How Love Addiction Ruined my College Experience

In college I had one boyfriend. One fuckheaded, asshole, piece-of-shit boyfriend the whole five years.

I sometimes wish I could do college over again. If I could go back, I would have joined a sorority, gone to lots of parties, fucked lots of guys, aaand maybe studied some. Because even though I didn’t go to many parties or have much of a social life it wasn’t due to spending time in the library. Most of my time was spent off campus. About 35 miles off campus, to be exact, in my boyfriend’s dorm room at another university.

Without traffic, it would take me about 45 minutes to get to Peter’s school, but there was always traffic so the trip usually took about an hour. That’s a long way to travel for a busy college student, but not for a love addicted one. I would have taken a cross-country trip every weekend for this asshole. Of course, he didn’t have a car so I was always the one making the trip.

My addiction to Peter took up the vast majority of my time, but I somehow managed to be involved with one campus group throughout college. Every year they threw a big, end of year party. The first year I went, I was really excited to introduce Peter to this group of friends. Actually, a more truthful statement would be that I didn’t want to go to this party alone. So I drove down to his campus, picked him up, and drove him back to my campus — a two hour round trip. Nowadays this seems like insanity to me. I bitch and moan and try to get out of even driving across town. But back then, I would have driven three states over to pick him up.

When we got to the party he was his usual self, meaning he was awful. He was rude, antisocial, and disparaging the whole time. Then, in the middle of the party, he wanted to go home. Even though I was in no shape to be driving, I drove him. Then I drove back to the party, which thankfully was still going on. So in one night, I drove 140 fucking miles out of my way for this fucktard. I also got a ticket for speeding. I should have gotten a DUI, since I was only 19 and even one drink would have put me over the legal limit, but I lucked out there.

In my first two years of college, I made that trip multiple times a week. After that, Peter flunked out of school and moved back in with his parents, who lived a lot closer. We ended up spending even more time together — fighting, breaking up, getting back together. It was a non-stop drama cycle. I’m not sure how I managed to graduate, but I eventually did. We broke up for good a few months after my graduation.

Joining a Cult and Other Things on my Bucket List

The soundtrack to my early childhood wasn’t lullabies or nursery rhymes; it was the scratchy sound of AM news radio. Whenever I was in the car with my mom, or eating a meal at home, “All you need to know, KNX 1070 NewsRadio!” was on in the background. In retrospect, it probably wasn’t such a good idea to have the news on all the time in front of an impressionable young child when the big story of the day was how “The Night Stalker,” Richard Ramirez was breaking into houses at random and raping and killing families. And then my parents would wonder why I had such trouble falling asleep at night.

I remember one day there was something on the news about the anniversary of the Jonestown massacre (another totally appropriate, non-nightmare-inducing topic for a young child). This was the first time I heard what a cult was. I remember asking my Dad, “but why would those people all drink the kool-aid if they knew it was poisoned?” I don’t remember what his answer was, but from that moment on I was fascinated by cults.

A few years later I watched a story on 20/20 about the religious group The Family, which reportedly, sought to recruit new members through casual sex. At the time, I was probably in middle school, and to my developing pervert brain and hormone-besieged body, this group of sex-loving, music-producing hippies didn’t seem so bad (I mean aside from the doomsday stuff and the reports of child molestation… yeah, I was a stupid kid). But check out this awesome 80s-tastic video, “Cathy Don’t Go.” There are a lot more like this on youtube.

When I was in high school members of Heaven’s Gate committed mass suicide in San Diego. I remember thinking, “how could that many people be so fucking stupid?” At the same time there was a part of me that felt the tinniest bit of envy. That level of devotion and commitment were (and still are) entirely foreign to me.

I think this is what always fascinated me about cults. I never knew that sense of being so convinced of my beliefs that I was willing to give up everything for them. I know that’s probably a healthy thing, especially for someone like me who tended to get attached unsavory types.

Another thing about cults that appealed to me was the stories about people not being able to get out. I have never once been a part of something that wouldn’t let me out (those evil cable and gym contracts don’t count). Every boyfriend, every job, every friendship I have ever had, when I’ve tried to leave, they’ve let me. In fact their attitude is usually, “good riddance, bitch.” I’ve felt trapped in abusive situations before, but that was always because I was too scared of being alone or being without a job, not because someone else was preventing me from leaving.

