Post by Susan Peabody on Oct 17, 2022 12:28:33 GMT -8
Recovery requires a certain environment. It cannot be obtained by reading a book and expecting a magical transformation. It can only be obtained by working hard with the helpful guidance of those who understand the problem of obsession and dependency in relationships. Therefore, love addicts in recovery should go for help.
Help can be found in therapy and/or support groups. Both these environments are conducive to recovery for the following reasons:
1. In therapy and support groups love addicts can be honest and share secrets. This has always been therapeutic for people who are bearing the burden of so much inner turmoil.
2. Therapy and support groups provide a place to learn how addiction to love manifests itself. Love addicts learn how their addiction gets started, when it gets started, and what the symptoms are. Most of all, love addicts learn what can be done about the problem ─ how to initiate and maintain recovery.
3. Therapy and support groups provide love addicts with a lot of badly needed unconditional love. In early recovery, love addicts do not know how to love themselves. However, a therapist or support group can do for them what they cannot yet do for themselves. They can provide the unconditional love that promotes recovery ─ the acceptance that will someday be transformed into self-love. M. Scott Peck, in The Road Less Traveled, puts it this way. "It is obvious, then, that in order to be healed through psychotherapy, the patient must receive at least a portion of the genuine love of which the patient was deprived [in childhood]. If the psychotherapist cannot genuinely love a patient, genuine healing will not occur." Put another way, "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong." Corinthians 13:1
4. Therapy and support groups provide a working environment which guard against procrastination and denial. Even on those bleak days when recovering love addicts are resisting the truth, they know deep down they would not be in therapy or a support group if they didn't have a problem.
5. Support groups and therapy help love addicts recognize a slip or relapse.
6. Calling people in their support group can help recovering love addicts avoid dysfunctional behavior. Like the alcoholic who calls his sponsor in Alcoholics Anonymous before he takes that first drink, the love addict can be advised by someone in his or her support group not to get married on the third date.
Not only do recovering love addicts need help, they need it on a regular basis. One of the most common mistakes recovering love addicts make is to prematurely drop out of therapy or support groups. Sometimes they do this because of complacency. They don't think they have a problem anymore, or they feel strong enough to make it on their own. This attitude can easily lead to regression. Sometimes love addicts are discouraged by the slow pace of recovery. They just get tired of struggling, so they drop out.
Whatever prompts love addicts to drift away from an environment conducive to recovery, they should be warned that addiction to love is an insidious problem, learned early and practiced well. It does not just disappear one day. For a long time, maybe forever, it goes into remission, and it takes constant vigilance to keep it in that inactive state.
It may be disconcerting to find out that there is probably no permanent cure for addiction to love. Still, in my experience this is usually the case. The struggle may get easier, but there is always the possibility of regression. This does not mean that love addicts will always be in therapy, or always have to attend a support group. It just means that recovering love addicts must not be in a hurry to discard their support system. It could take years for them to reach a point where the changes brought about in recovery can survive without the support of those who have helped them along the way; and by always placing themselves in the company of people working toward continued recovery, love addicts are giving themselves the best opportunity to succeed. Good soil and tender loving care produce lovely flowers, and therapy or support groups provide the optimum environment for recovery from addiction to love.
One note of caution. While therapy and support groups are important, love addicts need to be selective. Not all therapists and support groups will be helpful with the problems of love addicts. The correct approach is to shop around and watch for progress as a way of measuring the effectiveness of the therapeutic environment that you have chosen.
Excerpt from Addiction to Love by Susan Peabody
Support Groups.pdf (78.43 KB)