As our session began, Gloria shared “I’ve been drinking 3 – 5 Coke’s since my teens … so I guess I’m coming close to 30 years now. I stopped for awhile, I don’t think my stomach could take anymore. When the habit took hold again, I decided Diet Coke could be a better choice.”
Health issues aside for a moment, what Gloria felt was even worse was the sense of powerlessness she felt to change the habit. What she wanted most was to feel free. Free of the embarrassment she felt when she passed the recycling bin with the overflowing empty cans, free to make healthier choices, free to set a better example for her children.
Gloria grew up in a home where love felt conditional, where there just wasn’t much affection being shared between parents and children or between her siblings. When we explored aspects of her childhood experience, her tone changed completely when she shared with me about the yearly family vacations. A time where everyone was relaxed and it was all about connection and laughing together. She remembers vividly the joy of eating in restaurants where “fizzy drinks” and treats were a part of the adventure.
Once back at home, after Mom and Dad returned to work and the kids went into the school routine, the family connection once again felt distant. Gloria remembered a lot of alone time and feeling frustrated a lot as a child. As children, we aren’t able to change the family situation, or make sense of the distance, we may not even know how to ask for what we need to make our home situation feel better. This often leads to carrying what feels unresolved into our adult lives, showing up as a hard to resolve habit, phobia, anxiety or a locked-in-loops style of thinking.
As a young girl, the lunch money Gloria received went towards fizzy drinks. This gave her a glimpse of being back on vacation with her family, connecting in a way she secretly wished they could everyday. As a grown woman, it felt like she was being nice to herself every time she opened the fizzy can, offering a momentary escape. Until the digestive troubles, weight issues and self-judgement grew to the point where she knew she had to try something new.
Addiction experts, like Dr. Gabor Mate and Johann Hari, both share an important distinction that the remedy for addictions of all kinds is connection. “The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. The opposite of addiction is connection.”
Gloria had been struggling with what she judged herself as lack of willpower for over 3 decades and never considered it had to do with the lack of connection within her family. Our early history often repeats as our first imprint of love is created in these early experiences. As our session continued, Gloria shared that her husband travels for work during the week, leaving her on her own with the children and household responsibilities thus generating many of the same feelings of being alone and frustrated – the same way that she felt as a young girl.
From my work with those struggling with releasing all kinds of different addictions it comes down to the missing link of connection, love and acceptance. These patterns that have been woven into the body, over years the body believes it’s what allows you to keep all the balls in the air. Over the years, I’ve learned to incorporate what the body remembers, our earliest experiences that while we don’t consciously remember them, have a profound influence on how we live our lives and how we free ourselves from habits and painful patterns.
In just 3 sessions, Gloria is enjoying Kombucha as an occasional, healthy fizzy beverage. She is working with strengthening her boundaries and ability to choose what is best for her. Her relationship with her parents has been slowly opening to include conversations where she feels heard and supported.
Perhaps you can personally relate to Gloria or maybe you support clients who struggle with addictions of all types.
Do you have clients who come into your office with patterns that are difficult to break or even addictions that have huge consequences for their lives?
I’ve learned something so powerful that I’d love to share with you what has allowed me to offer a breakthrough in as quickly as 3 sessions or a single workshop. If you’d like to give your clients something they can’t find anywhere else, enhancing your expertise in your field and giving your clients the most powerful shifts in the shortest amount of time – reach out to me directly and we can have a conversation about your practice and how you would like to see it grow.