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There’s a difference between being broken and being wounded. One state offers hope; the other offers despair. If you are struggling with a behavior that is causing you problems and your attempts to stop that behavior has failed, you are suffering an addiction. It doesn’t matter if you’ve gained too much weight after repeatedly dieting, or you’ve stopped drinking for long periods and gone back, or you quit smoking and started binging on sugar. You might realize you are on a merry-go-round that is taking you to nowhere but hell. Or, maybe you haven’t thought about it in a long time because you just plain gave up. Never give up, you might be wounded, but you’re not the one that’s broken.

When you were born, you were perfect. You were entirely dependent upon people to take care of you. If your need for food, shelter, and affection were met, you developed a sense of being whole and complete. But, for many children, there was a lack of physical and psychological nourishment and in some cases, even worse. Children who are neglected, emotionally abandoned, physically, and sexually abused, or have not processed some form of trauma, are highly likely to develop the internal void that prepares the way for addiction. Each time a child is hit with a trauma that remains unresolved, it punctures the child’s self-esteem and creates a wound that festers into a void that I call the invisible hole. This invisible hole is the place that continually searches for something to fill it.

To compound the problem, we have become a society that has been lulled into a quick-fix mentality. Children who are bombarded with actual role-models or through advertisements are constantly receiving suggestions that there is a quick-fix for everything. Most children are being hypnotized into being distracted through television (now internet and digital) — eat and drink this, buy that, pills for every emotion, keep escaping your feelings as fast as you can.

These two factors create the perfect storm; you feel empty inside, so there’s a solution outside of you to fix it. Most of these solutions are unhealthy, and they all send mood-altering messages that your feelings are to be avoided at all costs. This is a lie.

“It’s the system that’s broken, not you!

If you are addicted, you have wounds that need to heal, and until you do, your addiction lies in wait. Your wounds were not chosen, but only you can choose to heal them. If you choose an addiction, you alone are re-harming yourself.

“If you decide to face your pain, you choose to recover.”

It took me many decades to understand what I’m sharing with you now. I stopped and started and then went from one addiction to another, never realizing what I was doing. From cigarettes to compulsive exercise, from drinking to work, one bad relationship to the next — all to fill the same invisible hole.

“Once the fears and the pain I’d been avoiding were faced
and replaced with love, I was free.”

As long as you keep trying, you are never broken. Once you see what your addiction is doing to you and how then to begin healing, you can realize that your addiction is easy to break. You were born perfect and still are. You can begin right now to treat yourself as if you were that young child that needs healthy food, emotional and physical comfort, and lots of love. You can leave a broken system anytime and reclaim the truth of who you really are.

Are you willing to believe you are worth saving?

Well, I certainly hope so. I believe every one of us is worth saving. That’s why I made it my life’s mission to share my discovery and have helped countless individuals for the past 30 years.

Can you feel this perspective of how culture has programmed us to hide our painful experiences?

Can you see the power of embracing the pain and letting it go?

Leave your insights below. I would love to hear your thoughts.

About the Author — Dr. Donna Marks believes that the current models for diagnosis, treatment, and addiction have failed. Her mission is to help save at least 10 million lives by 2030, through education and prevention. She has been an author, consultant, educator, public speaker, licensed psychotherapist, instructor of A Course in Miracles, and addictions counselor in private practice in Palm Beach, Florida, for more than thirty years.

If you want to connect with Dr. Donna Marks, and find out about her tools and programs, visit her website

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