View Full Version : Love addiction


Hermus
12-22-16, 02:43 PM
When in rehab I learned quite some interesting things about myself. One is that I have a love addiction. This means that I seek valuation in relationships with women. In the past this has led to troubles by developing unhealthy relationships too quickly, that soon turned out to be destructive. Often these relationships ended pretty soon and afterwards it was difficult to me to let go. This had a damaging influence on my mental condition.

Now I'm back and sober from alcohol suddenly my love addiction comes up much more strongly than before. One of the things that is regularly advised is a year of abstinence of romantic and sexual relationships. To me this seems like a reasonable first step into recovery. Yet, I feel like this is already getting difficult right now. Multiple women have shown romantic interest in me and I'm not good at keeping them at a distance. There are multiple lines I have kept open and I'm texting a lot with the goal of finding someone to get sexually and/or romantically involved with.

Another thing that is regularly advised is to establish bottom line behaviour. These are behaviours not to engage in, in order to stay sober in respect of love addiction. Total abstinence for the rest of my life is not my goal. But it would be great to have some bottom line behaviours for the year of abstinence. Yet, I don't know exactly what things to include and what not. Anyone any suggestions or ideas?

Fuzzy12
12-22-16, 03:14 PM
I'd assume that you include the things that you don't really want to do but might do for the sake of getting or maintaining some sort of romantic or sexual relationship/experience.

Unmanagable
12-22-16, 03:51 PM
1. Close the lines you've left open for potential romantic/sexual possibilities. Those energies will continue to haunt you while they're actively awaiting your attention. Energy flows where attention goes.

2. Engage in more of the types of things you love that don't include the specific potential romantic/sexual partners, or that don't involve a typical scene you're used to seeking out as a medium to acquire partners.

3. When approached by potential romantic/sexual partners, kindly dismiss yourself by redirecting the subject by perhaps sharing that you're currently working on a major project that requires all of your energy and time, which you truly are.

If they ask for detail, just say you don't want to bore them with details, or that you've finally had a chance to step away from it and that's the last thing you wish to talk about, or something that suits the situation at hand, but let them know how flattered you are that they shared their interest in both you and your project, then wish them well and move on.

If it's someone you feel you can't live without, be honest. If you mess up based on the expectations you have of self, be kind. If you hurt another in the process, own it and make it right. If you hurt self, own it, forgive, and try to treat yourself better next time.

A whole lot can happen in a year. It'll also go by a whole heck of a lot faster than it probably feels like it will. It's a minute by minute daily pursuit/struggle of changing and redirecting thought processes that drive us into our most favored and comfortable grooves, no matter how destructive.

With each successful redirection, the feeling of self-empowerment increases and the desire to healthily self-nurture takes hold a little more. That ended up being one of my best tools for staying on track. But the elusive search for healthy balance in all arenas remains my biggest hurdle. Best wishes in your pursuits.

aeon
12-22-16, 08:27 PM
First and foremost, you must develop valuation for yourself.

When you love yourself, in full — without condition, exception, or judgement — the foundation element upon which the rest of your life is built will be solid, and provide the stability and support needed to pursue goals, weather adversity, and remain grounded so as to fully celebrate successes.

This also allows you to fully receive love from another, and also love another where the act of giving of yourself will not deplete you, but actually nourish you.

Offers and interest from others where your person is not respected in total will be recognized as such. Because you will understand and know what love for your person is, those things called “love,” — under various names — which objectify you, disrespect you, devalue you, have intent to use you...you will be able to see the motive, and so know that your well-being is not part of their considerations.

The desire and need to connect with others, in all kinds of ways, is natural, for we are human beings, and we are social creatures. That said, there are ways to engage that respect yourself and respect another...and there are ways where one, or both, are disrespected and treated as less than...and from this there is always consequences.

I would guess that part of your experience right now is a combination of your brain learning how to cope day-to-day without alcohol, and the presence of long-running scripts and schemas from childhood that can now run freely, without the depressant effect of the alcohol. That may serve to explain why your experience of love addiction is so strong right now.

As for a suggestion of a bottom-line behavior, I am going to recommend something based on my experience: spend a year working on nothing but yourself. Learn how to be alone, but not lonely. Discover the pleasure of your own company, and why there is something of value and pleasure in it.

Put yourself first. Care for and nourish every part of you. Recognize and honor yourself for the self-supportive choices you have made and the success you have achieved so far. Hermus, what you have done is no small thing...so please do not disrespect yourself by a return to maladaptive behaviors.

You were trying to meet your needs as best you knew how, given your tools and resources, as defined by your situation. That’s true today, and will be for the rest of your life. Hopefully, you have some other tools now, and perhaps resources...and by your choices, you are taking an active role in defining the situation you are in...by changing that which you are truly able to change...yourself.

Bottom line, I hope you have continued success with your chosen path. I hope you really do put yourself first, both for the obvious reasons, but also because no one else will. I hope you come to know yourself and understand your life narrative to the point that the energies of the past cease to drive behaviors in the present. Those things we own and accept responsibility for can never again be something to which we yield control, and in so doing, our well-being and chance to experience genuine happiness.

Know that the needs you are trying to satisfy will never be met by romantic or sexual behaviors.

That said, learning to love yourself, well and true — nothing gets you more ready for a life well-lived, as you would define that for yourself.


Best to You,
Ian

someothertime
12-22-16, 10:42 PM
Some really really good advice there, and what immense clarity to put it out here.

I'd add, that through this tough time.... restricting yourself.... to keep first and formermost the mindset that your "growing your self awareness and discipline"..... the trap is that one associates this restriction with punishment / weakness .... this is counterproductive ( i believe aeon is talking about the same thing above from another perspective ).

