Have you ever felt that your life would be so much better if you could just wish away your addiction and all your mental and emotional health problems?
Ever wish you could wipe away all that angst, upset, and suffering?
If only your problems would just vanish without a trace, with no effort on your part … wouldn’t that be great?
Most of us have thought that way at some point. We buy into the common - and tantalizing! - belief that having our issues disappear would make us happy.
But what if that’s not the case?
What if, instead, it’s actually the act of healing your issues that makes us happy?
By working with the things that are underneath - the deeper issues that are causing the unhealthy manifestations - we actually find deeper joy.
The process of changing our own lives is what brings us the most satisfaction.
"Happiness comes from solving problems. The key word here is "solving." If you're avoiding your problems or feel like you don't have any problems, then you're going to make yourself miserable. If you feel like you have problems that you can't solve, you will likewise make yourself miserable. The secret sauce is in the SOLVING of the problems, not in not having problems in the first place."
-- Mark Manson, entrepreneur and blogger
In other words, wishing away your underlying core issues won’t bring you the happiness you desire. Instead, you grow in strength and happiness by actively working to resolve and heal yourself.
Ready to Begin Healing Your Underlying Core Issues?If you’re ready to truly take personal responsibility for your addiction and related issues and step into greater integrity and health, press play below.
What are Underlying Core Issues?
In our experience running a successful non 12 step rehab, we see folks suffering from all sorts of addiction and self-destructive behavior. They are in a dark place when they arrive. Almost without exception, their underlying core issues are driving upset and despair.
What are these things that we want to heal in the first place? Examples include:
- Childhood trauma
- Loss of loved one
- Traumatic event
Any of these constitute underlying core issues. They make up the mental and emotional health issues that often precipitate substance abuse and addiction.
Not sure whether something is an underlying core issue or not?
Just ask yourself this question: Is it something that I wouldn't want the world to see?
If the answer is yes, then it's probably an underlying core issue for you. It's the vulnerable part of you that you don't want to show to everyone else.
How to Work with Underlying Core Issues
The overall principle in working with these vulnerable parts and healing these underlying core issues is to give them love.
When we apply love to the parts of ourselves that hurt, we heal.
It's that simple, and it's that profound.
You may read that and think, "Okay, that sounds great. But how exactly do I do that? Okay, apply love to the parts of myself that hurt. What does that actually look like? I need some steps.”
That’s totally understandable, feeling that gap between the concept and the practice. After all, this is not a skill that most of us learned in school!
Here, we’ll give you two practical strategies that we use and teach in our addiction recovery program that you can do right here, right now, today, to start working on your underlying core issues.
The first strategy is called Free-Form Writing. This is not to be confused with journaling. It’s not the same thing at all; they’re totally separate.
In Free-Form Writing, the purpose is to just dump the thoughts in your brain on to paper with no judgment, no censoring and no editing. It is not to be saved for posterity. It is to be destroyed immediately.
Here is how Free-Form Writing looks:
- You set a timer for 10 to 15 minutes, whatever time that you have.
- Grab a blank piece of paper. Ideally, just choose a really ordinary piece of paper. You may want to use the back of another paper that you’re going to throw out anyway, just to prove to yourself this is not for keeping. Do not do this in a fancy-pants journal. This is for throwing away and destroying.
- Set the timer and just go. Just let your pen or pencil fly, just say whatever is on your mind. Be completely uncensored.
This is a really good exercise to do if you've been feeling depressed or frustrated or irritated.
Let yourself feel your anger and be as pissed-off as you want to be. You can curse, you can swear. You can say anything you want on that paper, and nobody is going to see it. You are not even going to reread it.
When that timer goes off, you're going to pick it up, and you're going to either tear it into tiny pieces and throw it in the garbage. You’ll shred it, or even better, burn it. Only do this if you can burn it safely, of course. Don't set your house on fire. But either way, completely destroy the paper.
You'll be amazed by how freeing this is, just to completely let yourself be uncensored, and then let it go. We highly recommend this if you're dealing with anger and addiction, or depression, because depression is anger turned inward.
If you're feeling depressed, Free-Form Writing is an amazing tool to jump-start your healing.
Following the Energy Back
The second tool is called "Following the Energy Back." This is a great one to use if you're feeling really unsettled by something, and you don't know why it's getting to you so much.
As an example, I used this when I was really irritated that someone wasn't getting back to me in a timely manner. I didn't feel like we were communicating very well, and I was super upset. I thought, "I'm way more upset than this situation justifies, so I think I need to follow the energy back."
To be clear, you can use this strategy any time that you're upset, but it’s particularly helpful in times you sense, "My response is overkill. I'm way more upset than is justified by these circumstances."
What you do to follow the energy back is you get quiet, you get still.
You take some deep breaths, you center yourself.
Then you think about that current upset, and you identify that feeling in your body.
Is it like a twist in your stomach, or a tightness in your chest, or like a lump in your throat? You really feel it. You're not doing anything about it, you're just feeling it.
Once you've got that feeling, you ask yourself one question, and one question only. "What is the first time I can remember feeling this way?"
Then just be still. It might take a couple of minutes.
Give yourself some patience. You might think of a bunch of memories and think, "That's like it, but that's not quite it. I don't know. I'm not sure."
Just sit with it, just be patient, just stay with it.
You will know when you hit on the very first time that you’ve felt this way, because you'll feel this resonance.
For me, it's a click; it’s a sense of, "Oh my gosh, that's it." When you find a match, it's like you're putting a puzzle together. You're thinking, "That's not quite a fit, that's not quite a fit."
Then you find another memory and you realize, "Yes. That's a click. That's a fit." That's when you've identified the first time that you can remember that feeling.
What you do next is picture yourself, however old you were back when this first happened. You might be six years old.
To take an example from my own life, you might have just asked to sit at a table with a bunch of other girls. They might have told you, "No." You might have felt so rejected and ashamed by that moment. That is the moment that comes up later when you're upset because that person didn't respond to your text message as an adult.
Part of you is still six years old and thinking that these girls are not letting you sit at their table, and that vulnerable part of you is getting triggered.
Send Love and Compassion To Your Younger Self
What you do in that moment is this: older you, grown-up you, sends love and compassion back to younger you. Just send kindness.
For me, it's thinking about my first-grade self, and just saying, "Honey, you had nothing to be ashamed of. You were fine. There was no problem with you."
It’s just sending that compassion back, present self to past self.
Again, this is deceptively simple, but it can be incredibly powerful.
Because we now know that, as Einstein said, “People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion."
Time is always only now. Time is only happening now.
That's not how we usually think of it. We think in this linear construct.
But, scientifically speaking, time is not linear.
You can send that love and that compassion back to your past self, and your past self can receive it.
It's wild, but try it, and I bet that you'll find that it's true.
Support for Healing Underlying Core Issues
If you’d like to connect with like-minded people online, join The Healing Underlying Core Issues Facebook Group. (Once you join, you also can invite those that you love by clicking “Invite a Friend”.)
You can also download our free eBook, Healing Underlying Core Issues: Find Out What’s Really Causing Your Addictions.