ a few sips of alcohol” and before you know you have way exceeded your initial promised intakes by over 100%, often only stopping when you’ve crashed that whole bag of chips/ whole tub of ice cream, all the pieces of the delicious cake…
When we allow ourselves to digress from our chosen path/ goal, our brains think we have already lost a point. So why does it matter if it is a (-1) or a (-100)? Let’s just go on… This instant gratification “feels” so good… So rewarding… Almost intoxicating at the moment. The pleasure centers in our brain signal us to continue the activity.
Before you know it, you get back from being “sober” to “an addict” all over again!
WHY MODERATION DOES NOT WORK FOR ME – SETTING MYSELF FOR SUCCESS
I want to experience things wholly. Not just fragments and restricted portions.
For me, it is so much easier to say NO/ ABSTAIN/ Hold my principles 100% of times, than to indulge moderately because it does not light up the pleasure centers in my brain – The DOPAMINE release effect that wants you CRAVING for MORE. No different than an ADDICT.
I like to solve problems from the root – a root cause fix! Rather than a superficial top-level temporary solution. I want to destroy and kill the unhealthy habits permanently. I want to get past the toxic/ garbage substances, toxic relationships altogether from my life rather than having to tax myself on an everyday basis with my impulses.
I WANT A CLEAN ENVIRONMENT THAN RELYING ON MY FINITE WILLPOWER.
Moderation doesn’t help change habits!
Abstinence is HARD. VERY HARD to implement. You need to be firm with yourself to implement the rules of the game. But hey! The good news is that you GET TO SET YOUR OWN RULES.
100% COMPLIANCE IS FAR EASIER THAN 90%.
I want to be the best, not just mediocre.
MODERATION IN PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS
For a very long time, I have struggled with exercising moderation. When I’m in, I’m all in. 110%. I give my best and beyond. I have very high standards I hold myself accountable to. I care for the people close to me in all ways I possibly can. Even with strangers, new acquaintances, I am very affectionate.
What if someone I am dearly fond of thinks I am “too-much” or “overwhelming” or they just need their space from me? Well, I give it to them 100%. I go cold turkey, although it means putting a huge stone on my heart, I just walk away. It is even true if expectations do not align. Say there is a person I am interested in a romantic relationship with, and all they want is friendship. In that scenario, I’d have to disassociate myself with that person completely. If it was the opposite situation, I would do the same thing as I wouldn’t want to torture them with the feelings that “they can’t have what they want and have to make do“.
Every time I have allowed myself to stray from the above rule of ALL OR NOTHING, I have set myself up for failure and heartaches. I just can not be “friends” with a potential love interest. I find it tormenting emotionally. If I allow myself to be friends with someone who has feelings for me, it ends up sour as I would never meet up to their expectations. HENCE, THIS RULE.
JUDGEMENTS & CRITICISMS
The “moderators” in the world around me, judge me harshly. Bluntly. It hurts. But I have come to an acceptance of who I am and what I stand for. I want to be fair, honest and consistent with my values 100% of the time. I want to do justice to the roles I play. I want to live and become the best version of myself. I do not want any lingering bad habits that damage me physically, mentally, or emotionally.
The stakes are too HIGH. I do not want to gamble with my life and allow myself to fall in the pleasure trap, the rabbit hole of failure…..
I’ve learned to simply smile when I am judged.
I KNOW I AM DOING THE RIGHT THING – FOR MYSELF.
What are your thoughts on the above? Are you a moderator or an abstainer? If you are a moderator reading this, please show kindness, empathy, and understanding to us “abstainers”.
We might be the “odd, rebellious, misfits in your perfect world”. A little love and understanding of our “WHY” behind the “WHAT” we do, will do us much help. 🙂