Recovering from Love Addiction is not an easy thing. Certainly, there are pitfalls when it comes to Love Addiction Recovery and there will be setbacks along the way. The one thing that helps us moving another step forward, however, is to realize when we are falling back into the illusion. When everything urges us to just “get one more shot” so we can avoid difficult feelings. The moment intense feelings surface, our reality can get distorted because our feelings make something seem real when in fact it’s mostly “just” feelings. We then act irrational and in non-conducive ways. Read about a real-life example of a client who has almost fallen back into the trap, but through awareness and guidance, he was able to keep pushing towards healing.
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The Pitfall of Love Addiction Recovery – Becoming Aware Of Setbacks
One of my clients just called me and said: “You know what. I have given this a lot of thought, and I really want to give her another chance! She is the Love of my life! I just can’t forget about her.” When asking him why he loves her, he said: I really don’t know, I am just still stupidly in love with her. He said to me: “If I get one sign from her, such as her unblocking me from whatsapp, I’ll send her a message!” When I hear that in the middle of love addiction recovery, I am entering a very delicate space with my client. Because for him in this very moment, his feelings tamper with reality, making him believe that what he thinks and feels is real and true.
When Reality Gets Distorted
This usually happens when the feelings one is experiencing are intense. They so to say take over and make us believe things that are not necessarily true. This also occurs when these feelings are not just a result from what is happening in the very moment but tremendous pent-up old feelings that are stored in our system that get re-triggered. Imagine the number of feelings you are experiencing now. Current feelings combined with old feelings that you might not necessarily be aware of, but your body remembers them very well and goes like: “Wait, I know this feeling. I remember how horrible they made me feel! I don’t think I can handle it. I need to find a solution right now. I need to not feel like that anymore.” And what does the body, the nervous system come up with in such a moment where it feels that survival is under threat? Well, it does everything to experience connection, love and a sensation of belonging again. Hence him thinking that she is the love of his life.
So his system is on survival mode. She is no longer with him. Now that he is alone, He experiences a prolonged absence of love and connection in his life. It makes him feel lonely and isolated. First, it was about her. Now that she is out of the equation, it triggers the exact feelings that made him addicted to love in the first place. The fear of being alone, the feeling of disconnection, the feeling of *there is no one that I can love or that loves me*. This is what puts him into that survival mode. When in survival mode, our system, even our brain will do anything to ensure survival. In these moments, irrationality kicks in heavily. All of a sudden, he thinks “maybe my coach is wrong”! Maybe there is no such thing as love addiction!Sometimes in our recovery, we have setbacks. It is part of the growth process. And there is nothing wrong with it. Click To Tweet
His behavior is part of the recovery process and a natural thing to happen. It has happened to me many times. It took me quite a while to really let go. Sometimes in our recovery, we have setbacks. It is part of the growth process. And there is nothing wrong with it.
But why is he experiencing a setback now?
Setbacks come easily when one is emotionally triggered
For the last couple of weeks, he has been ok. He was able to realize that the bond he shared with her was rather a dependency than mature, compassionate love. Their love was mostly based on how they made each other feel. They fed each other’s addiction so to say, and they mutually filled a void that existed within themselves. Generally, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Of course, we want to feel good with our partners. So what is the unhealthy part in this? The unhealthy part is when once our person is gone, you cannot forget about them. You cannot really let go of them. You keep losing yourself in the illusion, the fairytale that you felt real love.
So why has he been fine and all of a sudden everything changed again, and he wants her back desperately?
The reason for the setback is because of an emotional trigger that surfaced. It is her birthday just in a week’s time. He planned not to write to her, not to send her a gift and not to contact her. For one because I always tell my clients, recovering from love addiction is like recovering from any other drug. You cannot have the occasional drink as a recovering alcohol addict. In other words, you cannot have an occasional “love shot” by keeping the door open with them. Maybe somewhere in the future and only if you have recovered to a fair degree. But he is not there yet. Yes, he has gained clarity about the nature of their love. Yes, he no longer goes into stalking mode with her. Yes, he no longer acts impulsively the way he used to. That is all significant progress, fantastic progress!Recovering from love addiction is like recovering from any other drug! Click To Tweet
However, Birthdays hold a special meaning for many, where it is natural to connect with that person as a sign of the love and appreciation we have for them. It is tough for him not to contact her on her birthday, not to send her a gift or not to jump on an airplane and visit her.
If he indeed were not to write, were not to say a simple “happy birthday”, it would send a message that is loaded with intensity like nothing else. In other words, he’d say to her: I really want to heal from this. I really can not be in contact with you in my healing. I really chose myself over you. I really want to move on! In other words, in his understanding, he would close any possibility of re-connecting for good.
That is like dying for a recovering love addict. Everything is at stake for him right now.
And yet, one of the most pivotal moments for recovery. It is a real chance, to finally deal with all the remaining pain that is surfacing at the moment.
I can’t remember his exact words, but at some point, during our conversation, he said that he is kind of disappointed that he experiences a setback. I replied that he has to look at this from another point of view. This is life, knocking on your door, testing you, if you are really in your strength, in your power. It is inviting you to put nails on the coffin. To show you, where you really stand in all of it. This is great. You just have to work with it.
Take it Slow and add a bucket of love and compassion
Recovery needs time and compassion. If you are trying to let go of someone and you are still keeping your doors or options open, it means that you are not willing to let go yet. In a way, you are not willing or able to die yet. By dying I mean to really face the big black hole that is there when he or she is really gone. And that is okay. It is not a race. From my own recovery process, I can say that this is precisely what needs to happen, so you can give birth to a more healthy, more loving, more mature kind of love life. Dare to face the big black hole. I know it can feel so overwhelming but there is light at the end of the tunnel, and I have every faith in you that you too can get out of the dark hole.
If you need any help, drop me a message, and we take it from there. I’d be happy to guide you through your unique challenges in a more personal way.
Have a great day!
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