Love Addiction Recovery: Unveiling the Length of Withdrawal Symptoms

by Coach Ellie
Desperately wanting your  love addiction withdrawal to go away ASAP?
I’ve been you before. I know what it’s like to be digging around online, looking for some hope and guidance.
First off, sorry you’re here. Love addiction withdrawal SUCKS. 
But also WELCOME! 
Let’s begin:
3 Things Most People Don’t Know About Love Addiction Withdrawal Length
1. It takes much longer than you want it to.
Love addiction withdrawal takes months.
You need a good amount of time dedicated to processing emotions. You feel heavy, and beaten down — like there is a tractor parked on your chest. But you can lift this miserable feeling by engaging in recovery work. 
I promise, in under a year, you can feel lighter and happier.
2. The more you resist, the longer it takes.
If you distract yourself, rather than fully feeling withdrawal, you get trapped in it. This is exactly what 90% of people do because it feels so shameful and bleak. But you don’t have to be one of those people.
Lean into withdrawal and you will get better and better at  mastering your emotions.

Credit: Niklas-Hamann/Unsplash

3. You can’t control love addiction withdrawal length, only the quality of it.
Make a conscious effort to work through the pain of withdrawal. Dedicate yourself to healing; don’t text your ex and/or give up on love. It’s not easy but, you can make fine wine out of these rotten grapes.
Behavior change will strengthen your self-confidence and decrease suffering.
Understanding Love Addiction
Very few people understand love addiction. 
The term, “love addiction” sounds ridiculous. Alcohol, porn, and gambling, for example, are bad addictions but, love? Well, unlike vodka, OnlyFans, and Poker, love is essential. 
Yet, how many of us can define what “love” is?
Here are:
The Three Biggest Mistakes People Make About Love Addiction
1. They Think Love Addiction is About “Loving Too Much”
Love addiction has nothing to do with caring too much about a boyfriend or girlfriend.
It’s about how disconnected you are from yourself and thus why you can’t show up as an equal partner. There is no “you” there to add to the equation. You are only play-acting at “love” based on your best guess.
Love addiction recovery requires that you recover your authentic self.
2. They Think It Should be Easy to Get Over
Obsessing over a terrible relationship is bad.
So it stands to reason that you should be able to walk away. But it’s not that easy. Behavior change comes from the ground up.
Effective love addiction recovery has you digging into your emotional wounds. 
They Think Using the Word “Addiction” and “Addict” is Offensive
I understand why people reject the term. But, except for a handful of meditating, mountain, monks, 99% of us have some addiction. There is power in numbers here. When you join a community of “addicts” you are doing something great.
Saying “I am a love addict” is a way to form connections and practice humility.

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How to Recognize and Survive Love Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms
Love addiction withdrawal looks like any addiction withdrawal (but worse).
Unlike cigarettes or video games, we need love. This withdrawal sends you down a deep shame spiral. It tells you that you’re worthless, unlovable, and destined to be alone forever (lies!).
The symptoms are intense.
4 Common Withdrawal Symptoms 
1. Intense cravings
You are going to want to text or call them. 
Your brain will flat-out lie to you saying, “You’ll feel better if you two talk, or you check their Instagram -for a quick sec.” Don’t fall for it; Do NOT contact them. Expect these urges as they are natural. 
You can: journal about it, cry about it, talk about it but, don’t give in.
2. Emotional instability
You are experiencing complex grief.
Bubbling up to the surface now are feelings you abandoned in childhood. They have been fermenting like kimchi, for years. It’s finally time to pop the lid and get grieving.
This terrible heartache means you’re right on target.
3. Loss of identity
You feel like a “nobody” when you lose a romantic partner.
Love addiction causes you to exaggerate the importance of being part of a couple. Without a romantic interest, you worry you’re like a stained sofa, left out on the curb. This forces you to spend more time with yourself (whoever that is).
Withdrawal is an excellent chance to get acquainted with yourself.

Credit: Priscilla Du Preez/Unsplash

4. Loneliness and isolation
Intimate partnerships are love addicts’ drug of choice so, being alone is excruciating.
Love addiction has you believing you are only good enough when a significant other says you are. To experience joy you need compliments and “likes.” This is about unmet emotional needs from childhood.
Make a new practice of learning to enjoy solitude.
4 Coping Strategies I Learned During Withdrawal
1. Embrace the Power of Journaling
Get your messy feelings out on paper.
Love addiction withdrawal is a tornado of pain. I’ve been there myself. To feel better, put words on a page.
Getting your thoughts out will give you relief and a deeper perspective.
2. Halt Self-Shaming
When you hate yourself, you are feeding the addiction beast.
Starve that monster. Instead, dish up a nutritious feast for your kinder self. The goal here is maturity.
Fill your belly with self-compassion.
3. Seek Professional Help
You need guidance from somebody who understands love addiction.
Few professionals understand this form of addiction. You need someone who has experienced this pain themselves. Do your research.
Work with a good therapist or coach, especially in the beginning.

