It is common practice, if someone commits a heinous crime or crimes, to have the law enforcement agency put a poster in public places, with a picture of the felon and the words, “Wanted Dead or Alive”. Sometimes, the poster will also say, “Public Enemy Number One.”
In your personal life, it is possible that “Public Enemy Number One”, may be you. Your crimes may be against yourself, your loved ones and your higher power. You may be guilty of a number of utterly distasteful, risky, obnoxious and odious crimes. You may be guilty of killing yourself with drugs, alcohol and tobacco in excessive amounts. You may be guilty of overindulging in food or unsafe sex and of underperforming in exercise. You may be guilty of neglect, disrespect and a lack of appreciation and gratitude towards your body and your life.
Make a list of all of the self-destructive activities that you engage in on a daily basis. Next to each offensive behavior list all of the possible reasons for that behavior. You need to understand why you do what you do and you need to understand the purpose of the activity. You need to know what it does for you. Is the activity or lack of activity a punishment for something or is it a reward? Is it a numbing or self-medicating technique?
Is it an avoidance technique? Is it a distraction technique or is it an attention seeking technique?
Before you can give up any activity, you need to know that it is safe for you to give it up and you need to know what behavior you will substitute in its place that will still provide you with similar satisfaction.
If one substitute behavior does not work, don’t give up. Try another behavior. Consider the fact that you might not be ready or you might not want to give up the detestable behavior at this time. That doesn’t make you a loathsome loser or a bad person.
Remember, it is not important that you failed only that you tried.
Patricia Frank is a Licensed Psychotherapist. She can be reached at 305-788- 4864, Psychotherapy.firstname.lastname@example.org