By Margaret Paul, Ph.D.
(This is Part 2 of a 5-part series on addiction).
In Part 1 of this series of articles, I defined substance and
process addictions, and described the four major false beliefs
that underlie most addictions:
1. I can’t 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
This article addresses the first of these beliefs, and goes
into the process of learning to manage your pain. Learning to
manage pain is essential if you are going to move out of
addictive behavior, since the intent of most addictive
is to avoid pain, coming from the belief that you cannot
Small children have few skills in managing pain. Parents are
supposed to be there to help them with painful situations.
Loving parents help children with pain by lovingly holding
them, acknowledging their pain, hearing their pain, and
soothing them in various ways, such “kissing it and making it
better” when there is a cut or scrape, and being in compassion
for difficult situations. Compassion toward a hurting child
helps the child move through the pain and move on.
However, many adults had parents who, not only did not help
them with their pain, but were the cause of the pain. When
parents abandon children with physical, emotional, and sexual
abuse or neglect, children are on their own regarding handling
their pain. They are not receiving help and they have no role
model for managing pain. When this is the case, addictions
become the way to manage pain. Children learn early to eat,
drink or take drugs to manage their pain. They learn early to
numb out or act out with destructive or self-destructive
behavior to avoid their pain. They may even learn to block out
emotional pain by inflicting physical pain on themselves, such
as cutting themselves.
In order to move beyond destructive and self-destructive
behavior, you need to be in a process of developing a loving
inner parent - a loving adult self - capable of giving your
hurting inner child what he or she never received as you were
growing up. The loving Adult is who we are when we are
connected with a powerful spiritual source of love, strength
Your inner child is your feeling self. When you are
experiencing the unbearable pain of rejection, loneliness,
aloneness and abandonment and the unbearable terror of
helplessness, it means that you are that child, with no inner
adult to help you handle these terrible feelings. As an alone
and terrified child, you will reach for whatever addiction has
worked to sooth or block out the pain.
The reason the 12-Step programs have worked so well is because
they help people to open to a spiritual source of strength.
Without this source of strength, there is no way to manage the
pain without the addictions.
We teach a Six-Step process, called Inner Bonding, which works
very well along with the 12-Steps to help people in recovery
from addictions. (See www.innerbonding.com for a free course).
The key to recovery is to create a loving and powerful inner
adult self, capable of connecting with a spiritual Source of
love and compassion. The loving adult learns to bring to your
hurting child all the love and compassion you didn’t receive
Love and compassion are not feelings that are generated from
within the body. These feelings are the essence of what
God/Higher Power is. God is love, compassion, peace, truth and
joy. When you open to learning about what is loving to
yourself, with a personal source of spiritual Guidance, you
will begin to be able to bring through the love and compassion
that you need.
Love and compassion is what you need when you are hurting.
Substance and process addictions do not fill the place within
that needs love and compassion. Addictions merely block out
pain of the inner abandonment you feel when you are not giving
yourself the love and compassion you need. The needed love and
compassion is not going to come from another person. No matter
how much you wish that someone could give to you what you
didn’t get as a child, it is not going to happen. You need to
learn how to give it to yourself. When you do, you will be
on your way to recovery from your addictions.
Learning how to heal core shame and give yourself the love and
compassion you need to recover from your addictions is the
focus of the remaining articles in this series.
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:firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone Sessions.