Review of last night’s Huffpost Live Segment


If last night’s segment on Huffpost live was any indication,  I am far more at ease (and happier) as a writer behind the screen, as opposed to on it. And yet, I would do it again if it meant that I had the opportunity to help someone realize the key most important points to love addiction:

  • That it’s NOT about love
  • That it’s an avoidance of the self
  • And that you CAN change and have a healthier life IF you not only have the will, but the right tools. 

Overall, I feel the segment failed to do anything but offer a bit of light entertainment.  Everyone had their own agenda. I would have liked to talk about the solution, not just the “disease.” The therapist, obviously, want to talk (and talk, and talk, and talk) about things like “comorbidity” and the science behind what he had learned in his textbooks. And the writer of the article, Kelly Bourdet, wanted to talk more about the culture of addiction, not so much the individual, personal plight of someone suffering with addiction. She pegged addiction as “an interesting topic” to write about. I grant her that. But hasn’t America talked enough about the culture of dis-ease? Isn’t it time to start offering solutions?

What Kelly did do was bring up the point of addiction as a lack of agency. I think if you buy into the 12-Step philosophy of “Powerlessness,” or if you buy into the science that addiction is a “disease of the brain” more so than just a harmless behavior, then you’re right. It leaves you free to say, “Oh well, this is just who I am. I can’t do anything about it.” But, you do yourself a huge disservice believing that. When it comes time to get healthier–when that very behavior really starts to wreak havoc on every aspect of your life–then what? Take drugs? Treat the symptoms? That’s so typical of American medicine and why there is an underlying belief that addiction cannot be cured.  

And while I agree that you may not be able to cure your nature, you absolutely can cure certain undesirable behaviors. You simply stop doing them. It’s hard as hell. It takes years. Oprah didn’t get where she is overnight. I didn’t get healthy overnight. You have to relearn healthier ways to live.  But it can be done. People are not powerless over addiction until they are taught to be. And that is definitely a cultural phenomenon–helplessness. 
 
Pernille, the director of Love Addict, also brought up the point that Pia Mellody believes it should not be called love addiction, but rather “fantasy addiction.” And yet, I still think that misses the mark. Love addiction may be more about fantasy than love (I don’t know one love addict that is even close to doing any real loving). But if you dig down and unearth the bigger issue of why a person chooses fantasy (or anything else for that matter) as a repetitive, obsessive behavior that distracts them to the point of  their  life falling apart, then you have to be open to the idea that it may be more an issue of  Self Avoidance as opposed to anything else. When you are so focused on chasing after love, and this action is causing pain, suffering and more chasing and more obsessing, what happens? You disappear. You are neglected.
But why? Why would you neglect and avoid yourself?
Because you’re afraid. Of what is your job to figure out.

Comment if you have a different POV. But that’s what I believe should have been discussed in those 20 minutes.

http://live.huffingtonpost.com/r/segment/5074b92c78c90a78ff00023e

6 thoughts on “Review of last night’s Huffpost Live Segment

  1. Do you find the 12 approach useful? According to what you write I’m a bit fuzzy on what your view on the “disease” itself may be. I agree on your POV that itself avoidance through fantasy. I am asking because I’m a bit confused on steps to take for recovery at this point, the 12 steps teaches us that we “have no control” over it – yet you think that it is possible to stop the habits – what is your take? Any tips on what you did to be able to stop and what were common things you saw yourself doing surrounding the behaviors you were trying to quit over the years (patterns, mistakes, etc) Thanks for the post!

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    1. Hi EDB,

      I definitely believe the 12-Steps are helpful. I used them through my recovery, even though I did not subscribe to the believe that we are powerless to our disease. I think in the case of a physical addiction to a substance, where other chemicals are at play, making decisions for you, so to speak, then you are powerless to that substance ONCE the substance is in you. But when you sober up, even for a few days, you are not powerless. You have choices.

      Everyone always says it’s not about “will” because “believe me, I would love to change, but I just can’t” is a very common experience. It happened to me for many years. But it happened to me because I did not have the experience or the knowledge or the training to know HOW to change. And in that sense, when you don’t know you have the right tools, how can you use them?!

