By Margaret Paul, Ph.D.
(This is Part 1 of a 5-part series on addiction).
Just about everyone in our society is addicted to something.
Addictions can take many forms:
SUBSTANCE ADDICTIONS: addiction to alcohol, recreational
prescription meds, caffeine, nicotine, food, sugar,
PROCESS ADDICTIONS: addiction to love, connection, caretaking,
anger, resistance, withdrawal, and to activities such as:
Sex, masturbation, pornography
Obsessive thinking (ruminating)
Talking a lot
Talking on the telephone a lot
Gathering information (if only I know enough I will feel
We can use anything as a way of avoiding feelings and avoiding
taking responsibility for our painful feelings. Whenever we
engage in an activity with the intention of avoiding our
feelings, we are using that activity as an addiction. We can
watch TV to relax and enjoy our favorite programs, or we can
watch TV to avoid our feelings. We can meditate to connect
Spirit and center ourselves, or we can meditate to bliss out
avoid responsibility for our feelings. We can read to enjoy
learn, or read to escape. Anything can be an addiction,
depending upon our intention.
For example, when your intention is to take loving care of
yourself and your work is something you really enjoy, then
working is not being used as an addiction. But when the intent
is to get approval or avoid painful feelings, then work is
being used as an addiction. The same is true for most of the
above behaviors they can be addictions or not, depending
All of us have a wounded part of us our wounded self or ego
self that has been programmed with many false beliefs
our growing-up years. There are four common false beliefs that
underlie most addictions:
1. I cant handle my pain.
2. I am unworthy and unlovable.
3. Others are my source of love.
4. I can have control over how others feel about me and treat
I CANT HANDLE MY PAIN
While this was true when we were small, it is not true as
adults, yet many people operate as if it is true. When you
believe that you are incapable of handling pain especially
the deep pain of loneliness and helplessness then you will
find many addictive ways to avoid feeling your pain. All of us
are capable of learning how to manage painful feelings in ways
that support our highest good, rather behaving in addictive
ways that hurt us.
Anything you do to avoid taking responsibility for managing
your pain is self-abandonment, which creates even more pain -
the deep pain of aloneness. Whether you abandon yourself to
substances, processes or people, your inner child which is
your feeling self - will feel abandoned by your choice to
responsibility for your feelings. If you had an actual child
was in pain, and you got drunk instead of being there for that
child, he or she would be in even more pain from the
abandonment. It is exactly the same on the inner level.
Addictive behavior is an abandonment of self and causes the
very pain you are trying to avoid.
I AM UNWORTHY AND UNLOVABLE
When you did not receive the love you needed as a small child,
you might have concluded that the reason you were not loved
because you were bad, flawed, defective, unworthy, unlovable,
unimportant. This is core shame the false belief that there
essentially something wrong with you. When you adopt this
belief, you become cut off from your Source, believing that
are unworthy of being loved by a Higher Power.
OTHERS ARE MY SOURCE OF LOVE
You will become addicted to attention, approval, love, sex, or
connection when you believe that another person needs to be
your dependable source of love. In this case, you will be
abandoning your inner child to another person, which causes as
much pain as abandoning yourself to a substance. Until you
learn to tap into a Higher Power as your source of love, you
will continue to be addicted to people as your source of love.
I CAN HAVE CONTROL OVER HOW OTHERS FEEL ABOUT ME AND TREAT ME
If you believe you can control others feelings and behavior,
you will become addicted to various ways of trying to control,
such as anger, judgment, blame, or people-pleasing. When you
believe you cant handle your pain and that others are your
source of love, then you want control over getting that love.
This is the cause of the codependency that underlies most
There is a way to heal from addictions. The rest of the
articles in this series will address the process of recovery
About The Author: Margaret Paul, Ph.D., best-selling author of
eight books, including "Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By
You and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding healing
process. Learn Inner Bonding now! Visit her web site for a
Inner Bonding course: www.innerbonding.com or email her
at mailto:email@example.com. Phone Sessions.