Type to search

Ask the LifeQuake Doctor – May/Jun 2014

Ask the LifeQuake Doctor – May/Jun 2014

Dear Dr. Toni:

I am a female psychotherapist who specializes in process addictions. Mostly I work with people who are the Adult Children of Alcoholics and Addicts who have codependency issues and love addiction challenges. I myself am the adult child of a process addict whose addiction was gambling. Recently I broke up with a man whom I had been involved with on and off for three years.

Every time we end the relationship, the loss of intimacy takes me right into the toilet. I live alone and work out of my home. I am writing a new book, but have no inspiration for it. I have no idea when you will publish this or if you will, but I thought it was worth writing for other therapists who work solo. How do you find the energy to serve others when your heart is hurting? I find it difficult to get up in the morning. I am not sleeping well.
Do you have any suggestions for moving on joyfully?

–Dazed and Confused


Dear Reader:  

It is indeed difficult for someone who is isolated in his or her lifestyle to adjust to the loss of a partner or lover. You don’t mention it, but I would encourage you to cultivate female friendships right now. Women have a more difficult time moving on than men do because they require eight times the amount of oxytocin as men to have balanced neurotransmitters. Oxytocin is the bonding hormone that produces a feeling of calm and well-being.  

Socializing with other women in the early stages of grief can help. It has been known to stimulate oxytocin for women when they are with women they feel safe and loved by.  

Here are some more tips to get you through this difficult time.   


  1. Make sure you are feeding your heart and brain. When we lose our love connection, the grief that ensues can cause a loss of appetite or it can increase the desire for chocolate, which mimics the feeling of being in love.What the brain loves are essential fats like salmon, sardines, and flax oil. The heart loves to be calm, so feeding it lots of leafy greens will alkalinize the body tissue and calm the nervous system. I would avoid artificial stimulants like caffeinated drinks or sugar.  
  2. If sleep is an issue, find an acupuncturist or naturopathic doctor who can prescribe herbs or supplements that can help with sleep. Melatonin and tryptophan have been known to help some people. Supporting your adrenals is so important for getting enough sleep at night so you are not tired or wired during the day. Vitamin C several times a day helps the adrenals. Some people find taking herbs like ashwaghanda and rhodiola help.  
  3. Gentle yoga or walks in nature can be very uplifting to the soul and strengthening to the circulation of the body.  
  4. Feeding your spirit before you get out of bed in the morning, or perhaps doing some kind of gratitude ritual can help, as well as simply spending time dropping into your body and connecting with your body through your breath.  
  5. Going to Al-Anon meetings or Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous for group support is enormously helpful if you are not already doing this.  
  6. Either with another therapist or by yourself you may want to look at the patterns that have shown up in all your relationships and do some somatic reprocessing on early childhood bonding patterns. By doing this you can strengthen the part of you that can be a good mother and a good father to yourself—nurturing and yet setting good boundaries with both yourself and others.  
  7. Moving on joyfully may take some time. I would suggest in the meantime that you take some time at the end of each day to reflect on what used to give you joy. Keep a journal of joyful moments.   


“The Dark Night of the Soul” has been written about by many mystics as a time when the ego has the opportunity to withdraw from the world and journey toward the soul. These dark nights often come at major transition moments and can be the catalyst for great transformation.  

Blessings to you.