Chains · Cravings

Stuck In A Rut Of Bad Habits

A friend of mine keeps getting back together with her Ex, even though she admits he is not good for her. I got all judge-y and gossipy about it with another friend who said, “I guess we all have an Ex we go back to.”

Ouch.

I’ve never gone back to an Ex of the male persuasion, primarily because I’m a spectacular grudge holder, a keeper of a list of All Wrongs Done To Me Ever. (I know, I know, I’m working on it.) But I stalk other good-for-nothing’s I’ve broken up with, and I usually end up getting back together with them.

I hook up with sugar when I’m hungry for more than life is serving me. I get engaged to the TV when I’m bored. I flirt with my phone when I’m not having fun, and I go on surfing dates with the Internet when I don’t want to deal with The Real.

I know these things are leading me on, promising to fill a hole WHICH THEY NEVER DO, which is why I broke up with their sorry butts in the first place. But then: LIFE, and suddenly I’m an amnesiac, stuck in a rut of bad behaviors, thinking this time eating a bag of candy corns is going to make me feel better. They’ve changed! They’ve grown up! They’re no longer made of sugar, corn syrup, confectioner’s glaze, dextrose, honey, and nineteen other forms of sugar! Now they are made of broccoli!

Why do I succumb to their charm and fall into their arms again and again?

It feels good. The saying, “familiarity breeds contempt,” does not apply to toxic habits, instead they feel like friends who get me. The kind of friend that makes you feel less lonely and uncomfortable because they’re just as dysfunctional as you are. Quinoa does not get me. Celery does not get me. But Snickers? They get me.

I have a fear of scarcity. I loathe lack. Physical lack, emotional lack, lack of constant positive affirmation, lack of appropriate bowing down to me by the humans in my house. I feed my face rather than face my feelings, check out of life and check into TV and social media to escape the madness and the loneliness.

I deserve it. All. Day. Long. I’ve dealt with demanding, irrational, emotional teenagers people, terrible traffic, an imploding uterus, and DRIVERS WHO CAN NOT DRIVE, all the while denying myself CARBS. Now it’s 5 o’clock (somewhere) and I deserve that glass of wine. Or two. And all of the cheese in the house. And Real Housewives of Orange County. And many, many, candy corns.

It’s what I do. The route to my Ex’s is a well worn path, the path of least resistance. I’ve driven it so many times, I don’t even realize how I got there until I wake up in the morning so full of regret my jeans don’t fit.

I think we can be friends. I tell myself, There’s nothing inherently wrong with a little “something something.” I don’t drink every night. Everything in moderation. A few hours in front of the TV isn’t a big deal. All true. But I’d never go to a party with an ex-boyfriend who lied to me and made me feel terrible, so why should I hangout with these losers?

Everything is permissible, but not everything beneficial, and if we become slaves to it, then its time to breakup. Like forever. Like we are never ever getting back together.

Caveat: I’m not going to break up with TV, or Buzz Feed videos, or those super important life altering Facebook quizzes (what type of Disney dog are you?) or sugar, or cheese, or candy corns (gah!) forever unless God asks me to, because the last thing I need is another self-imposed self-improvement project to make me feel like I’m in control WHEN I’M NOT. But I will ask him. Probably after the holidays. Because, cookies. But I will seek His Will in this, because this struggle is bull crappy. I’m tired of holding hands with habits that steal, kill, and destroy my joy.

What are your thoughts? Do you have lousy lovers in your life that need to be kicked to the curb? Do you find yourself reaching for comfort from things you know are not good for you?  Have you found a way to like, forever, break up with no good habits? What worked? What didn’t?

Thanks for taking to time to read my brain words.

24 thoughts on “Stuck In A Rut Of Bad Habits

  1. Love. I have been able to break up with some of the habits, but not all. Some are more pernicious. The most effective help I’ve found is not trying to eliminate a habit, but rather replace it. For example, I moved FB to the back page of my phone and my Bible and Scripture memorization verses to the front page. And I try to go there first before anywhere else. Doesn’t mean I don’t still fall and fail d a i l y. I just keep getting up. Again and again. Love you.

