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Are you one of the many people in recovery who feels like you’re missing something? You’ve either been sober a long time, and you’re not thrilled about it, or you don’t like the way sobriety feels? Do you miss the good-ole days? Maybe the thought of not having your addiction is like a day without sunshine? If this is how you feel, you haven’t embraced the reality of who you really are.

Recovery from any addiction is sacred because your life is sacred. You were born on this planet for a reason, and you have a purpose for being here. It’s highly unlikely that your entire life is meant to be filled with addiction. But, millions of people will never fulfill their mission because they’ve been hijacked by addiction — alcohol, drugs, food, gambling, sex, smoking, digital, and anything else to escape from reality.

Seek Love, Not Drugs

All addictions are a substitute for love. We reach outside of ourselves for something to make us feel better rather than finding real fulfillment where it really exists — deep within. There is a high price for a short-term fix in exchange for lasting joy — rather than finding your soul, you offer it over to addiction.

The more you surrender to addiction, the more it owns you. Even crazier, an addict thinks it’s fun to be imprisoned — a slave to the emotional and financial cost to keep feeding the bottomless pit. Like any prison system, the longer you stay, the harder it is to adjust to freedom once you’re out of jail.

I used to think it was fun to get high — it didn’t matter how. I liked to escape the empty, awful feelings that floated with me wherever I went. It didn’t occur to me that those ugly ghostly feelings could be exorcised and that I could actually feel good inside, most of the time.

For me, just getting sober wasn’t enough. I had to learn how to value myself just as I would a small child. Having some gaps in how I’d been parented, I had to learn on my own what it meant to love myself.

How Do I Love Myself?

Self-love meant being kind to my body with healthy nutrition and reasonable exercise, having friends who could share and receive love, having a career that pulled me toward each exciting day. It meant being grateful for what was all around me rather than continually seeking the next new thing. Most importantly, it meant communing with a higher power of my own understanding that guided me for a meaningful purpose.

Then and only then, I stopped being a user. Life becomes an exhilarating adventure, the rewards far greater than the artificially imposed endorphin high, that only grew the void inside while accumulating more nightmares to accompany me through a life of hell.

No addiction will ever give you anything that will last. It will take every ounce of goodness and fill you with remorse, regret, and ill-health.

Life is not hell. Look around you, there is beauty everywhere — and within you — it’s meant to be shared with others. Only by sharing the love that you are, can you be fulfilled.

When we use our bodies to take and get, we are missing the whole purpose of why we are here. Your body is not here to be used as a toxic-waste dump or to artificially plug into the next quick fix. Your body is a vehicle to share and receive love — the ultimate high.

Freedom from Bondage

If you want to be sober and enjoy it, you must realize how your addiction has taken over your mind and has convinced you that it’s fun to keep doing something that is killing your body and violating your soul. Only by getting your mind back to use it to share and receive love will you be able to learn how to stay out of addiction-prison and enjoy your freedom.

If you think addiction is your friend, maybe it’s time to leave it like any other bad relationship. Like any ending, the worst part is letting go. Once you are done, you will be able to embrace the life that is waiting for you — the one you came here to live. It may take a little while for your brain to return to normal. But once you decide you’re worth the effort, you’ll be too busy getting healthy and loving others to think about harming yourself anymore.

Isn’t today a good time to journey from hell into a sacred journey of learning to love yourself? It’s never too late.


If you want to connect with Dr. Donna Marks, and find out about her tools and programs on how to Reclaim Your Power Over Addiction, visit her website

About the Author — Dr. Donna Marks is a licensed psychotherapist and an addictions counselor in Palm Beach, Florida. She has worked with over 6,000 clients. Donna became interested in working with addiction because she had to overcome her own addiction and couldn’t find the proper help. Eventually, she learned that rather than trying to “get well,” she had to learn to love herself. This realization completely turned her life around. In 1989, as part of her award-winning doctoral degree, Donna developed a chemical dependency training program at Palm Beach Community College, which has grown into a four-year degree. She is a certified Gestalt Therapist, Psychoanalyst, Hypnotist, and Sex Therapist. For 30 years, she has also taught A Course in Miracles.

Donna is the author of two books: LearnGrow, Forgive: A Path to Spiritual Success and Exit the Maze: One Addiction, One Cause, One Cure.

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