Why Self-Love Is The Best Treatment For Addiction

We’re all addicts.

We have all experienced pain (or trauma) and used something other than love, fulfillment, or passion to treat it. The worst of those prescriptions have negative health consequences and drive us further from self-love, happiness, fulfillment, and thus further from purpose and our higher selves.

Mine’s a fuck-all long list in no particular order:

Pepperoni, my own mediocre music, booze, feelings, ecstatic beauty, love, bacon, wine, more wine, jungles, beard conditioner, cheap rock and roll, more animal protein, mania, Jon Sollis, limited writings of Rushdie, hope, at least four types of narcotics I was prescribed at some point in my youth, and another good dozen I wasn’t. Fuck it. I’m addicted to half the language, and every single dirty, offensive, insensitive and utterly liberating word in it.

And pain. Worst of all, I am addicted to the very state which drives every single one of these fucking addictions.


Like most I love to sit, marinade, and coat my very fucking being from time to time in the soothing lull found only deep in self loathing, the most reprehensible of all self indulgent pursuits. Self-perpetuating negativity, driving me further from love, acceptance of myself, compassion and forgiveness for each and everything that makes me human, which ultimately drives me from purpose, and the balance which connects me to my higher and best self.

I use my mechanisms of varying degrees of toxicity, to treat the pain that I cannot seem to treat with my own powers of healing, time, or any form of patience; almost always disregarding the consequences of their negative effects.

I state “need” as the justification for the use of these substances to satiate the dark black holes in me, the voids which should be filled by self-love, by the abundance of all else. I have my basic needs of air, food, clothing, shelter, all covered; when I recognize that I do not need, and that I have this abundance.

And let us be clear, as I am a handsome, privileged, white male, from a supportive family, in America — I have so much to begin with. But that is not the true nature of abundance, which is measured in how much joy we take from recognizing how much the universe has provided from which to take joy. A brilliant man told me to look up once. “The blue sky,” he said. And for years, whenever I am sad, when all else fails, I find something as simple and readily abundant as the fucking blue sky (it’s nowhere near as good as pepperoni, Jonny Walker Gold, or fornicating in a hotel bathroom, but it’s a fuck load better than sadness or dependence).

My pain is no lesser or greater than any others, it is just is. We cannot judge ourselves or others harshly for it.

It stems at some point from our inability to take in love, and in its most base form is something we use to manage, medicate, or in some way treat our pain. Because it was greater than our will and resolve to love ourselves. We manage it, or it owns us, little and large, wholeheartedly or just a fucking hole waiting to be filled with our own destructive garbage we incorrectly prioritize and swear we need.

We are not so frail or weak. I don’t drink coffee, cigarettes are anathema, and I hate everyone else’s addictions with as much conviction as I love their counterparts. For with every block I see in others, I feel my own so resolutely. I reassuringly feel its weight disrupting the natural flow of love through my being. I swear it gives me dimension; at times I even attest to being high off it, but at the end of every negative cycle (be it rage, depression, loathing, or some variant) I have one inexorable seemingly-impossible choice.

Pain in the moment is easy; hanging on to it and imagining it is the tragedy. We love to suffer with our stories of the past and future. So just drop the story and get on with your day. If you have a real bloody cut, dress it, maybe medicate, and heal. All the rest is a waste of time.

How do you most optimally start giving yourself love? Allowing time to heal is an important step. Start transacting in gratitude, positivity, and ultimately joy. Appreciate the abundance of all that which you have. Share it with whoever you can that creates joy for yourself, and save it for those with true needs who have little of food, clothing, safety and shelter. Trade pain for forgiveness; go easy on yourself. Be present. Here. In this moment and perfectly comfortable with it — there is nothing you need to do, have, take, acquire, force, push, and sit with those dark holes and let them pass. Embrace them. Seek to understand them. They are part of you, and given time and attention, they will heal. I am doing it. We all are. It works.

There is no ending, no tragic moment, no great shift; we are here, now, and today, we can all put our bullshit down, and heal ourselves. Our only real choice is how much joy we take from this world, and in turn how much love and joy we return to it.

Now, how in the fuck I am going to give up pepperoni?

And yet, we are entitled to our pain; it is our own, no one else can understand it, it takes us varying amounts of time to handle. But in the end what kind of day do you want to have? What do you really want to focus on? Why not just distract yourself with a little love and kindness?

Time. It is said that you can cure almost any addiction in 40 days. Every void in your being that you would otherwise fill with excess and loathing can be satisfied with small acts of kindness. With the conditioning of channeling love, the healing secret sauce of this entire construct.

Addiction is the inability to process love.

We’re blocked, disconnected, not running a full circuit, and it’s too painful to allow yourself to love. It hurts. And since you only get to choose what you wield or what you are held by, I’m choosing love, over “need.”

I do not trivialize your pain, and I will never understand it. It is an ever present challenge we all face, not to “should” each other with violent and callous precision, and flay the ends off our frail and exposed souls. But I can and will chose to treat my own. Love. I’ll say it a dozen more times, and take three breaths to trigger my autonomic responses, and then I will spend 40 days releasing it. Each day doing one small act in favor of love, depositing something small into the universe. For we have all learned that there is in all great accomplishments a series of small repetitive acts of incredible discipline, and this is no exception.

Every religion and philosophy in humanity references love and its power to break cycles, heal, and achieve what is often described as fulfillment. The challenge is that we revere the heavily polar in our society. We believe in detox to retox, and we worship those who embody it best, calling them “highly functional.” According to some, the only way to mitigate poles and their polarity, is to create a trinity, and recognize that we ourselves can be a central balancing force.

Pick a pain. And take 40 days not to feed it. Replace that feeding with one act of kindness which you then give to yourself (help someone else and let the joy of that act salve you). Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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