Also, the endgame here is not a miraculous growth of emotional self satisfaction gained via abstinence..... although it does sound close...... it's merely self understanding..... clear, strong, engrained...... it is the restraint and latter part of this period that this is engrained, by you inacting desires with newly learned limits and self understanding. We are never perfect, I doubt you will ever totally free of this need, but in each future decision, to learn sense it in yourself and bring that into your awareness is huge..... it is this awareness rather than the decisions themselves that is the light.


Peace.

sarahsweets
12-23-16, 05:17 AM
I think maybe you are feeling these things because now that the alcohol is gone, you are subconciously looking for something to fill that hole that alcohol left. The reason they recommend that you steer clear of relationships is because its so easy to stop working on yourself and start focusing on someone else and their problems, circumstances etc. You begin to focus on them and lose focus on your recovery. It makes sense to want companionship after stopping a substance in the alcoholic community. We are notorious for intense often unhealthy connections to other people and until we learn to live with just ourselves, its hard to have others wrapped up in our emotions. Relationships can be messy, even the good ones.

ToneTone
12-24-16, 11:57 AM
You don't mention what type of followup treatment and support and therapy you are receiving. Followup is absolutely the key to making sobriety of various kinds much easier.

I used to go to a love addiction support groups and the best thing about them is that people could go find a meeting anytime they wanted ... and they often came to meetings exactly when they felt the urge to do something destructive. But I would say the most helpful move was to find a therapist who was very experienced with issues of love addiction and sexual dysfunction.

What you want to do is to build up your ability to live with some discomfort. That's what addiction destroys: the ability to go through ups and downs without resorting to an external substance or compulsive behavior.

I would say read online about intimacy ... intimacy is the huge issue. People with love and sex addictions tend to meet others, but at the same time keep others at a distance. So reading articles and books and going to therapy for learning how to find good friends and figuring out what is a good friend and learning how to say no to friends when you want to ... and equally important learning how to say YES to friends when you might need a favor or some support and encouragement.

There are good books on love addiction, codependency, setting boundaries ... all of those are excellent and could give you encouragement and insight.

Possible bottom lines: I assume your alcohol bottom line is that you will not take a drink ... maybe that you will stay out of bars as well .... A love addiction bottom line could be ... I will not kiss anyone in a romantic way (for the next year). I will not have sex with anyone (over the next year). I will not flirt online with people I do not love and I do not want to partner with for the long term ...

Equally good are top lines, which are the good behaviors you want to increase ... that make it easier to avoid the bad behaviors ... Exercising x days a week, going for walks x days a week, reading good books of a certain type, getting enough sleep and rest ... calling good people when you're feeling bad and vulnerable, etc ...

Good luck. It is totally true what the earlier poster said: your first year will zoom by ... Just remember: you do not feel better at engaging in addiction behavior. Some "stress" is momentarily released but then that release is drowned by hits your esteem, a sense of being out of control, a sense of failure, isolation, loss and on and on ...

Good luck.

Tone

Hermus
12-25-16, 06:00 AM
Thank you all for the solid advise. These are all things that have been told to me a few times while in rehab and that on a conscious level I know. Yet, somehow I fail to act on my knowledge and instead my addictive behaviour seems to take over more and more.

I even have a huge denial system built up around my behaviour that I so totally knew is bs. At my psychologist I told some of these ideas that are part of my denial system and immediately started grinning, because I recognized at the moment I said it what a bs it is.

I tell myself things like: 'Well, I haven't dated any of them yet', 'a little flirting through WhatsApp won't hurt', 'as long as I only will keep it sexual and not get attached it won't be bad for me'. Yet, I know the answer to all these things. Eventually if I keep doing what I do I will be dating again soon, will develop feelings and this will most likely lead to a situation in which I will hurt myself and will hurt the other. Still I'm confused about whether I really want to give up my love addiction.

You don't mention what type of followup treatment and support and therapy you are receiving. Followup is absolutely the key to making sobriety of various kinds much easier.

I used to go to a love addiction support groups and the best thing about them is that people could go find a meeting anytime they wanted ... and they often came to meetings exactly when they felt the urge to do something destructive. But I would say the most helpful move was to find a therapist who was very experienced with issues of love addiction and sexual dysfunction.

In the new year I will be back in my home town, within reasonable travelling distance from a SLAA (Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous) meeting. I definitely will go there. Moreover, I will have 2 full days a week of follow-up treatment.

What you want to do is to build up your ability to live with some discomfort. That's what addiction destroys: the ability to go through ups and downs without resorting to an external substance or compulsive behavior.

I would say read online about intimacy ... intimacy is the huge issue. People with love and sex addictions tend to meet others, but at the same time keep others at a distance. So reading articles and books and going to therapy for learning how to find good friends and figuring out what is a good friend and learning how to say no to friends when you want to ... and equally important learning how to say YES to friends when you might need a favor or some support and encouragement.

There are good books on love addiction, codependency, setting boundaries ... all of those are excellent and could give you encouragement and insight.

Possible bottom lines: I assume your alcohol bottom line is that you will not take a drink ... maybe that you will stay out of bars as well .... A love addiction bottom line could be ... I will not kiss anyone in a romantic way (for the next year). I will not have sex with anyone (over the next year). I will not flirt online with people I do not love and I do not want to partner with for the long term ...

These are all useful bottom lines. Thank you. For alcohol and other substances the bottom lines are quite clear. The ones for love addiction I will need to develop on-the-go.

