I spent some time in AA after my recent mental health diagnosis. I knew I had a drinking problem, but at each meeting I did the classic comparison and thought to myself, “Hell, okay, I’m not that bad.”
I think this is a common trait for many newcomers to AA so I kept going back.
As I listened to the stories, I had things I could shake my head at, laugh at, and relate to the uncanny similarities…but I could still never fully relate. I couldn’t relate to constant craving…the constant obsession for a fix…the desperation and the powerlessness the substance could cause.
That was until the day my true addiction came knocking on my door like the angel of death, the day I decided to stay single. Well, I laugh because the choice to become single was not my own…but boy, can heartbreak be a blessing in disguise.
Upon reflection, the kind of reflection that heartbreak often offers us but we rarely accept, I realized love was not a beautiful addition to my life but a harrowing compulsion.
It was in the first days I began to live without another that I began to understand the demoralizing insatiable beast that is addiction.
Roll your eyes if you must, at another seemingly “first world” diagnosis…I’m sure I would have done the same a few months ago. Hell, you know, I actually did. I bought a book on love addiction, even read 1/3 of it until I lost interest as I rested in the comfort of keeping my addiction well fed by jumping from one relationship to another just days after one took its fiery plunge.
Now, this hole in my chest is all I’m able to think about.
The worst part is, my addiction has two legs, and walks around as the other half of the population. Even worse than that, my addiction has a soul. It’s a fucking human being. It’s the handsome man whose office I pass each morning, the ex I haven’t talked to in years, the guy on the treadmill next to me at the gym, and the one that got away.
It’s the thought that’s always on my mind, the game I am constantly trying to win, the exhausting obsession that never sleeps, and the relentless, nagging hunger that’s never satisfied…it’s everywhere and everyday until I get to the devastating loneliness that is my empty bed.
It’s the bottle that sits on the shelf of every room I walk in, every movie I watch, every couple I pass and every suitable eye that meets mine.
The thing with addiction is that it can convince you of anything and it can take away everything.
It can convince you that you love your best friend, that you should get back together with your ex, that one night stands really don’t phase you too much, or that “yeah, you’re not crazy about him, but he’s better than being alone.”
It can take your pride, self-respect, friendships, goals, the person you wanted to become, but worst of all, please know it’s takes your time. It takes the most fleeting aspect of this human experience.
Addictions are hard as hell. God, how severely words limit me when I say addiction is hard. However, know this, you put the power of addiction on a scale next to the worth of your time and being, and the latter wins every fucking time. Again and again, it wins. So what I tell you now, I know it’s not easy, there is not an ounce of ease within it, but please, fight.
However that might look for you. Whatever direction you can painstakingly crawl toward healing, recovery, and transformation, start there. Start on your knees and pray to whatever higher power you do or don’t believe in, and crawl.
Insatiable, a lover once called me. I’ll never forget because the moment I heard it, I knew it was so damn true. I had never been summed up so well in one word. This is an addiction like any other with a substance more valuable than any other. I’ve turned one of the most precious experiences in this life into one of the most meaningless consumptions. 99 bottles of men on the wall and oh God please, let the next be my last.