RUMINATION: Chewing on the Past.
“Only cows ruminate Gary”.
I was told this at a recent training course, and it got me thinking about writing this blog post. SO, you may ask, what has rumination, addiction recovery and cows got in common? Quite a lot!
Rumination is the process by which the cow regurgitates previously consumed feed and chews it a second time. The re-chewed feed is then swallowed a second time. Cows usually spend more time chewing during rumination than they do when they eat.
In my early recovery I frequently ‘chewed’ over past event, past hurts and negative situations caused through my addiction in the insane hope that’ chewing’ it over would change things. I relayed and replayed and replayed stuff over in my head to the point that effected my mood and behaviour. I spent more time ruminating than reflecting.
One Size Fits All Recovery?
There are more choices today of paths to recovery than ever. These have all been driven by traditional approaches; tried and tested results, scientific research; but most importantly - individual preferences.
We are all unique, have experienced different things and developed our own view of the world. Sometimes when it comes to recovery we have been trying to - squeeze square pegs into round holes.
Despite our individuality the common denominator in our recovery is the need to changing one’s self, understanding that you cannot keep doing the same thing and expecting different results.
Navigating Resistance in recovery
It can be heart-breaking to watch loved ones destroy their own life with alcohol or drugs. As a friend or family member you have tried and tried to help them only to be met with defiance, aggression and ambivalence.
When people have developed a physical and/or psychological dependence on alcohol or drugs there will usually be reluctant about giving these substances up – this is known as resistance.
I was an absolute nightmare at the start of this process. I was; stubborn; prideful and arrogant with no intention of breaking this difficult yet familiar relationship.
Personal Responsibility in Recovery
“Nothing changes if nothing changes Gary. You gotta take responsibility”.
This was the wisdom I received upon entry to my first residential treatment centre. At this point, and with a bitter expression, the voice in my head was screaming multiple expletives at the counsellor.
“What did he think I was doing? I didn’t come to rehab for the craic. I didn’t ask to be here but I am so, keep your fancy quotes to yourself!”
That spell in rehab was my half-hearted and reluctant way of dealing with my long standing personal responsibility issue. It took another, much longer spell in treatment for that.