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There are two ways of abstaining from a substance or behavior: a positive and even joyful choice for something else that has a greater value for you or a forced decision to stay away from something you crave and are spontaneously attracted to. This second type of abstinence, while it requires admirable fortitude and patience, can still be experienced in a negative way and contains a hidden danger. Human beings have an ingrained opposition to any sense of being forced, and automatic resistance to coercion...called counterwill. It is triggered whenever a person feels controlled or pressured to do someone else's bidding--and we can generate counterwill even against pressure that we put on ourselves.
--Dr. Gabor Mate, MD, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, p 386
--(note: he credits the use of the term "counterwill" to Dr. Gordon Neufeld)

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liveonearth
Aug. 17th, 2010 01:32 am (UTC)
Yeah, I am distinctly reminded of the way that W. abstained from alcohol for the first 7 years. He was doing it, but it was a lot of work and ticked him off no end that other people got to drink. Now he has reached the joyful level of abstinence and wouldn't think of going back. He just had to have a terrible relapse before he could get there.

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