Understanding and Overcoming Addictions and Cravings with EFT

Gloria Arenson - EFT Tapping Articles Written by Gloria Arenson

What do you do if you just can’t stop?

Overcoming addictions isn’t easy. Sometimes you’re able to ignore your cravings, but what do you do if you just can’t stop overeating, drinking, drugging, spending, gambling, smoking, sitting at your computer watching porn, cruising bars for one night stands, text messaging or some other addiction that only makes you feel good temporarily?

What do you do when the cravings and addictions feel stronger than you are?

Many people will suggest that you “just say NO” to cravings. However, that doesn’t work permanently. Have you ever noticed that when you are able to stop one unwanted behavior you often begin doing something else compulsively? Many alcoholics overeat sugary foods while compulsive eaters often are shopaholics. In the 1800’s, thousands of alcoholics in Ireland who swore off booze became addicted to drinking ether!

My client Jane was an alcoholic, drug abusing, compulsive overeater. She could never get free of all three cravings at the same time. When she moved away to a new city her addiction counselor told her, “Whatever you do, don’t drink!” She later wrote to me that she had stopped drinking but had gained 30 pounds! It took her more than ten years to finally kick all her addictions using conventional therapy.

Why Stress Fuels Your Cravings

How do you stop going from one feel-good addiction to another? The answer lies in the pleasure center of the brain. Everyone experiences some kind of stress in his or her life. I call the kind of stress that causes the most problems Super Stress. Super Stress occurs when you feel totally powerless over a situation or relationship in your life. You tell yourself, “Ain’t it awful and there’s nothing I can do about it!”

Super Stress creates an imbalance in the dopamine and serotonin in the brain’s pleasure center. The longing for relief from stress, whether physical or emotional, is what creates craving. The craving is directed toward any substance or behavior that will make you feel good and raise the dopamine.

But relief is temporary. When the stressful situation continues the craving returns. It’s why overcoming addiction without addressing your stressful triggers is so difficult. The way to end craving and addiction cycles is to learn how to balance the dopamine and serotonin in your brain. When you use EFT it raises the serotonin and the craving stops.

How to Use EFT to Tap Away Your Super Stress and Your Cravings

Here’s what to do. Tap as soon as you feel a craving begin to take over. Follow these simple steps.

  1. Rate your craving from 1-10 in intensity.
  2. Focus on this statement as you tap your Karate Chop Spot, saying it 3 times: Even though I really want to _________(describe the compulsive behavior or craving) so badly that I am not sure that I can control myself, I am tapping on that now.
  3. Tap 2-3 rounds as you get in touch with what you’re craving, how much you want to do it, have it, act it out and how good it will make you feel.
  4. Stop and take stock. Rate the intensity of your craving again. Is it the same, lower, higher? Keep tapping until you reach zero and the craving is gone.

Here are some of the common troublesome thoughts and feelings that may come up as you tap. If you discover others be sure to tap about each one until it is no longer true.

  • If I stop now I will feel too deprived.
  • I don’t deserve to get over this problem.
  • Overcoming addiction is impossible. It’s stronger than I am.
  • I can’t live without this _______(substance/behavior/addiction).
  • I won’t be me if I don’t act this way.
  • I’ll never succeed, so why bother.

If you are not able to stop yourself and you end up bingeing, don’t despair. Each binge is revealing something about your stress. Once you discover the specific Super Stress that created the craving, you can heal the origin of that stress. The more Super Stress you heal, the weaker your addiction will be and the fewer cravings you will feel.

Recovering from Your Addictions

After a binge, instead of beating yourself up for your lack of willpower, ask yourself to rate the strength of the craving from 1-10. Next think about what was happening in your life the day or week before the binge that was as intensely upsetting as the craving. Use EFT to treat that situation or relationship problem that you didn’t want to face.

Kathy, a bulimic, reported that she had 3 unstoppable binge/purge sessions last weekend. When I asked her if anything had recently upset her, she reported that she attended a memorial service for a beloved young woman she had known since childhood who had committed suicide. This tragedy triggered unfinished grief about the murder of a member of Kathy’s family a few years ago that has still not healed. Using EFT helped her calm herself and reduced the horror of these events. Kathy’s reactions also showed her that she still has to heal other losses in her past that she has been medicating with food.

Keep in mind that cravings are indications that your life is out of balance, not that you are bad, stupid or unlovable. Overcoming addiction is possible if you know what’s causing it. Tap your stress away and your cravings will disappear.

Gloria Arenson Bio

Gloria Arenson

Gloria Arenson, MFT, DCEP, specializes in using EFT to help people overcome compulsive behaviors, especially overeating, bulimia, compulsive spending, and procrastination. She has successfully treated hundreds of people for stress, anxiety, trauma, and fears. Her innovative work for healing relationship problems is described in the eBook Grownup Love: Getting It and Keeping It. Gloria is […]




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One Response to “Understanding and Overcoming Addictions and Cravings with EFT”

  1. Mildred says:

    What is the Karate chop spot?

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