Still on that Love Addiction kick? Sheesh, will you give that up already?

I’ve been slogging away on my chapter about Love Addiction. I keep writing and every time I finish a sentence, it feels like the next sentence should be “I guess I really need to attend a Love Addicts Anonymous meeting.” I will admit that I am curious, but something holds me back, namely the fact that I don’t think I am a Love Addict. As neatly as it would be to bind everything up in a tidy little package, have a clean diagnosis, 12 steps of recovery to follow, a well-defined problem and solution, I don’t think the solution is quite so simple. Not that addiction is simple.

I picked up a book today during a confused “spring ahead” morning in bed. It’s been lying on my bedside table, it’s alternative view languishing. The book is called “Labyrinth of Desire” by Rosemary Sullivan. At 7:30am or was it 8:30am? this line jumped out at me:

“…The kind of obsession that rushes in like a firestorm usually occurs either when we are young and want to get our lives started or when our lives get stuck and we need to jump-start them again…” “…Falling in love in this (obsessive) way will usually occur at a time of transition. We may not be conscious of it, but something has ended and something new must begin. Romantic obsession is a cataclysm breaking up the empty landscape.”

Hmmm. Life transition. I’m pretty sure that the death or divorce of a spouse counts as a life transition, at least it did the last time I checked. I guess you can make the argument that we look for ways to fill a void in our lives, that void that is often caused by such a transition, so the addiction model still works, just with the words swapped around a little.

Really, I am not trying to make the case that as widows and widowers, we are all headed down the path of addiction, but I suppose I haven’t been quite so acutely aware before now how much we, as a society try to mask our deepest, messiest emotions with experiences and substances that keep our brains in a state of false euphoria. Heaven forbid that we should appear vulnerable.

In the end, we need to find the common denominator which I think is tied up in self-worth and the ability to express our own vulnerability. Its about possessive attachment to objects and people. It is about mirroring in another that which we ourselves feel we lack.

I have convinced Recovery Café to purchase a course by Brené Brown called “Understanding and Healing Shame” which I will be teaching in tandem with one of the instructors there. I am a huge fan of Brené Brown and her TED series of lectures. She talks of the need for authenticity in our society and our fear of being vulnerable. She talks of “wholehearted” living and loving as a way of combating our increasingly anxious world. She describes the “resilient spirit” as one who lives with purpose by telling thier stories, practicing hope and gratitude, embracing vulnerability, and maintaining an awareness of the joy and happiness around us.

As I struggle with myself over this book, and the idea of writing about my own relationships, Brené’s words offer me some solace. I am embracing my own idea of what is shameful, placing myself on a precarious perch of vulnerability and attempting to understand, think critically and attempt to demystify human relationships.

No one said it was going to be pretty.

6 Comments

  1. annie March 13, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    There’s nothing wrong with self-examination and using what we discover to chart our course and redirect if we feel we need to.

    During the endless time (to my mind anyway) when I was single, I focused a lot on what might be wrong with me, and it wasn’t until I realized that the only thing I was doing “wrong” was just not being myself and noticing who appreciated that as opposed to trying to remake myself for those who didn’t that things changed.

    Brene’s resilient spirit seems about right to me. Except I would replace “vulnerable” with “open”. It’s not about exposing one’s emotional jugular as much as it is about letting someone see the real you – which isn’t necessarily about weakness.

    And pretty? Eye of the beholder.

    1. Kim March 15, 2011 at 7:09 am

      Wow Annie, I love your comment! Cheers to that. I need to remind myself of those words hourly some days. You and Abigail could be therapists. Could you both move to my neighborhood and help me through this 🙂

    2. Abigail - Site Author March 15, 2011 at 2:53 pm

      Annie,

      Indeed a great comment. Yes, so much navel gazing is detrimental to one’s health! I should know. And yes being open (vulnerable) is the key. I think what I am exploring now is the possibility of being overly open. Too vulnerable. We certainly talk about this phenomenon in the world of blogging and as a memoirist I have a rather strong penchant for it. I wonder if it can carry into relationships too and what the repercussions might be?

      Thanks too Kim for your comment. Not sure how effective I would be as a therapist. I’d have us all in AA for addictions we don’t have! Haha.

  2. annie March 16, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    Abby, the only problem I have encountered w/being open is that some people aren’t themselves and they find me overwhelming. We make adaptations accordingly or we move apart and on. Disappointing? Sometimes, but I still think it is better to be true to one’s self b/c some ppl are going to appreciate it and even love it.

    Kim, thank you.

  3. Scott March 31, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    How am I going to ask you out if you took yourself off Match?

  4. Bridgette November 30, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Thank goodness I found your blog! I am a love addict and when I started dating, life was….well, turbulant. Then I met my husband JR. We meshed our lives almost instantly, got married less than a year later, and became parents less than a year after that. We talked all day long, wether we were together or not. We were barely ever apart because my husband had a lot of medical issues almost throughout our entire relationship. Now that I look back on our short time together, I realize that he was a love addict as well. Then in Feburary 2011, he was diagnosed with brain cancer and died three months later. Being a love addict and losing the person I love is devestating. I’ve already been in three relationships and am trying to stop cold turkey but I realized that I need help. I am a love addict, widow, and single mother. How the hell is this going to work?

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