So I’m going to be completely transparent, real, and honest here for a minute. Are you with me?
<HUGE DEEP BREATH INSERTED HERE>
I am a recovering relationship and love addict.
Have you ever heard of this? I can imagine that a lot of my family and friends would likely think that this is absolutely ridiculous. How can we be addicted to something that we really want in our lives, that would make us happy, and that in reality, we are all created to experience? God didn’t create us to go through this crazy life alone, did He? I personally believe that we are created to live out these experiences with someone that we love and partner with.
I think that it’s important to take a look at the meaning of the word “addiction” within this post. According to Merriam-Webster, addiction is defined as “a compulsive, chronic, physiological or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects and typically causing well-defined symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, tremors, or nausea) upon withdrawal or abstinence”. And yes, I realize that many people link the term addiction to a chemical such as alcohol or marijuana. However, step back from that belief and see if there is an area of your life that could be impacting your life in an addictive fashion. Just sit with that for a minute, and be still.
Perhaps sharing a tiny bit of my own personal story might help to illustrate this with some more clarity. Looking back even into my teen years, I can say that there were very few times throughout my life when I was single, without a boy/man in my life. There may have been a few months at a time when I was alone, but that was it. I can take that a step deeper and tell you that during those times, I was still deeply entrenched in the dating world, and I absolutely HATED the thought of being single and alone. I didn’t know what to do with my time, how to fill the quiet or the moments alone, and frankly…it often caused me to get involved with people that were really not good for me. I often didn’t care what their values, morals, and beliefs were; I only wanted to know that they were interested in me, and that they were there to keep me from being ALONE.
And yes, I would go through actual withdrawal-type symptoms when I was without a man in my life. The anxiety would creep in, I would get nauseous and depressed, and experienced disruption in my sleep. I would try to soothe my emotions with food, alcohol, or compulsive behaviors so that I didn’t have to really FEEL the withdrawal or focus on it in any way. I assure you, it never worked. The feelings would always surface again when I had any time to myself, when I was rejected by a man, or when I was going through something challenging in any area of my life. I really do believe that if we push something off to the side so that we don’t have to deal with it, the issue will be magnified tenfold when we do think about it again…and we will. I had to learn (heck, I’m STILL learning) to just allow the feelings to come in, acknowledge them and process them…and to just spend time sitting with it all. No, I’m not saying to focus on the negative for weeks and months at a time…but don’t push it off without giving it the attention that it needs.
If you have any type of knowledge or background in the areas of addiction, you are likely very aware that one of the crucial first steps of recovery is to abstain from the “substance” of choice. This is no different when we are referring to relationship or love addiction. I know because I have been through this process, and I have also been through the relapses that come along with real and raw recovery. My friend, this is hard…but so worth it. You will learn so much about yourself, and you will come through on the other side knowing exactly where you stand and where you want your life to go.
Consider a “dating detox”, as the beginning step in your recovery from relationship/love addiction. Don’t go through it alone…find someone that will help to hold you accountable. Someone who you can talk with when things get tough, a “sponsor” who will remind you of the reasons you are working through this experience and what your goals are. It needs to be someone that you can trust, rely on, and reach easily because you WILL need them. Choose someone who is willing to be there for you during this experience.
In my next blog post, I will be sharing some more about a “dating detox”, and what that might look like. I do share often from my own experiences, because that is what I can speak to the most. I welcome your thoughts, your questions, your input, and your ideas…because I FIRMLY believe that there is power in going through life knowing that you are NOT alone. This is especially important for a relationship addict who panics at the thought of possibly being alone.
Live love, my precious friends…
June 16, 2020