Equally good are top lines, which are the good behaviors you want to increase ... that make it easier to avoid the bad behaviors ... Exercising x days a week, going for walks x days a week, reading good books of a certain type, getting enough sleep and rest ... calling good people when you're feeling bad and vulnerable, etc ...

Good luck. It is totally true what the earlier poster said: your first year will zoom by ... Just remember: you do not feel better at engaging in addiction behavior. Some "stress" is momentarily released but then that release is drowned by hits your esteem, a sense of being out of control, a sense of failure, isolation, loss and on and on ...

Good luck.

Tone

Little Missy
12-25-16, 10:04 AM
If you like the label there is no need to rip it out.

sarahsweets
12-25-16, 02:27 PM
What are you doing to maintain your sobriety? I dont mean actually not drinking but other stuff.

Hermus
12-25-16, 02:32 PM
What are you doing to maintain your sobriety? I dont mean actually not drinking but other stuff.

My recovery right now is focused on visiting AA and NA meetings, keeping in touch with fellow addicts, practising meditation and trying to keep my life structured. At the start of the New Year I will be back in my own appartment and will visit SLAA meetings and get day treatment for 2 days a week.

Little Missy
12-25-16, 05:28 PM
My recovery right now is focused on visiting AA and NA meetings, keeping in touch with fellow addicts, practising meditation and trying to keep my life structured. At the start of the New Year I will be back in my own appartment and will visit SLAA meetings and get day treatment for 2 days a week.

You could get with Dr. Zoidberg on here. I believe that he may live close to you.

sarahsweets
12-27-16, 07:04 AM
My recovery right now is focused on visiting AA and NA meetings, keeping in touch with fellow addicts, practising meditation and trying to keep my life structured. At the start of the New Year I will be back in my own appartment and will visit SLAA meetings and get day treatment for 2 days a week.

Oh good, I am glad you have a plan. Do you have a sponsor?

Hermus
12-27-16, 08:55 AM
Oh good, I am glad you have a plan. Do you have a sponsor?

Not yet, but I've had a promising conversation with a man at a NA meeting I attended who himself was recovering from alcohol as well as sex and love addiction. I might ask him to be my sponsor.

ToneTone
12-28-16, 12:53 AM
Wishing you great fortune Hermus. Recovery really helped me release a lot of shame and also broke my sense of isolation from people.

When I started going to recovery meetings, that's the first thing I noticed: how I was going out way more than before ... when I was just chasing my addictions and compulsions ... But at meetings I would hear people talking deeply and I would share myself ... great for breaking the isolation ...

Some of the best times where when some of the groups talked afterwards or went out for lunch afterwards ...

Great fortune to you!

Tone

sarahsweets
12-28-16, 03:45 AM
I am glad to hear you are so willing and open minded Hermus. It truly warms my heart. Its tough going. I think you have to watch the ground you are on, because its soft. You are right about possibly replacing one addiction for the other. When we begin to treat our primary addiction, we can sometimes feel so out of sorts that our very beings are craving the kind of stimulation we used to get from our substance of choice. This is where the tools come into play. Reach out to other alcoholics and get phone numbers. You may feel weird trying to look for a sponsor or friend but everyone at those meetings are there for the same reason. Just my opinion but I think you will have better success at the AA meetings. In fact, I have quite a few NA people that now come to my AA meetings. They have said they related more to us then the NA people but I dont know why. Dont sit on not having a sponsor too long. You can ask for a temporary sponsor but waiting can sort of be a way of delaying doing what is best for us-simply because we are not in our comfort zone. The delay can be a way of avoiding doing what we need for our sobriety. If you really find the principles of 12 step meetings to be your thing then you will want to start to work on the steps.

Hermus
12-28-16, 05:51 AM
I am glad to hear you are so willing and open minded Hermus. It truly warms my heart. Its tough going. I think you have to watch the ground you are on, because its soft. You are right about possibly replacing one addiction for the other.

Just for clarification: The love addiction was already there. Yet, where it first mainly was about idealizing one person, trying to get all my needs fulfilled in destructive relationships (which were never completely fulfilled) and keeping stuck in a destructive pattern, now it revolves around multiple women and the need for attention from them.

When we begin to treat our primary addiction, we can sometimes feel so out of sorts that our very beings are craving the kind of stimulation we used to get from our substance of choice. This is where the tools come into play. Reach out to other alcoholics and get phone numbers. You may feel weird trying to look for a sponsor or friend but everyone at those meetings are there for the same reason.

I'm already developing friendships with a recovering addict I've met before rehab and some people I met in rehab. Indeed it's great to talk to other people in recovery. Yet, often when it's most needed it's still difficult for me to pick up the phone and call. At those moments I feel like I'm a nuisance to people by calling.

Just my opinion but I think you will have better success at the AA meetings. In fact, I have quite a few NA people that now come to my AA meetings. They have said they related more to us then the NA people but I dont know why.My experiences are mixed. So far I have visited three different groups in the Netherlands. Two NA and one AA. I felt more comfortable at the NA meetings, which were a bit bigger and had more young people. The AA group consists of a few people above 50. Yet, even the AA group was great to go to.

Dont sit on not having a sponsor too long. You can ask for a temporary sponsor but waiting can sort of be a way of delaying doing what is best for us-simply because we are not in our comfort zone. The delay can be a way of avoiding doing what we need for our sobriety. If you really find the principles of 12 step meetings to be your thing then you will want to start to work on the steps.Finding a sponsor is one of the elements of my treatment plan and I definitely want to do that. I will visit more meetings and will look for a sponsor asap.

