To better understand this dis-ease within ourselves that we call love addiction is to look not at addiction, but avoidance. Avoidance of ourselves. It is to look at the alternate side of addiction. What is the logical opposite of addiction? Avoidance. It is not about men or our inability to find and/or keep a man. It is certainly not about how rotten somebody is treating you, if you choose to stay. And it certainly isn’t about love. If I keep choosing the wrong men then that is an issue unrelated to love addiction. Love addiction is merely a struggle within the Self, to AVOID the self, which manifests itself in the realm of love and relationships. To be a love addict, per se, has little or nothing to do with the object of my affection. It has to do with the Self and the Self’s inability to find peace and understanding within while in certain situations.
When I obsess, when I struggle, when I fear, when I feel disgust, and I point all those emotions at YOU, are you the problem? No. I am. When I get involved with a man who ignores me, neglects me, doesn’t love me, is that HIS problems? No. It’s mine. When I feel insecure and unloved and keep chasing after someone who doesn’t want me in his life, is that HIS problem? No. It’s mine.
So often we point the blame outside ourselves. So often we say, if only he would change. So often we look to the rest of the world to do the work of making peace for us. We are blind to the fact that change, peace, understanding is within us. That there is a STRUGGLE going on within us that needs to be quieted and we are the ones responsible for it. No one else. In fact, if we should name ourselves anything it should be “avoidants” not love addicts. By focusing so deeply on someone else for our salvation, we are AVOIDING ourselves.
My love addiction isn’t so much that I am addicted to loving someone. My love addiction is a distraction to a deeper problem within me. I am afraid of responsibility. I am afraid to live. To have a life of my own. I cannot choose a career. I cannot find my purpose. I am easily distracted and don’t stay with jobs for more than 3-5 years. I get bored. I don’t feel connected to anything. Nothing has heart. Most of my day is wasted doing menial things. I don’t put any effort into my life. I rarely take risks. I do not have something I am passionate about. Something to which I can devote myself. And because I lack ALL THAT, I welcome the opportunity to save you, I welcome the distraction of falling in love, I welcome your problems in my life because just me, all alone, is completely BORED OUT OF MY MIND.
Love is my passion. Love is what I become devoted to. Love is what I depend on. Love saves me. Love rescues me. Love is my life.
This, of course, is escapism at its finest.
I am trying to understand why I do the things I do. I am trying to love myself in spite of all my shortcomings. In spite of this mess. For the first time in my life, I can see a light flickering at the end of the tunnel. I now know WHY i do what I do when I am in a relationship. The fact that I choose men who don’t match up to my standards is something else entirely. I cannot confuse the two: love addiction and attraction. Heck the only way one fits into the other is that the more messed up you are, the more exciting my life will be.
This leads me to believe that having a PoA (person of addiction) is incredibly misleading and damaging to recovery. It puts the focus on the PoA and NOT on the Self. If I am constantly thinking about someone, who they’re with, where they are, why they did what they did, if they love me, I am not so much addicted to them as I am avoiding something within myself. I am ESCAPING from dealing with my own personal responsibility to me and my issues, that’s all. Having a PoA draws the focus away from the Self and allows me to place blame on something else. It allows me to accept that someone else has power over me. This is not true. Sure, we are all influenced by other people. But if we are going where we don’t want to go it is our responsibility to change, not someone else’s. Fretting over all the little stuff: “he called me,” “he’s getting married,” “he has a Christmas gift for me…” “he pinged me,” is simply more escapism. More avoidance. It’s ALL missing the mark of what recovery is.
Recovery is the SELF. It is facing your own demons. It is exposing yourself to the point of shame and embarrassment and eventually grace and freedom. The more I talk about myself in relation to the men in my life, the farther away I am from the truth. The farther I am from myself. The more i lose myself in a man, the more I lose my Self. The more I focus on his issues and his love or lack thereof, the more distant from my Self I become.
I do not have a PoA in my life now or ever. I am addicted to no one. But I am prone to avoiding my own issues and that is what I am working on. Sure, I will have waves of thinking about someone. I will hold out hope of seeing someone. I will dip into obsessive thought for a day or maybe a week. But I now know and believe it has nothing to do with whether or not I am addicted to them. It has to do with the fact that I have chosen to AVOID myself.