“Is it possible that the food addictions so rampant in our culture are related to the absence of primal bonding? Are addicts (of all kinds) looking for nurturing and recognition they never had? Are they running away from the fact that they were never loved and cannot love themselves?” ~Marion Woodman (The Pregnant Virgin)
Dr. Woodman asks three questions. The answer to all three is YES.
Many of us suffer from the lack of primal bonding, a deep connection in childhood to a primal source of love (mother, in most cases, but sometimes father). Thus many of us grew up feeling that we were not loved and could not love ourselves.
These conditions create a broad highway to addiction.
Addiction, in this context, is the result of trying (unconsciously) to find a replacement for the missing love connection. Our drugs of choice (food, throwing up, meds, alcohol, sex, shopping, etc.) give us brief relief but then the pain roars back as bad as before.
I believe the only real solution is to look behind the drugs of choice. You need to face the pain you are attempting to hide and then search for an authentic solution.
And that authentic solution is a love of self, of others and of God.
The tough work is finding the courage to tell ourselves the raw truth that we were not loved and we cannot love ourselves. Most people would rather lie to themselves about this fact or hide in the daze of a drug.
But our lives reflect the truth back to us without mercy. We are obese or drunk or drugged. We cannot make our relationships work. Our time is spent looking for distractions and we fear anyone or anything that threatens to drive us towards honest self-awareness.
Finally, some of us reach a place so painful, so dark and so hopeless that we cannot fool ourselves any longer. We finally stop running, open our eyes and face the empty space in our hearts where love should abide.
At that moment, we have begun our recovery and are now ready for the hand of grace that always awaits us at that sacred space.
What does that “hand of grace” bring us? If we are to recover from food addiction and love deprivation we must learn to be receptive.
What does receptive mean? In brief, it means becoming open to receiving all the love and nurture that life and relationships want to bring to us.
I will explore this topic more in Part 2 of this feature. In the meantime, take an honest look at your own ability and willingness to receive love and care from others.
You just may be surprised at what you discover. See you next time.
Matthew Anderson, D.Min. is a nationally recognized weight loss coach, columnist, motivational speaker and author of The Prayer Diet, Eating to Kill, and Why You Want to Be Fat. He also specializes in helping individuals survive and thrive during major life crises and can be contacted at www.DraUSA.com or (561) 362-4049.