Definitely want to work on the steps. Yet, the language of the 12 steps is not completely mine. I still have difficulty with the words God and higher power. What I do is to accept the original 12 steps when at meetings. Outside of meetings I use the 12 steps for non-theists/Buddhists, which are formulated in a way that is closer to my own spiritual believes.

https://realisticrecovery.wordpress.com/2009/05/29/a-buddhists-non-theist-12-steps/

sarahsweets
12-28-16, 07:38 AM
Just for clarification: The love addiction was already there. Yet, where it first mainly was about idealizing one person, trying to get all my needs fulfilled in destructive relationships (which were never completely fulfilled) and keeping stuck in a destructive pattern, now it revolves around multiple women and the need for attention from them.

I totally get this. For me, and It wasnt so much an addiction but a defect was getting involved in other people's business and drama and making it my own. Sort of codependent like I guess. I had to learn a different way to live.


I'm already developing friendships with a recovering addict I've met before rehab and some people I met in rehab. Indeed it's great to talk to other people in recovery. Yet, often when it's most needed it's still difficult for me to pick up the phone and call. At those moments I feel like I'm a nuisance to people by calling.
The phone feels like it ways a ton. I was the same way- I felt like people would think I was a PITA or that I was stupid. I can tell you now from the other side, it makes me feel good to listen and help. You will get there one day if you keep doing what you are doing.


My experiences are mixed. So far I have visited three different groups in the Netherlands. Two NA and one AA. I felt more comfortable at the NA meetings, which were a bit bigger and had more young people. The AA group consists of a few people above 50. Yet, even the AA group was great to go to.

Yes, if you cant relate to the people in meetings its best to try the other ones.

Finding a sponsor is one of the elements of my treatment plan and I definitely want to do that. I will visit more meetings and will look for a sponsor asap.

I know it was hard for me and I found one and who ironically was one from when I tried a few years before. The thing is, she was good for me at the time, but she didnt insist on me doing the work so I found another one.

Definitely want to work on the steps. Yet, the language of the 12 steps is not completely mine. I still have difficulty with the words God and higher power. What I do is to accept the original 12 steps when at meetings. Outside of meetings I use the 12 steps for non-theists/Buddhists, which are formulated in a way that is closer to my own spiritual believes.

https://realisticrecovery.wordpress.com/2009/05/29/a-buddhists-non-theist-12-steps/

I know thats hard, I had issues with it too in the beginning. I know for me, my higher power is more of an agnostic view- just something I cant explain-and even the group of people I hung with. As long as its other than yourself it doesnt matter. You are going to meet your share of bible thumpers and holy rollers. Just tune them out, they should know better than to insert religion into it, but they are confident in their recovery and so all in all its good if it works for them.

Hermus
12-28-16, 09:02 AM
My goodness I found this article about sex and love addiction and 'sober dating'. It really puts me off. Taking time for months to get to know someone, making love a 'thoughtful committed decision'. Where is the passion in all this? :eek:

https://www.thefix.com/sex-love-addicts-sober-dating-experiences

I'm not sure whether I really want my recovery to be this way. I want to fall passionately in love with someone, have hot sex with a new lover until the sun comes up and in general lose myself for some time. Does being a recovering addict really means we will never be able to enjoy life to the fullest anymore? Maybe it's my addictive thinking, but I still believe that some kind of excessive joy every now and then is the thing that makes me feel I'm really alive.

sarahsweets
12-28-16, 12:27 PM
I'm not sure whether I really want my recovery to be this way. I want to fall passionately in love with someone, have hot sex with a new lover until the sun comes up and in general lose myself for some time. Does being a recovering addict really means we will never be able to enjoy life to the fullest anymore? Maybe it's my addictive thinking, but I still believe that some kind of excessive joy every now and then is the thing that makes me feel I'm really alive.

Ill read the link in a sec but I wanted to say that no. recovery doesnt mean you cant enjoy life to the fullest or have that passion. The key words would be 'excessive' or 'powerless' and of course consequences. Healthy relationships have tons of spontaneous passion, sex, talk-til-the-sun-comes-up stuff but they dont consume you and prevent you from positive change or growth. I can tell you that even after 21 years hubby and I have a very passionate, somewhat kinky, active sex life. Never a dry spell yet. And I know I am fortunate. We have been together since I was 18 and he has lived through my alcoholism and is part of my recovery. He has zero substance abuse issues but even with the positive changes I was making, he had to change to meet me, and change is never comfortable for people with adhd-even good change. We had a rocky patch as he adjusted to my sober life, and commitments to other alcoholics. Now with hindsight, he would never trade anything like what we have now, to live with the chaos and pain I caused being an alcoholic.

sarahsweets
12-28-16, 12:40 PM
OK. on to the article....
“It’s dating without a motive. (Before) when I went on a date, the sex part was already there; the relationship fantasy was already there; it was just about consummating it. That got me into relationships I shouldn’t have been in in the first place. What I had to do was just go on a date as a date. Whether for coffee, or a meal, or a movie—that’s just what it is. There’s no “relationship” involved. It’s getting to know the other person before even contemplating the idea of physical intimacy, and that was very new to me.”

Andy defines being sober in this way: “Being monogamous, being honest, being caring. One of the promises of SLAA is that ‘love will be a thoughtful committed decision, not a feeling to be overwhelmed by.’ I always thought I had to be overwhelmed to be in love.
I see nothing wrong with this quote- I think its very wise and something alot of people could benefit from-not just people in recovery. Our lives were chaos- having a relationship based on or in chaos isnt healthy. The part where he said he thought being overwhelmed was being in love is especially good. We always drank to excess-sort of overwhelming ourselves with alcohol so doing that exact same thing with anything or anyone else isnt good.


