Visualizing the Enemy
You’re walking down a dark alley toward the green fields you know are waiting on the other side. The alley is long and seems endless as you jump and startle at every bump and shriek you hear. A nervous feeling grips your throat and your heartbeat speeds up as you approach a section of the path that gives you all sorts of creeps. It comes sneaking out of the darkness and grabs you from behind, whispering gently in your ear and getting inside your head.
Suddenly you start turning around to go the other way, all the way back to the beginning of the alley where the danger lurks. When you try to resists the black spirit grabs you and drags you down the alley, growling and snarling like some beast. Your hands flail about for something sharp and come to rest on a jagged piece of wood with nails sticking out of the end like spikes. You twist around and clobber the beast with the weapon and it shrieks in pain. You wail on it harder and harder, beating the devil away until it shrieks and runs off into the shadows, leaving you free to turn and make your way up the alley once more toward the brighter future ahead.
Welcome to Creative Visualization
Visualizations and imagination exercises are great ways to stimulate the creative and emotional centers in your brain. This practice, often referred to as “guided meditation” or a thought exercise, is a way to tell yourself a story that correlates to the struggle of your addiction.
You imagine your cravings and your struggle as a battle with some loathsome monster seeking only to tear you to pieces and drag you back to the hell from which you’ve already come. By giving for to something that is otherwise confusing and difficult to notice, you can more easily focus your attention on beating it and resisting those temptations in the dark.
It may seem silly at first, but try it and see if it helps. In the game of addiction recovery, anything is worth a try if it makes the journey more bearable and successful.
Sit down in a quiet place and relax your body and mind.
Imagine your addiction and all the feelings associated with it.
Create a monster or dragon of some kind (it can be Freddy Krueger… just use something you want to fight) and give it all the attributes of the addiction. Give your addiction a face and a personality and then use that to wage war on it. Battle the monster and claim victory over it.
Re-enforce this imaginary game any time you feel a craving, and especially when you overcome one.
The more you practice this form of imaginative resistance to your addiction, the more helpful it will be in the tough times.
Tried this before? What form does your addiction take and how do you fight it in the movie theater of your mind? Let us know in the comments!