at 519 Church Street Community Center 
north of Wellesley Street, room #204
(upon arrival please confirm the room number on the screen in the lobby behind info desk)

After almost 6 years of service,this meeting has been temporarily discontinued,till further notice.

Please, join us few minutes before 3:45p.If at all possible, and out of respect for other members,please kindly arrive on time.Thank you very much.

CLOSED meetingOpen only to love addicts or those who think they may be love addictsNo media, pleaseDonation: $1-2 to pay the room rent

To apply to attend the meeting or ask question,
please first read this website thoroughly and then
send email about yourself and why would you like to attend.
If you qualify you are welcome to join us.
Then, if you wish to know when the next meeting is
you can ask to sign up for our email list and
you will be receiving email invitations to our meetings
as long as you wish and continue to attend meetings.
Only questions that are not already answered on this website
will be replied to.

If you choose to bring any food or beverages,

please kindly keep them on a chair.

The 1st and only LAA meeting in Canada:

We had 200 meetings and 210 attendees in first 5 years


If you think you are or may be a love addict, you are welcome and invited.

Congratulations on realizing that you need healing!
Congratulations on looking for help in that process!
Congratulations on finding LAA Toronto!
You have already made first 3 important steps!

At the meeting, during sharing, we need to feel safe about expressing our experience, strength and hope without fear of direct or indirect response or comment.
We avoid CROSSTALK and define it as any interruption, positive or negative, including directly referring to another person’s sharing.
These include verbal interruptions, side conversations or laughter.
We keep the focus on ourselves, using I-statements and avoiding “you” or “we” statements.
For example we don’t say:
I agree with John…
I feel the same as Mary...
I think you should…

This is a spiritual program, not religious, and we avoid use of profanities.

"Love addiction comes in many forms.  Some love addicts obsess when they fall in love. Some love addicts get addicted to the euphoric effects of romance. Others cannot let go of a toxic relationship even if they are unhappy, depressed, lonely, neglected or in danger. Some love addicts are codependent and others are narcissistic. Some love addicts carry a torch for unavailable people. Some love addicts use sex to manage feelings; others are sexually anorexic. What we all have in common is that we are powerless over our distorted thoughts, feelings and behavior when it comes to love, fantasies and relationships. Still, there is hope. Through self-honesty, open-mindedness, willingness, and the 12-steps of LAA, we can recover. We can do together what we cannot do alone.We can grow and change in the sunlight of the spirit. Welcome to LAA. Welcome home!"
- adapted from LAA website by SUSAN PEABODY, the founder of LAA
At the meetings, we study book "HOW TO BREAK YOUR ADDICTION TO A PERSON" by Howard M. Halpern, Ph.D.
We share after reading each paragraph.


"Love Addicts Anonymous was started to provide a safe place where love addicts could come together and recover from love addiction. In LAA we will share our experience, strength and hope with each other. As a group, we will support each other unconditionally. We will also read literature, share ideas, process information and work the 12-steps of LAA as adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous. Please be assured that no particular ideology will be forced upon you. You can take what you need and leave the rest. If you are a love addict, or think you might be, join us on our journey toward putting love into perspective and establishing healthy relationships with ourselves and others. Let us do together what we cannot do alone."
- adapted from LAA website by Susan Peabody


  1. Having few healthy boundaries, we become emotionally attached to people without knowing them.
  2. Fearing abandonment and loneliness, we stay in and return to painful, destructive relationships, concealing our dependency needs from ourselves and others, growing more isolated and alienated from friends and loved ones, ourselves, and God.
  3. Fearing emotional deprivation, we compulsively pursue and involve ourselves in one relationship after another, sometimes having more than one emotional liaison at a time.
  4. We confuse love with neediness, physical and sexual attraction, pity and/or the need to rescue or be rescued.
  5. We feel empty and incomplete when we are alone. Even though we fear intimacy and commitment, we continually search for relationships.
  6. We use emotional dependence as substitutes for nurturing, care, and support.
  7. We use emotional involvement to manipulate and control others.
  8. We become immobilized or seriously distracted by romantic obsessions or fantasies.
  9. We avoid responsibility for ourselves by attaching ourselves to people who are emotionally unavailable.
  10. We stay enslaved to emotional dependency or romantic intrigue.
  11. To avoid feeling vulnerable, we may retreat from all intimate involvement, mistaking emotional anorexia for recovery.
  12. We assign magical qualities to others. We idealize and pursue them, then blame them for not fulfilling our fantasies and expectations.


These are considered symptoms or "addictive, bottom-line behaviors".