“The way I think about it now is that I’m actively trying to not act selfishly. I actually try to take the other person’s feelings into consideration. My sponsor said, ‘Ask yourself, am I trying to get something from this situation, or am I trying to bring something to this situation? And for months, I wanted to get something from the situation. Sure, it was sex, but it was also the emotional boost from knowing that someone was into me, and someone liked me enough to go to bed with me, and again, that was the old way of operating.
This is brilliant. This is an example of meaningful and unselfish behavior. Its important to figure out why you want something and what you will do once you have it. Once you figure out the why, work on the how-and check your motives.

All that blab-blab above means-just do you for now,

Hermus
12-28-16, 04:51 PM
OK. on to the article....

I see nothing wrong with this quote- I think its very wise and something alot of people could benefit from-not just people in recovery. Our lives were chaos- having a relationship based on or in chaos isnt healthy. The part where he said he thought being overwhelmed was being in love is especially good. We always drank to excess-sort of overwhelming ourselves with alcohol so doing that exact same thing with anything or anyone else isnt good.

To be honest I recognize the feeling of being overwhelmed and viewing that is being in love. I read something about the triangular theory of love. Love exists of three things according to this theory: passion, intimacy and commitment. In my previous relationships there was always a lot of passion. Intimacy, just to a very limited extent. Commitment was there as long as I got the attention I wanted. And yet I expected my partners to be fully committed to me. :scratch: As soon as I didn't get the attention I was craving for the commitment was the first thing that would go out of the window. The passion to me used to be the single most important thing in a relationship. Having great sex, being madly in love and romanticizing.


This is brilliant. This is an example of meaningful and unselfish behavior. Its important to figure out why you want something and what you will do once you have it. Once you figure out the why, work on the how-and check your motives.

All that blab-blab above means-just do you for now,I recognize this so much. Actually taking the other's feelings into consideration used to be very difficult to me (and probably if I would start dating on a short term still would be difficult to me). I had an idealized picture of how things should be and how the other person should be and worked very hard to fit my partners into this picture, not even consciously realizing that this was suffocating to my partners who could never live up to my expectations.

Little Missy
12-28-16, 10:47 PM
Passionate love, compassionate love and then on to companionate love.

aeon
12-29-16, 10:01 AM
Eros, Agape, Storge.


Cheers,
Ian

ToneTone
12-31-16, 03:12 PM
You can relax Hermus: the goal here is to strengthen yourself and your coping skills and intimacy skills so that you can have ongoing passion!

Challenge question to you (and one I often ask myself even a decade into recovery): What would it take for your everyday life to be so wonderful that you don't need to look forward to escaping that everyday world for "excessive," short-term passion? This is the real juice and challenge of recovery--learning how to make your day-to-day life A LOT easier, A LOT saner, A LOT more fun and fulfilling.

Now here's the rub at least in my experience. I had gotten to such a place before recovery that I really didn't know what would make my everyday life better. I had a pattern of keeping people at a distance--even when I thought I wasn't. I had a habit of putting on a good face from people--even when I thought I wasn't. I was a major people-pleaser, hiding my opinions. And when people were mean to me or unfair to me, I wasn't good at standing up for myself. What this led to was me hiding ... me withdrawing ... and me assuming (unconsciously) that relationships were always a pain, had to be a pain. I was so far down this road that even when I imagined what a good relationship could be like I was always on the giving, self-neglect end of things.

Outwardly, I looked normal, but neglect was all I knew, so it was all I aimed for. That history of neglect and self-neglect was like a time bomb ... life became exhausting and I ended up acting out in various addictive relationship behavior.

Do the work on intimacy and you'll have tons of passion and you'll know what to do with the passion on the day afterward, the weeks after ... I worry that what you're describing as "passion" is really a chase for a short-term high.

You're assuming life has to be dull without these excessive moments of passion. What you're going for is to have those moments of wild passion be a part of a wonderful life ... an addition to a wonderful life.

Make your life so rich you don't need to escape it or chase the illusion of losing yourself. The passion will come ... almost effortlessly ... and you won't need to chase it. That's the goal.

And by the way, as you get better with your day-to-day life ... as you need to escape less ... more people will be attracted to you and healthier people will be attracted to you ... and your relationships with these people will be A LOT more satisfying ... and yes, passionate. But it won't be the passion of escape or neediness. It will be a healthy, powerful passion and all the more deep and real because of that.

Keep going. You're on the path, brother!

Tone

sarahsweets
01-01-17, 10:24 AM
I think the most important gift I received through recovery is peace- mind, body and soul. All the other stuff is just gravy.

Little Missy
01-01-17, 01:35 PM
I think the most important gift I received through recovery is peace- mind, body and soul. All the other stuff is just gravy.

And that is a beautiful way to be.

Hermus
01-01-17, 06:04 PM
You can relax Hermus: the goal here is to strengthen yourself and your coping skills and intimacy skills so that you can have ongoing passion!

Challenge question to you (and one I often ask myself even a decade into recovery): What would it take for your everyday life to be so wonderful that you don't need to look forward to escaping that everyday world for "excessive," short-term passion? This is the real juice and challenge of recovery--learning how to make your day-to-day life A LOT easier, A LOT saner, A LOT more fun and fulfilling.

That's it. I question whether living the same daily routine over and over again, without much excitement in a positive or a negative sense, is really life. It sounds more like waiting for death, while sitting in the waiting room being bored. Of course a reasonably happy daily life is great, but I can't imagine it being that great that I won't need my dose of intense excitement any more every now and then. That being said I had a wonderful New Year's Eve that didn't involve substances or romantic passion, but a lot of hugs with wonderful people and ecstatic dancing. It was definitely worth it to go through this sober. Although the high of the dancing made me think of drugs and how I would have chemically boosted the excitement even more before going to rehab.