      Recovery and change is about learning what tools you have and how to use them. Start by reading and learning. Work on your self esteem. This is one of the MAIN reasons we are in this situation. We have very low self esteem. I don’t care how much you think you love yourself and go around flaunting it. When you truly love yourself you do not put yourself in situation where you are being ignored, neglected, beaten, unloved. Period. Learn what self love is all about. Find your values! I had no clue what values were. I let everyone in, regardless of what I believed was important to me. Start to create boundaries for yourself. If someone hurts you, don’t let them in.And by all means, start to use your logical side, as opposed to your emotional side (which is intensified by fantasy). Love addicts are prone to making decisions and “thinking” with their emotions, because they value emotional living. But your emotions alone CANNOT make logical decisions for you. They can only aid in the decision making process. You need your brain to see and act on red flags. Your emotions could care less about red flags. Switching from emotional thinking to logical thinking also helps to stave off our strong desire for immediate gratification. Which brings me to TIME. We are in such a hurry to find love that we are willing to overlook negative drawbacks of a person just to have that relationship. Learn to imitate the wealthy and the well-educated. They feel a great sense of entitlement to good things. Why? Most likely for no other reason besides they were taught to have a sense of entitlement.

      This bring me to my final point. We are love addicts because we are avoiding ourselves. Why are we avoiding ourselves? Because of our FEARS. SO as not to face our fears we do virtually anything to hide from them. Find out what you are afraid of and FACE IT. Is it being alone for the rest of your life? Is it taking care of yourself financially? Is it being love and experiencing true intimacy? Explore yourself and find out!

      Hope this helps!

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      1. Thank you so much you are a godsend. This clears things so much for me. I’m at a place right now where I can identify my role in my “addiction”, friendships and where it’s come from in my childhood. Yet I’m sort of frozen because I know the steps I need to take and I’m afraid to start. Like starting the no contact phase, and goin to meetings everyday and being completely alone. I dont really have much of a social life and dont want to look back and feel like i lost yet another batch of People. So instead Im texting and keeping a distance while being extremely depressed and unable to function and eat while thinking what I am going to do. Sounds terrible but I just feel like I need that tiny push to bring me closer to the “cutoff” and EVERYTHING you said gives me the outline I needed and points me to where I need to go (no therapist necessary). Thanks for your honesty and for sharing your experiences. I hope to one day recover and have this all be something to look back to. Thank you thank you thank you. -EDB I have one final question for you – i have Read alot about people that come from dysfunctional families and some say that the only way to recover from
        Abuse is to leave the family system and find it somewhere else. So I’m at a place where I’ve distanced myself from everybody unhealthy (everyone I know) in preparation for this recovery(depressing). Did you have a similar experience? Do you think this is a necessary step ? Sorry for the long post..it’s the final thing im wondering about. Thanks again!

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      2. To clear up even further why I’m asking – I hear a lot that it’s healthy to make the best of what you have and spend time with family. How does one recover from underlying codependency or addiction which is caused by our childhood experiences by spending more time with family? Is this healthy? Just thought this would help explain question sorry for lengthening the post!!!!!!!

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  2. If your family is hugely dysfunctional and you are adult now that does not want to be dysfunctional, I would say, take your family in small doses, until you’ve learned better methods of communicating and behaving. In the meantime, you need to find a better family model. Not to cling to or adopt, but to observe. You will also need to purge some friends who may be bringing you down, or counterproductive to your recovery. I “cleaned house” shortly AFTER I got healthy. I was able to see that my PoA was bad for me, but it wasn’t until I got healthier that I saw that a few of my friends were having a negative impact on me and needed to go…

    I am also now seeing that my “perfect family” (with the exception of my dad) is not so perfect. I am noticing that a few immediate family are complete avoidants and it’s shocking to see. And while I love them dearly and have no intention of removing them from my life, I have created boundaries.

    Boundaries are your KEY to surviving a dysfunctional family. You can love people but refuse to participate in their drama and negativity. Read the post on boundaries to find out the different kinds.

    But to answer your question, I think a total overhaul of friends and family might be a good idea, at least in the beginning. Remember to base your life now on what it should have been when you turned 18. You should have kissed your family goodbye and said, I’m going out in the world to learn who I am and to find my purpose. And you should have used that time for growth, exploration and experiencing life. You probably didn’t (or if you did, you didn’t do it successfully). It’s the transition from child into adult and it is this phase most addicts missed. We need to go away for a while to learn who we are. We can always come back–hopefully a more grown up, healthy person.

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