Love is a Drug

In this weeks podcast Ed and I have revisited the topic of splitting up. We had an email which effectively was saying ‘how do you get over it and move on when someone you love has left you, but you are still in love with them. Relationship counselling is an active part of the therapeutic world and not everyone survives the splitting intact. Generally breaking up is hard to do but it doesn’t have to be that way if we realise the addictive nature of our love because love is a drug.

While it may be true that all psychological and emotional change starts from the same place, this is forgiveness or letting go, it just might a bit too raw at the outset to consider this.

Love addiction
Imagine that you are addicted to nicotine, maybe you have smoked twenty a day for many years. What you have done is taught you body and mind/brain system to tolerate and become dependent on the nicotine that is now included in the system. When you stop putting nicotine into your body system it then demands it and gets angry if it is not satiated. The ‘what you feed grows’ part of the problem is that if you focus on “i am going to have a cigarette” you are feeding the problem. However, it is also true that if you focus on the opposite “I will not have a cigarette, I will not have a cigarette” then you are still feeding the problem. The weirdest thing of all is that even if your mind tells you that it is wrong to smoke, if your emotions tell you that it smells and tastes horrible, you mind/body sustenance will still demand a cigarette. Your system is addicted and wants more nicotine.

When you meet someone and you fall in love your mind/brain creates the chemistry that makes you feel wonderful, you are in the grip of the love drug dopamine. Just as with nicotine you teach your system to tolerate and then become dependent on love, just as the smoker is dependent on nicotine. If the object of your love is withdrawn you will feel it’s loss as a craving. You are a love junkie.

If you are attempting to overcome nicotine addiction you have to go through the process of teaching your body that it does not need nicotine to feel ok, you have to take the nicotine out of the body/mind system so that it has a new normal and the addiction/craving abates.

If you are attempting to overcome love addiction you have to go through the process of teaching your body that or does not need the love to feel ok, you have to take the love/dopamine out of the body/mind system so that it has a new normal and the addiction/craving abates.

Removing temptation
When you come off a drug you need to avoid people that are using the drug because it will easily tempt you back. This often means changing your social circle and avoiding places where people will be using.

When you come off love you need to avoid the source of the addiction and anywhere that it might be. This often means changing your social circle and avoiding places where the source might be to tempt you back.

When ridding ourselves of love we will often need to come off social media, maybe block people or restrict our access. We may need to delete numbers and addresses to get as clean as we can.

We the need to go through the process or reformation as we establish this new strong sense of being who we are without the drug. Then we are clean.

Reintegration
Once the addiction has been removed and we are truly clean we may be able to be in the presence of the source of the addiction and not be tempted to use again.

Have you ever had the experience of going through the heartbreak of a split up and then, many years later, you meet that person again and something odd has happened, we now think, “oh my God whatever was I doing with that person?” Once the addiction has gone so has the craving we no longer need it in our lives.

Getting clean is a process
People talk about time and often we refer to the two year cycle which is common to many people. However it is easier to think in terms of process rather than time. The quicker we process the less time it takes.

After all is said and done we create our own dependence through our own addictions. We do not have to be addicted once we mindfully see what we are doing.

The only thing that I can see is a useful addiction is unconditional self regard. Self love is not arrogance it is the foundation bedrock of who we are. Strong foundation = strong person.

Be happy

Sean x