While taking the facilitator training, I watched a video with Joe Gerstein where he showed the ABC relationship with a lapse and how it often involves a belief (B) or a consequence (C) turning into another activating event (A) thus creating a cascade of ABCs.  This intrigued me, and putting it together with the way I had noticed my own urge experiences, I realized most of the time there is a basic pattern an urge takes on for me.  Being a very visual thinker, I began to formulate on my computer screen a picture of how my urges occur.

anatomy of an urge-1The graphic included here is the result of this thought process.  After drawing out the anatomy of an urge, my urges diminished significantly.  It was simpler to see exactly where I was in this process and what I needed to think and do to get out of it.

The diamond shapes represent decision points.  It is clear there are two definite choices at those points – yes or no.  This is an aspect of the graphic I like because it shows me clearly what the choices are and the possible consequences of each.  While in other aspects of my life there may be many choices, with this, there really are just two.  That simplifies it!

Another point made clear from this graphic is even if I choose not to debate my beliefs and spend a lot of time circling through the cycle on the left side, the problem with my belief does not disappear.  This represents why it is that when you stop the addictive behavior you wake up to discover the problems are all still there.

The third point I see from this is there is a path back to abstinence.  It leads directly to the debate (D).  To me this is comforting.  I can make the best choice even after a lapse.

Defeating Addictive Urges