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      1. Cara I think what you wrote is probably true for everyone if they are honest with themselves. I have hidden behind all sorts of false loves which have become my enemy’s. (And I’m not talking about men as I have been with this love I live with for 41 years since high school believe it or not). I am talking about addictions to all kinds of things like sugar or fat or even exercise until even something healthy can turn into a problem. Not that all my addictive habits have been healthy and sometimes my mind can be my worst enemy telling me lies that I believe. Still sometimes the allure of immediate gratification or listening to the lies I tell myself can get too powerful and I lose my way. I think you reminding me of this and making me think has been very good for me right now especially as the holidays loom before us and for me an especially hard anniversary nestles within these “joyful” times. It’s good to take stock of these feelings and realize that they are there not buried down deep below. Acknowledging this can help me say no to those dangerous and fake loves and look for the blessings in my life which are so plentiful and of which I am grateful. You are one of those blessings to me my dear friend Cara and I love you.

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      2. beautifully said kellie. you have such wisdom – you should write your own blog!! i think what you said about looking for blessings and being grateful is so important! you are a blessing to me in so many ways..love you!

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  2. I think I will have to read that one a couple of times. I guess the thing that comes to mind first is, “turn your eyes upon Jesus- look full in HIS wonderful face- and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of HIS glory and Grace!”

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    1. i know this is TRUTH deedee. but it does not play itself out practically speaking in my life. there is some sort of disconnect, because in the moment i am doing whatever it is, i am not feeling bad about it, like i said, it feels good and normal, until afterwards. i see this in others as well who are not convicted by “bad” behaviors like smoking but they love God and they want to quit. is there some sort of practice or thing that you do when tempted? what does it actually look like to “turn your eyes upon Jesus.”

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  3. Yes, my was exercise but I burn that bridge. Although I watch Jim Gaffigan stand up or Jimmy Fallon to unwind from a tired day:)
    Great provoking article!

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    1. LOVE jim gaffigan and jimmy fallon! definitely better than the real housewives. 🙂 how did you burn the bridge lina? did you go cold turkey? set limits?

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      1. Yes, I did. I made a commitment that I will put in the energy and time I did with my training in my spiritual training and see what muscles God will shape me:)…,do it out of desperation:(

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  4. I love you girl!! There must be something to being born on the same day cause you speak what is in my mind! We could add the cycle of courting and breaking up with the exes affect on the psyche so we have something else to beat ourselves up about.
    I’m learning grace – I freely give it to others why not myself? ‘Cause I feel like it’s an excuse for doing what I know I shouldn’t! Yet….dang it I’m tired! But we press on – I want to win the prize, I’m just much slower now, a bit wiser, still stubborn enough not to quit and I have grown, matured, deepened my relationships and cherished the victories we have had.
    But that sugar dragon still wins too many battles…… (song playing now on the radio…It’s not over yet!)

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    1. marie, you have made me feel less alone with your words – bless you. it is important to cherish the victories and to give ourselves a break, but to never give up fighting to flourish as God dreams we will…

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  5. So…..After reading this several times…I still know that the Lord was using you to talk to me….and probably many others….You know me…Coffee, chocolate, coffee, Gilmore Girl reruns, Coffee, and addicted to adrenaline . What more MUST be done, how can life go on if I don’t “DO” that next thing…and more coffee….
    As I read I was thinking about how familiar these pathways are in my mind and in my heart…and how these things keep traveling on the pathways….and I don’t put up road blocks or detours…just let things keep traveling the same roads…
    Thanks for shining a light ..thanks for being real..thanks for being you ..and my dear dear sister.
    How I love you ….

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    1. oh wanda, i did not even mention coffee. that is SACRED GROUND. haha. thank you so much for reading, responding, and being real as well. love you lots and miss you so much!!

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  6. So good, so funny, so TRUE! I totally relate to all of your ex’s, just maybe substitute your Housewives for my HGTV and Survivor and Game of Thrones …. But my biggest bad habit is busyness. Must schedule every day, every hour, every moment. When all He wants for me is to BE STILL and KNOW THAT HE is in control, and just wants a bit of my time and He covets me. So enough on the shouting with all caps … I will keep reading your blog and pray and then pray some more. You are a gift, Cara G!

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