Addiction to Love - Is it a Real Obsession?
By Jim Hall, MS, Love Addict Recovery Coach
While there are some in the professional community that are not sure or doubt that love addiction exists, I would remind them that 20 to 30 years ago many professionals were cynical that sex addiction was real.
Now, there are very few in the psychological or counseling profession who will argue against the existence of sexual addiction. Over the years attention of sexual addiction has, in part, exploded because of the internet and the availability of pornographic sites; these sites being the most profitable industry on the web.
What is more, internationally we now have a 12 step recovery support group called Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous or SLAA. It's all over the world for a reason - sex addiction is a large and global problem for many people. But notice the word Love in this international group. It is a group not only for sex addicts but also love addicts. And again, it is a recovery program that is in many countries aroud the world. * Many sex addicts can also be love addicts.
There once used to be doubt about whether Sex Addiction as real.
There are components of love addiction attached to sex addiction, no doubt. In fact, some love addicts do attend SLAA to as part of their recovery.
Early in my recovery as I sought support for my recovery over love addiction, I attended these groups. I did find good people who were supportive and I was grateful for their support.
But as I listened to many of their stories, I could not relate. I did not relate because I was not addicted to sex and many of the behavior's were distinctively different.
Although many of the compulsion's and desires of seeking external validation were the same, as they are with all addictions, I never had a connection to sexual addiction - this is also true for many love addicts.
But now let's gets back to the addiction to love or relationships, people, romance.
First off, love addiction is not really an addiction to love. What exists in genuine love is real intimacy, congruence, flexibility, and doesn't have a dependency component. Love addiction an addiction to a pseudo, or false love.
To the love addict, it certainly feels like real love and intimacy, but these are emotions we're talking about. Just because we feel something (love), doesn't make it real.
Love addiction is real-- but is not an addiction to real, genuine love.
Love is the addiction to the fantasy- an addiction to the denial of what a love addict holds on to very tight.
The fantasy interconnected with denial is what creates the "high". It turns on the brain chemicals that make a love addict feel alive, or "high". Like any other addiction, the purpose of an addiction is to feel good, feel alive, feel worth, and ultimately, to escape reality of life.
This is done by using something external from the self (drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, work, and the list goes on).
To put it simply, love addiction is a psychological addiction to a person or the fantasy of the person which results in certain behavior's, compulsion's, and obsessions.
It is a person who needs to engage in the fantasy of someone despite the harm it causes out of a desire for the positive effects. The positive effects, or feelings, are created by endorphin's and other neuro-chemicals in the brain.
In addictions (any addiction), there exists withdrawal without the alcohol or substance. As with love addiction, there is withdrawal when the love addict cannot be in the presence of the person they've become addicted to.
Typically when love addicts are going through a breakup of a relationship, or when their partner continues to distant from the love addict, there can be excruciating withdrawal.
If the love addict is able to get the person back in his presence, withdrawal symptoms cease, just like an alcoholic addicted to alcohol, or a heroin addict addicted to heroin.
If the love addict cannot get the person back, the next person to come along will replace the fantasy, and bring the relief back into the love addicts life- albeit, temporarily, like other addictions.
Furthermore, the more one uses the drug of choice, tolerance to that drug develops and the addict needs more and more. Just like the love addict who needs more and more closeness, assurance and total security of the person they've become addicted to.
In the future, I believe love and relationship addiction will be properly recognized as a true addiction.
But we don't need to wait for this truth to finally be acknowledged. Truth is, love addiction is now being treated at a some of the worlds top treatment centres.
Unfortunately, these treatment centres cost thousands and thousands of dollars which 98% of the population cannot afford. But this doesn't mean we can't change and recover from this toxic addiction.
This is why I started this web site (read my bio, About Jim) to help people who want to break the love addiction to pieces and experience healthy and fulfilling love not only in romance but with themselves.
Love addiction is a powerful addiction. It involves similar characteristics and patterns of other types of addictions and compulsions (obsession, withdrawal, etc.). Ask anyone who has been through it. And if you are going through it you can probably attest to how real an addiction to love really is.