An Addiction of Another Kind


By: Lisa Hayes

She remembers it well, just like it was yesterday, except it was more than two years ago. It was the first time Amber used heroin. She was at a party. She was having a blast. It made everything even more exciting. However, it was only a matter of weeks before she was well past using to make things exciting. Soon she was using to make things bearable.

She promised herself over and over again she wouldn’t take another hit, but she broke that promise as many times as she made it.

Amber felt miserable. She hated herself. She needed to feel better, and as the cold needle pierced her vein she could feel the adrenaline start to flow. All the possibilities in the universe opened up. For a split second, or maybe even a couple of hours she felt alive. She felt normal. She even felt worthy. But before it was over she couldn’t remember how long the high lasted and the shame and the regret made her hate herself more than before. The problem is, the more she hated herself, the more she craved the thing that made her feel better, if only for a moment.

We all know exactly what that is.

Kimberly remembers it well. It was three weeks after she left her marriage of ten years. She felt both anxious and excited all at the same time. The world of online dating was amazing. At first she did it because she wanted to feel awake again.

However, as the days after she left her husband passed, her loneliness was overtaken by her uncertainty and insecurity.

Now she couldn’t think of a reason to like herself. So she trolled online dating sites for a man that would love her. She put her first profiles, plural, online 18 months ago, and a day hasn’t passed since that she hasn’t logged on, many times, in hopes of finding the one, or something.

She promised herself she’d stop, but she felt hopeless. Kimberly needed validation. She needed to feel beautiful. She needed attention so she wouldn’t feel invisible. So, she typed in her password once again and began sending messages to strangers. Kimberly really was pretty, so it wasn’t hard to get attention, even though it was never the attention she was really seeking. As she typed, the adrenaline began to flow and for the moment all she could see was possibility, the possibility that she’d be seen. For a moment in time she felt worthy. But before she knew it the adrenaline faded into despair and regret. Shame and loathing followed because no one really saw her. The problem is the more she loathed herself, the more she needed someone else to love her. Kimberly craved the attention like her life depended on it.

We many not know what that is.

Some might say Kimberly had a sex addiction. However, not all of her encounters ended in sex. In fact, very few actually did. That said, the ones that did end in sex made her feel worse, not better, not even for a little while. But don’t kid yourself. Kimberly’s behavior was an addiction and although it might seem less dangerous than the heroin, in fact some might scoff at the comparison, the long-term ramifications are almost a dire.

Approval and validation set off a chemical firestorm in the reward centers of the brain. So do drugs. When that happens a very complex neurochemical set of events starts in motion. The more of the “drug” you get, the more you crave it, and it doesn’t take long before the drug seeking behavior begins.

When a woman who cannot see her own worth, who cannot validate herself, is dating she is very vulnerable to approval seeking addiction behaviors. She will do a lot of things she wouldn’t otherwise just to get a fix.

Outsourcing your self-esteem is very, very risky business.

I’m not suggesting every woman with a low self-esteem is going to end up like Kimberly. However, any woman with a low self-esteem who’s dating is at risk.

She’s at risk for settling.

She’s at risk for compromising herself.

She is at much greater risk for being preyed on by bad people with ill intent.

She is at much greater risk for being a victim of physical violence at the hands of someone she dates.

One of the most important questions a woman can ask herself is, “Am I ready to date?”.

There is no one-size-fits-all formula to answer that question. However, the real questions should be, “Do I love myself enough? Do I know who I am and know my worth? Will I feel beautiful inside and out even if no one else seems to see that?” Those are deeply personal questions and they are the only ones that matter.

Anytime you’re looking for someone or something outside yourself to fill the hole in your soul, you’re in trouble.
If you have a hole in your soul, big or small, dating is a dangerous pursuit.


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Lisa Hayes, The Love Whisperer, is an LOA Relationship Coach. She helps clients leverage Law of Attraction to get the relationships they dream about and build the lives they want. Lisa is the author of the newly released hit book, Score Your Soulmate and How to Escape from Relationship Hell and The Passion Plan.

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