If you can identify with more than a few of the following characteristics, you are probably a love addict. Remember that love addiction comes in many forms, so even if you don’t answer "yes" to all of the questions you may still be a love addict.
  1. You are very needy when it comes to relationships.
  2. You fall in love very easily and too quickly.
  3. When you fall in love, you can’t stop fantasizing, even to do important things. You can’t help yourself.
  4. Sometimes, when you are lonely and looking for companionship, you lower your standards and settle for less than you want or deserve.
  5. When you are in a relationship, you tend to smother your partner.
  6. More than once, you have gotten involved with someone who is unable to commit, hoping he or she will change.
  7. Once you have bonded with someone, you can’t let go.
  8. When you are attracted to someone, you will ignore all the warning signs that this person is not good for you. 
  9. Initial attraction is more important to you than anything else when it comes to falling in love and choosing a partner. Falling in love over time does not appeal to you and is not an option.
  10. When you are in love, you trust people who are not trustworthy. The rest of the time you have a hard time trusting people.
  11. When a relationship ends, you feel your life is over and more than once you have thought about suicide because of a failed relationship.
  12. You take on more than your share of responsibility for the survival of a relationship.
  13. Love and relationships are the only things that interest you.
  14. In some of your relationships you were the only one in love.
  15. You are overwhelmed with loneliness when you are not in love or in a relationship.
  16. You cannot stand being alone. You do not enjoy your own company.
  17. More than once, you have gotten involved with the wrong person to avoid being lonely.
  18. You are terrified of never finding someone to love.
  19. You feel inadequate if you are not in a relationship.
  20. You cannot say "no" when you are in love or if your partner threatens to leave you.
  21. You try very hard to be who your partner wants you to be. You will do anything to please him or her,  even abandon yourself (sacrifice what you want, need and value).
  22. When you are in love, you only see what you want to see. You distort reality to quell anxiety and feed your fantasies.
  23. You have a high tolerance for suffering in relationships. You are willing to suffer neglect, depression, loneliness, dishonesty, even abuse, to avoid the pain of separation anxiety (what you feel when you are not with someone you have bonded with).
  24. More than once, you have carried a torch for someone and it was agonizing.
  25. You love romance. You have had more than one romantic interest at a time even when it involved dishonesty.
  26. You have stayed with an abusive person.
  27. Fantasies about someone you love, even if he or she is unavailable, are more important to you than meeting someone who is available.
  28. You are terrified of being abandoned. Even the slightest rejection feels like abandonment and it makes you feel horrible.
  29. You chase after people who have rejected you and try desperately to change their minds.
  30. When you are in love, you are overly possessive and jealous.
  31. More than once, you have neglected family or friends because of your relationship.
  32. You have no impulse control when you are in love.
  33. You feel an overwhelming need to check up on someone you are in love with.
  34. More than once, you have spied on someone you are in love with.
  35. You pursue someone you are in love with even if he or she is with another person.
  36. If you are part of a love triangle (three people), you believe all is fair in love and war. You do not walk away.
  37. Love is the most important thing in the world to you.
  38. Even if you are not in a relationship, you still fantasize about love all the time,  either someone you once loved or the perfect person who is going to come into your life someday.
  39. As far back as you can remember, you have been preoccupied with love and romantic fantasies. 
  40. You feel powerless when you fall in love, as if you are in some kind of trance or under a spell. You lose your ability to make wise choices.
- adapted from LAA website by Susan Peabody


"Love Addicts Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women whose common purpose is to recover from our unhealthy dependency on love as it plays out in our fantasies and relationships. There are no dues or fees; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. Our primary purpose is to recover from love addiction and to offer hope to those who still suffer."
- adapted from LAA website by Susan Peabody


12 Step Program is a recovery recipe that always works 100% when applied 100%.

"It works when you work it."

To recover, love addicts must change how they think and behave.

These are the 12 essential RECOVERY TOOLS:

