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Craving Contact in Withdrawal

Let’s face it we're human, and when we are in pain we want to get rid of it and fast. For this reason, the agony of withdrawal often drives addicts back to their addiction- it is an immense challenge for people in the early part of recovery. Of course, to go back for relief to something that has been destructive is destructive in and of itself.

For love addicts, it is no different. Being in withdrawal and intensely obsessing about an ex-partner, you convince yourself the only way to feel good again is to either make contact or somehow get your ex back to start the relationship over again… sound familiar?


If a love addict is able to achieve the “hit” - make contact or win the ex-partner back, withdrawal symptoms cease, if only temporarily (Like a heroin addict experiencing withdrawal- withdrawal symptoms will cease if the drug is again used).

If a love addict is unable to win the ex-partner back or create ongoing contact (real or imagined contact), the next person to come along may replace the old fantasy, and bring some form of relief from withdrawal symptoms…unfortunately, the addictive patterns and painful consequences inevitably continue.


Like all addicts in emotional or physical withdrawal – there is an acute sense of a desperation for the “hit”: of that which they have been addicted. For love addicts, they become desperate for a “hit” for their ex-partner (even current partner on some cases).

Like a drug addict in withdrawal from cocaine, intensely obsessing about snorting a line right up the nose to alleviate the painful symptoms— the love addict will often obsess about creating any kind of contact or connection to their drug (ex-partner). For alcoholics-- their way of contact would be to stop at the liquor store to take a swig of the bottle. The love addict in contrast, wants any physical contact, emotional contact, or perceived contact with the ex-partner.

There comes a potent feeling that seems extremely real, that - “I need him/her” to survive. “No one else can make me feel so good”. “If I am feeling so much pain and craving for him/her, it must be real love”

To find relief from withdrawal symptoms, face-to-face contact is not always necessary. Any type of real or imagined contact or “hit” from the source will do.

Examples of how love addicts try to “get a hit” include:

  • Texting - any excuse to engage
  • Drive byes- home, work, etc.
  • Break into email accounts
  • Facebook, Twitter, or any social media (search for information about him/her)
  • Contact with ex-partners close friends, relatives, etc.
  • Repeated phone calls; hanging up (just to hear his/her voice)
  • Showing up at the ex’s door (Face to face contact)
  • Pleading, begging, Trying to regain or “win” back ex-partner
  • Seductive behaviors
  • Sexual encounters with ex
  • Acting out revengeful thoughts
  • Telling the ex-partner, “I just want to be friends”
  • Going to lengths to “help” and “support” through tough times; tell yourself
    “I’m just being nice”; “He has no one else who understands," etc.

As mentioned, a “hit” does not have to be real communication or contact- it can be ANY perceived contact.

If a love addict is unable to continue contact, the unfortunate alternative which is common, is to jump into another relationship with someone new, hoping this will drive away the pain; or by switching to another addiction to escape the pain through by, for example, continuous drinking, smoking, drugs or sexual activities or promiscuity.

If you want to heal and survive your withdrawal— trying to return to your ex or trying to escape with another addiction are the last things you want to do. For one, it will prolong your agony; and if you continue your ongoing pattern by escaping from your feelings and repressing the core issues that need resolution and healing— your compulsive behaviors in love addiction will merely continue in other future relationships-- yes, over and over again.

You deserve better. Take care of You. This is the time- the moment to take action to do the right thing in the right direction- whatever it takes! Begin your recovery now and stick with it and You Will get out of the pain and desperation. Although right now  it may not feel like it in the midst of this pain and obsession— with relentless and persistent effort in your  recovery, you will eventually look back on this experience and will wonder why you were so desperate for this “hit”, and pined for someone who was sooo undeserving of pining for.

If you're in love withdrawal because of a breakup- You will benefit from my workbook SURVIVING WITHDRAWAL: The Break Up Workbook for Love Addicts.

Consider reading:

Love Withdrawal and Unresolved Grief

8 Steps to Overcome a Breakup in Love Addiction

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