Now here's the rub at least in my experience. I had gotten to such a place before recovery that I really didn't know what would make my everyday life better. I had a pattern of keeping people at a distance--even when I thought I wasn't. I had a habit of putting on a good face from people--even when I thought I wasn't. I was a major people-pleaser, hiding my opinions. And when people were mean to me or unfair to me, I wasn't good at standing up for myself. What this led to was me hiding ... me withdrawing ... and me assuming (unconsciously) that relationships were always a pain, had to be a pain. I was so far down this road that even when I imagined what a good relationship could be like I was always on the giving, self-neglect end of things.

Outwardly, I looked normal, but neglect was all I knew, so it was all I aimed for. That history of neglect and self-neglect was like a time bomb ... life became exhausting and I ended up acting out in various addictive relationship behavior.

Do the work on intimacy and you'll have tons of passion and you'll know what to do with the passion on the day afterward, the weeks after ... I worry that what you're describing as "passion" is really a chase for a short-term high.

You're assuming life has to be dull without these excessive moments of passion. What you're going for is to have those moments of wild passion be a part of a wonderful life ... an addition to a wonderful life.

Make your life so rich you don't need to escape it or chase the illusion of losing yourself. The passion will come ... almost effortlessly ... and you won't need to chase it. That's the goal.

And by the way, as you get better with your day-to-day life ... as you need to escape less ... more people will be attracted to you and healthier people will be attracted to you ... and your relationships with these people will be A LOT more satisfying ... and yes, passionate. But it won't be the passion of escape or neediness. It will be a healthy, powerful passion and all the more deep and real because of that.

Keep going. You're on the path, brother!

Tone

Healthy people, it sounds so boring right now. :giggle: Maybe after my year of abstinence I will think otherwise. Only for that reason it already will be worth it. If I would decide after that year that I still like relationships to be like an emotional roller coaster, I will know that at least I have taken the time to really figure out that that is what I really want from life.

aeon
01-01-17, 06:14 PM
Remember, Hermus, addiction and addictive behaviors are never the true problem, but only a symptom.


Cheers,
Ian

Little Missy
01-01-17, 06:20 PM
That's it. I question whether living the same daily routine over and over again, without much excitement in a positive or a negative sense, is really life. It sounds more like waiting for death, while sitting in the waiting room being bored. Of course a reasonably happy daily life is great, but I can't imagine it being that great that I won't need my dose of intense excitement any more every now and then. That being said I had a wonderful New Year's Eve that didn't involve substances or romantic passion, but a lot of hugs with wonderful people and ecstatic dancing. It was definitely worth it to go through this sober. Although the high of the dancing made me think of drugs and how I would have chemically boosted the excitement even more before going to rehab.



Healthy people, it sounds so boring right now. :giggle: Maybe after my year of abstinence I will think otherwise. Only for that reason it already will be worth it. If I would decide after that year that I still like relationships to be like an emotional roller coaster, I will know that at least I have taken the time to really figure out that that is what I really want from life.

:eek: :scratch:

Hermus
01-01-17, 06:31 PM
Remember, Hermus, addiction and addictive behaviors are never the true problem, but only a symptom.


Cheers,
Ian

My councillor in rehab suggested that I had two sides to me. A side that is calm and collected, which most people see in everyday life, and the intense person that shows through in my addictive behaviours. Maybe I use the one to balance the other. My councillor suggested I should find a way to integrate those two sides of my personality. Something I could work on. Maybe it will take away my cravings for intensity if I get more of a balance in that respect. Not sure though.

aeon
01-01-17, 06:47 PM
Let's assume for a moment that is true.

Why the disintegration of your self? Why make one part public, and hide one part away?

Did you decide that for yourself, or were you told part of you was acceptable, but part of you was not?


Cheers,
Ian

Hermus
01-01-17, 07:12 PM
Years of bullying, a mother who always found I talked to loud and generally showed disregard when I was visibly present etc. It made me quite good in hiding my true self. The calm and collected side can be very useful
For example, I'm very good at making my grievances cleat in a way that people listen to it and take it seriously. On the other hand it prevents me from opening myself completely, always being reserved in interaction with people. And I have to find a way to blow off steam and let things out I won't usually show.

Hermus
01-03-17, 04:31 PM
Went to an SLAA meeting yesterday.

Today I went to the group meeting of my addiction institution. Honestly shared that I have kept the back doors for my love addiction wide open by chatting with multiple women. I had a lot of excuses for what I did. I used to say I was on the right track because I didn't date any of them yet. But actually I realize that it is not, because I quite purposefully keep the option of a full relapse open.

I feel that the most honest and respectful thing I could do is texting them, explaining about my situation and that I have decided not to have contact with them anymore. I'm thinking of a way to do this that causes the least harm to the other person, because it might be hurtful for them to know that I have led them on in order to feed my addiction.

ToneTone
01-03-17, 07:28 PM
The addiction is none of their business and wow, it might seem great to have concern for the people you would be calling to cut off communication, that's overblown.

People are adults. They can handle someone saying I can't talk anymore--for whatever reason. And you don't need to get lost in explaining. This is something you have to do. I'm calling to tell you I can't talk. That's all I have to say. Good bye.

Wow, I remember making those phone calls .... You're bringing it all back.

Way to go with the honesty!!!!!!!!!

Tone

Hermus
01-04-17, 07:58 AM
The addiction is none of their business and wow, it might seem great to have concern for the people you would be calling to cut off communication, that's overblown.

People are adults. They can handle someone saying I can't talk anymore--for whatever reason. And you don't need to get lost in explaining. This is something you have to do. I'm calling to tell you I can't talk. That's all I have to say. Good bye.