1.  ADMIT honestly that you are a love addict. (Step 1)


1.  Honestly ADMIT that you are a love addict. (Step 1)

2.  SOBRIETY - Define your own personal bottom-line addictive behaviour(s) and become willing to stop acting out on a daily basis.
Bottom line behaviors are all behaviors that endanger our sobriety,
such as staying in an unhealthy relationship or continuing contact with former partner from an unhealthy relationship.
In the case of addiction to a person, "no contact" is necessary.
Most common bottom line behaviour for love addicts is "no contact with former partner" or toxic relationship.
Addictive lover for a love addict is the same as alcohol for alcoholic, permanently excluded.
In Alcoholics Anonymous recommendation is to stop drinking, discard all alcohol from environment, stop buying alcohol, stop going to places where alcohol is available, etc.
In LAA it is recommended to start with "90 days abstinence = no contact" with all persons of romantically preferred gender.
For example, for heterosexuals that means no contact with people of opposite gender;
for homosexuals, no contact with those of the same gender, etc.
Exceptions are relatives or inevitable coworkers/clients.
No going to any kind of social events where they may be, like:
parties, dancing, bars, clubs, etc.,
No dating, no online dating, no blind dates, etc.
Also, included are former addictive partners or toxic, unhealthy relationships.
Some LAs choose to inform former addictive lovers that they will not be available any more for any kind of communication and ask them to discontinue contacting them in any way.
"No contact" means no contact in person, by phone, text, email, social media, etc., including viewing past communication or social media sites, viewing photos, etc., avoiding places where former addictive lover may be, etc.
Further more, blocking former addictive lover from communicating with us by phone, text, email, social media, etc.
Deleting all of their messages and communications, photos, etc.
Abstinence may seem like loss of freedom or restriction of freedom.
Actually, as addicts, we are enslaved to our addiction.
Since abstinence frees us from addiction,
abstinence actually leads us to freedom.
After 90 days abstinence, most LAs choose to have no-contact with former addictive lovers as their bottom line behaviour.
Addictive lover for a love addict is the same as alcohol for alcoholic: bottom line behaviour, permanently excluded.
When we are healthy enough, we are ready for healthy relationship and we are attracted to healthy people.

The purpose of abstinence is to remove all the "painkillers" or  the unhealthy coping mechanisms which we have invented to reduce our childhood pain of feeling unloved, hurt, not good enough, etc. and "facing our demons".
That will facilitate us feeling our suppressed pains fully and releasing the pains once they are fully felt.

Also, abstinence facilitates learning self love, while the unhealthy coping mechanisms are absent.

3.  MEETINGS - Attending all LAA meetings, plus as many other meetings as possible. Ideally 90 meetings in 90 days. Beside LAA meetings also: ACA, CODA, SLAA, EA, open AA meetings, AlAnon, Neurotics Anonymous, etc.

4.  SPONSORSHIP -  Get a sponsor or pair up with another recovering love addict. Preferably same gender for heterosexual people and opposite gender for homosexual people.

5.  STEPS - Practice the Twelve Step program of recovery to achieve emotional sobriety.

6.  SPIRITUALITY - develop a relationship with a power greater then ourselves, however we wish to define that power (our own higher self, our own intuition, our group, our God, etc.)

7.  SERVICE - Our giving back to the L.A.A. community what we continue to freely receive, helping with meetings, supporting other LAs, etc.

8. MEDITATION daily about 20 minutes

9. GRATITUDE - express gratitude for all you have today that you still wish to have tomorrow

10. SELF - LOVE - develop self love, for example using mirror work and our own childhood photos of ourselves


12. LITERATURE & VIDEOS on you tube etc.

As a sponsor, I personally work with people who:

1. are very dedicated to their healing and recovery and willing to invest equal amount of time and effort into their healing and recovery as they used to invest into their addiction, which is often search for parental love and trying to have our unmet childhood needs finally met.

2. abstain from their bottom line behaviour
(most commonly that means no contact with all former partners and toxic relationships)

3. attend all our LAA Toronto MEETINGS

4.  SPONSORSHIP - have excellent communication skills,
meaning they reply to all communications and questions from their sponsor

5. follow all recommendations, both 12 Step Program recommendations in general and sponsor's personal recommendations (which are developing and nurturing daily:
1. gratitude, 2. self love and 3. ability to comfort our inner child, etc.)

6. daily read LITERATURE recommended below

7. SERVICE - helping at meetings

8. MEDITATE daily

9. express GRATITUDE for everything you have today, that you still wish to have tomorrow

10. Spend few minutes per day doing following MIRROR WORK:

uninterrupted loving focused looking into our own eyes,
without gazing away, without analyzing facial features,
while expressing unconditional self-love and all you wish to have heard parents or partners or anybody else say now or in the past.
Since eyes are the windows of the soul, when we look into our eyes, we look into our soul.
When we talk and look into eyes, we speak straight to the soul.
There are lots of great videos about self love, etc. on YouTube.

Look into childhood photo and show and tell your inner child all it needed to hear and experience in childhood: love, comfort, compassion, etc.
When we feel lonely, for example, it's often suppressed childhood memory, rather than current feeling. Acknowledge that feeling, feel it fully without suppressing it or avoiding it or looking for comfort outside instead.


