Are there things you do in excess? Have you tried to “quit” but haven’t managed to yet? Such as: overeating, over-drinking, overworking, over-doing. I see this a lot in my counseling practice, and I have some ways to help with this pattern of imbalance. One of the awareness tools I use is “The AID for ERRS.”
ERRS are some of the reasons we get ourselves into, or can’t get out of, the imbalance of excess. ERRS stands for: Escape, Reward, Relationship, Self-pity (or Self-punishment).
Escape – indulging in excess is a way of not feeling, not dealing with unpleasant things, feelings, experiences, situations
Reward – uses excess as a compensation (“I’ll have that extra glass of wine. I deserve it, I worked hard today”)
Relationship – work, food, activity, etc. are often used as substitutes for intimacy (example: becoming married to work instead of a spouse)
Self-pity or self-punishment – excess is a way to self-soothe (temporarily) or inflict pain
You may not be aware of why, how, or that you’re doing these things, so if you have issues of excess in your life, it is a good idea to look to see if any of these patterns are happening. And, if you find that they are, just know there is an antidote.
AID helps in regaining life balance, personal power, and inner peace. AID stands for Affection, Identity, and Devotion.
Affection – instead of the drink, donut, or deadline at work, what we really need is a “hug” – a connection of some kind. These can be physical (in person), emotional (a compliment from a friend), virtual (thanks to technology), animal (yay for kitties and puppies, the grown ones, too), and personal (self-care is the best of all).
Identity – more often than not, ERRS is an issue of mistaken identity. When we identify with our pain, struggles, fears, insecurities or lack of self-worth, our identity is misplaced and we have lost contact with our soul-self, our true self.
Devotion – helps establish the correct identity, because the devotion I’m talking about is to a spiritual program. Meditate, study, attend classes and groups, whatever it takes to reconnect with your soul-self, your place and purpose in the world, and your connection with a Higher Power.
Most of us need alarm clocks to make sure we wake up on time. We need lane markers so we drive on the correct side of the street. These are structures that help us manage our lives and meet our goals, and they keep us from ending up in the ditch. Structures support us in staying disciplined, which is what is needed for the antidote to excess to work. In other words, for AID to be effective in relieving ERRS, you need a plan, and ways to keep it in place.
Of course, this is an over-simplification of a complicated situation. Still, it will help you explore both sides of the equation. Whether you have issues of excess or not, AID is a smart way to live.