Do you ever feel like you are trying to fill up a spot inside that never feels full?  The feeling is  like a hollow or empty feeling that’s terribly uncomfortable. While sometimes addictions or addictive behaviors can be  attempts to avoid feelings, they can also be attempts to feel feelings too.  People who have a compulsive need to eat or drink continuously, aside from the body’s actual need for nourishment, may be trying to fill an internal emotional gap or hole.  The problem with emotional holes is they are not filled permanently by external means.  Sure, a full feeling following a huge meal, a milkshake, or a snacking binge does feel satisfying for a little while, the feeling wears off quickly (sometimes within minutes).  Trying to fill emotional needs with a substance or activity, is an additive behavior that only increases the feeling of emptiness over time.  It’s not always possible to determine exactly what the emotional need is or when it was neglected.  However, it can be healed or filled and sealed in the present.  Inner child healing exercises (research John Bradshaw for examples) can slowly begin to fill up the empty spot that’s been haunting you.  If nothing else, self care that does not involve substances, addictive behaviors, or avoidance is a good place to start.  Another strategy is to not avoid the empty feeling.  Spend a few minutes (as long as possible) allowing yourself to feel that feeling.  Insight may come to you regarding where the emptiness originated and what the missing piece is.  If it does come to you then begin addressing the feelings from the past while at the same time remaining in the present.  Acknowledge the feeling, accept the feeling, and tell yourself any number of positive coping statements or affirmations to get through.  Feeling empty, hollow, or like a piece inside is missing feels horrible.  However, trying to fill in this gap in a number of unhealthy ways is not going to help in the long run.  It may even make you feel worse.   Start with “I am strong, confident, and wise” if you can’t think of anything else better.  Repeat this affirmation over and over each time you have an urge, craving, or compulsion to engage in addictions or addictive behaviors.  Try some inner child healing exercises (John Bradshaw) as well if you feel ready.

John Bradshaw Site

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