1. sobriety day is written in email’s subject. Example: “Day 1”
2. expressing how they are feeling
3. describing briefly what they are doing that day as expression of self love
4. stating how many minutes they did mirror work
5. stating how many minutes they meditated (20 minutes at least)
6. stating which LAA recommended literature they are reading or listening on YouTube

(GRATITUDE: at least 3 things you are grateful for. Be specific or general, but genuine)

7. I am grateful for my wonderful life!
8. I am grateful for my excellent health!
9. I am grateful for my constant growth!
Sponsee looks in the mirror and address themselves by first name or loving nickname:)

10. I love you, (your name)! I really, really love you and I accept you just the way you are!
11. I love your … (any physical attribute you genuinely love about yourself)
12. I love your … (any non-physical attribute you genuinely love about yourself)
Ideally, looking at childhood photo (or imagining ourselves as a child) with comforting words, hugs or caresses, such as:)

13. Dear sweet little (your name), you are in lots of pain…
14. I understand how much it hurts when…
15. It was scary when… etc., etc.

Saying it out loud and writing it out is very therapeutic.
Please, do not copy-and-paste as that is not therapeutic, but just waste of time.

Also, these are to be done whenever we feel lonely or unloved or we miss or wish to contact object of our addiction, etc.

11. RECOMMENDED LITERATURE and also videos available on YouTube:

Susan Peabody: "Addiction to Love"
Howard Halpern: "How to Break Your Addiction to a Person"
Pia Mellody: all books
Melodie Beattie: all books
John Bradshaw: all books
Louise Hay: all books
John Gray: all books
Teal Swan: all books
Gary D. Chapman: "The Five Love Languages"
Arthur Janov: "Primal Scream", all books
Joan Liedloff: Continuum Concept

Even though some literature is gender specific,
they are often applicable to any gender.

Sherry Argov: "Why Men Love Bitches", "Why Men Marry Bitches"
Greg Behrendt & Liz Tuccillo: "He's Just Not That Into You"
Ellen Fein & Sherrie Schneider: "The Rules" (all books)
Robin Norwood: “Women Who Love Too Much"


OBSESSED love addicts
cannot let go of someone they love even if their partner is:
unavailable emotionally or sexually
afraid to commit
unable to communicate
controlling and dictatorial
addicted to something outside the relationship (work, hobbies, drugs, alcohol, sex, someone else, gambling, shopping etc.)

CODEPENDENT love addicts
From a place of insecurity and low self-esteem, they try desperately to hold on to the people they are addicted to using codependent behavior. This includes enabling, rescuing, care-taking  passive-aggressive controlling, and accepting neglect or abuse.

unlike other love addicts, they are no longer in love with their partners but still cannot let go. Usually, they are so unhappy that the relationship affects their health, spirit and emotional well being. Even if their partner batters them, and they are in danger, they cannot let go. They are afraid of being alone. They are afraid of change. They do not want to hurt or abandon their partners. This can be summed up as “I hate you, don’t leave me.”

NARCISSISTIC love addicts
use dominance, seduction and withholding to control their partners. They appear aloof and unconcerned until you leave them. Then they panic and use anything at their disposal to hold on to the relationship, including violence.

AMBIVALENT love addicts
suffer from avoidant personality disorder. They don't have hard time letting go; they have a hard time moving forward. They desperately crave love, but at the same time they are terrified of intimacy. This combination is agonizing. They also come in different forms, listed below.

Torch bearers are ambivalent love addicts who obsess about someone who is unavailable. This can be done without acting out (suffering in silence) or by pursuing the person they are in love with. Some Torch Bearers are more addicted than others. This kind of addiction feeds on fantasies and illusions. It is also known as unrequited love.

Saboteurs are ambivalent love addicts who destroy relationships when they start to get serious or at whatever point their fear of intimacy comes up. This can be anytime, before the first date, after the first date, after sex, after the subject of commitment comes up, whenever.

Seductive withholders are ambivalent love addicts who always come on to you when they want sex or companionship. When they become frightened, or feel unsafe, they begin withholding companionship, sex, affection, anything that makes them feel anxious. If they leave the relationship when they become frightened, they are just Saboteurs. If they keep repeating the pattern of being available/unavailable, they are seductive withholders.