In high school and college, I’d been approached by suspiciously friendly people at the mall or on campus asking me if I wanted to take a free personality test, go to a party, or take a free course. My internal safety monitoring system would always go off and shout, “Danger! Cult! Run!” I would politely decline, and later wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t.

This question of “what if?” combined with morbid curiosity for a topic that has fascinated me my whole life lead me into the belly of the beast this morning.

There is a religious organization that is pretty big in my city. I don’t even want to mention the name of this group in an article that also mentions the word cult, because they have a reputation for mercilessly going after any and all critics. Also, while I am fairly convinced this organization IS a cult, I don’t know for sure and don’t want to insult anyone’s beliefs. Unlike the cults mentioned above, this group still has many vocal, mainstream adherents.

In one of its centers, this group that shall not be named has a restaurant. A few days ago I found out it is open to the public on Sundays. Two of my favorite things: brunch and cults combined in one! I couldn’t wait.

Before my friend and I went, we were prepared. We made up fake names, and made sure we had cash so we wouldn’t have to use our credit cards. I also made sure to loudly say, “remember Sarah is expecting us in an hour” a couple of times in case anyone got any kidnap ideas. Paranoid? Yes, but you can never be too safe.

I was a little nervous walking in to the place. Everyone was super friendly and smiling. The grounds were absolutely beautiful and there was a lot more activity going on than I had expected. The restaurant was fairly banal and that relaxed me. It was just like a normal ok-ish brunch buffet. Afterwards they did offer us a tour, but weren’t pushy when we declined. Because I have ISSUES, I do feel a tinge of rejection that they didn’t lock the doors behind us and force us to stay. Like I’m not good enough for their stupid bullshit cult?!?! Assholes.

Oh, well. It’s their loss. Besides, if I was going to join any cult, it would be a sex cult.

Done Wrong

I’m not really sure why this song came into my head today. I think I may have heard the phrase “done wrong” earlier, and my brain called up “Done Wrong” by Ani Difranco, which I hadn’t heard in years. Also, it’s raining here, which is very uncharacteristic of the time and place. It’s more of a pleasant summer rain than a cold, hard rain that is about to turn into snow, though. Still, an association is an association.

As I’m listening to the song now, the big revelation is I feel nothing. Well, not exactly nothing. I feel a sense of nostalgia for the times I used to listen to this song and get all weepy/angry thinking about THAT FUCKING PRICK! (whomever he was at the time; fill in the blank). Yes, I get nostalgic for shittier times. It’s called being addicted to drama. But now, there is no guy to internally rage at. No one has done me wrong lately. Even with the men who have done me wrong in the past, I don’t think it would be 100 percent true to say “I’m over all that.” I’m not, but I’m getting there. My general sense of outrage at the collective group of assholes who have done me wrong has gone from a passionate boil to a low simmer of mild irritation.

I’ve been working on my fourth and fifth step. It’s clear that this is directly responsible for turning down the heat on my giant soup pot of rage. Right now I am going though all my resentments, there are a fuckload of them, and examining my role in each one. It’s hard to hold on to all that anger when I take an honest look at my participation in whatever caused it.

For today I can listen to this song and appreciate the beauty of the poetry, without wallowing in the heartbreak.

My Drugs

I’ve been getting a lot of new readers, so I thought I would create a handy reference for those who don’t know where to begin.

This is a list of many of the men I have written about on this blog. Since I don’t want to get sued I’m such a nice person, I’ve given them all pseudonyms.

HC is a married man I was seeing right before I came into program. You can read about him here and here.

Joe Turner is some shady idiot.

Ethan is a sociopath I was hooked on for a long time.

Peter was my first (and probably worst) boyfriend.

Jonathan is a liar and a cheater.

Mr. Fat Cock, Fat Wallet has the distinction of actually being a nice guy… well, as nice as one can be while regularly cheating on his wife.

Creepy Daddy is, well, just that.

Jane was a little girl who I was in love with even though she was mean to me.

Leigh is the worst casual encounter I have had the displeasure of encountering.

