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

Acceptance is the Answer

From page 417 of The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous:

And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation—some fact of my life —unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.

Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” He forgot to mention that I was the chief critic. I was always able to see the flaw in every person, every situation. And I was always glad to point it out, because I knew you wanted perfection, just as I did. A.A. and acceptance have taught me that there is a bit of good in the worst of us and a bit of bad in the best of us; that we are all children of God and we each have a right to be here. When I complain about me or about you, I am complaining about God’s handiwork. I am saying that I know better than God.

Moving Blues

Most days, I am truly grateful that I am single. I think about HC and how much it must suck to be his wife. I think about the men I have been involved with in the past and how miserable I would be now if I was still with any of them. Today is a different story.

A couple of weeks ago, I found a great new apartment (yay!) and I need to be out of this place by the end of the month. I’m starting to pack today and I am getting nothing done. I’m so overwhelmed by all my stuff and have no idea what to do with everything. To top it off, I have no one to help me. Most of my female friends are married with kids or just too busy to help me. I am really feeling sorry for myself. I wish I had a partner to help me sort things out or at least someone male to help with the heavy lifting. I even texted a couple of guys from my past (nice ones, yes, there were a few; who won’t expect a blow job in exchange for helping me out). No one has responded. I thought about posting something like, “Can anyone help me move?” on my Facebook wall, but how depressing will that be sitting on my wall with zero comments?

I really wish I had a boyfriend right now. It’s not just that I’m overwhelmed, I’m also seriously lonely.

But the thing is, even though my addict brain is telling me I can’t do this on my own, I know I can. Yes, it sucks. But it’s not impossible. And it’s not like if HC or someone else like him were in my life, he’d be helping me move.

I’m not the only person in the world who has to move on their own. People do it all the time. In fact, I’ve even done it before. So why am I writing this whiny post? I don’t know, but I’m sure procrastination has a little something to do with it.

Powerless

Late last night I had a slip. I was looking up a friend’s page on facebook. Her name starts with the same letters of HC’s name. While I was typing her name into the search bar, his name and new picture came up. Before I knew what I was doing, I had clicked on his name, and was on his profile. We aren’t friends and his profile is private, so there isn’t much info I can squeeze out of his page except that he has changed his picture. Seeing his picture was all it took, I was off.

I looked at his wife’s page, his mother’s, his brother’s, his wife’s twitter, his wife’s blog. I did a google search for his name, her name, their names together. I went on craigslist and searched for the terms I know he used in his casual encounters ads — he is still posting ads almost daily. I did this for about an hour. I don’t know what I was looking for, but I didn’t find it. Nothing I looked at told me he was divorced/getting a divorce or that he gotten his sexual addiction under control. However, everything I looked at told me, “yep… you’re still crazy.

This man has not been in my life for more than three months now, what business of mine is it what he is doing? I have no right to secretly pry into his life. My sponsor says that whenever I find myself in my addiction, instead of berating myself for being such a creepy stalker, a slut, or whatever; I need to go back to Step 1. What I did last night is evidence that I am indeed powerless over this addiction.

Last night was a slip, but it doesn’t have to be more than that. Today is a new day. I am powerless over my addiction, but God is not.  Everyday I need to remember that I can not do this without God. When I give my will and my life over to the care of God, I will be taken care of.

I Wish I Could

“All we knew was that we could not go back into our active sex and love addiction again.”

I read this line today while reading “Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God,” in the Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous Basic Text, and it gave me pause. I know that I CAN’T, but sometimes I wish I could. I wish I could in a way that didn’t have consequences, that is.

I wish I could date and fuck whomever I please without getting obsessed with any of them. I wish I could fall in love/lust left and right, and then just move on when it got old without getting hurt or hurting anyone. I wish I could do all this, all while managing to find a partner, start a family, and have a career I am proud of.  I know some people CAN do this. I know because I have fucked some of them. There are many men who do just this, and if their wife never finds out (and the wives/girlfriends I know in this position are usually in too much denial to ever realize what is going on), their sexual and romantic actions are pretty much free of consequences.

But for me, there are consequences. I am an addict. When I get hooked on someone, I become obsessed, clingy, and needy — driving him away. When I am acting out there is no room in my life for healthy pursuits, like career or personal advancement. I end up staying up all night scouring the internet, trying to find every single thing I can about the object of my obsession, and then having to call in sick to work the next day. I end up putting myself in dangerous situations with dangerous people – getting assaulted, being secretly filmed, threatened, intimidated. I end up in situations where the police are called. And as low as those bottoms have been in the past, I know they will get even lower if I return to my active addiction.

It isn’t fair. I wish I could be some dick guy without any sense of guilt or un-wholeness, fucking and “loving” my way through a charmed life. I learned long ago, though, that life is seldom fair. I can indulge in a bit of wishful thinking, now and again, but I need to remember that acceptance of what is is the true key to serenity.