Planned Abstinence

Total Abstinence vs Planned AbstinenceWhen it comes to abstinence there are two kinds of addictions. Some addictions are to substances or behavior from which we can totally abstain, such as alcohol or pornography. Other addictions are to substances or behaviors which we must partake of or participate in. The trick is figuring out how to do it without being compulsive or impulsive. I call this “planned abstinence.” Examples of these would be eating, spending, and taking prescribed medications. I described this in a previous post here:

Staying Abstinent: Using the Tools – Part 3

Coming up with a plan of abstinence that works for you may not be easy. You may be able to find a “published” plan that might work as a starting point. If not,  you can do basic research, talk to others who struggle with a similar addiction, and seek inspiration to come up with a plan. In certain cases you need to seek and follow the advice of a professional: for example, taking drugs strictly as prescribed. Some people need help from a financial coach to develop a workable budget, and some compulsive eaters need help from a dietitian to develop a food plan.

I developed my own food plan by doing research on various websites. I found a plan to use as a starting point, and adjusted it as I figured out what worked to help me eat abstinently and what sabotaged me. One of the keys to making any plan work is accountability. Compulsive eaters usually need to weigh, measure and record their food. Spenders need to check their spending against the budget and adjust if necessary.

Here is a post that describes my experience in tweaking my own plan a bit more specifically:

Any approach to planned abstinence is very personal. There are some people who do well on a very regimented plan and others who need more flexibility. Another key to success is to be rigorously honest with yourself and not make excuses if you aren’t sticking to the plan. Try to figure out why not, and adjust the plan until you develop something that you will be able to stick to, and helps you to live abstinently.
  • What aspect of your life might benefit from planned abstinence?
  • Write about how well you use the two “keys” of abstinence: accountability and rigorous honesty.
  • What will you do today to move forward in improving your abstinence?

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Related Posts: Staying Abstinent: Using the Tools – Part 3Some Patterns Cause Us to Stumble, Others Help Us BuildStructure: Like a Kite String

 

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