Many of us are familiar with the principle of the Law of Attraction – that which you focus on is what you’ll create in your life. Some of us may even practice a version of it to create our desired life. However, how many of us have given thought to the idea that cycles of addiction (drugs, food, sex, or even undesirable thoughts and impulses) are evidence of the Law of Attraction powerfully at work?
The basis of the principle, as explained by Abraham in the book Law of Attraction by Jerry and Ester Hicks, states that when we give our attention to something and anticipate it with strong emotions, it becomes more sharply focused in our lives.
There are many theories that explain the reasons why addictions have such a powerful hold on us. One of them is the positive-incentive theory which states “that addicts are first and foremost caught in a web of expectation.” According to this theory, the anticipation of the pleasure (or release) outweighs the actual experience. Award-winning professors of Psychology who study addiction, Terry E. Robinson and Kent C. Berridge “emphasize that it’s not the pleasure of the drug that is fundamental to addiction. Rather, it’s the wanting, the anticipation of a joyful high, or the release and disinhibition of drunkenness.”
The emotional highs that Robinson and Berridge describe are exactly the types of emotions that Abraham talks about. The problem is that addicts are using the very real power of the Law of Attraction to create deeper cycles of addiction. The driving force, the fuel of any manifestation is their singular focus and strong emotion.
If misplaced emotions lead to self-sabotaging behavior, what’s the solution? In the 1990s a Stanford engineer by the name of Gary Craig developed a system he called Emotional Freedom Technique, better known as EFT or tapping (because we tap on acupressure points). It was adapted from an earlier therapy created by a psychologist named Dr. Roger Callahan. The benefit of EFT (or tapping) is to experience freedom from conscious, but mostly unconscious emotions that keep us stuck in undesirable behavior patterns.
How does EFT work? You start by tuning into a distressing incident, such as a recent relapse. You tap on your acupressure points as you recall the event. The focus on the event can bring about a full body stress response which creates a visceral and emotional reaction. Typically the emotions are layered. An example might be feeling a sense of self-loathing for being “weak.” As you continue to “tap” the primary emotion subsides and it may be replaced by another one, such as feeling “out of control.” During the course of one session, you can uncover and release close to a dozen different emotions. Often times you also uncover an unwillingness (at some level) of letting go of the anticipatory high, which justifies the need for the addition.
As we “tap” on old traumatizing events and emotions, our brain goes through a period of reconsolidation, and our emotions related to that event change. This in turn shifts our beliefs related to those events. In other words, as we release the emotional high we have associated with an addiction, we release the belief that props up the emotion, and ultimately the behavior begins to collapse from the inside out.
Only at this stage will an addict be emotionally willing to redirect the strong emotions felt for the anticipated high towards more self-affirming behavior, once again harnessing the power of the Law of Attraction!
Naheed Oberfeld is an EFT practitioner, coach, and speaker based out of Germantown Maryland. She uses EFT and the Law of Attraction to help her clients live their full potential by releasing patterns of behavior that keep them stuck. She has helped her clients grow their businesses, reach their career goals, and mend broken relationships, all while creating a life of ease, joy, and passion.
 James L. Furrow, Johnson S. M., Bradley B. A. (Eds.) (2011). Emotionally Focused Casebook: New Directions in Treating Couples. Routledge.