A New Year In Recovery

I remember this time two years ago, January 2011. A guy I met, who I would later end up sleeping with asked if I had any new year’s resolutions. I jokingly told him, “I want to make sure I can actually keep my resolutions this year, so I’m resolving to drink more and to have more casual sex.” Pathetically, I thought this line was so cute and clever, that I used it a few other times that month on other men.

Ironically, I ended up breaking that resolution less than six months later, in June 2011, when I went into recovery for sex and love addiction.

Before that time I had such resistance to 12-step programs. I had even looked up statistics about their failure rates, and would cite then whenever 12-step groups came up in conversation. “Those people are just trading one addiction for another. They might no longer be addicted to drugs or alcohol, but they are addicted to meetings.” Years and years before I had spent a few months in OA (Overeaters Anonymous). At the time, I didn’t feel like I belonged there. Although I was (and still am) overweight, I couldn’t relate to the obsession with food and the extreme body hatred. In fact, being in those meetings triggered more issues with food and body image than I came in with.

Soon after my OA stint I went to my first meeting of Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous. At the beginning of the meeting, someone read The Characteristics of Sex and Love Addiction. I had all twelve. Every share at that meeting, I could relate to. There was no way getting around it, I belonged at that meeting. So I went to a few more, but then I used my best worst thinking and determined that finding someone else to obsess over was a much easier way to get over whomever he was.

A couple of years later, after I had dropped close to 3 grand on a psychic that promised to reunite me with my “one true soulmate,” I was at a bottom and dragged myself to a couple more meetings. Again, I knew I was where I was supposed to be, but didn’t want to believe it. Instead of sticking around and waiting for the miracle, I chose my tried and true method for getting over an ex — getting under someone else. After that I put my heart in soul into acting out. I thought I was “cured” from love addiction because I went a few years without getting obsessed with any of the guys I was seeing. And as for the sex addiction? I was just a young, adventurous, open-minded woman, with an active social life, not a sex addict.

Then I met HC. I knew minutes after meeting him that I was fucked. Something in him triggered a chemical reaction in me that was like I had just shot myself up with heroin. Being with him was absolute ecstasy and I was instantly addicted. When I finally decided to get clean from HC, I knew I could not do it alone. I was desperate and fully recognized how absolutely powerless I was over my addiction to him.

Six months. Six months. Six months! That was the mantra that was going through my head all of the summer of 2011. I promised myself this time I would stick it out and go to meetings for six months, that I wouldn’t contact HC for six months, and that I wouldn’t date anyone for six months. I had many fantasies about what would happen at the end of those six months. Most of them involved HC realizing he missed me and couldn’t live without me. The rest imagined me meeting my future husband six months and one day later. All of them involved me being 100 percent better and living a life that was entirely problem free.

A year and a half later, and my life is far from perfect. It is nothing like I imagined it would be, but it is amazing. My life is filled with joy, love, and acceptance. I’m so grateful and so happy to be celebrating a new year in recovery.

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Sex, Love… and Work

The last couple of weeks I’ve been dealing with an extremely shitty challenging work assignment. While I don’t want to bore you all to tears with my litany of job related complaints (I gave serious consideration [not really] to titling this post OMG My Job F-ing SUXX!!! before I remembered that whiners are assholes), but I do want to point out some parallels I’ve notice between myself as an employee and myself as a sex/love addict. I…

1. Am completely at a loss when it comes to setting appropriate boundaries.

2. Always settle for crumbs.

3. Am never “right sized.” I’m either too good or not good enough for a man and/or a job.

4. Go after shit I don’t want (loser guys, jobs I’m over qualified for), because I know I’ll get it.

5. Rarely go after what my heart truly desires (a good man, a job that fulfills me) either out of fear of rejection, or belief that I’m not deserving.

