You weren’t born addicted. Even if you carried a gene that made you more susceptible, no gene tells you that you have to drink, drug, gamble, smoke, or engage in any other compulsive behavior. All addictions are learned. Those of us who became addicted were exceptionally good at learning how to be addicted. There’s a reason for that.
You were born perfect. You were supposed to be dependent and helpless to care for yourself. You were supposed to be fed, clothed, snuggled, and your caretakers were to rotate their world around precious you. This was the first stage of learning how to receive unlimited love from a caretaker, and then later, how to share love with others.
Sometimes, adults did not know how to take care of a baby. Maybe they could only parent the way they were raised and didn’t know there was a better way. Some parents are addicted and teach the same behavior to their children through example. Maybe some other role model — teacher, preacher, etc., hurt you, and you couldn’t tell someone. Now, you can talk about it without blame. There is no benefit in blaming, only in healing.
Parents who are not full of self-love are unable to transmit that to their children. They might be too preoccupied (often addicted), or emotionally upset, or lack the knowledge to satisfy a child’s needs. Some parents think that the child has to adapt to the parent’s needs. This is so wrong and is the root of the void that forms the invisible hole.
Not Perfect — Good Enough
No parent is perfect, and a child’s needs cannot be met 100% of the time. In fact, if that happened, a child would never learn the tolerance for an imperfect world.
The most critical part of child-rearing is offering enough consistent food, safety, shelter, warmth, and love so that this child develops with a sense of abundance and feeling valuable. If there is a sense of lack, that feeling will be forever sought and never met. If the child does not feel valued, that sense of worthlessness continues to manifest throughout life.
You Can Fill Your Emotional Tank With The Right Fuel
Underneath every addiction, there is a sense of lack. You cannot change your childhood, but you can heal no matter what happened.
You only have today, and it’s never too late to have a happy adulthood.
The only lack you ever need to concern yourself with now is a lack of love. If you choose to love yourself, you will treat yourself as if you were taking care of a child — healthy food, warmth, shelter, lots of cuddling, and the right amount of attention and validation.
If you are suffering from an addiction, you can start healing that invisible hole right now. First, you must decide to stop filling that void with the toxins and behavior that leaves you empty and keeps you longing for more. You also need to replace that destructive behavior with thoughtful choices; getting help to heal the past, learning how to stay abstinent, and nourishing your body, mind, and soul with things that fill the void with self-love.
You can’t expect to stop a lifelong behavior that has been your substitute for love. You must learn to replace your addiction with decisions that will provide lasting good feelings. Once the invisible hole is healed and then filled with love, you will not want to hurt yourself anymore.
You can start right now by deciding that you are worth saving.
Will you give yourself a chance?
I welcome you to share your comments or insights below.
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. www.drdonnamarks.com