"Pain is not the enemy, the fear of passing through pain is."
--Pia Mellody, "Facing Love Addiction: Giving Yourself Power to Change the Way You Love"
Our world is ruled by LOVE. You might think it's money, but below the desire of money is the desire to be Loved.
Our society is filled with an uncountable amount of movies, songs, TV shows and other media that promotes an unhealthy view on Love. Perhaps one of the most popular lines in recent movie history is "You complete me," uttered by Tom Cruise in "Jerry McGuire." But the list goes on an on. As I mentioned in Part 1, the media's portrayal of love is riddled with messages of Love addiction and codependence. It's almost as if the message we are collectively buying into and sending ourselves through the media is that each of us is incomplete as we are.
When we feel incomplete it's human nature to compulsively search for that one thing that will make the intolerable reality okay. For some it's drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, disorganization, religion or sugar. The main compulsive habit I had formed over my life was to search for validation and "love" from others. This has been the core of all of my other "problems".
Earlier in my life I participated in the typical Hollywood sex, drugs and rock 'n roll lifestyle and developed many dependencies on a plethora of drugs and also alcohol. For me, it was easy to quit all those things cold turkey. But people? That soothing feeling I got when someone I respected told me I did a great job, or the bliss of a kiss of a woman who I cared for? It seemed impossible.
I was chasing around other people's validation in business and in Love for all of my adult life. Doing the Love cleanse for 30 days helped me gain insight into these patterns and also gave me time to learn tools to prevent my "love addiction" from returning. I have used some of these tools in the past to help break other cycles, but I've also learned some new tools to help break the cycle of Love addiction in my life.
Before I give you the tools I want to go on record as saying that I personally do not believe that I will always be powerless over my addiction. I believe that (for me) my Love addiction is a temporary state of mind that with time, practice and patience I can change. I believe I am only powerless over my addiction/pattern when I am unaware or unconscious. I believe in the power of the heart and my Higher Power to completely remove any bad habits once I am aware of them and CHOOSE to work on them.
Also, I believe "Love addiction" isn't entirely accurate. I believe it should be called "affection addiction" or "emotional addiction." Love is a pure state of being and a choice we make. We cannot be "addicted to love" because I believe addiction and love cannot occupy the same space.
So without further adieu here are some tools that can help you break the cycle of your Love addiction:
1. S.L.A.A., CoDA and Al-Alon
S.L.A.A is a 12-step program for Sex and Love Addicts. There are meetings all over the world, if you are interested in going to a meeting and to learn more please visit http://www.SLAAfws.org
CoDA is a 12-step program for codependants. If you are interested in going to a meeting and to learn more please visit http://www.CoDA.org
Al-Anon is a 12-step program that is for people who live with or are close addicts. If you are interested in going to a meeting and to learn more please visit http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/
Yoga means union. It unites that part of you that is conditioned with bad habits with a stronger wiser power within you that will eventually eradicate your bad habits. The beautiful thing about yoga is that it changes the physiology of your body. You actually change the state of your being, make it more flexible, more vital and stronger.
Holding long and challenging poses helps to train your mind to transcend discomfort, accept yourself as is and brings your physical body into alignment.
Although these are my personal favorite forms of Yoga, ANY Yoga is amazing. Try the different styles and see what works for you and make the best choice for you.
3. Go on your own love cleanse
I am writing a book about my experience on the love cleanse which will detail what I went through as well as outline a specific program to follow. For the sake of brevity in this blog the love cleanse consists of 30 days without sex (including masturbation), contact with your former lovers (or anyone you have an unbalanced relationship with), no dating and no flirting.
This is a wonderful challenge to give yourself. Going cold turkey is a gift that pays HUGE dividends.
4. Get a Mentor
I've had a couple mentors help me through this process. The two I would recommend are Tommy Rosen and Jan Shepherd; both live in LA and are available for in-person sessions and/or phone and email sessions.
Jan is a transformational coach and has helped me burst through many illusions I have had for most of my life. Jan also specializes in personal growth, transformation and eating disorders. Her email is JanShep@aol.com or you can visit her website.
