Groundhog Day Shows How Repeating Negative Actions Become Automatic
In the movie “Groundhog Day” Bill Murray’s weatherman character named Phil relives February 2nd over and over. He makes the same dysfunctional choices as he interacts with his co-workers, including the woman played by Andie McDowell whom he eventually woos and wins. He awakens each dawn at 6 am to Sonny and Cher serenading him with I Got You, Babe, groans, and rolls out of bed, miserable. His cantankerous interactions serve to distance him from people in his life, rather than bring them closer.
Avoiding Exchanges Makes It Worse
In one scene, a former high school classmate approaches him to attempt to sell him insurance. Phil crosses the street to avoid him and steps in a puddle of icy water. As he adds on day after day of amnesia, he ends up shaking his pant leg and shoe, even as he shakes off the reality of his unconscious choices.
Waking Up Means You Can See A Different Possibility
As Phil slowly awakens, he comes to understand that he does indeed have the freedom to chose his behaviors. The fog lifts. His mind clears. His heart opens. He becomes a force for good in the world. He is living sanely.
In Recovery Sanity Is Making A Different Choice
A client in an outpatient rehab laughingly told his therapist his definition of insanity. “I know exactly what is going to happen and I do it anyway.” He was referring to his use of heroin. Each time he picked up the phone to call his dealer, he was certain that he would use and that the drug would use him. In treatment, he didn't know what would happen but he knew what wouldn't happen. He regained his sanity by remaining clean and staying in treatment. It was a start.
Sane is as sane does.
Reach Out Recovery Exclusive by Edie Weinstein