It is a very clear memory, my realizing I was a Love Addict. During a walking meditation the morning after a horrid argument with my husband – sadly a regular occurrence at the time – I got a clear message from The Universe that my part in the fight was that I was an untreated Love Addict and that was what was creating the chaos and unmanageability in my primary relationship and other relationships as well. At first I scoffed at the idea, asked for The Universe for another explanation. How could it be possible that I was a Love Addict? How would I admit it? Alas, with each step in my “walking meditation, the same message came to me.
At the time, I was writing a relationship history for a women’s group I attended. As The Universe’s message took hold in my mind, it shed light on my history and I realized its validity with a veracity that I could not deny.
For years, nay decades, my most important need had been the love from and the validation of others. When I was five, my 7-1/2 month pregnant mother was in a car accident and I was sent to live with a, not known to me, relative in another state. My older sister, being of school age, was not sent away. I made up that there was something wrong or bad about me or else why would I be exiled to live with those strangers. I retreated into myself and did not let anyone know how afraid, sad, and lonely I felt, while there and almost forever after. Two weeks after my return, my brother was born, replacing me as the coveted darling baby of the family.
Thereafter, in childhood, adolescence and beyond, I would befriend anyone who wanted to be friends with me. I sold my soul to make others happy, though as a child I had no idea that this is what I was doing and why I felt so afraid and alone. When older, I had sex with men I didn’t know as well as with married men becuase in my wounded brain, I made up that sex equaled love. These men became balms for the God-sized hole that I carried around with me every minute of every day, no matter where I went. Sex with these men qualified me as a Sex Addict: I had on many an occasion used sex as a commodity.
I had no internal sense of my worth in the world and believed that no one could possibly love me. Though I heard the adage that “no one can love you until you love yourself,” the idea of loving myself felt as foreign and crazy as my being able to fly to the moon.
Fast-forward nine years of attending weekly SLAA meetings; having nine years of holding my bottom lines; knowing now to set and keep boundaries; working with a sponsor through the steps and sponsoring others; and being of service, now, I do love myself. My life has not been chaotic and unmanageable for many years, I have a loving relationship with my husband, and oft days I feel happy, joyous, and free.
Working a program of recoverynot only saved my life, it helped me create a rich and full one!