Wow, I remember making those phone calls .... You're bringing it all back.

Way to go with the honesty!!!!!!!!!

Tone

The two that I have most difficulty breaking contact with have supported me in the weeks before going to rehab and while I was in rehab. So I think they deserve some kind of explanation. Moreover, one of them used to be a friend in a purely platonic way. She has major abandonment issues and has a sex- and love-addiction herself. So it will feel as a blow to her.

Still I realize that these are not reasons to stay in my addiction and that I do them more harm by making them the objects of my obsessive-compulsive tendencies. So I should break contact, but I believe I owe them at least some kind of explanation. And in the case of the friend with a SLA, we owe it to each other to stop feeding each other's addiction.

Letching Gray
01-05-17, 03:53 PM
My goodness I found this article about sex and love addiction and 'sober dating'. It really puts me off. Taking time for months to get to know someone, making love a 'thoughtful committed decision'. Where is the passion in all this? :eek:

https://www.thefix.com/sex-love-addicts-sober-dating-experiences

I'm not sure whether I really want my recovery to be this way. I want to fall passionately in love with someone, have hot sex with a new lover until the sun comes up and in general lose myself for some time. Does being a recovering addict really means we will never be able to enjoy life to the fullest anymore? Maybe it's my addictive thinking, but I still believe that some kind of excessive joy every now and then is the thing that makes me feel I'm really alive.


I felt exactly the same way, Hermus. Scared out of my wits. Here I was, trying like mad to abandon all the SLA behaviors, which meant not engaging in the purest forms of pleasure I'd cherished all my life, in exchange for who knows what? Maybe nothing. I might have to remain chaste the rest of my life. Passion and desire were the essence of what made my world go round, you know?

At the same time, my conscience had been pricked. I was finally incapable of denying any longer the horrific mess I'd made chasing my addictions. And, I, "I" was the one choosing to withdraw from that insanity. Nobody was forcing me to do anything. I could act out any time. It was up to me.

It took all my strength NOT to act out. I realized I had to dedicate myself to the withdrawal process exclusively. I quit work and moved in to a room where I could exert all my energy, all my will and strength and resolve, all my life not to act out.

One thing was for sure, I had a clearly established pattern of addictive behavior that was ripping me apart and the people I loved the most. Writing down on paper my history was powerful. "Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves." Step 4 helped me to see in black and white what I was already aware of to varying degrees. But, there it was. My history on paper.

I would at least have a measure of integrity if I was able to stick to withdrawal, 1 breath at a time, and I would be able to distinguish healthy and from unhealthy behavior.

I would not trade 1 second during the toughest times of recovery for all the time in addiction that was passionate and ecstatic.

Hermus
01-06-17, 05:21 AM
I felt exactly the same way, Hermus. Scared out of my wits. Here I was, trying like mad to abandon all the SLA behaviors, which meant not engaging in the purest forms of pleasure I'd cherished all my life, in exchange for who knows what? Maybe nothing. I might have to remain chaste the rest of my life. Passion and desire were the essence of what made my world go round, you know?


So what has been your own answer to the question whether you had to remain chaste for the rest of your life? Did you do it? Is it necessary for someone with love addiction?

At the moment quitting my love addiction seems quite heavy, because I don't really know what sober love will look like for me. Is it still healthy to fall in love or has that become part of the obsession that characterizes a love addiction? Can I learn to fully enjoy love relationships, instead of always having to be on guard all the time because it might become part of a destructive and self-undermining pattern? I'm really confused about these questions at the moment.

Fuzzy12
01-06-17, 06:37 AM
Herms just curious. Have you started taking stimulants for adhd?

Hermus
01-06-17, 08:15 AM
Herms just curious. Have you started taking stimulants for adhd?

I'm on Concerta since two months and have been on Ritalin before. Why?

Fuzzy12
01-06-17, 08:42 AM
I'm on Concerta since two months and have been on Ritalin before. Why?

I was just wondering if you might find it easier to deal with your addiction when medicated.

Without meds I always feel somewhat dissatisfied in general like there has to be more. Something bigger. Something better. Something more exciting.

I used to yhink it's a philosophical problem. When I started meds though I realised that I felt more satisfied with life in general. I wasnt akways searching for something different. It wasn't as if I suddenly thought that life was very meaningful but it didn't ache so.much to think thst there was no meaning in life or that life really just was trivial...slightly mundane. I enjoyed life even without the extreme highs and lows or without burning passion.

This might have nothing to do with your love addiction at all though.

Hermus
01-06-17, 11:19 AM
I was just wondering if you might find it easier to deal with your addiction when medicated.

It is easier to deal with my addiction when medicated. In the first place because the meds reduce my impulsiveness. In the second place because it makes it easier for me to keep a somewhat structured life. My councillor in rehab suggested taking me off meds. I convinced her that it would lead to structure in my life falling away, which would greatly increase the chance of relapse. In my point of view it would be much more difficult to maintain sobriety when not on meds.

Without meds I always feel somewhat dissatisfied in general like there has to be more. Something bigger. Something better. Something more exciting.

I used to yhink it's a philosophical problem. When I started meds though I realised that I felt more satisfied with life in general. I wasnt akways searching for something different. It wasn't as if I suddenly thought that life was very meaningful but it didn't ache so.much to think thst there was no meaning in life or that life really just was trivial...slightly mundane. I enjoyed life even without the extreme highs and lows or without burning passion.

This might have nothing to do with your love addiction at all though.

