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Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

by Portia Nelson

The key to recovering from binges is to become more aware of how we respond to triggers in challenging situations. This self-reflection can be difficult. It is definitely easier to continue our old habits no matter how much pain they cause us. We find comfort in the familiar routine.

However, when we examine our thoughts and actions, we may begin to see that we are repeating a pattern that is unhealthy. We may begin by blaming someone else or wishing that we might magically get different results, but we eventually realize those different results will require that we take a new approach.

As our desire to have something healthier increases, we begin to take steps to change. We may, of course, fall back into our old habits, again and again, but slowly we can-emerge from them--and change. We do have a choice. The following-poem from Portia Nelson describes this transformation. It is called "Autobiography in Five Chapters."

Chapter I
I walk down the street.
      There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
      I fall in.
      I am lost...I am helpless.
            It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter II
I walk down the same street.
      There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
      I pretend I don't see it.
      I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place.
            But it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter III
I walk down the same street.
      There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
      I see it is there.
      I still fall in...it's a habit...but,
            my eyes are open,
            I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter IV
I walk down the same street.
      There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
      I walk around it.

Chapter V
I walk down another street.

 

Following this process is how we form new RUTS of healthful habits.

 

Explore: Horse of Habit Story and Patterns, Patterns, Everywhere. Not a Moment's Peace!

              Copyright 2001-2017 Bob Wilson BS, DTR  All Right Reserved. Articles are for personal use only. Please request permission for other uses. Thanks!