As defined in 12-step recovery, this is the act of repeating the same behavior over and over, yet always expecting a different result.

Some familiar examples:

  • habitually showing up late for work, thus getting fired from every job because of this
  • continually spending all one's money on an addiction, not paying the bills, then suffering the consequences
  • forever drinking to the point of extreme intoxication, vowing while suffering the hangover from hell that they'll never drink again, then over-indulging until the same misery is revisited

  • Can this be attributed to an OCD? Faulty conditioning? Stupidity? False hope or pride? Denial of the obvious? Whatever the cause, the cycle must somehow eventually be broken.