I’m looking down every alley. I’m makin’ those desperate calls. I’m staying up all night hoping, hittin’ my head against the wall! Because your love, your love, your love is my drug! And, so goes the recent, popular song by the artist Kesha!
The other day, when I was listening to Kesha’s song, I suddenly realized that the lyrics reaffirmed that we can use anything as an addiction. Yes, even another person! And, in my coaching practice, I have witnessed nothing less. I have encountered sugar, coffee, exercise, chewing gum, religion, victimization, emotional infidelity, support group, cleaning and social networking addictions to name a few! In this case, the lyrics denote someone that is addicted to or co-dependent upon the love of another. Like other compulsions such as shopping, gambling and sex addictions, co-dependency is considered a form of addiction. Nonetheless, the mainstream attempts to separate them from substance abuse. However, in my opinion, they are all related since the root cause is one in the same. In essence, all types of addictive behaviors are self-destructive. And, if someone chooses to destroy themselves, they can’t possibly embrace self-love. Consequently, there are always self-esteem related issues at the root of addictive behavior, and co-dependency is no exception. If someone behaves in an overly passive manor which puts their own emotional and physical well being at risk, clearly they suffer from low self-esteem. This path, as with all types of addiction, results in devastation and destruction. One can not throw themselves under a bus for another and expect to come out the other side an unscathed hero! Although, time and time again, many folks do! Experience has taught me that the primary motivation behind co-dependent behavior is an attempt to garner the love and affection of another. But there’s also a second component, which is the reluctance to face the fears and insecurities responsible for low self-esteem. Therefore, co-dependency provides a temporary solution or puts a band-aid on the problem. Eventually, a partner who is being subjected to co-dependent behavior tires of all the smothering and withdraws from the relationship. At that point, the solution becomes problematic, and the co-dependent is once again faced with the prospect of embracing self-love. Of course, many folks forgo personal growth and continue to repeat the co-dependent cycle until one day they have an epiphany and realize that there’s nowhere to go but inside. The rock solid foundation for every great relationship is self-love, and it also happens to be a bullet proof shield for the guns of addiction.
At this point, you may be wondering what causes low self-esteem. Well, quite simply, fears, insecurities and negative self-limiting beliefs rooted in patterns of family dysfunction. Generally speaking, most folks don’t make this connection and those who do are often in denial about it. I believe that 80 – 90% of all families are dysfunctional, yet most addicted individuals claim their childhood paralleled the Leave it to Beaver show! So, either unaware or in a state of denial, they forge ahead with the preconceived notion that their compulsion or addiction will provide a permanent solution for alleviating their emotional pain or act as a diversion from suppressed feelings. Sadly, it does neither! And, they soon discover that the hole only got bigger! If you’re struggling with co-dependency, let’s get something straight! You could continue to search for the soul mate that will complete you and fill that void inside, however, if you’re not complete as a person standing alone, no one else will ever be able to complete you. To quote the artist Billy Preston, “Nothin’from nothin’ leaves nothin’. You gotta have somethin’ if you wanna be with me!
The Addiction Freedom Coach
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