Each week I meet with fellow addicts. We introduce ourselves by first name only followed by “…and I am an addict.” I am a recovering (sex and love) addict. But even though I acknowledge that I am an addict, I also know that I am not my addiction.
My addiction is a symptom. The same way coughing and sneezing can be a symptom of a cold and flu virus, my addiction is a symptom of a much deeper problem.
The underlying problem is shame and self-loathing. I ‘created’ this addiction in order to cope with the painful image I have of myself.
Shame is what fuels the addiction. Self-loathing goes hand-in-hand with shame and creates the perfect storm for addiction. Shame and addiction are virtually inseparable causing the ‘cycle of shame’ that keeps the addiction alive.
When I feel unworthy, I am feeling shame. But shame is not an accurate emotion that describes who we are and what we are worth.
If you feel shame, you are experiencing an emotion that is not based on truth. You are much more than your shame. You are worthy of love and acceptance. You are worth a great deal simply because you are a child of God.
You are not your addiction… you are much, much more.