Romance addicts are ambivalent love addicts who are sometimes addicted to multiple partners. Romance addicts are often confused with sex addicts. However, unlike sex addicts, who are trying to avoid bonding altogether, romance addicts bond with each of their partners, to one degree or another, even if the romantic liaisons are short-lived or happening simultaneously. By “romance” we mean sexual passion and pseudo-emotional intimacy. Please note that while romance addicts bond with each of their partners to a degree, their goal (besides getting high off of romance and drama) is to avoid commitment or bonding on a deeper level with one partner.

Not all love avoidants are love addicts. If you accept your fear of intimacy and social situations, and do not get hooked on unavailable people, or just keep your social circle small and unthreatening you are not necessarily an ambivalent love addict. But if you eat your heart out over some unavailable person year after year, or sabotage one relationship after another, or have serial romantic affairs, or only feel close when you are with another avoidant, you may be an Ambivalent Love Addict.
- adapted from LAA website by Susan Peabody


1. We admitted we were powerless over love, romance, fantasies and relationships- that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all areas of our lives.
- adapted from LAA website by Susan Peabody


1. I have a new sense of freedom because I am letting go of the past.
2. I am hopeful about my future relationships.
3. I can be attracted to someone without falling in love overnight, and I can fall in love without obsessing.
4. If love does overwhelm me I do not act out in addictive ways.
5. I can tell the difference between fantasies and reality.
6. I do not have to control the ones I love nor let them control me.
7. I experience relationships one at a time and I do not get involved with “unavailable” people.
8. If my basic needs are not being met, I can end my relationship.
9. I can leave anyone who is abusing me either verbally or physically.
10. I do not do for others what they should be doing for themselves.
11. I love myself as much as I love others.
12. I look to my Higher Power for strength, guidance, and the willingness to change.
- adapted from LAA website by Susan Peabody


Self-love is the key to recovery. Love addicts are alienated from the most important kind of love, the love we offer ourselves. Do not worry about becoming self-centered. This won't happen. You will just find serenity and an inner contentment beyond description. This will make it easier to wait for the right partner to come along and to weed out people who are not good for you.

It is hard to know whether we are born with self-esteem, and then sometimes lose it, or whether we are born without it and never get a chance to develop it. Either way, the lack of self-esteem (what we call low self-esteem) is a painful disorder. It can be seen as both a mental and spiritual wound.

Even if children are born with a natural reservoir of self-esteem, they need to be validated by the people around them if they are to build on that sense of self-worth. Love, affection and attention are the most important forms of validation. Unfortunately, sometimes things do not go the way they should and children do not receive the nurturing they need to thrive. Instead they are neglected, abandoned, and sometimes abused. This causes children to unconsciously assume that something is wrong with them. They don't want to believe that the grownups around them are bad (this would be too frightening), so they conclude that they themselves are bad or flawed. If they are flawed, then they assume that they are worthless.

Neglect can range from mild to severe. Abuse can be verbal, physical or sexual. Shaming a child is the worst kind of verbal abuse. It robs children of a positive self-image. Neglect and abuse can occur inside the home or outside, such as in school. Many children are neglected or abused at school.

It isn't always easy to measure the relationship between the degree of neglect or abuse, and one's level of self-esteem. Usually, the more you were neglected or abused the less self-esteem you have. However, this is not the only factor that should be considered when trying to measure the impact of neglect and abuse on self-esteem. One should also consider the level of sensitivity each child is born with and any insulation they might have had while growing up.

Sometimes neglect and abandonment do not stem from the absence of love, it is unintentional. For instance, the death of a parent is unintentional, but it is perceived by a child as abandonment. Many children feel abandoned just because their parents have to go to work. Even if neglect is unintentional, the impact is the same. Children feel something is wrong with them, and they develop low self-esteem. When I was five years old, my mother got very ill and I was sent to my grandmother's house. I was not intentionally abandoned, but I felt abandoned and neglected. When I came home, I was not the same child, and the perceived abandonment contributed to my low self-esteem.

Trauma, even the kind that is unrelated to neglect or abuse, can also rob children of self-esteem. This is because children typically think that they are bad when something bad happens to them. (Unintentional trauma can be an accident, a prolonged illness, a frightening experience, etc.) This is a cultural belief as well. People throughout the ages have associated a carefree life with worthiness. They think they are bad if hardship comes into their lives and good if there is abundance. In the Bible, Job asks God why he is suffering such hardship since he was such a good servant.

Parents are also like mirrors, and should reflect an image of loveliness to their children. When parents are shame-based, or have low self-esteem, they reflect a negative image to their children who then conclude (unconsciously) that they are flawed as well. This is how parents pass on shame and low self-esteem even when they are trying to be good parents.

