Shame

I’m a good girl. At least I’m pretty sure that’s what most people think when they look at me. I got good grades in school, never got in trouble as a kid, have never been much of a party girl, haven’t ever used a drug besides pot. I even have a stereotypical “good girl” job. Even when I was acting out sexually, I still tried to cultivate and maintain an “oh, I’ve never done this before” image with the guys I was screwing. I did a lot of things good girls don’t do. I had sex with men I’d known less than an hour, I had sex with people I knew were married, I had sex with people I met on craigslist causal encounters, I occasionally had sex with more than one person in a night, I met most of the people I “dated” off of BDSM sites, I let people degrade and humiliate me sexually, and the list goes on and on. Very few people in my life knew/know about what I was doing behind closed doors.

While I’m not exactly proud of my sex addiction, I have to be honest… it was pretty fun. Since I’ve been in recovery, I’ve often fantasized about just being a sex addict. My, or more precisely, my addict’s ideal life would look a little something like this: happily married to a devoted, handsome, well-off man, with beautiful kids, in a beautiful house, with everyone thinking I am the perfect wife and mother; all while having lover after lover on the side. But this fantasy in no way resembles the actual life I was living in addiction. You know why? Because I’m also a love addict and there is nothing fun about love addiction.

I didn’t fall for every guy I was involved with, or even most, but when I did fall it was in a bad way. And it was always with the most inappropriate, unavailable, or shitty guy I could find. I don’t know how to just like a romantic interest in a normal way, I only knew how to like someone like a crazed, obsessed stalker.

This is what fills me with the most shame, the love addiction. Sex addition almost feels edgy and cool (two words that don’t usually describe me), but love addiction feels terribly pathetic. The things I did as a love addict — continuing to see someone after I knew they had lied to me about everything, sitting in my apartment on a Friday night waiting for a guy who shows up four hours late, begging someone to take me back after he’s rejected me, paying a psychic thousands of dollars to reunite me with a lost love, staying with someone I’m scared of — fill me with the most self-loathing.

A few nights ago I had a minor break down. I was so angry at myself for wasting months obsessing over one person, who probably barely remembers I exist; one person who lied to me time and time again. I called my sponsor and she reminded me that this is a disease.

“You wouldn’t be angry at someone for having cancer, would you?” she asked. She said I can be angry at the disease, I can be angry at God, but I can’t be angry at myself, because it’s not my fault that I have this illness. I know that she’s right, but sometimes it’s hard to believe.

At the same time I am grateful for the love addiction. My sex addiction was progressing, but I don’t think I was anywhere near a bottom. If I was only a sex addict, who knows what my bottom could have been? Thank God I stopped acting out before I contracted an STD or hooked up with someone seriously disturbed. My bottom could have been death. As unglamorous as love addiction is, it’s the reason I am in recovery today and for that I am grateful.

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