The Law of Addiction: Any re-engagement with an addictive substance, by a recovering addict, will cause an automatic re-addiction.
Implementing the No Contact rule, on a toxic relationship, gives us a measure of control, over a relationship that seems, very much, out of our control.
High risk relationships, like the peak and valley type, where one is repeatedly crashing and soaring, (breaking up and getting back together) affect the same parts of the brain as a drug addiction. Studies by Fisher, Brown, Aron, Strong, and Mashek 2010, conclude that the similarities between addictive substances and love-sex based attachments rely upon the same psychological, chemical and neuroanatomical substrates.
The same sensations such as cravings, obsessive thinking, compulsion, mood swings, distortion of reality, emotional dependence, personality changes, risk taking behaviors and a loss of self-control are all common to those going through a withdrawal of an addictive substance and in this case, a relationship.
The goal for recovering addicts is a cessation of usage of the addictive substance, similarly when one is trying to break free from an emotional manipulator, you need to approach it the same way.
No contact is akin to cold turkey and you have to be prepared for the same types of withdrawal symptoms. You’re going to have obsessive thoughts, cravings, desires to break no contact, and several other psychological and physiological symptoms. There undoubtably will be moments when you’re going to feel like giving in is easier than existing in your present state.
They say that the most important time to work out is when you don’t feel like working out and the same thing goes with no contact – It’s during the times when you want to reach and re-establish contact that you must be the most vigilant.
Tips to Help Keep You in No Contact
- Be constantly mindful that your critical parent voice is at it’s strongest during no contact. It feels you are trying to make a change and it goes into high alert. It will do it’s damnedest to sabotage you, by finding reasons and justifications for you to do things you know you shouldn’t. Acknowledge the voice, be mindful of it, but do not give into it – tell it to “f-off.” Tell it you’re in charge now and you’re no longer listening.
- If you’re prone to reach out when you’re drinking – don’t drink during this, the most vulnerable time, in your healing. Stay away from things that trigger you or make you feel weak.
- Have a friend on stand-by that you can call whenever you feel tempted.
- Distract yourself – go work out, hang out with friends, go shopping, visit family, clean your house, cook an amazing meal, garden, start a hobby, visit dogs at a local shelter, take a book to a coffee shop and be around people, go bike riding, walk along the beach – anything to divert your attention away from the craving.
- Understand that the feeling is temporary. It will pass, so ride it out.
- Keep your list of relationship crimes handy – put it in your phone so you have it with you at all times and read it whenever the craving hits. Allow it to change your mental state – get mad, be pissed off that you were treated this way.
- Come back to reality and start seeing him/her for who they really are, not the fantasy you keep dreaming about.
- It feels worse before it feels better. Stay the course.
- Think about how much better your life will be when you get past this. Plan your future. Focus on the next chapter, your goals and how you want your life to be.
- Be determined and disciplined to beat this tell yourself you’ll do whatever it takes.
Breaking No Contact
If you do give in and break No Contact, brush yourself off and get back to it. Do not go on a Narcissistic binge. The longer you stay engaged with it, the longer you delay your healing. So, put down your phone and get back on the wagon. You can think of it as a cheat day, but it’s the only one you’re going to allow yourself. Remember it’s a lot easier to maintain no contact than it is to start all over again. And if you’re thinking you’re strong enough to make contact without it having an impact on you, that you won’t get sucked back in – think again and reread the Law of Addiction again.
Once you are free of your love addiction you will notice an entirely different world. The anxiety you walked around with daily, will dissipate. You’ll feel lighter, breathe easier and walk taller. You’ll feel the toxins leaving your body, giving you a stronger healthier immune system. When the drama has left your life, you no longer have to walk on egg shells, you will feel a great sense of control over yourself and your emotions. When the negativity has gone you’ll feel optimistic and excited about your life. You’ll be focused on you and your happiness and you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish and just how skilled and talented you really are. But most importantly, at the end of this love addiction, you’ll find peace, stability, harmony, happiness, freedom, joy, autonomy and you’ll find yourself.
The journey is worth it. It’s not an easy road, but it’s a necessary one. So, pick up your sword, dust yourself off and battle through it.
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