Beliefnet
The Celebrity Therapist

image summit recovery today 2 image470x394 copy-3 copyJoin the 5th Annual  Recovery Today Series www.recoverytodayseries.com online conference sponsored by Soba Recovery Center.  Sherry Gaba, Editor of Recovery Today Magazine will be interviewing  20 of the greatest transformational leaders and addiction experts of our time.  Addiction does not just mean substance abuse but can mean codependency, love and sex addiction, debting, internet addiction, procrastionation and/or workaholism.  Join Sherry Gaba, LCSW and twenty transformational leaders and addiction experts  for this FREE event.  www.recoverytodayseries.com.

codepBeing addicted to love is not the same as being a sex addict, a drug addict or an alcoholic. Love addicts are drawn to people that initially cause them to feel part of a whole rather than as an isolated individual.

For a love addict being single and alone is a crisis. These are people that rely on others for their sense of identity, where the relationship becomes the focus of their lives. Needless to say, love addicts smother the partner, which only causes the partner to pull away while the love addict clings on and compounds the problem.

The other type of partner that is drawn to a love addict is a person who is completely self-centered. They may have narcissistic tendencies or have another type of personality disorder. These are often the “bad boys” of the world, seeming to do nothing but take in a relationship. Finding a partner that wants nothing to do but to give creates the perfect destructive relationship for both.

Breaking Free

Being codependent in a relationship with a partner that is abusive, that is cold, or that is constantly cheating is not a positive place to be. For the codependent love addict, they cannot break those ties if they continue to have the same thoughts about the need to be in a relationship.

By tapping into the Law of Attraction and changing how you see yourself in a relationship, it is possible to find comfort in learning to be with yourself. This is an important step before looking for a more positive partner, and it is a step that many love addicts fail to take.

Working with a therapist or counselor can help you to learn how to change your thoughts about who and what you are as well as what you deserve. Once this positive energy is flowing out into the universe, you will find codependency will disappear, allowing you to be a strong, independent person without the need to be in a relationship that is harmful just to feel a part of something.

 

Sherry Gaba, LCSW, Radio Host, Certified Transformation Coach and author of  the award winning book, The Law of Sobriety:Attracting Positive Energy for a Powerful Recovery and Ecourse http://trainings.wakeuprecovery.com/. www.sherrygaba.com sherry@sgabatherapy.com.  Find out if you are #codependent. Take my quiz.  http://sherrygaba.com/co-dependency-quiz/ 30 minute strategy session with Sherry http://sherrygaba.com/product/30-minute-strategy-session-sherry-gaba/

imagoAccording to Harville Hendrix we are attracted to our Imago–what he calls our dream partner– an image of which we carry around in our brain.

The Imago is like a puzzle. As we are growing up, every time someone significant in our lives stimulates us it becomes a piece of the puzzle–a memory. Even with our parents this can be a sensual imprint, but not always.

The most common Imago is a composite of our parents’ traits. Unfortunately our parents often lacked a healthy personality so this is what we look for when we grow up. Sometimes the Imago is based on an ideal person who is just the opposite of our dysfunctional parents, but because he  is just perfect we go looking for the perfect partner and never find him.

At the end of adolescence, we are not really sure, the last piece of the puzzle is in place and we have a picture of out Imago.

Most love addicts go searching for the Imago with a vengeance. Normal people just wait for the Imago to come along, and build a successful happy life, including high self-esteem, in the meantime.

When normal people meet their Imago they are attracted and, sometimes,  fall in love. Love Addicts go nuts. Everything is magnified.

Normal people eventually discover that their Imago needs a little bit to be desired, and seek out compatible people, assuming their Imago is not compatible.

One the other hand, love addicts get addicted to their Imago and pass up on others who might fulfill them in other ways besides the magic of l passion.

In recovery, we must do an inventory of our Imago. Put the negative things we can’t have on one side of the page, and the positive things we can keep on the other.

We must reconstruct out Imago.

The hard part is becoming attracted to our new Imago. This is difficult. It is like being told by the doctor that we can no longer eat sugar (give something up) and start eating our vegetables (adding something healthy) In time, we really do learn to love our veggies and we live happily ever after.

Attraction, which love addicts call love at first sight is not enough. Be patient and let the love grow.

I used to have a list of what I was looking for in a partner. It was all Imago stuff. I left out compatible and, most of all for me, AVAILABLE. I don’t have a list anymore. It is in God’s hands.

Sherry Gaba, LCSW, Radio Host, Certified Transformation Coach and author of  the award winning book, The Law of Sobriety:Attracting Positive Energy for a Powerful Recovery and Ecourse www.wakeuprecovery.com. www.sherrygaba.com sherry@sgabatherapy.com.  Find out if you are #codependent. Take my quiz.  http://sherrygaba.com/co-dependency-quiz/ 30 minute strategy session with Sherry http://sherrygaba.com/product/30-minute-strategy-session-sherry-gaba/

reflect

If you were to be asked to immediately write down the first 5 words that come to your mind to describe yourself, what would those words be? Would they be different if you knew you had to share them than if you were the only person that would even see the text on the page?

People with addictions of any type have a hard time seeing themselves in any other light than as an addict. They often see themselves as failures, as insignificant, as unimportant and as, first and foremost, an addict.

A Clear, Positive Future

The reality is that how we see ourselves and how we see our future has a lot to do with shaping our recovery. When all we see in our potential is the mistakes and bad choices we have made in the past, all we see is the same type of chaos and failure in our future.

In my book, “The Law of Sobriety,” I talk about the important of being able to see ourselves as positive, changing and evolving people. This isn’t the “fake it until you make it” technique, it is about really seeing ourselves for who we are, not just a sum of our history and past actions.

Turning the Tide

Remember the first question I asked you about writing down words to describe yourself? Try this exercise next, write down 5 to 10 words about how you want yourself to be. Don’t worry if you aren’t there yet; these are your goals and aspirations.

Now, stop and consider one step you could take today to move towards becoming one or more of those words. Let’s say you wrote down “employed” and you are currently seeking work. Think about one thing you could do today to move yourself down the path.

By focusing on what we want in life, not where we are right at the moment, we create goals, objectives, and paths to follow. This isn’t a passive process, but it is effective and something that everyone can achieve.

Sherry Gaba, LCSW, Radio Host, Certified Transformation Coach and author of  the award winning book, The Law of Sobriety:Attracting Positive Energy for a Powerful Recovery and Ecourse www.wakeuprecovery.com. www.sherrygaba.com sherry@sgabatherapy.com.  Find out if you are #codependent. Take my quiz.  http://sherrygaba.com/co-dependency-quiz/ 30 minute strategy session with Sherry http://sherrygaba.com/product/30-minute-strategy-session-sherry-gaba/