There was one big mistake I made when I realised I was addicted to sugar and overeating, and I first tried starting to stop. I didn’t welcome the part of me that was doing the addictive eating into the process of my recovery.
I believe that this is how come attempts to recover from addiction fail. Unless we welcome and acknowledge the addictive part of us, and ensure that it feels safe facing the changes we want to make, it won’t let us succeed.
Addictions happen because of pain, shame and negative emotions we are carrying around, which get triggered by life. A part of us steps forward to soothe and distract us, so that our pain doesn’t overwhelm us. It uses all sorts of tools for this – eating, drinking, gaming, porn… We tend to have special ones that work especially well for us.
Why would the part that soothes us be interested in the process of recovery? Why should it join in with our initiative to change? This might take away the power it has to make us feel better when we are angry, sad, lonely and down about ourselves.
The most vital foundational step in recovery is for us to welcome this part of us. It’s been working like a soldier to keep us from being overwhelmed by our negative emotions, and it needs our appreciation and acknowledgment as a protective part of us. Pushing it away and denying it is there in order to attempt to recover never works. We must get to know it better, and begin a respectful dialogue with it. For this, we need to ask all parts of us that hate it and wish it would disappear to relax and give us space to get to know it from a place of openness and curiosity within.