Once a child has low self-esteem, it begins to feed on itself. Due to their poor self-image, children are incapable of compensating for neglect and abuse by loving themselves. They are also unable to accept the small doses of love their parents do provide, or the love of other people they may meet as they are growing up.

This triggers more shame and low self-esteem, which in turn produces other painful emotions and conditions such as:
chronic insecurity
chronic anxiety
feelings of alienation
a profound hunger for love
an exaggerated fear of abandonment and rejection
feelings of deprivation
feelings of emptiness
confusion or fear when love is available
anxiety when things are going well
some kind of addiction

There are numerous ways that these painful feelings might impact a person's life. Some people will become painfully shy, while others will have illusions of grandeur to compensate for a poor self-image. Some people will lack ambition, while others will be over-achievers. Many people will become people pleasers, while others go to the other extreme and become anti-social. One of the most serious consequences of low self-esteem is the self-loathing that results in self-mutilation.

Most people with low self-esteem suffer emotional pain. Fortunately, this pain can become a bridge to psychological healing. At some point pain becomes an identified problem. Then the person is motivated to get help.


Some people have to work harder than others to reclaim their self-esteem, and even harder to keep it. It would be nice if once we all felt good about ourselves we could maintain that feeling, but usually it doesn't work out that way. Self-esteem can be elusive. One minute it's there, and the next minute it seems to have vanished. I would also like to point out that while many of the following suggestions will help you build up your self esteem by validating yourself, other recommendations will encourage you to utilize the validation of others to enhance your self-esteem. This may seem contradictory. Many people feel that we can love ourselves unconditionally from within and have no need for the love of others. However, I feel that we do need some outer validation. We are only human, and no matter how strongly we believe in ourselves we need a little support. Our validation of ourselves should come first and it is more important that what others think of us.

 1. Adopt an attitude of self-acceptance or self-love. This means really understanding that you are a worthy person despite your shortcomings. This is a mindset.

 2. Once you have a general acceptance of your worth as a human being, spend some time focusing on your specific attributes. This enhances your self-worth. Just don't get carried away.

 3. As part of your new positive thinking campaign, learn how to superimpose new information over your old negative tapes. (Negative tapes are all the hurtful and inappropriate things people said to you and about you while you were growing up.) This is the best way to diminish inappropriate self-criticism which erodes self-esteem.

 4. Reclaim your self-respect - the pride or satisfaction that comes from:
Being responsible
Honoring your own value system
Handling adversity well.

Self-respect, which is a kind of conditional love, does not necessarily contradict the notion that you should love yourself unconditionally. Both concepts are important to maintain self-esteem.

 5. Surround yourself, whenever possible, with people who affirm you (people who like you just the way you are). Like it or not, your relationship with others can erode your self-esteem. So make a point of choosing your friends carefully. You did not have a choice about this as a child, but as an adult you are free to pick and choose most of your companions.

 6. Consider reading books about building up your self-esteem and healing your inner child. This promotes awareness which is an important step is overcoming low self-esteem.

 7. Get to know yourself - who you are, your values, needs, wants, taste, etc. How can you value what you do not know?

 8. Stop trying to be perfect. No one is perfect. We all live in the shadow of perfection and are perfectly imperfect.

 9. Do nice things for yourself. Take care of yourself. This self-care validates your self-worth.

10. At the same time, do nice things for other people. There should be some balance in your life between taking care of yourself and being kind to others.

11. Stop comparing yourself to others. You are special in your own way and this is the attitude you must have about yourself.

12. Learn how to receive, especially if you are a people pleaser or have always had a monopoly on giving. Stop dismissing compliments and returning gifts. Let the love come in.

13. Be creative. Everyone has a talent and they should use it. This stimulates self-satisfaction and reinforces the positive things you have been thinking about yourself.

14. Stand up for yourself, especially if you don't usually do this. Remember that you value what you take care of.
Standing up for yourself means:
Setting limits (saying no)
Expressing your opinion
Walking away from neglect or abuse
Being assertive when appropriate
No longer apologizing when you haven't done anything wrong.

15. Make amends if you have hurt someone. (If you are codependent make sure you are the guilty party. Codependents are known to apologize just to keep the peace or out of misplaced guilt.)

16. To protect your newfound self-esteem, prepare yourself mentally for those times when people try to drag you down (people you can't avoid like co-workers). Learn how to keep from taking them so seriously, as well as how to filter out inappropriate criticism.

