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Replacement

 

Techniques Willpower > Desisting > Replacement

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Find something that you want to stop doing and replace it with something that is relatively harmless. For example:

  • If you engage in activities that hurt people in some way (including yourself), do something that is less hurtful and perhaps even benefits people.
  • If the problem lies with something you hold, put something else in your hands.
  • If you interact harmfully with somebody, displace the harm to somewhere else or something inanimate.
  • If you think harmful thoughts, replace these with thinking that is kinder.

Example

A smoker replaces her cigarette with a pencil, chewing it when comfort is needed and twirling it in her fingers.

A drinker alternates beer with glasses of water, filling himself up and taking time away from beer drinking.

A teenager who gets angry takes his frustrations out on an old toy rather than hitting other people.

Discussion

Replacement is a simple method that replaces something harmful with something less harmful. If you can reduce harm even by a little bit, you will have made progress. When you are comfortable with this improvement you can then take further replacement steps.

Replacement can be of a small part of the pattern and it can be replacement of the whole pattern. If replacing a part of the pattern there are two strategies. Preferably, replace the most harmful parts of the pattern. If you find this too difficult at the moment, just replace what you can, even a little bit. Just the fact of having changed anything will help you realize that you can change.

Replacement can also have a disruptive effect. Having changed the pattern, even a bit, the original pattern is interrupted and may stop without too much extra effort.

See also

Displacement

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