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Excerpts from
"Changing Your Stripes"

Social Psychologist & Personal Advisor

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"With every conscious choice to draw near to God's Light and Love,
self-control is gradually acquired; the desire to indulge in darkness diminishes
in direct proportion to the Light that shines in you and the Love that comes from you. As Divine Love and Light grows brighter and brighter with
each conscious choice to draw nearer and nearer,
the desire to do dark deeds disappears."
~ Matt Moody.

The Addiction Cycle
.by Matt Moody, Ph.D..

If you are going to Change Your Stripes and break free from the bondage of addiction and despair, it is supremely important to realize that YOU are the ultimate author of all your additions, your emotions, and your knee-jerk reactions. How so?

Each choice you make is like shooting an arrow into the air, it must land somewhere and at some time; each decision you make is like an arrow launched, they cannot be called back and will always have a landing consequence. For example, the knee-jerk reactions that erupt today are the landing of yesterday's “shot-arrows/decisions-made.” (For more about knee-jerk-reactions and addictions see Provoke-Ability Quotient, page 49, and Energy-in-Motion, page 133.)

* * * * *
My choices are determined by my present disposition:
I am not completely free to choose any choice,
nor am I free from the consequences of my choosing.
Consequences unfold according to Governing Laws of Life.
 * * * * * 

Provoke-Ability Quotient: Just as I.Q. measures intelligence, the P.Q. represents a person's propensity to be provoked. On a scale from 0 to 10, higher scores point to the tendency to be quickly and easily inflamed. A score of “10” would describe a maniacal RAGE-aholic, and lower scores would reflect a greater propensity for being patient when faced with provocation. Jesus would have a P.Q. score of “0”, and the rest of us would have a score somewhere between 1 and 10.

You've likely heard the terms “reaching a breaking point” or “hitting hot buttons,” these words describe the threshold at which we literally CEASE to have character capacity sufficient to choose a patient reply. Once people pass this “breaking point,” choosing rationally doesn't really happen; instead, patterns of reaction are “automatic” due to an entrenched history of previous choices (notice I didn’t say “an entrenched history of social influence”).

In the pressing moment when the P.Q. threshold is breached, your exercise of will ceases to be “free” will; instead, you are chained to emotional and behavioral consequences that are intrinsically tied to choices made . . . in prior days—it’s karma calling, to kick your butt.

This explains the human tendency of knee-jerk reactions, a.k.a., going nuts, flipping out, boiling over, blowing up, blowing your top, blowing your cool, acting whack-o, going berserk, in a tiff, in a tizzy, losing it, or raging, etc. Because these reactions are not consciously chosen in the moment, but flow from us quite unconsciously, therefore, it is erroneously assumed that an “unconscious mind” controls “unconscious behaviors.”

High P.Q. people like singin’ the classic hit, that solid gold excuse: “I wouldn't have done this . . . if you hadn't have done that!” When you fully understand the P.Q. Principle, then you will change your tune to: “If I didn't have such a high P.Q., then I wouldn't have done this . . . even if you did do that.”

And guess who . . . is the author of you P.Q.?    It is you!

* * * * *
One Conscious Choice at a time,
You choose your Propensity to be Provoked;
You even choose your Propensity to . . . Insanity.
You are Responsible for the Person that You become.
You are Response-able for both your "premeditated" acts,
and the "thoughtless" reactions that flow from You.
 * * * * * 

The reality of P.Q. explains why most thoughtless crimes of passion are committed; indeed, they are completely “thoughtless” because they flow “unconsciously” from who-we-are. But here's the catch that many don't get: While a person may act “insane” in a particular moment of passion, that person is still responsible for the history of choices that produced the propensity to react insanely.

One conscious choice at a time we all choose the kind of creature we become; this means, we each choose . . . our PQ’s. From the fountain of who we are flows our knee-jerk reactions—reactions that we regret, in retrospect. We remain responsible for the “fountain” that we are, and the behavior that “flows” therefrom.

We wallow in weakness when we try to blame other people or situations for the responses that come out of us. While we may point to a constraining situation to Explain the Set-Up scenario to which we have fallen prey, we cannot lean upon those situations to Excuse our bad behavior—we must own our bad!

* * * * *
You can Blame Others for creating Constraints, but you must Blame Yourself
for your Responses to them. Life is Constraining. Life is a Set Up!
If You would live life well, You will Own all your
Responses, Reactions, and Addictions.
 * * * * * 

A "response" is rationally chosen in the here and now, whereas a "reaction" is what comes out of you today, because of Energy-in-Motion that YOU set-in-motion yesterday, by either a rational choice or a reactive choice. And if today's Emotional Energy "squirts" out because of a prior "reactive choice," thus you can understand how reactive choices are self-perpetuating.

This is the very cycle that constitutes habitual behavior and in its extreme manifestations, the vicious cycle of addictive behaviors. The term "reactive choice" is an oxymoron, but I use it to emphasize that even your unconscious behaviors belong to YOU. Unconscious addictive behaviors flow from Conscious choices made yesterday, thus "reactive choices."

