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When Should I Ignore My Instincts?

woman drives down road

“It may go against our instinct, but there is much to be gained when we stretch beyond our comfort zone,” says Sarah Tasker. For Tasker, she would stretch beyond her creative comfort zone as a writer for In The Moment magazine with her article “Let’s Not Get Too Comfy.” The same is true for those of us in recovery. We can’t take everything we think as fact. Sometimes our instincts guide us in the wrong direction. It’s important to not allow yourself to get complacent and go through the motions. That’s when things can go wrong. Stay on your toes and stretch beyond your comfort zone.  

For Tasker, Pandas; For You, Recovery

Tasker describes a scene where she was drawing pandas with her young daughter. Her drawings weren’t good enough, according to her daughter. So, she drew them again and again until they were up to par. Tasker says her instinct was to quit after discomfort and difficulty. Is this true for you? In your recovery, do you find yourself struggling when things get tough? Do you quit when things get uncomfortable? If you do, it’s time to let your instincts go. You’re getting too comfortable if you find yourself wanting to quit your recovery because it’s hard. News flash: recovery is difficult! No one said it was going to be easy but, you can overcome the difficulty and uncomfortable moments and keep moving toward your end goal.  


“Anyone who’s ever procrastinated, quit or started more things that they’ve never completed knows the siren call of comfort,” says Tasker. Comfort calls you and you quit. You get comfortable which turns into content, then laziness. Keep your end goal in mind and work towards it. Nothing worth having comes easily, so don’t be quick to quit in your recovery.   

Tolerating Discomfort

Learning to tolerate this discomfort is one of the most useful things we can do,” says Tasker. “Because the truth is, we don’t need to depend on those [primal] instincts anymore.” We don’t have to be a hunter-gatherer where we must rely on instincts so that we don’t get eaten alive. Instead, pause and notice your discomfort. Sit with it and accept that good things don’t always feel great at the start. This can be true of recovery from substance use. You can do this!  

Arbor Behavioral Healthcare is here to help you during your recovery. We can help you learn to feel comfortable with the discomfort. Call today at 844-413-2690. We can’t wait to speak with you!