breaking free from bad habits

This morning whilst in that twilight space between sleep and awake, I had a sudden realisation… I’m living without crutches. None of the usual bad habits, no vices, no drugs in my body, not even caffein… nada!!! I hadn’t really registered this fact and it just kind of hit me at this lucid moment. Living like this, without using popular lifestyle crutches, it’s not the normal, so I want to share with you what it’s really like.

Here’s an outline of what we are covering. It’s about a 6 minute read.

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Crutches? What do I mean?

By Crutches, I mean Lifestyle Crutches those things we lean upon to get us through the day, through life’s ups and downs. They come in many forms, but I’m particularly talking about these extremely common ones: –

(Note: nowadays I would have to add mobile phone to that list but that is a subject for another blog post)

It’s very rare to find someone who doesn’t engage in any of the above!

What are the reasons we use or need them?

alcohol to celebrate
  • They sometimes give us just the lift we need to get started in the morning
  • They help get us through a dull day,
  • They can help to drag us through horrific times,
  • Or calm us down when we are anxious,
  • They help us manage our stress levels
  • And give us a boost when we are down,
  • They give us strength when we feel weak,
  • Confidence when we are lacking
  • Bravery when we are scared.
  • We sometimes use them to make the good times even “gooder”
  • or to celebrate good news…

So whats wrong with this? Why would you want to live without them? Isn’t it a great thing that we have ways to make our lives easier to manage, things that make us happier, more content, less stressed, able to cope… ???

Well…yes, we all need help in this crazy , complicated world. However…

We believe that our chosen crutches of the moment can deliver all of the above but the truth is that ultimately, they deliver none of them. They simply serve as a temporary solution to numb and distract us from what ever it is we are trying to escape from.

What we are trying to escape from may be something as harmless as boredom right through to something as serious as bereavement and everything in between. The truth about crutches is that:

Our crutch may give us a temporary ‘high’ or an ‘escape’ or ‘numbing’ but then we come crashing back down to the low, the reality, to real life.

The problem with the crutches listed above is that they are all highly addictive and mostly extremely unhealthy. Their unhealthy and addictive nature is well documented so I won’t bore you with yet another lecture. (1)

So Whats the Story

We start our lives as children with no crutches but quickly pick up the sugar one, possible the junk food dependant on our parents eating habits. As teenagers and young adults we pick up more of them, possibly smoking, coffee, alcohol… Some of us have just one crutch, some of us have a few and some of us have all of them. I myself can raise my hand to having used most of the above.

In reality many of our crutches deliver exactly the opposite of what we wanted from them. For example, one of the reasons we drink alcohol is for fun and happiness. But if you have drunk it for any length of time, I don’t need to tell you that it is just as likely to cause fights, anger, distress, blackouts and confusion. Not to mention the dreaded middle of the night panics, disturbed sleep, hangovers and ultimately ill health.

woman smoking

Smoking is supposed to relax us, but in reality it makes us more anxious and less calm. Is it not true that we are constantly worried about the undeniable ill health effects, the cost, where we are allowed to smoke, not to mention the physical withdrawal symptoms we suffer when we cannot get our next fix?

Those seeking escape through comfort eating, sugar fix and junk food may feel good at the time of eating… But the lingering feelings of shame and guilt afterwards plus possible physical discomfort soon destroy any feel good factor. There is also the anxiety about obesity and possible lifestyle diseases caused by bad eating habits like diabetes, digestive disorders and worse to contend with too.

Our crutches steal so much from us…

time never stops

They are all thieves of time. We need to make time to smoke, to drink, to eat compulsively.

Not to mention the time spent recovering from them or worrying how we are destroying our mind, body and souls by using them,

Our seconds turn into minutes, minutes to hours, hours to days, days to weeks, weeks to months, months to years, years to decades and before we know it, we are getting older and older and have done nothing, absolutely nothing with our lives except abuse our own bodies and minds.

This is our time, our valuable time in our valuable lives. Our one and only life. We could be doing something so much, much better with this time. Stuff that matters!

Remember Yourself

Thieves of you... the real authentic you. The potential that you possess cannot thrive whilst buried in poisons and addictions. If you are buried deep in your crutches you have probably forgotten yourself, who you really are. You have potential for so much more!

My point isn’t that you can never enjoy an occasional cigarette or a glass of wine, or your favourite chocolate and so on. No, my point is that when you are using them to lean on and you get addicted whether habitually or physically, That’s the danger.

Because these type of bad habits and addictions they swallow you up. You loose yourself so there’s no time for you, you become engulfed in the addiction. You can’t think clearly, you’re sludged up with brain fog, you may be constantly feeling like shit and you don’t even know it. You’ve forgotten what it actually feels like be healthy, to be yourself.

My Experience of Living Without Crutches

Facing life naked, stripped of our crutches, brimming full of emotions with nowhere to hide, nowhere to run, no crutch to take the strain. It sounds really scary right?

But do you know what, it’s absolutely beautiful. Facing up to your problems, your life, and most importantly yourself, it’s exciting beyond belief. I feel like I’m me again.

It’s like where have I been? What was I doing? What was I thinking? Im waking up every morning with the kind of excitement I felt as a child who could not wait to get up and start a new day. Brimming with energy and enthusiasm and just really, really happy.

In truth though, I’m not really living without crutches. I’ve simply replaced the old, useless and unhealthy ones with new, effective, healthy and life enhancing ones. (For more on this click here to read about my story and here for my new healthy habits and here for my healthy diet)

We all really do need things to help us get through life’s ups and downs. My amazing health journey has brought me back full circle to myself, my true authentic self and that is a great place to be because I now know that I can do anything.

But there are downsides. I’ve discovered how painfully shy and awkward I am in social situations. I would normally have covered this up by having a few glasses of wine to ‘fit in’.

I’m much better in small groups of people I’m comfortable with. Otherwise I just clam up. But do you know what, I’m happy with that. Thats just me! It’s going to take time to get to know the new me or should I say the real me but I’m good with that. No, in fact, I‘m really excited to get to know her again.

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Related Reading

(1) Please Note: I include tea and coffee on the list because I have given them up for health reasons. In moderation, there is nothing wrong with a cup of tea or coffee for most people. If you suffer from acid reflux you may want to think about quitting them completely as I have done.

Let me know what you think in the comments section below. Tell me about the crutches (healthy or unhealthy) you use to make life more manageable. Would you like to give any or all of them up but don’t know how.

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