6. See rejection and judgement when none actually exists.

7. Push and poke just to see how far I can get.

8. Neglect self care and always put the “other” in front of my own needs.

9. Can be a fucking bitch.

Thankfully I’ve made a lot of headway in these areas when it comes to sex and love, but am still struggling with these character defects in other aspects of my life. I’m confident, though, that as I continue on this path the transformation will happen in throughout my life.

Also, because I believe in practicing gratitude, I need to put it out there that although my current job isn’t my dream job, it certainly doesn’t suck (or even SUKK). Most days, it’s a pretty decent gig. But even in the tough times, I’m still so grateful for this job and for all that it affords me.

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.

Love

I came home from work yesterday to find a Christmas care package from my Aunt Nadine and Uncle Ned, who live on the other side of the country. It contained homemade banana bread, cookies, a Christmas stocking full of goodies and two wrapped presents. It’s hard to put into words how moved I was by this unexpected package.

Lately, I’ve been lucky enough to keep getting reminders that I am loved. Big things like this care package, but also small things like a neighbor kid drawing a picture for me, or a text from a high school friend telling me that she misses me are enough to move me to tears. Surely, these kinds of non-romatic displays of affection always existed in my life, but I always took them for granted. If it wasn’t Prince Charming with a dozen roses, I barely even noticed. I was too busy lamenting all that I didn’t have — a boyfriend, a husband, a dom — to realize all the blessings that I did have.

Deep down, I didn’t believe I was even lovable. Sure, a guy might stick around for awhile if I was doing everything I could to please him sexually and be a good sub, but if sex was out of the equation that same guy would have zero interest in me. And the other people in my life — family, friends, coworkers, neighbors — they were just there because they got stuck with me, not out of a genuine tenderness for me.

Occasionally I still tend to oh, woe is me thinking (see previous entry, for example), but most of the time I am so appreciative for all that I do have. And I feel so lucky that these special people stuck around and still care about me despite the fact that most of my life I’ve moped around like a surly teenager and haven’t been able to return their affections.

Today, I can say that I am grateful for all the love in my life and I’m grateful that I’m able to accept and give love. Most importantly, I now see that I am a lovable person and I love myself.

Gratitude List 10/22/11

When I first started working with my sponsor, everyday I would email her a list of five things I was grateful for. I’ve kind of been slacking with this lately. Today, however, I’m feeling so grateful I’m going to write my list here.

1. Awesome friends. My friend Marie spent over nine hours at my place helping me pack/keeping me company today. She went through three boxes of disorganized papers that she organized, filed, and helped me weed through. Now it’s one box of organized files. I could have never done this on my own. I get sooo overwhelmed by paperwork and just end up drowning in it. I told her, more that once, that if she had a dick, I would owe her at least 10 blow-jobs. Of course I was joking, but it’s still a little sad that I only know how to express gratitude sexually. Tomorrow, another girl, who I really don’t know all that well, is coming over to help me. I mentioned that I was moving and she offered to help. In the old days, my response would have been, “thanks, but I’ve got it covered,” even when I desperately needed help. I hope that wasn’t what she expected me to say.

2. A whole new wardrobe. Like an idiot, I used to buy clothes that were too small for me, thinking, “I’ll fit into this eventually.” With my history, the smarter bet if I wanted to fit into something in the future, would be to buy clothes two or three sizes too big. Today, while cleaning out my linen closet, I found a whole stash of these “skinny clothes” that I had stashed there a couple years back, and guess what? Most of them now fit or are very close to fitting. Those that were still too small I put in the garage sale pile.

3. A new, less-expensive apartment in a hipper neighborhood that is free of bad memories.

4. Hope. If you read my blog this morning, my day stated with some self-loathing. Luckily that feeling passed fairly quickly. When I was active in my addiction it was all self-loathing all the time. I now have hope for my future. Things are so much better than they were, and I know they will continue to get even better.

5. Recovery partners. Even though I ditched the meeting I had planned to go to this morning, I did contact a couple of my recovery partners. Their encouragement managed to pull me out of the funk I was in this morning.