Having been an addictions counselor for years and in my personal recovery since 1976, I know that healing comes from within. It usually begins with someone realizing that another person is loving them unconditionally. What is unconditional love? It is love from one person to another without ulterior motives. Unfortunately, we usually experience unconditional love from new people in our lives.
After we learn how to shut off this committee of negative voices in our head, we begin to see how our real self is vulnerable to such attacks from our mind. The mind is best used as the switching station for our thoughts. If it is allowed to dominate and control, it will choose to keep us submissive by negatively. I always say that our mind is out to get us. But, in reality, we simply have to learn how to use the mind and begin relying more on the soul as our guide for our lives.
To help others to learn about themselves, I have chosen reparenting as an avenue to help them to not only learn how to parent but also to learn how to be better parents to themselves.
Personal growth is like the grass, as Walt Whitman wrote in his poem about war, “I am the grass, I cover all”. When I was at Guantanamo Bay, from my office I looked down on the air field below me that was unused and covered in wild grasses. And I understood that as a living creature, I was either living or I was dying. Grass doesn’t get to a certain height and then stop growing. As Bob Dylan sang, “he not busy being born is busy dying”.
One of the greatest gifts we can give to another is an avenue to help them to help others. If you have a negative self-image, you don’t believe that you have anything to give. Teaching others how to parent– which is what reparenting is–teaches them skills to help anyone. As we help others, we learn how to love ourselves.
From Bernie Siegal, a wonderful healer that I have read for years, has one of the best explanations I’ve read of reparenting: Q & A with Bernie-May 12, 2014:
Question for Bernie:
“Thank you for incarnating and agreeing to help others. I am struggling with alcoholism and am able to keep from drinking by using AA meetings and your books.
I believe I have come to alcoholism through genetics and my neural wiring, not through lack of willpower or religious conviction. No matter the cause, I know there is no cure but abstinence, and I am committed to remaining so.
My question is—will science ever be able to ascertain the origin of alcoholism and why some struggle with it and why others may drink without problems? Thank you.”
“It is about parenting and growing up with love. If you were not raised by loving, responsible parents who took every opportunity to give you the message that you were loved, the door was left open for addictions to enter your life.
For some children, the absence of love from their parents is filled by others who love them unconditionally, closing the door on damaging substitutes like addictions. But if no one was there for you, the emptiness in your heart was going to be filled by something because “Nature abhors a vacuum.” And once through that door, addictions will remain in control of your life unless you learn how to give yourself the love you did not get as a child. I call that “re-parenting.”
Your body and mind need to see, hear, and feel unconditional love, and you can meet these needs by re-parenting yourself. Put pictures of yourself from childhood all the way through to the present around your home, and each time you see one of those photographs, tell the person in it, whether a child or older, that you love her very, very much. Tell her that you admire her for her strength and determination to overcome behaviors that are damaging her and taking away the wonderful life she deserves to live.
Write down an affirmation for yourself that you can say many times throughout the day and just before you go to sleep. Something like:
I am a strong, loving person.I love myself for reaching out to get the encouragement to learn how to re-parent myself and restore to my Mind, Body, and Spirit the love I missed as a child.
Now I have the love I needed as a child and I no longer need to rely on something or someone to give me the love I deserved from the beginning of my life and deserve every day I live.
The love you learn to give yourself now will fill the empty space in your heart left by being unloved as a child. Devote the rest of your life to loving yourself and to strengthening your Mind-Body-Spirit Connection with healthy habits in nutrition, exercise, and taking care of your body. When you do these things, you are sending a very clear message to your immune system that you want to LIVE!
Make room in your life for others who need love. Once you are comfortable giving unconditional love to yourself (from that little girl in the pictures all the way to the present day), find a way you would enjoy sharing your love with others. Remember, there are no conditions on the love you have for yourself or others. Free yourself from repeating any experiences you had as a child of be judged or criticized instead of loved and supported.”