Maybe you know someone who seems to have overcome his or her tendency to drink too much. All of a sudden, they lose everything they built up over years. Not only do you not understand what happened, they don’t either.
The brain can work on two simultaneous tracks. On the one hand I can actively think, plan, and consciously choose this or that. On the other hand, I can allow my brain to run on “autopilot.” Like a pilot who sets his plane on a predetermined course to free him to do something else, our minds have that same ability. If we couple that ability with many years of specific behaviors (habits) we designed to give us immediate pleasure, relief, and/or escape, we can see that our drinking or other addictive behaviors can lurk out of our control. That is, if we allow it.
Woe to the pilot who fails to monitor his instruments in a timely fashion! He is still responsible for the lives of many people, including his own. He still needs to coordinate his conscious will with his autopilot’s direction, speed, and altitude.
Knowing this, provides hope.
1. I am in control of myself.
2. I can cede my course of action to many, but not all of my choices.
3. I can anticipate where, how, and who may present a temptation for me to yield my control.
4. I can make an executive mid-course correction.
Source: Brian E. King, Ph.D. Presentation on How the Brain Forms New Habits, Institute for Brain Potential, Clackamas, OR 2/1/12