When I tell people that I was addicted to sugar, they often raise an eyebrow:
Sugar? That’s not an addiction!
I’ve come to realize that almost anything can become an addiction. Even things like scrolling through social media or overthinking.
Certain habits don’t seem like an addiction… It might just be something we do to wind down after a long day.
We can call it whatever we’d like. But ultimately, we must ask ourselves, Does this repetitive activity, behavior or attitude help me thrive?
Our society tends to point fingers at the substances or people who are addicted, which worsens the problem. The root of addictions doesn’t lie in the substance itself.
And people who have addictions already carry so much shame.
EFT Tapping has been scientifically proven to be effective for addiction relief. In this article, you’ll learn about the underlying reasons that lead to addiction and how to address them with EFT.
We all have an addiction
Yes, you read that right.
The American Addiction Centers defines “addiction” as:
“The repeated involvement with a substance or activity, despite the substantial harm it now causes, because that involvement was (and may continue to be) pleasurable and/or valuable.”
According to author and spiritual teacher Caroline Myss, the definition of addiction extends much further—to things like judgment, self-pity and the need to be right:
“[Addiction] is a behavior you participate in, either consciously or unconsciously, that controls the flow of creative life force through your system.
An addiction allows you to be irresponsible for a percentage of the energy that runs through you, and therefore, you aren’t responsible for its consequences. […] It’s a way to help you control your emotions. […]
One of the reasons we find addictions so useful is because they’re external controlling forces that take the responsibility for the management of ourselves, literally out of our hands, and into something else.”
The different forms of addictions include:
- being right
- needing to control others
- judging others
- criticizing others
- needing approval
- needing the approval of a specific person
- unhealthy relationships
Myss claims that it’s only a matter of time that we stumble upon an addiction. Because none of us are raised in perfect families.
As we grow up, we learn to repress certain behaviors and emotions in order to receive love and acceptance.
Essentially, we distance ourselves from who we really are—to fit in, to feel okay, to feel safe. And this creates many polarities within and drains our energy.
The path to freedom entails fully embracing our feelings, shadows and choices and uniting our mind and heart.
A tall order!
Something was off
When I found myself itching for my husband to leave for work in the mornings, so that I could go buy chocolate bars, I knew something was off.
Day after day, I looked forward to this ritual: enjoying a calm walk to the store, gazing at the alluring chocolate bar packages and devouring the goodies in private.
I would’ve never considered my habit an addiction. I’ve always had a sweet tooth since childhood. Besides, I worked hard and chocolate seemed like a well-earned reward.
But even in my denial, I managed to observe myself stashing the wrappers in my purse. I felt the sugar pulsing through my body and washing over all my negative thoughts.
The immense guilt and shame weighed on my shoulders. And then afterwards, there was always the crash and beating myself up.
Eventually, I did some research and was stunned to discover studies that show that sugar can be as addictive as cocaine. I learned about the link between addictions, perfectionism and toxic relationships.
Oof, I was the textbook definition of a codependent!
So, I began practicing mindfulness meditation and tried to slow down when I ate chocolate. I paid attention to how my mouth watered as soon as I held the unwrapped chocolate in my hand.
What thoughts bubbled up? What physical sensations coursed through my body? How did I feel before and after?
I sat there alone at the kitchen table, shiny wrappers strewn everywhere, paying attention to my inner world. That’s when I finally realized, Ohhhh, this is what’s underneath…
I cringed. An utter sense of worthlessness confronted me head-on.
The grief was excruciating.
Recovering from addictions with EFT Tapping
Being addicted to something as common as sugar, food or exercise comes with its own challenges.
Sugary foods invade our lives, from the endless aisles at the supermarket to birthday parties and even at the doctor’s office.
(True story: when I was little, I always looked forward to seeing my pediatrician because at the end of the visit, she’d give me a lollipop.)
To recover from addictions with EFT Tapping, one of the things we need to tap on is its social aspect:
- Even though I crave sugary foods all the time because they’re everywhere, I deeply and completely accept myself.
- Even though I’m worried that if I don’t finish my plate, people will think I’m rude…
- Even though I’m always at the gym because I need to look fit…
We also need to understand that addictions are bandages we found long ago that help us deal with overwhelming emotions.
Once we resolve the root issue, there’s no need for addictions.
Our society is slowly learning that many of us have unhealed trauma. And that trauma—including little “t” traumas like being raised by overly critical parents—can lead to addictions.
What’s more, our society’s current approach uses shame, punishment and isolation to force people with addictions to stop. (Think of interventions, where family members confront the person about possibly disowning them.)
In his popular TED Talk, journalist Johann Hari underlines how healthy, supportive relationships are key to overcoming addictions:
“Human beings have a natural and innate need to bond, and when we’re happy and healthy, we’ll connect and bond with each other.
But if you can’t do that, because you’re traumatized or isolated or beaten down by life, you will bond with something that will give you some sense of relief.”
Being okay with the present moment
Not all addictions stem from trauma or abuse.
According to addiction expert Dr. Gabor Maté, all addictions stem from painful experiences though.
In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, he writes:
“At the core of every addiction is an emptiness based in abject fear. The addict dreads and abhors the present moment; she bends feverishly only toward the next time, the moment when her brain, infused with her drug of choice, will briefly experience itself as liberated from the burden of the past and the fear of the future—the two elements that make the present intolerable.
Many of us resemble the drug addict in our ineffectual efforts to fill in the spiritual black hole, the void at the center, where we have lost touch with our souls, our spirit—with those sources of meaning and value that are not contingent or fleeting.”
This makes complete sense to me.
In my story, the moment when I finally sat down to welcome—not resist—my heavy feelings was a pivotal one. Instead of escaping, I slowly began the lengthy trek back to myself.
In EFT Tapping, we can accelerate the recovery process by tapping on:
- cravings: Even though I need to eat chocolate right now, I deeply and completely accept myself.
- fears about quitting and committing to change: Even though I’m incapable of quitting…
- unresolved past wounds, especially around the time the addiction began: Even though I felt ashamed when xyz happened…
- underlying fear, grief, shame, anger, boredom and loneliness: Even though I hate feeling lonely…
- limiting beliefs about ourselves and our capabilities: Even though I don’t know who I am without this addiction…
Emotional triggers or cravings activate our body’s stress response, making it hard to think clearly and take helpful actions. Tapping quickly and effectively regulates our nervous system to prevent setbacks.
Returning to yourself
After years of running away from myself, I had to face the truth:
There’s pain here. There’s grief. And lots of shame.
I had to untie my self-worth from the fleeting happiness that sugar gave me.
Building confidence and self-compassion took many more years. If I had known about EFT Tapping earlier, I would’ve definitely used it to expedite the healing process.
Some people would rather deny their pain and prefer temporary bandages. I’ve learned as an EFT Practitioner to respect the fact that some people don’t want to heal.
I understand, it’s not easy.
But I want you to know that there’s hope too. There’s potential to grow.
Somehow, every spring, trees and flowers bloom after a long, barren winter.
Want some free support?
I’m offering free EFT Tapping sessions in exchange for a short interview via Zoom.
I enjoy connecting with other women and learning about their challenges related to confidence, boundaries and relationships.
In the first 15 minutes, I’ll ask questions like “How did you discover me?” for new content ideas. In the last 15 minutes, you’ll get an EFT session to feel calm and clear. (Yes, things can shift that quickly.)
This offer isn’t a discovery call, where we discuss my paid services. It’s a fun opportunity to connect and support each other!
If you feel inspired to work with me, we can book a free call to make sure we’re a good fit.
I look forward to connecting with you!