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Love in all its forms is often confused with addiction. One covers up the void while it continues to expand. The other one fills the emptiness with lasting fulfillment. Love and pain are often confused. Lovers equate pain with the depth of feeling for someone and think the more pain they feel, the more they love the person. Parents confuse loving their children with caretaking/co-dependency, which means they enable them to stay stuck. The love of work is often confused with making a lot of money. 

Love is none of these things.

Love is not pain. Something pure and innocent and beautiful cannot be pain. Though there is always some pain when we lose someone or something we love, this is merely temporary and part of the healing process.

Prolonged pain comes from fear.

The prolonged pain that lovers feel is the result of the fear of not having another relationship. If two people are incompatible and both could let go and allow the love to change from romantic to friendship, the pain would ease. The connection would change form while each person would be able to open up to the possibility of the future. However, when fear doesn’t allow one or both people to let go, the prison door can’t open and allow the prisoners to go free.

Love is freedom and doesn’t hold prisoners.

When parents are afraid of losing their children, they lose the perspective to make the best decisions. The fear causes them to keep their children in an infantile state. They do things for their children that don’t allow their children to fall. If children aren’t allowed to fail, they never learn how to steady themselves. Addiction, the scariest nightmare for any parent to witness, is a fall that is too horrifying to witness. Addiction is deadly, and the fear of a child dying from addiction compels most parents to buffer the child from the consequences of their bad choices.

But if we love our children no matter what and withdraw our attempts to protect them from bad decisions, they are more likely to succeed whatever battles they face. They develop the skill to master their shortcomings. More importantly, they learn how to take care of themselves, practice self-love rather than running on self-will propelled by feelings of low self-esteem and inadequacy.

Love of career means enjoying what we do, no matter how humble or grand. It can’t be measured with money. Money makes life easier and provides more opportunities, but it also gears an equal amount of pressure and responsibilities. Success is measured by the contribution made to make this world a better place. This comes from fulfilling your life’s purpose. Everyone is here for a reason—to share and receive love. The people who relate to others as equals are the ones who live happy, wealthy lives.

Love has no negative consequences. But unfortunately, addiction is riddled with one negative outcome after the next – all involving everything but love.

We are here to share and receive love. To experience love, we have you be honest with ourselves. If our actions are substituting fear-based decisions with genuine love, who are we really trying to please or protect? 

The answer is within you. Are you choosing love, or addiction? In order words, are you choosing love, or fear? If you are in pain, you can choose to let go and let love replace the pain.

Join the Movement

Donna Marks is an educator and licensed psychotherapist and addictions counselor in Palm Beach, Florida. Since 1989, she has worked with over 6,000 clients. Donna’s struggle with addiction brought her to a worldwide search for healing. She became licensed as a Mental Health Counselor in 1987. In 1989, she earned a Doctorate Degree in Adult Education, then became Certified in Addictions, Gestalt Therapy, Psychoanalysis, Hypnosis, and Sex Therapy. Donna developed an award-winning addiction training program at Palm Beach Community College. She co-owned an outpatient treatment program and is a consultant to treatment centers. Donna is the author of two books; Learn, Grow, Forgive, and the multi-award-winning, Exit the Maze-One Addiction, One Cause, One Cure, and created an online course for people who want to be cured of addiction. 

Donna is a public speaker and has shared her methods with hundreds of thousands of listeners on podcasts and radio shows.

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