With a heavy heart, I am following up on a post I wrote 30 days ago, Tap Your Way Into Right Thinking. In this post I challenged myself to a 30-day experiment: I would use the Emotional Freedom Technique of Tapping for 30 days to see if I could change my negative thought patterns concerning my relationship with food. Sadly, I failed this experiment, and I need to ‘fess up!
First, a little more background into the process called Tapping. Tapping, as best I understand it, is a therapy process that works by focusing on a painful thought, memory or belief while tapping with your fingertips on various specific energy points located throughout the body. There are 14 different energy points, called meridians, that are believed to compose an energy system within your body. Any negative emotion, such as envy, shame, anxiety, or the like, is due to a disturbance in this energy system.
So I figured I could use my negative belief that I cannot change my unhealthy relationship with food, apply the principles of Tapping, and see where I got at the end of 30 days. Here is what happened:
I practiced the steps outlined in the book faithfully for more than half the time, 16 days. I attempted to follow the directions to the letter for each of those sessions. Initially, the biggest stumbling block to this exercise was my complete skepticism of it. I was self-conscious, even if I was by myself. And when my kids walked in and asked what the heck I was doing, that was even worse. So while I attempted to be open-minded about the exercise, I definitely had a ways to go.
The second mistake I made, and I only realized this after the fact, was that I failed to stay completely focused on the negative belief throughout the exercise. Much like meditation, it was extremely difficult for me to stay in the moment. Thoughts of what I was going to do next, or who might walk into the room, or, even worse, the thought that this is a complete waste of time kept crowding into my head as I tried to focus and tap. As I researched a little further into this practice, I now realize that it is essential to focus solely on the negative belief you are looking to change.
If I were to hypothesize, the biggest barrier to this being an effective technique for me personally is my, I guess I can use the word ambivalence, to the philosophy behind it. I am sure that this technique could work for many people, I am just not sure I am one of them, and this thought, above all else, was probably blocking my ability to be effective.
So that I am not a complete Negative Nellie with this post, I will end with a positive experience I gained from this experiment. At some point during each of those tapping sessions, I felt a small but definite feeling of lightness, almost like a feeling of hopefulness. Sometimes, I would even get a thought such as, “Yes, I can develop a healthy relationship with food!” and it would feel almost exciting, like it was a breakthrough. The feeling was fleeting, but it was interesting, and it did recur.
So, tapping was not a complete waste of time, but, for me, the benefits were not strong enough or permanent enough to reinforce the routine. The minute my schedule got hectic, I forgot about it completely, and, by the time I remembered I was supposed to be doing it daily, a whole week had passed. I will chalk this one up to: nothing ventured, nothing gained!
When I finish this post, I will be preparing for the one-year anniversary of the meeting I started… more to follow on this subject tomorrow!
You know how when you decide to go on a diet, and you try to plan your life out so as not to be around tempting foods? You throw all the junk out of your house, buy healthy foods, and avoid your favorite unhealthy places to eat? And then that inevitable event comes up that you can’t get out of, or your office throws a birthday party for a co-worker, and you find yourself surrounded by temptation. You find yourself resentful of the event, jealous of those around you who can enjoy the tempting food, and wondering why you have to find yourself in that situation in the first place.
Well, anyone taking early recovery seriously employs the same types of strategies in order to get and stay sober/clean, only the consequences of failure are far more devastating that of a failed diet. We in recovery are taught early on to stay away from people, places and things that we associate with our alcohol/drug use.
For the past 82 days, I have done just that, and it has brought me immense relief. But just as the dieter cannot eliminate food from his or her life, so too must the recovering addict deal with tempting situations at some point. I had hoped for myself that the time would come later in my recovery, when I had solid time behind me, but life doesn’t always work out the way I would like.
So I had my first encounter with a person, place or thing today. And it was hard. And it was upsetting. But guess what I found out?
1. I have the most amazing network of support that will be there for me at the drop of a hat.
2. That I am stronger than I think I am.
3. I have my first real experience involving temptation behind me, and I got through it.
And in a few hours, I will have 83 days!