"The Gift of Our Compulsions"

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The Gift of Our Compulsions: A Revolutionary Approach to Self-Acceptance and Healing by Mary O'Malley

A forum member said this about this book:

I am on day 21 and by no means an expert but have tried to kick this for years and this is one of the tools that has given me a jump start.

Compulsion (PMO) for me was a drug that I turned toward to escape from pain, hurt and stress. This book teaches us that compulsions are not negative impulses that can be controlled. Instead, compulsion is the surface of an iceberg of pain. By meeting our pain with love and acceptance, the compulsions can be turned into a signal that alerts us to the ice below that needs healing and attention.

A key concept is that we treat ourselves unkindly by trying to control compulsions, and that the act of controlling actually hides the wisdom that compulsions impart. It is in meeting compulsions with awareness, curiosity and acceptance that we open up to what they have to teach us; and in this opening, they reveal to us a way out.

Pain seems scary at first but is really more like a whimpering puppy rather than the monster I was avoiding. I've learned to accept the pain and realize it is just a passing emotion that softens when I meet it with curious acceptance. At first it seems to pull you out like a tornado but eventually in meeting and accepting it, you learn not to get lost in the emotion. In this process, I saw the root causes for my thought-pattern. I saw the mechanics of the thing that was driving me as it was happening. No amount of self-control or self-analysis could be worth that one insight. I am not out of the woods yet, but I now have an approach that's really who I am.