DOMINO EFFECT: WHEN A SLIP BECOMES A SLIDE
We often hear the term “domino effect” used to describe how one event initiates a succession of similar events. In the language of food addiction, we hear people say that when they take that first bite of sugar or flour everything topples over.
The professional term is Abstinent Violation Effect (AVE), which refers to the phenomenon of one lapse leading to a cascade of lapses. We will save you from a long-winded psychological definition pertaining to negative cognitive affect response and cognitive dissonance — and lay it out in simple terms: it is a lie we tell ourselves. One slip DOES NOT mean we MUST slide!!
A casual term people use to describe this phenomenon is “the Eff-it’s”: “I already ate half a box of cookies, so I might as well finish them off.”. Or,“I’ve eaten one extra scoop of peanut butter, so I might as well eat half the jar” or “One doughnut equals a dozen.”
All these terms refer to a lie we tell ourselves, that one stumble inevitably results in a downward spiral. But it’s not true. One slip does NOT mean we must slide.
We urge you to remember that in the game of life, the skills you use to set up your life —one healthy food choice after another—and the other strategies you learn at Beacon can prevent the so-called domino effect.
You line things up every single day according to plan, or you pick up the phone, or you use an ice pack, or you take a walk. If you’re knocked down, you get right back up. Why? Because you know how to game the system (in a healthy way!) You no longer subscribe to the AVE or the domino effect or the EFF-it’s. You know how to win this game: If you fall down seven times, get up eight!
When you make wise choices one by one, a single little tap won’t cause everything to tumble down. You create the pattern—and use velcro and glue and stick-to-it-iveness to keep your daily dominoes lined up.
Most importantly, we stay in the game. Never, ever give up.