* * * * *
Prior to entering all situations of pressure or provocation,
You are Response-Able for the condition of your Character;
this fact of Self Response-Ability supersedes the intervening
impact of Constraining Situations for explaining your
eventual Responses, Reactions, & Addictions.
 * * * * * 

So, how does a person break free from the Cycle of Addiction? The specifics are detailed in my book, Changing Your Stripes. Here are some supporting ideas that will point you in the right direction:

In Contrast to Pure White. Visualize a canvas of pure white, the kind of canvas that an artist uses to paint a portrait. Think of your life as a collection of colors being painted upon this clean, clear canvas. With every word you think and every deed you do, the portrait of your life is painted, and in contrast to pure white, any tint or shade less than white is obvious and conspicuous. Against an immaculate backdrop, you are able to see . . . with perfect clarity, how some motives and emotions fall short of pure white.

In your mind's eye, imagine that all loving words and deeds possess the unsullied shine of bright white. The purity of love would have no hint of darkness, not even the slightest shade of gray. Every word, deed, thought, or emotion that is "less-than" pure white, is a shade of betrayal:

                Pure Love                                                       Less-than-Love
Emotions of Bright White                                  Black & Gray Emotions

     calm             approachable                                  impetuous                edgy
     lovely             enthusiastic                                   suspicious             angry
    amiable            nurturing                                  defensive              cranky
    engaging              friendly                                  arrogant             peevish
    fascinating              happy                                  jealous               resentful
    welcoming                 sweet                                  galled                annoying
    cherishing                 giving                                  mean               impatient
    animated             genuine                                  bitter              malicious
    gracious            generous                                  bored               apathetic
  cheery             passionate                                   listless                worried
   lively            comfortable                                  irritated              fearful
   real            warmhearted                                   conceited                tense

Shades of Betrayal: Less-than-Love. When we are being less-than-loving, the portrait we paint upon the white canvas is clouded by confusion; instead of vivid hues of red, blue, and green, a quarreling collision of colors makes the muddied shades of black and gray. Thus the portrait of our Life loses clarity . . . and beauty. Against the backdrop of bright white, even the subtlest shades of gray are easily exposed.

* * * * *
The Light of Innocence shines in the Heart of all Humanity;
It carries the Clarity and Purity of Bright White.
When I betray the Light of Innocence,
tense and agitated shades of black and gray
stand in stark contrast: Emotions Less-than-Love,
these Emotions signal my departure from Pure Light.
 * * * * * 

Look back on your life: Remember a time when you were crystal clear that something was wrong to do, . . . but you did it anyway. With your very first act that betrayed the Light of Innocence within, you were completely clear that a lesser way was being chosen. With each subsequent betrayal, this crystal sense of honesty became increasingly clouded; you became accustomed to the muddied shades of a dreary portrait. You became desensitized to the darkness, . . . deadened by the darkness.

* * * * *
Pure White . . . portrays Pure Love.
Anything less than Pure White is Less-than-Love.
All acts that are Less-than-Loving are acts of Betrayal.
 * * * * * 

The Light of Innocence will naturally lead you back to the complete purity you possessed as a child. Followed consistently over time, the Light of Innocence will lead you to recover and renew . . . the You that is True. Returning to pure white is how you began and is who you are from your core. When you recover and renew, euphoric feelings of Love fill you, and flow from you. As you choose Love, you also choose the peace that comes with Love. To follow these impressions of Inner Innocence . . . is to experience rebirth.

* * * * *
The Light always leads to Love.
Pure Love is an absence of Anxious Emotions.
Acts of Love I feel to do . . . bring Healing and Contentment.
As I choose Acts that are Less-than-Love,
I choose chaos and contention.
They come together
just as certain seeds
bring forth specific fruits:
confusion, clamor, and complexity
comes with every act that is Less-than Love.
The Motives and Emotions of My Heart, define the Acts I do.
 * * * * * 

The Fallibility of Following Feelings. The words "feeling" and "emotion" are essentially synonymous. Emotional moments, feeling moments, are Life's exclamation points—lending emphasis to particular experiences. Through "feelings" we are constrained to pay greater attention to things that likely need more attention—this is true whether the feelings are white, black, or gray.

When emotions flow from darkness, the discomfort of unsettled feelings is educational—it can teach us NOT to do "something like that again." The rule of thumb, "follow your feelings" became a common guide precisely because all emotional experience is instructive.

However "following your feelings" per se is an unreliable rule—because some feelings are fallible. The fact is that emotions flow from prior perceptions and choices; thus, any physiological feeling that arises in you, is actually following your lead. It makes no sense to follow something . . . that is following you! Because YOU author of your emotions, if your perceptions are skewed then the feelings that flow from you will be equally warped. Bottom Line: Emotions should not always be followed, but should always be listened to for what they might teach.

* * * * *
You can trust your emotional feelings to
be a good teacher, but not always a good leader.
You are the author of your emotions; you should not follow,
that which is following you, . . . for if you are false, then
foulable feelings—which should not be followed—
will flow from your falseness.
 * * * * * 

So, YOU are both the author of you addictions and your emotions—although it doesn't always seem so, in the moment. This is because we tend to forget the specific choices we've made in prior days—specifically, in a thousand yesterdays. The history of our decisions combine to create today's behaviors: what we do and our accompanying emotions and addictions.

So, how does a person Un-Do the habitual pattern of addictive behaviors and negative emotions? Again, the specifics are detailed in my book, Changing Your Stripes.

* * * * *

Doctor Matt Moody offers telephone counseling that will fix your problems fast. More accurately stated, Dr Matt will put you on the road to recovering "fast." Fact is, if you've spent ten, twenty, or thirty years digging into an addiction, it will take years to crawl out of the hole of addiction that you've dug. But as long as you're looking up and moving up, then life will be better than yesterday.

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Social Psychologist & Personal Advisor

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