Sucking Isn’t Feeding: Quitting Our Addiction to Physical, Emotional, and Mental Pacifiers


Photo by Jacqueline Godany

It’s hard out here for a Quitter.  Don’t believe me?  Just commit to seriously letting go of that nasty attitude, or resigning from fear.  Really decide to stop sharing the juicy gossip oozing from the corner of your mouth, or holding that justified grudge.

You’ll soon find yourself very uncomfortable as you allow Love to tear down (ouchie) and re-build your life, towing away junk that was never cute and has never served you…though it may have felt (real) good, right, or appropriate all those years.

Quitting can be stressful.  So, how do we deal with the stress and uncomfortableness of the quitting journey?

Well, we grab our PACIFIERS!

The purpose of a pacifier isn’t deep – just ask the next 1- or 2-year-old you see with wet cheeks, going IN on a pacifier – “If you want me to stop crying, give me my binky!”

Likewise, grown folks’ pacifiers soothe, bring comfort, provide an escape, or take our minds off of a stressful, painful, or discomforting situation or state of being.

Here are some examples of our physical, emotional, and *mental pacifiers:

Food, sex, masturbation, sleep, shopping, work, entertainment, gambling, alcohol, drugs, isolation
*Denial, blame, manipulation, deflection, projection, fantasy, rumination

We all need breaks and reprieves.  Time to vent.  We all need a breather from the struggles.  I know I do.  I have moments when I’m tempted to over-please others, control and manipulate situations, fire off at the mouth or give a swift right hook when someone makes me mad I have an angry response to someone (read “Kim‘s in progress”). I need relief!  You too?

Whatever our mode of comfort, whatever we do to pacify ourselves, there are some things Love wants us to consider:

1. Pacifiers need supervision.
We don’t typically give pacifiers the level of care that’s needed.  Because our focus is on numbing and soothing the pain or discomfort, we’re not necessarily concerned that the “pacifier” was just on the floor collecting germs. We become nonchalant, doing “it” without thinking, which threatens our healing and well-being.  Take inventory on what your pacifiers are and how much attention you give them. An unchecked pacifier can disrupt other areas of your life, due to infection (unhealthy) and wear and tear (over-use).

2.  Weaning is winning.
Ever see an 18-year-old walking around sucking on a binky? Foolishness, no? Well, a part of our Love-plan is to ween ourselves off the pacifiers in our lives. Love wants us to mature, grow to not need the same ol’ stroking and soothing that our “babe” self needs.  God is gracious to give us the space and time to mature, but Loves us enough to push us to maturity.  The day will come when stress and pain hits, and we won’t run out and blow up the VISA, binge on Haagen-Dazs, or engorge on 1-night stands. One day, we’ll be the toddler who forgets all about the binky, because we won’t need it anymore.

3. Sucking isn’t feeding.
It may numb the pain, but it provides no nutrition.  It may ease the discomfort, but does it heal?  Healing and growth are the ultimate goals for our lives. So we have to be careful not to be lulled by the suck, and neglect nutrition. In order to grow, we’ve got to do more than pacify; we have to nourish our lives by feeding on prayer, meditation, being around Love-minded people, helping others despite our current circumstances.  If it supports growth and well-being according to the Love-plan, eat it, think it, do those things and edify your life.

So, how are YOU managing your life pacifiers?
In what ways can we safely pacify ourselves?

[Note:  If you are using alcohol, drugs, gambling, or any other addictive vice and you know (or have been told) it’s outta control, I encourage you to seek professional help and get to quittin’ it, k? Love you.]

“Dear Love, I quit replacing nourishment with numbing thoughts, behaviors, and habits. Help me to feed on things that edify, not just suck on things that pacify.”

4 responses to “Sucking Isn’t Feeding: Quitting Our Addiction to Physical, Emotional, and Mental Pacifiers

  1. I love this! I love how honest you are! I love how encouraging you are, how you really do infuse your posts with positivity. My pacifier is ice cream (have you tried Haagen Daz banana split!!?), but I’ve weened off it a bit, from every other day to once a week AND working out in between. 🙂 Thank you for this post!

    • Hey there, Anitra! Have YOU tried Haagen Daz pineapple coconut? Did a whole pint last month – all sucking, no feeding! To say I was in an “uncomfortable” state would be an understatement…so I totally understand, girl. My weaning is intact, thankful so far, and KUDOS to you for your adjustments! Moderation and positive replacements (working out) are key to all kinds of life changes…glad you stopped by :-)!

    • Yay! Glad you could feel me, Summer! You’re right, our posts were def in the same place, and I encourage the QN to take a click-stroll over to your spot for more inspiration, kindred bloggers indeed :-)!

Your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s