Nobody Loves You

“Nobody loves you,” “No one wants you,” “You are worthless,” “You don’t matter to anyone,” “You don’t deserve love, protection, happiness, success or anything else that’s good,” “You are shit!” This is what my addiction says to me. This voice formed long ago, probably before my conscious memory. It could have been formed by something as uneventful as belong left to cry a little too long as an infant. Who knows how it originally formed.

In my later childhood this voice was fortified by abandonment, death, and abuse. It lodged deep in my subconscious, then grew with each subsequent trauma. Every unfortunate event in my life gave it more fuel. I deserved it when my boyfriend hit me. Had it coming when I was raped. I believed this voice so much that I sought out further evidence to prove it right. Choose men that would beat me. Asked them for it. Choose men who were unavailable and would therefore eventually abandon me. Became addicted to those men.

This voice is somewhat quelled by the sexual act. In those short moments I know that I am intensely wanted, desired, valued, maybe even loved. I am validated by the focus and the attention. Then it’s over, and all I want is to feel that validation again, and again, and again.

Nowadays I know that this voice is a liar. I am loved, valued, and worthy of all good things. My friends love me, my family members love me, my sponsor and my fellows love me, and most importantly, I am loved by myself and my Higher Power.

That voice is quieter now, but it’s still there. And sometimes it kicks up a fuss that is difficult to ignore.

Carson

Yesterday, I talked to Carson. In addition to all of his other problems, he’s in a bad place financially. If things don’t start working out for him soon, he’s going to be homeless. He told me that two nights earlier he got really drunk and then took a handful of sleeping pills, nearly overdosing. Yesterday morning, he woke up staring at the rafters of his celling and thought about hanging himself, so he took another sleeping pill and went back to sleep. My afternoon phone call woke him up.

My response? “That sucks and all but, can I come over and fuck you?” I didn’t use those exact words; I’m not a monster. I put it a lot more tactfully, but that’s what I meant.

Later I was thinking about what a selfish asshole I am. This whole time I’ve been thinking that Carson is bad for me, looking at him like he’s my version of a bottle of booze — a bad habit I’ve picked up but know I’ll eventually be strong enough to put down again. But he’s not a substance, he’s a person and I’m just as bad for him as he is for me. Worse, maybe. I’m not a healthy person right now, and I’m only going to drag Carson down. There isn’t much further he can go.

My typical pattern is to have sex with someone first, then maybe develop a friendship with him later. With a little recovery under my belt, I flipped this formula around with Carson. We hung out for a full two months before anything sexual happened between us. I care about Carson. I wish I could be a positive force in his life and boost him up, but I’m too fucked up to help.

This needs to stop. I need to get better before I can attempt another romantic relationship with someone, and I need to stay away from Carson. If I can’t do it for the sake of my health, I need to do it for the sake of his. I am powerless over the disease of sex and love addiction, though.  Knowing I need to stop some behavior has never before been enough to make me stop. I need to rely on God now more than ever.

Thy will, not mine, be done.

One Day at a Time

Yesterday, after work, I went over to Carson’s place. I acted out with him. It was physically, and somewhat emotionally fulfilling. He is a good lover. About ten minutes later, while we are lying in bed naked, he got a phone call and went into the other room. Moments later he came back handing me my purse and my sweater, “Sorry sweetie, you have to go, my friend is here.”

Thirty seconds later, I’m semi-dressed (tights and panties stuffed into my purse, carrying my sweater) and being ushered out the back door, while some other girl is waiting for Carson at the front door. I was thinking, Am I really still doing this shit!?!?

I could care less about the nature of Carson’s friendship with this other chick. He says that they are just friends, but she likes him. He, probably rightly, thinks it would be awkward if we met. He could be lying or he could be telling the truth. Carson isn’t my boyfriend and so it really isn’t any of my business. What’s at issue here is the indignity of having to sneak out the back door carrying the undergarments I didn’t have time to put back on, because one of his more respectable friends dropped by unannounced. This isn’t the way I’m meant to be living my life.

Driving home I decided that this thing with Carson had ran it’s course. I had my fun and was ready to get back on track.

This morning, though, I found myself wondering about Carson’s plans for tonight. Thinking about how much he would like the green dress I was planing on wearing for St. Patrick’s Day. Ugh! I hate this disease so fucking much.

I am taking good care of myself. So far, I have had a healthy Saturday. I went to yoga in the morning and then went to a meeting. Today is day five in my 30-in-30 (one meeting a day, for 30 days). Later today, I’m going to a mediation workshop. I know that I won’t be able to see Carson tonight, even though I want to. He has a friend in town and I’m sure he will be hanging out with him. So I know that for today, I won’t act out. Tomorrow I will worry about tomorrow.

Relapse

A few weeks ago I broke the one bottom-line that I’d kept for nearly eight months — no sexual activity outside of a committed relationship. I did this with my friend Carson. Carson is a good man, but so lost in his own untreated addictions that he’s not a suitable partner.

I’m not sure how to even write about this. Maybe I shouldn’t even be writing about it at all, yet. I want to write, “I am recovering from a relapse,” but a more accurate statement would probably be, “I am attempting to recover from a relapse.”

I’m still committed to SLAA, the program of recovery I’ve been a member of for the past nine months. I’m still going to meetings, going to fellowship, talking with my sponsor, working the steps, and still doing top-line behaviors every day. According to this program, “The only requirement for SLAA membership is a desire to stop living out a pattern of sex and love addiction.” I still have this desire, now more than ever, yet the words attributed to St. Augustine keep coming to mind, “Dear God, grant me chastity and continence… but not yet.”

I know how pointless it is to look for solace and salvation in the arms of a lover, particularly this lover. I know, but I still want.