THE REAL SECRET FOR OVERCOMING ADDICTION may be different than what you think… the only real CURE for ADDICTION is SELF-LOVE.
Which is why most programs and approaches to healing addiction do not work, and often make the problem worse.
I know, for over 20 years, from the time I was 14 until a few years ago, I struggled with an addiction that I could not escape.
We all have our own addictions. Mine was porn.
At the heart of any addiction, is a healthy need trying to be filled by an unhealthy habit.
Whether it’s porn, or alcohol, or sex, or food, or tobacco, or drugs, or gambling, underneath the addictive behavior there is a desire for VALIDATION, for CONNECTION, for LOVE.
When we can’t meet our own needs and find the love we are seeking in a healthy way, we act out with these imposters and counterfeits.
When we act out, especially when it is forbidden, there are certain chemicals that are released in the brain including adrenaline, oxytocin, serotonin, dopamine… etc. All of which feel amazing initially to the brain and create anchors which make us want to go back over and over again regardless of whether or not we know it is harmful.
What keeps people stuck in addiction is SHAME.
This is why addiction is so rampant in heavily christian and religious cultures. Somehow when there is such a strong focus on what is wrong and bad, when we make a mistake we misinterpret it to mean that WE are wrong and bad.
The SHAME CYCLE then takes root, and after we act out, there is a deep remorse, some form of shame and self-punishment, an overzealous commitment to never act out again, followed by an often short lived period of intense self discipline, leading to a moment of relapse and weakness, and the cycle begins all over again… and again… and again…
Often the SHAME becomes so intense, that we hit a point of denial, and just believe that it is just who we are, and that it will never change.
We give up.
The greatest danger is when the ADDICTION BECOMES AN IDENTITY… ” I am an Alcoholic…” etc.
Once it becomes an identity, our subconscious has to fight to defend that that is just who we are.
Most addiction recovery programs and churches reinforce the “wrongness” of the action and therefore the wrongness of the individual.
Whatever you focus energy into grows.
Therefore, when we are spending your energy SHAMING YOUR SHADOW it gives the shadow inside of us more power.
It’s like throwing gasoline on a fire trying to put it out.
For me, the healing only took place when I shifted my focus all together…
I had to release the SHAME and FALL DEEPLY IN LOVE WITH MY SHADOW…
This is what most people can’t understand.
I stopped making myself wrong. I stopped hating myself. I stopped trying to hide my addiction from the world and from those that I loved…
I just focused on LOVING ME… every bit of me. Especially those parts of me that I hated.
… The moment I did, everything changed.
The addiction almost magically disappeared.
No longer did I have to fight my shadow, I was a friend who was able to listen, to hear what I was really needing.
I could start hearing what I really needed and found HEALTHY WAYS TO NURTURE MYSELF.
Instead of wanting to act out in a way that I knew would hurt my spirit longterm, I wanted to take care of myself. Sometimes that looked like going for a run, or sometimes taking a hot bath, or sometimes reading a good book….
In order to heal an addiction, you must replace it with something positive that you love even more.
When we SHIFT OUR FOCUS from what we DON’T WANT to what we DO WANT, we have more power to create our lives the way we desire.
When we NURTURE a deep well of SELF LOVE, we come to a point where we would never want to do something that would hurt ourselves.
The thought of tobacco, absolutely repulsive. Pouring alcohol into our system, disgusting. Looking at porn, no way. Gambling, really??
From a metaphysical viewpoint, as we focus on SELF LOVE the VIBRATION and FREQUENCY on which we live and resonate increases so that anything of a LOWER VIBRATION simply fades away and has no appeal.
If I were to give advice to anyone struggling with addiction, here’s what I would recommend.
FIRST AND FOREMOST… Bring GOD onto your team. Build your relationship with Him. Allow him to help you. Have Him help you see yourself through his eyes. With GOD truly all things are possible…
then I would…
1) GET REAL and GET RAW… and GET CLEAR. You need to emotionally get real with what this addiction is costing you in your life emotionally, financially, in your relationships. Write down that cost what will it cost if nothing changes. ALLOW YOURSELF TO REALLY FEEL the pain. And then get clear on what you really want. What would your life feel like if this was no longer a challenge. Write down your version of your ideal future… AND REALLY DECIDE which you are committed to creating.
2) Make friends with your SHADOW… no more SHAMING YOURSELF. You need to listen to what your spirit is really seeking for and stop shaming and hiding those parts of you you do not like.
( I recommend a book by Debbie Ford called ” Dark Side of the Light Chasers” It completely changed my life and gave me an appreciation for my shadow and helped me heal in unexpected ways)
3) STOP HIDING…. Surround yourself with FRIENDS and support that you can be completely authentic and open with. People want to help you, and they will understand and admire you more for your vulnerability.
4) NURTURE SELF LOVE… Make a list of 10 things you can do to build your relationship with yourself. How do you FEEL CONNECTION, VALIDATION and LOVE… and how can you find that within yourself?
5) REMOVE THE TRIGGERS AND REPLACE THE HABITS… There are triggers that are anchored into your system that make you want to act out. Maybe its when you’re stressed and are in front of your computer alone you want to look at porn, or when you’re feeling overwhelmed and you are with certain people you want to smoke… CHANGE SOMETHING… move your computer to a public place, hang out with different friends, … but most importantly recognize when the trigger happens and have a positive way prepared.
6) MENTAL REHEARSAL… listen, you will get triggered. you just will. Especially if the addiction has been there for a long time. Practice in your mind experiencing the trigger, and responding in the way that you want! Practice over and over again, so that when the trigger happens your instinctive response is the healthy one you’ve practiced in your mind.
7) Most importantly.. BE KIND TO YOURSELF. If you do act out, don’t make it a big deal. Don’t return to the shame cycle… Just ask yourself, “hmm… what am I learning? What am I going to do different next time?” and then simply RECOMMIT.
Really, at the end of the day… the only thing you really need to focus on is LOVING YOURSELF… every last bit of you. When you do, everything else comes natural.
And you SHOULD LOVE YOURSELF… you know why? Because you are pretty amazing.
the addiction and your mistakes do not define you, they are here to REFINE YOU…
and the past does not equal the future.
Today is a new beginning.
With love, your brother,