Credit: Etienne Steenkamp/Unsplash

4. Find Strength in Support Groups
Attending 12-step recovery saved me from wasting the rest of my life.
Had I not joined CoDA and later SLAA, I would have stayed stuck. In my past relationship, I felt like an emotional punching bag. Now I am married to someone who loves and supports me.
If there are no good support groups near you, there are tons of Zoom-based meetings online.
How to Reduce Your Withdrawal Symptoms by 80% Within 6 Months
Self-care! Don’t attempt withdrawal without it.
Self-care, (AKA: taking responsibility for yourself) is the brick foundation to your recovery. During the worst of my withdrawal symptoms I did this:
  • Read inspiring quotes (unoriginal, but effective)
  • Soaked for many hours at the Korean spa
  • Watched hours and hours of *YouTube videos about codependency recovery and Buddhist psychology
It put me in a healthier state of mind.
*of course I also watched plenty news videos (don’t do that).
Here are some ideas to inspire your self care.
4 Self-Care Practices to Turbo-Charge Your Recovery

Credit: Hector J Rivas/Unsplash

1. Establishing boundaries
Setting clear boundaries is critical, even if you aren’t sure what those are (yet).
Learn where you end and others begin. Fuzzy, interpersonal borders create mangled relationships. Because I didn’t understand boundaries, I relapsed many times. 
So, gobble up all the info you can about setting and maintaining personal boundaries.
2. Practicing mindfulness
Being “mindful” is another way of saying “being in the moment.”
The better you get at staying present, the better you are at honesty about what you want. You want authentic relationships. Mindfulness helps you not force intimacy with the wrong person.
Practice meditation or deep breathing, daily.
3. Engaging in physical activities
Moving your body, even stretching a bit, helps you process stuck emotions.
Attempting yoga on the carpet or a brisk climb up a dirt path both give you space from the busy mind. Releasing addictions requires real effort.
Getting physical gives you poise and self-reliance.
4. Joining support groups
Sharing what you are going through is important. Connecting with other people who “get you” is healing. In-person 12-step meetings did wonders for me. But there are tons of other options like: online forums, videos, podcasts, books, etc.
You need as much empathy, validation, and understanding as you can get.
Is ALL this Necessary?

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Can’t you focus on the positive thoughts and shake it off?
It’s hard to accept how much work is ahead of you to erase these withdrawal symptoms (without relapsing). You wrinkle your nose and shake your head in disbelief at the prescribed treatment. Love addiction withdrawal is no joke.
You are going to have to dig deep to get the gold.
  • Love addiction withdrawal takes several months and is very painful.
  • Withdrawal, if you are willing, can provide you with a personal rebirth.
  • Most people don’t understand love addiction because the term is cheesy/confusing.
  • Love addiction hurts so much because it challenges your core identity.
  • Shame fuels intense loneliness during love addiction withdrawal.
  • Give yourself the gift of NOT contacting any exes or romantic interests.
  • Healthy coping strategies protect you from relapsing.
  • You can’t self-help your way out of love addiction withdrawal. Seek support.
  • Try support groups, books, online communities, therapy, and coaching.
  • Remember; YOU ARE NOT ALONE. So many people suffer from love addiction
  • The pain of withdrawal will subside. You won’t always feel this bad.

Credit: Alexander Grey/Unsplash

Love Addiction Resources:
12-Step support groups
I recommend Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA)
It’s a 12-step support group built off the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) framework.  Relating to total strangers at Love Addiction Anonymous meetings is a pleasant surprise. Before you judge it, please try in person or online (Slaa Zoom meetings).
SLAA recommends that you try six meetings to see if it’s a good fit for you.
Codependents Anonymous (CoDA)
Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACoA)
YouTube Creators:
Patrick Teahan, here
Heidi Priebe, here
Lisa A. Romano, here
HealthyGamerGG, here
The Tao of Fully Feeling, by Pete Walker
Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl, by Natalie Lue
The Art of Communicating, by Thich That Hanh
The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma, by Bessel van der Kolk

Credit: Jackson Simmer/Unsplash

Overwhelmed by your Withdrawal Symptoms? 
Feel like you, or someone you know, could use some  help? Need some concrete guidance and support? I became a health coach, who specializes in recovery, because I know how hard this can be.
 Sign up here for a free, mini-coaching session with me, right now.

Love Addiction Recovery: Unveiling the Length of Withdrawal Symptoms

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