From The Meriam-Webster dictionary:
Recidivism: a tendency to relapse into a previous condition or mode of behavior…
We get asked all the time…
(in addition to: “Do I have to do this for the rest of my life”)
“Do I have to start over counting my days if I slip?”
In this world of tracking everything, knowing how long you’ve been “off” something you have deemed harmful to you… is a big deal.
I’m sure it originated with the alcohol and nicotine/tobacco quitting programs. Where your “clean or sober” time is meticulously tracked and you have defined bragging rights…
“I’ve been sober X years” or “I haven’t had a cigarette since January 1st, 2001…”
Heck, I’m just as guilty. When you’ve been sober 34 years you get a lot of Wow’s! And Really’s? …It feels good.
But with sugar, especially in the early days, we find it might be a bit of stumbling block too long term success to focus on counting your days…
First off with cigarettes and booze you can –
“put the plug in the jug” – meaning just avoid the stuff all together…
With today’s food supply having 75+% of it tainted with sugar and having to eat 3 times a day – you have to let that tiger out of the cage and walk it three times a day.
See the difference?
PLUS, all of us have been training our emotional management systems to get that dopamine hit (and about a million other feel-good chemical manipulations) since birth via sugar.
It’s truly a different deal.
But we’ve found that after a couple “slips” (more on those in another article) folks feel like they have failed and just seem to fade away and give up.
We know this because folks come back all the time and tell us!
Personally, back in the day when I quit sugar, it took me almost two full years to get 100% abstinent.
From the time I became aware and started to try – to the time I was successful was a long time. Back then there was no one to talk to about this stuff…
So how have we avoided that in our successful folks?
How do you stay on track?
It’s very similar to meditation.
During the process of learning how to meditate almost everyone thinks they are “doing it wrong.” That they will NEVER quiet their chattering monkey mind.
Experienced meditators and teachers know that you’re almost NEVER going to do that and that the process is to not give the chatter too much attention and simply draw your focus back to your breath. THAT IS the process of meditation. That IS the learning.
That consistent process of bringing your focus back to the breath.
Well, the same thing applies in the early days of attempting to quit sugar.
Recitivism, slips, and stumbles happen, they’re real. But focusing on them and “going back to day 1” is just an unneeded self-flagellation.
Just don’t binge “because I blew it anyway”, get a good night’s sleep and start again the next day.
We often see folks go 3, 5 10, 21 or 30 days and then “fall back.” Heck, you healed up a LOT in those days. You learned a lot about yourself and your abilities to change your behavior.
Now just draw the focus back to the task at hand and begin again.
By the time six short months or one short year passes you’ll be WELL into a solid understanding of your personal body’s relationship with sugar!
But like meditation, you HAVE to stay with it.
You have to continue to slowly and mindfully bring the focus back to your sugar recovery, your health, and your wellness as it relates to ingesting sugar. Daily, sometimes hourly at the beginning.
One of THE most helpful ways to keep this focus front and center is to belong to a group of folks or to have a friend, coach or mentor.
So don’t let a few slips, stumbles or setbacks derail your long term success. This stuff takes a bit of time, like learning to meditate.
But most things worthwhile do.
PS: I’ve been using a quote these days to describe my early days and the positive results of people who have “brought the focus back to sugar freedom” it goes like this:
“I’ve started over so many times I now believe that starting over IS the process…” MC