17. Some people just can't wake up one day, after years of devaluing themselves, and suddenly know that they are worthy people. If this is true for you, you may need something to take the place of the mirroring of love that you did not get from your parents when you were growing up. You may need a dramatic shift in consciousness before you can practice self-acceptance. This shift in consciousness might occur if you awaken to the love of a “Higher Power.” In other words, when you know that you are loved unconditionally by a benevolent force in the universe it is sometimes easier to take a second look at yourself and conclude that you are a valuable and worthy person.

If you work very hard on this task of building up your self-esteem, you will have taken a great step forward. Your life will change and you will be genuinely happy - perhaps for the first time in your life. And it gets better. There is no end to the happiness you will know when you love yourself."

This article was donated by Susan P. Co-Founder of LAA.
- adapted from LAA website by Susan Peabody


Change is difficult. It means doing things that are unfamiliar and frightening. It means facing the unknown. To help with this dilemma, we suggest that people consider getting in touch with their spiritual nature, that vital principle or animating force traditionally believed to be within living beings. We recommend this because somehow tapping into this rich inner resource transforms us, or alters our attitudes and feelings to the extent that we can change what we have never been able to change before. This transformation is a vital part of change.

How spirituality works is a mystery. It is something that is often observed but not necessarily understood. We have observed people overcome their fear of change with the aid of spirituality. They start out at the mercy of their old habits. They are powerless over their inner compulsions and have no strength to fight back. They habitually re-enact behavior that is self-destructive and life-threatening. Then, in a moment of agony, they call out "God, help me," and somewhere deep in their soul they surrender. They admit they are powerless and they ask for help.

However, not everyone calls upon God, but they may find some inner resource, perhaps their ‘true self’ of which they were not aware.  Then, sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly, they are filled with the power of the spirit and report feelings such as in these examples:

· They feel willing, when before they felt hesitant;

· They feel courageous, when before they felt terrified;

· They feel guided, when before they felt lost;

· They feel loved, when before they felt abandoned;

· They feel wise, when before they felt confused;

· They feel hopeful, when before they felt despair;

· They feel as if they are at the start of a glorious new journey.

There is more than one way to have a spiritual awakening. For some people it will happen suddenly during one dramatic moment, a moment from which there is no turning back. For others it happens slowly. Over time, they just find themselves with a new attitude about a Higher Power and spirituality. Their closed mind becomes open and curious. They pray and they feel connected to their Higher Power. Or they act "as if" a Higher Power exists, and in time they come to believe. Some people practice meditation to find a Higher Power.

Belief in a Higher Power that is conceived as a supernatural being, is not necessary for all persons to recover.  for some, the Higher Power is the community of addicts;  others simply develop a deep sense of their inner resources.  Some may read spiritual literature or talk to people about spirituality. Whatever they do, they must do it repetitively, and they must not give up. If they are really seeking spirituality with an open mind they will find it. It may be connected with religious beliefs for some, or for others, a much richer sense of who they really are and how deeply they are connected to other human beings. If they really ask for spirituality, in whatever form it may take, with a humble heart, it will be given to them.
- adapted from LAA website by Susan Peabody


You should be able to answer "yes" to most of these questions:

 1. I know I am lovable despite my shortcomings.
 2. I have self-discipline.
 3. I am honest.
 4. I am true to my values.
 5. I am responsible.
 6. I know myself - what my values are and what I want.
 7. I can talk about my feelings.
 8. I do not feel needy.
 9. I am not afraid of being single.
10. When I am alone I do not feel lonely.
11. I have an active, full life.
12. When I am in an intimate relationship I still have other interests.
13. I do nice things for myself as well as others.
14. I can receive as well as give.
15. I do creative things.
16. I do not compare myself to others.
17. I can stand up for myself.
18. I can say "no" when it is appropriate.
19. I am growing and making progress in my life.
20. I am contributing to the world.
21. I have surrounded myself with healthy people.
22. I feel connected to myself and the world.
23. I feel loved by many people.
24. I feel like a whole person.
25. I do not like rejection, but I can handle it.
26. I do not over-react to criticism by attacking or getting defensive.
27. I have processed most of my feelings about my dysfunctional childhood.
28. I am not angry all of the time about my past.
29. I do not feel guilty all the time about the mistakes I have made.
30. I can handle adversity without falling apart.
31. I can end an unhealthy relationship.
32. I can stick with a healthy relationship.
33. I do not feel suicidal when relationships end.
34. I have some stress-management techniques.
35. I feel good about myself.
36. I have balance in my life. I know how to find the middle ground.
37. I know what I want, but I am not addicted to getting it.
38. I have structure, but I am also flexible.
39. I have trustworthy people in my life.
40. I do not have to control everything and everybody in my life.
41. I have worked through my sexual hangups. I know what healthy sex is.
42. I can argue with someone without attacking them or give them the silent treatment.