5. Meditate Daily
One of the many benefits of meditation is that it helps to give you peace of mind. It's best to meditate for at least 10 minutes before your day starts and 10 minutes before you go to bed. There are many forms of meditation. Mediation helps you to experience conscious contact with Source/God/Uni-verse/Spirit -- whatever you want to call it doesn't matter.
Meditation helps you put a big thick layer of your Higher Power between YOU and your "problem."
Also, you can mediate and still practice whatever religion or non-religion you want. Meditation is not about being a member of a specific religion, it's about finding a technique that helps calm and focus your mind. The experience is all that matters, the name you give the experience is not important.
You can check out Transcendental Meditation (practiced by Russell Simmons, David Lynch, etc), Japa Meditation (practiced by Wayne Dyer, etc), Vispassana Meditation (www.Dhamma.org), Kirtan and others.
My personal preference for meditation is from a Japanese Buddhist tradition. It's called The Liturgy of Nichiren Shoshu and the mantra "Nam Myoho Renge Kyo" is chanted repeatedly as you wish for the success and happiness of yourself and others.
Nichiren Shosu Buddhism is a part of my regular practice, but please find a practice that is best for you. To learn more about Nichiren Shoshu please visit www.NST.org.
6. Find a Support Group
When you are going through massive change like this it is VITAL to surround yourself with supportive people. If there is anyone in your life who is against you wanting to better your life, I advise that you take a leave of absence from this person.
If that is impossible do your best to limit your contact with this person during your recovery. Hang out with awesome friends who have your best interest in mind. If you are lacking in the awesome friends category, this is a great time to create new and nurturing friendships.
7. Exercise Daily
Exercise is just plain good for you. It increases the dopamine level in your brain which helps to bring the body into a state of bliss. Also, if you're going through a breakup there's nothing better than getting in shape. It's a great way to make your ex jealous (I know, SO bad of me to say huh?
8. Educate Yourself
Read up on all the inspirational material you can. I highly recommend getting "Facing Love Addiction" by Pia Mellody and "Codependent No More" by Melody Beattie.
There are so many amazing books out there to get. Some of my personal favorites are "The Power of Intention" by Wayne Dyer, "The Four Agreements" by don Miguel Ruiz, "Ask and it is Given" by Esther Hicks, "Awaken the Giant Within" by Tony Robbins, "The Power of Now" and "A New Earth" by Eckhart Tolle, and "You Can Heal Your Life" by Louise Hay.
9. Get creative
Through this process you are going to have a LOT of dormant energy. Start to write, paint, write music, start a new project. The sexual energy we use and devote to relationships will well up inside you, find a great outlet.
I'm reminded of the recent Lady Gaga quote: "I have this weird thing that if I sleep with someone, they're going to take my creativity from me through my vagina."
10. Be Easy On Yourself
Change is hard. Give yourself room to mess up, to try again. The most important thing to remember is that we are all human beings and are all work's in progress. We never get it all done and we will never be perfect. Find perfection in the imperfection and love yourself through this process. Get excited that you are in the biggest change in your life!!
Surrender the outcome of all your relationships to the will of your Higher Power. You don't really have time and it's not healthy to try to manage all the details of getting someone to like you. Should you send the text? When do you call them back? Are they going to call you back? How's it going to unfold? When was the last time they checked their Facebook page? What's Google have to say about all this?
ENOUGH! Let it all go. Set your intention of becoming a lovable person and let the Universe handle the details. Making this one choice has changed my life in a profound way!
I hope my words and my journey have been helpful to you. I am happy to say that this process has opened my eyes to side of myself that I was not aware of until this journey began. I cannot say that I am perfectly "healed" from this process. But I can honestly say before this process I was caught in an unconscious additive pattern. Now that there is awareness around this part of my life I have something I didn't have before, and that is CHOICE. I can go back to my old ways at anytime, but if I went back is would be through a conscious choice to do harm to myself and others in my life.
I am so grateful for this journey and these tools. I hope they become a part of your life and that you experience a thriving life instead of a surviving life.
I'd love to hear from you about this -- feel free to email me: TheDailyLove@TheDailyLove.com
All my love,