5 Mindful Ways to Overcome the F*ck-its

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5 Mindful Ways to Overcome the F*ck-its

By Laura C. Meyer 09/08/17

Recovery is more than just letting go of unwanted behaviors; you are developing inner character.

Image: 
Young man sitting and holding remote, looking defeated.

Fuck it. Fuck life. I don't want to. I can't. I don't care.

These thoughts, and more (I am being nice for the article's sake), run through your mind. And repeat. And repeat. And you contemplate giving up.

When there's so much resistance to doing the next right thing; so much resistance to doing what is good for you; your thoughts turn to quitting instead of moving forward. And once the fuck-its dominate, you could be done for, so what can we do to stop them?

We don't. We don't stop them.

We allow them. We give them space.

In graduate school, I didn't learn a technique for the fuck-its, nor did I ever take a continuing education class on it. No classes were offered. Nothing was offered, not even in my addiction training, and it wasn't really talked about. All I know is that my clients get it. They get a case of the fuck-its, and sometimes it can cause them to spiral out of control. I've had clients tell me that it was the fuck-its that drove them to relapse, and for some, back to jail.

Specializing in mindfulness, I teach my clients to be with them- to be with the fuck-its. There could be many reasons why they have found you, and we work to pause, listen, and attempt to explore their arrival.

You may be headed in the wrong direction. What you planned a few weeks or months ago may not be the best option for you right now, and the fuck-its are trying to tell you to change direction. Ask yourself if any people, places, or things in your life need to change.

You may have some fear or hopelessness. The fuck-its may be a voice reminding you that you haven't been successful in the past. In this case, listen, and allow the voice to speak. If it's true (that you haven't been successful), honor that, but ask yourself: what is different now? What motivations are different?

Our mind likes to remind us of past failures, but much like an old friend, we can remind ourselves that things are different now, and that we are going to try again. And the truth is, you know more now than you did before.

Ask yourself what life will look like if you don't keep going in the same direction. Sometimes the truth of this question can bring us to the reality that staying where we are is not an option anymore, and that the risk of changing course is worth it. Part of overcoming addiction is learning to take the risk for success.

1. Observe. Take some time to observe the strength of your resistance. Resistance is usually strongest in the beginning of change, and right when you are about to make a breakthrough. The fuck-its usually come when you've had some substantial time of progress and the progress starts to get difficult.

Recovery (life) starts to get challenging; it gets hard. This is the time when Life comes to ask you if you want to keep going or not. It's not a harsh or mean response from Life - it's a question that is designed to build inner strength.

Recovery is more than just letting go of unwanted behaviors; you are developing inner character.

2. Learn to be with discomfort. For most people, the fuck-its tend to be more of a mental discomfort. A nagging voice that won't shut up.

One example I offer to clients is to pretend that this voice is a nagging friend who is following you all day and yelling in your ear telling you to "Fuck it!"- but the good news is that you can keep doing what you need to do. Even in the midst of the nagging, you don't have to give into the voice. It will quiet down. It will stop nagging you if don't feed it. You can listen, but you don't have to agree.

I personally experimented with this idea of a nagging friend. I was shocked at how loud (she) was. She came to work with me. She went everywhere with me. I was shocked at how much she had to say, and that she didn't get tired of the nagging. I even asked her a few times, "Aren't you getting tired of this?" and the answer was no.

I went about my normal day; even went to the gym with my nagging friend on my right shoulder yelling in my ear. She followed me into the shower that evening..."Really?" I asked, "In the shower?"

Some of us have a strong, loud, inner critic, but remember, you don't have to believe or act on everything you think.

3. Increase Awareness. List all the ways you are being supported in your recovery. We can quickly forget this when the fuck-its take over.

List all the people, places, and things that are currently on your side. Include things such as time and health. For example, if you don't have employment, see it as an opportunity to focus more on your recovery. And list all the ways that Life is supporting you- the fact that you don't have money could be a gift from Life so you can't buy drugs or alcohol. Spend some quality time with this list.

4. Cultivate Presence. It's important to cultivate the presence of Hope and Trust. To cultivate a relationship with these two, like new friends who want to walk with you. Instead of walking with Fear and Fuck-it, and we can learn to walk with Hope and Trust.

List a few things you hope for if you keep going. What do you hope will be different? If Trust could speak to you, what would it say?

Cultivating a relationship with Hope and Trust is not much different than cultivating an actual friendship: you have to spend time with them.

5. Practice Being Intentional. Practice setting an intention for the day to help stay focused on what's most important. When we don't prioritize, other people, places, and things can grab our attention and get us off track - which in return can cause the fuck-its to get loud again.

What one single task will make the biggest impact on your recovery if done every day? Do that. Make it a priority.

Part of recovery is learning to say no to the things that take you off track, and yes to the things that will lead you to your goals.

Lastly, observe your progress every day. Notice what is working and what is not working. Make changes as needed.

You got this.

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