From Addiction to Love by Susan Peabody
- adapted from LAA website by Susan Peabody


Are sex addiction and love addiction the same thing? No.

SEX addicts are addicted mainly to the sexual experience. Often, the goal is orgasm. Sometimes, emotional intimacy is not important. Many professionals believe that the preoccupation with sex is an attempt to avoid emotional intimacy by connecting with someone sexually.

LOVE addiction, like sex addiction, comes in many forms. Some love addicts obsess when they fall in love.Some love addicts get addicted to the euphoric effects of romance. Others cannot let go of a toxic relationship even if they are unhappy, depressed, lonely, neglected or in danger. Some love addicts are codependent and others are narcissistic. Some love addicts carry a torch for unavailable people.  Some love addicts use sex to manage feelings; others are sexually anorexic. Love addicts crave an emotional connection and will avoid at any cost separation anxiety and loneliness.

Can you be both a sex addict and love addict? Yes. Lots of sex addicts are also love addicts and vice versa.

Therefore, all sex addicts and all sex and love addicts are very welcome at these meetings.

- adapted from LAA website by Susan Peabody


A well-known spiritual axiom says "to keep it, we must give it away." And we don't need to have very much in order to pass it on. In LAA, as in most 12-Step programs, service and carrying the message is the spiritual foundation of our program. Even newcomers have something to offer others. Still, since many love addicts are also codependent, we cannot ignore the fact that in early recovery there may be a fear of service. Will it be draining? Didn't I do too much in my last relationship? Shouldn't I just be taking care of myself right now? These are all valid questions. Moreover, LAA cannot survive without service and if you do it in moderation it not only feels good, it is good for your self-esteem. Most psychologists agree that altruism is linked to feelings of self-worth. Just remember . . . "moderation in all things." So if you are a member of LAA, we encourage you to share your "experience, strength and hope" with others even if you don't think you have anything to offer, and even if you think you have already done enough good deeds to last a life time. You will not regret it.

"Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to others . . ." Step 12

"Each group has but one primary purpose—to offer a safe place to recover from love addiction and to carry the message of recovery to those who still suffer." Tradition 5

"No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear . . ." Page 84, Alcoholics Anonymous"
- adapted from LAA website by Susan Peabody


Tradition 12

"Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities."

Anonymity is a complicated issue. Technically speaking, Tradition 12 speaks of anonymity as a way to stay humble. Someone who has a successful career does not feel superior to the unemployed man because they are both love addicts. As they say in AA, it does not matter if you are from Park Place or a park bench. This is the "spiritual foundation" of LAA.

However, the issue of anonymity can also be seen as protecting your identify. But this is a personal issue. It is not a requirement. For instance, in A.A. people who do service in the community (like going into the local jail) may have to use their full name to get clearance. So, if you want to remain anonymous you can. Use your first name and last initial. Get an email address that does not use your name.

Also, while one should not break their personal anonymity to the media (Tradition 11), LAA as an organization is not anonymous. To the contrary, we need to get the word out. When Alcoholics Anonymous was a year old it only had about 16 members. When Jack Alexander wrote an article about AA in The Saturday Evening Post (March 1, 1941) letters from hopeful alcoholics poured in. Today millions of alcoholics have had their lives restored. LAA can only dream to be so successful.
- adapted from LAA website by Susan Peabody


  1. Meditation - Get quiet and listen to your Higher Power through your feelings and intuition.

 2.  Prayer - Talk to your Higher Power (out loud or in your head) as if you were talking to a
      close, personal friend.

 3.  Humility - You accept that there is a power higher then yourself and you are humbled by it.

 4.  Study - Read, write, learn, listen.

 5.  Simplicity - Slow down. Experience and appreciate the simple things in life: 
      nature, music, friends.

 6.  Solitude - Take some time to be alone and listen to your own inner music.

 7.  Submission - Surrender everything to your Higher Power, as you understand it.

 8.  Service - Reach out to people in need and give of yourself and your resources.

 9.  Confession - Find someone you can trust and confide your deepest, darkest secrets to them. Release the shame.

10. Worship - Be in awe of your Higher Power. Bow your head - metaphorically or literally.
      Be thankful for the grace that has been freely given to you.

11. Celebration - Be grateful! Raise your hands in joy and celebration. Sing, dance and be merry.

12. Guidance - Work with a mentor who is in constant contact with his Higher Power.

- adapted from LAA website by Susan Peabody