Psychological Self-Help

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change your behavior without changing the self-concept of
helplessness first (see chapter 14). As mentioned before, if you deny
that the behavior is a problem, obviously it makes no sense to struggle
with something that's "no problem," right? (See methods #7, #13, &
#14 above.) 
Many of these unwanted habits are costly as well as harmful. I
recently talked with a budding alcoholic who estimated drinking 8 to
10 beers a day and smoking 2 packs of cigarettes. That totals to more
than $10 per day or $3650 per year or over $200,000 in a life-time
(assuming it doesn't get worse and there is no inflation). You can
easily estimate the cost of your unwanted habits. Could it be better
spent? Also, what about the value of your time spent this way rather
than doing something more helpful to you, your loved ones, or needy
others? A moral person will surely consider these factors (see chapter
Part V: Unconscious motives
Can fat meet unconscious needs? Could fat be a barrier to
intimacy? Could it be less stressful if you were sexually unattractive
and not approached by the opposite sex? Could lots of fat be a way of
rebelling against nagging parents or spouses (even dead and divorced
ones)? Could fat be a way to express resentment towards a "loved
one" (actually a resented one)? Could bigness give a feeling of
strength and power to a person who feels inadequate? Could
overeating be a form of self-punishment in some people (Orbach,
1987)? Could drinking be a way to forget our troubles? Could alcohol
be an excuse for becoming belligerent or sexually aggressive? Could
drinking be a way to get attention, become dependent and inept, to
fail and feel bad, and to get sympathy and be taken care of (Steiner,
Insight into "what makes us tick" can be both helpful and
fascinating. Don't run away from considering all the possibilities (see
chapter 15).
Pulling it all together into a treatment plan
You may be thinking that I have made the simple act of overeating
delicious food much too complicated. You may be right. However, it is
to your advantage to know many of the possible causes of your
unwanted habit and many of the possible self-help methods, even
though you may need only 2 or 3 methods with this problem.
(Actually, most people have to try several methods before succeeding.
So, you are likely to need several methods.) Our oral habits are good
illustrations of the five different levels to each problem. 
This chapter helps you understand behavior, but to change your
behavior, you need to follow the guidelines in chapter 2, consider your
values (chapter 3), and know how to apply the above self-control
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