What we don’t need in the midst of struggle is shame for being human. ~ Brene Brown
One of the most vicious things about addiction is the way it steals our ability to love ourselves.
“It’s okay, just don’t look in a mirror,” it says. “It’s not that bad. You can stop tomorrow.” And of course we all know that tomorrow never comes.
The longer this goes on the more we develop a schism in our consciousness. We are torn between our true self and our addicted self. Our self-confidence plummets, our integrity is shattered, and we curse ourselves for our inability to stop.
And yet, the ONLY way we will find true healing is to love ourselves exactly where we are. It’s not easy to do! It’s natural to be ashamed and angry about what we have done to ourselves. But we must be willing to change our perspective and understand that addiction is always a response to pain, not a moral failing.
One of my addiction counselors liked to say “We aren’t bad people trying to get good, we’re sick people trying to get well.”
Think about the word RECOVERY. When someone is in recovery from an surgical procedure or a debilitating illness… how do we treat that person? With immense care, right? We don’t beat them up and tell them how stupid and bad they are. We shower them with love. And that’s exactly how we must approach recovery from addiction!
If we can find a group that can help in this respect, great. But ultimately the responsibility is ours.
We can go to therapists and healers and coaches (and yes, we should certainly seek help,) but at some point we must accept that everything we need is inside of us already. This is why I stress the importance of daily spiritual practice. When we go within we discover that a deep well of love and compassion has always been there.
In the beginning, especially if you are still in active addiction, it may be difficult to access. Have compassion about that too.
In the beginning it’s not so easy to place our hand on our heart, look ourselves in the eye, and say “I love you and I forgive you.” Do it anyway. And keep doing it.
Treat yourself as a little child who is scared and hurting. There is a part of you that is exactly that and she needs your love.
Treat the addicted part of yourself with love and compassion and see how it shifts.
Healing only happens when we stop trying to fix what we judge as wrong or bad about ourselves, and simply choose to love those parts of ourselves instead.
Healing can only happen when we end the self-hatred. And you have more than enough love inside of you to do that right now.