All Contents © 2007, 2013 David S. Guseman, LCSW
Tossed on the waves of our emotions, we forget that we are the sea.
Addictions are self-medicating behaviors. They are ways in which we “treat” ourselves against the anxieties of everyday living. Things get tough and we, for example, take a drink (or a toke or a hit or a snort) and we feel better, mostly because for a few minutes or hours we are distracted from the problems of everyday life.
The problem is, when the cigarette burns out, or the drug wears off, or we sober up, or the horse race ends, or the sexual “glow” fades... “real” life is waiting for us, and our problems have most likely not gone away. And so we do it again, and again, and again. And often, on top of this psychological addiction, the substance we are abusing digs its claws into our backs and we are stuck with a true physical need for the substance.
All this, just to calm anxiety and avoid negative feelings? Yes. I once worked with a 45-year-old man who started his “hard” drinking at the age of 10 (he had his first drink at about five years old). His latest habit was more than a fifth of vodka a day. At the time I saw him, he had been sober for about four months. And the thing that was most difficult for him at this point was the feelings he was beginning to experience. He did not know how to handle “everyday” emotions, as he had not really felt them since he was a child. He traveled through life in a state of emotional numbness, drinking more and more as the alcohol became less effective for him. (And I wonder how many “good”
emotions got “drowned” in the same process?)
The good news is, if addictions are driven by anxiety and avoidance of negative emotions, EFT can treat them! EFT works in two ways for addictions. First, it can cut the craving (for whatever substance or behavior) in the moment. Many times someone in the audience has come to me, wanting to break their smoking addiction. They are desperately craving a cigarette. I lead them through less than a minute’s worth of EFT and they find that the taste of their favorite cigarette has gone rotten, or they simply don’t feel an urge to smoke. Once the anxiety is relieved, it no longer drives the craving. (I imagine the “body wisdom” at that point saying something like, “Uggh! Why do you want to put that in your mouth?”)
Second, the emotional roots of the addiction can be “pulled out” by regular use of EFT. These roots generally run deep, but they can be effectively located and gently removed with the aid of an experienced EFT guide. Getting rid of addictions is not an easy task, but I question whether living without feeling normal emotions is really “aliveness”? With commitment, support and tools like EFT, freedom from addictions is certainly possible.
Want to explore the possibility of evicting your addiction? Click here!
“You do anything long enough to escape the habit of living
until the escape becomes the habit.”
Habits are first cobwebs, then cables.