Carson is the last guy I acted out with. I actually wrote about him while I was seeing him. You can read about him here, here, and here.

Anthony is the closest I’ve ever coming to being in love. I wrote about him here, here, and here.

Of course not all of my posts are about men. Most of them are about my recovery and what I’ve found out about myself along the way. But I know the acting out stories are usually the ones that are the most “fun” to read. If you are new to my blog, I invite you to click around and find out more about me.

My Old Man is a Bad Man…

I heard this song the other day and all I could think about was Anthony. Part of me still wants him to come and save me, rescue me from myself. And part of me knows no one can rescue me but me, particularly not someone who is even crazier and fucked up than I am (a difficult feat, indeed).

I went about three days without talking to him, then he texted me. Instead of just ignoring him I wrote back and told him to stop contacting me then ended up talking to him for 45 minutes. Nothing quite says, “I can’t talk to you anymore,” like talking to someone for 45 minutes. No mixed messages there.

From there it was off to the races. The last two days I have been spinning out of control with him. Today we got in a big fight fueled by our mutual insanities. The grand finale of which was him deleting me from his Facebook contacts and telling me he would file a restraining order if I ever contacted him again, which is bullshit because I haven’t done anything to warrant a restraining order. Also, this was after I told him to never contact me again, so it was a moot point. He was just trying to one-up me in the game of who can say “I never want to talk to you again” the loudest.

Regardless, I understood his message loud and clear. He’s done. At least for now.

Hopefully the next time he comes around, I will be healthy enough to resist. He isn’t my one true love. I know he can’t be. But sometimes, like now, it feels like he is.

A Subtle Addiction

Not so subtle

My sex and love addiction can be bold and blatant, like a belligerent drunk getting kicked out of a bar. More often than not, though, it’s subtle, like a functioning alcoholic who drinks all night and still manages to show up every morning for work and do his job.

It sneaks in.

“You went more than three years without talking to Anthony, you can be friends with him now,” it says. Then, “It’s okay to talk to him every single day. You’re JUST friends.” “Phone sex isn’t real sex. It’s fine,” it whispers in my ear.

So now I have this thing going on with someone I thought I had completely exorcised from my system a few years back. We’re not fucking, and that’s how I justify staying in contact with the guy. But it’s just as bad, if not worse. I talk to him every day, and sometimes for hours on end.

I sometimes think that if Anthony were 15 years younger and just a little bit less… weird, he would be my soulmate. We would probably be married by now and have three kids. I told this to a friend in program recently and she said, “So if he were a COMPLETELY different person he would be your soulmate?”

Um, well, when you put it that way…

The thing is, I don’t even believe in soulmates. But my addiction does. It tells me that it doesn’t matter that insert name here is married, or that he is a sociopathic liar, or that he is 21 freaking years older than me and he’s a swinger. He (whomever “he” happens to be at the moment) is the ONE!

This is bullshit.

I care about Anthony probably more than I have ever cared about any man I have been romantically linked to. That’s why it’s so fucked up that I am using him for a high. The last time we talked Anthony (who knows I’m in a program for sex/love addiction) said something like, “I guess I’m flattered by all the attention you give me and how fixated you can get.”

“Don’t be, because it’s bullshit,” I replied. “You could be anyone. I have given this level of attention to men that I hated. Obsession is nothing to be flattered by. It’s all about me and has nothing to do with you.

“Once I stop contacting you, then you should be flattered. Because that will mean that I authentically care about you enough to stop using you.”

But it’s not that easy. I do authentically care enough about Anthony to stop using him. I genuinely care about him so much. But true affection isn’t enough to override addiction, obsession, and compulsion. No matter how much I care about anyone, I am still powerless over all this shit. I can’t stop on will power alone.

It’s now been just over 24 hours since I last had contact with Anthony. And to anyone who thinks love addiction isn’t a real thing, well fuck you, because I’m currently going through a physical withdrawal. I’m shaky, I have a headache, and I feel like I’m going to throw up.

Maybe some day in the very distant future I will be healthy enough to have an appropriate friendship with Anthony. I hope so, but I can’t think about that right now. I need to concentrate on filling the space in my life he took up with my higher power, and getting through one minute, one hour, one day at a time.

Image via Wikimedia Commons, Author: Landii