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Love is an Addiction, And I Relapsed

I recently wrote about a new relationship that crashed and burned. I’ve stopped seeing it as a “relationship.”

I have started seeing that episode as proof that I’m still an addict. A love addict.

I discovered the concept of love addiction a few years ago at a recovery conference. As I listened to the speaker, I shuddered as I realized how many of the boxes I ticked. I often mistake the heady rush of lust for love. I become submissive in relationships, even though that’s not who I am. I fell into relationships not because I liked the man, but because he liked me, giving me that sense of worth I needed. Until that conference, I thought that was how normal relationships worked. Apparently, I was wrong. But I was single and planning to stay that way at the time, so I had forgotten about it. Until now.

I hadn’t been looking for a man when we met. My friend introduced us. She did a great job of selling the idea of him. I was half convinced he was perfect for me before we even met. I can see now that after four single years, I was desperate for him to be perfect.

The signs were all there. An article I read this morning showed me with crystal clarity that I am addicted to love. It’s who I am and how I behave while in a relationship.

My son asked me a couple of weeks ago if I had ever considered trying to date women instead of men. I laughed, telling him that I had, but that I am not attracted to women. Even if I were, my problems with relationships wouldn’t go away. Men aren’t the problem—I’m the problem. My love addiction is the problem. I still have a lot of healing to do, there are many parts of me that still need loving back to wellness. And those parts don’t need love from a man, they need love from me.

I’m trying to figure it out. This morning I spoke to my doctor who is referring me to mental health support.

I know that I need it. Yoga has helped me to heal in the past five years, but I definitely need more support. My ADHD is off the scale. I can feel depression threatening to strike. I know I can’t tackle this love addiction on my own and it seems too dangerous to try. I still have my yoga and it helps me beyond measure. I am exploring the idea of Refuge Recovery, and think this will be a recovery model I can work with. But I still need more. The wounds run far deeper than I had realized.

I am no longer heartbroken at the end of the relationship. I don’t even think of it as a relationship anymore. It was a relapse without booze. It was an overwhelming mess of dopamine, sensual pleasures, and all-consuming obsession. A total loss of self. Exactly the same as my “relationship” with alcohol. It was a powerful, agonizing and vital lesson and one that I am learning lots from. I am focusing on myself, my wellbeing, and being present in my life as it is right now. As I said in my last post, I will remain single for a very long time to come. I need to learn to be in a relationship without it taking over my life and my psyche.

I am grateful that I have made this discovery. Old me would already be looking for the next man to fill the void with. Now I know that I can only fill the void healing the wounds that created it.

I am a lot stronger than “old me” can ever have imagined.

I love the current me. Even with all the mess and confusion. I love the messy, confused goddess that I am. And from that love, I will heal and grow. I will not need to give myself to another in the hope that they will love me into wholeness, because I am whole as I am.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

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