I recently heard a story from a friend that I found applicable to what I see in the treatment process. The story was about battling demons. I have adapted the story and re-written some of it to be more applicable to what I am addressing.
In a fantasy novel, a brave warrior guards a fortress in a perilous world filled with demons. These demons wish to attack her, to possess her, and to destroy her. These demons can not only destroy her, they can destroy her family too. She knows that fighting off the demons is necessary for their survival. She is well equipped. She has a variety of weapons at her disposal. She is wearing sturdy, reinforced armor. Often, other warriors in the same fight assist her. Sometimes the demons are weak or don’t come at all. At other times, they are fierce, powerful, and attack in great numbers. They are devious. They seek to trick her. They take on different forms, and they attack her from different angles. At times, she witnesses some of her comrades fall and become overtaken. She sees some of these comrades give up hope.
At one point, a demon strikes the warrior with a tactic she did not expect. The warrior falls and is overtaken, and an immense struggle ensues. She is severely injured and feels ready to give in. She feels discouraged and begins to believe that she is too injured to keep on fighting. She is about to give up the fight until she remembers a promise given to her: that she would never be overtaken as long as she keeps fighting. Over time, she is able to rise up and cast off the demons that ensnare her. This is difficult and requires great resolve, but she becomes stronger and more courageous than ever.
Facing temptation, confronting adversity, and battling our addictions (our demons) is not easy. Throughout the treatment process, I have seen many girls give up as things become difficult. They start to believe that they are incapable, or that the fight is too difficult. This can be especially easy when they see their peers fall into old behaviors (comrades that fall), or when they stop using their skills they learn (armor and weapons). It can be easy to fall back into old patterns. What separates those who continue from those who fall back is the decision to keep going and not give up when it gets tough. Cognitive behavioral tactics can be huge for us. Our thoughts influence our feelings, which in turn influence our actions. Telling ourselves that we CAN do something, and urging ourselves to keep going in spite of the demons we face, can lead us to success.