Actually to me it is a spiritual problem. One way to learn to accept life on life's terms is deepening my connection to what I call Buddha-nature, the one and indivisible force that connects all sentient beings. Moreover, through spiritual practice I have slowly started to uncover ways to reach a heightened emotional state, without resorting to mentally, physically or spiritually damaging substances or behaviours. :)

aeon
01-06-17, 12:18 PM
So what has been your own answer to the question whether you had to remain chaste for the rest of your life? Did you do it? Is it necessary for someone with love addiction?

At the moment quitting my love addiction seems quite heavy, because I don't really know what sober love will look like for me. Is it still healthy to fall in love or has that become part of the obsession that characterizes a love addiction? Can I learn to fully enjoy love relationships, instead of always having to be on guard all the time because it might become part of a destructive and self-undermining pattern? I'm really confused about these questions at the moment.

Do the work necessary (therapy, insight, growth) for the earlier traumas that led to the psychological state resulting in addiction behaviors, and then one can fall in love in a healthy way, enjoy it, and experience it as exciting without the risk of destructive consequences.

Remember, the addiction is a symptom with a deeper cause, so simply becoming chaste/sober doesn’t heal anything, and the true problem remains.

That said, becoming chaste/sober provides a platform of greater stability and clarity such that the work necessary (therapy, insight, growth) can occur with less effort and impediment.

Also, being present and engaged is absolutely required, and inasmuch addiction is a process of absence and disengagement, being chaste/sober is a must.


Cheers,
Ian

Letching Gray
01-06-17, 05:13 PM
So what has been your own answer to the question whether you had to remain chaste for the rest of your life? Did you do it? Is it necessary for someone with love addiction?

At the moment quitting my love addiction seems quite heavy, because I don't really know what sober love will look like for me. Is it still healthy to fall in love or has that become part of the obsession that characterizes a love addiction? Can I learn to fully enjoy love relationships, instead of always having to be on guard all the time because it might become part of a destructive and self-undermining pattern? I'm really confused about these questions at the moment.

To sacrifice my "love" and "sex" addiction to gain who I am now is like escaping a burning building to enjoy a sunset. I was so consumed, I was so completely, "the addiction", I was so deeply into chasing that mirage of an exquisite, fulfilling relationship, one where I'd never long again for someone else, that would "make me whole", that I couldn't gauge how desperately ill I really was.

Hermus, to describe the differences before withdrawal and after passing through it, is, in a way, like trying to describe color to a blind person. No condescension intended at all. All that energy wasted, poured into pursuing something that didn't exist, has become available for building a whole person for the first time in my life. I never knew how truly "diseased" I was, although the glimpses I had seen were repulsive to me.

That gnawing neediness, the unrelenting urgency to get my next "fix" was so all-consuming that I was entangled in a life or death, frantic effort to extract some measure of meaning out of life, that I could never really rest and enjoy just being. I could not simply enjoy me and the minutia of things in life that make it joyful. Again, hard to explain.

I don't seek nor do I crave an earth-shattering experience to get high. I like my cat! (I always hated cats!) I enjoy reading, building up my friends, working around my house, sweeping the floor, target practicing, cutting timbers, befriending my sister, being alone, sleeping, anticipating the unexpected little things that come my way throughout the day. I love being really helpful and cooperative, being a knucklehead, being polite to people on the phone, trying to help them and not demanding they do as I want. Telling people's bosses what a good job that customer service rep has done.

I suggest you be seated for this one. Are you ready for this? I enjoy letting people in-during traffic jams. I enjoy it. (I've gone off the deep end, I know).

Not trying to please HP born out of childlike fears of abandonment, but resting in the knowledge that HP and I are cool just hanging out.

For work I found something I never, ever, not once, considered and it has been unbelievable. I get to encourage others. Big time. Beyond my wildest dreams.

And, and, my love life is far better than I had hoped. Let me hasten to add, there have been times of pain and struggle, disappointment, anger, sadness, doubt, the whole nine yards, as anyone experiences as a person fully engaged in life as it is. But, the cravings are gone. That diabolical longing for "an other" has disappeared. Building a relationship out of honesty, tenderness, sacrifice, self-respect, from a position of strength and wholeness rather than clingy neediness, is new to me and worth every second of the work put into abstaining from acting in ways that destroyed me and harmed others.

I really was not sure I could pull through the hell of withdrawal, especially not knowing how long it would take. It was terrifying. I did not want to give ground and I didn't enjoy being in hell. And I didn't know what I could find as motivation to push ahead. I did believe, based on what I was studying in the SLAA text, that there would be light at the end of the tunnel if I could string together just one more day, hour, minute, breath at a time. And withdrawal does end.

Hermus
01-06-17, 06:37 PM
Great to hear that it has been such a wonderful experience, LG.

For myself sometimes recovery is awesome, sometimes it sucks. Tonight I had a wonderful evening just hanging on the couch with a friend. Before there were always hidden motives whenever I was hanging with her. She is female and fairly attractive, which would be enough to get my head spinning. Though I valued our friendship I never could be truly authentic around her because of my addiction.

Tonight those addictive thoughts were there. A longing for romance, sex etc. But I accepted that they were there and that I didn't have to act out. After a while those thoughts disappeared and we had a wonderful open, honest and deep conversation in which I could truly be myself. While I never could just be satisfied with the situation as it was around any woman, now I could just enjoy being present without any need for romance, sex or anything more than just what was there. After I left I felt such a deep satisfaction about the way things went.

Still I also realize that I need to be careful here, because otherwise this wonderful feeling may turn into something more. We might not even be bad together per se, but it's just not something that would be beneficial for my recovery right now.

aeon
01-06-17, 07:20 PM
Beautiful post, Letching Gray...and I wanted to comment on one significant piece of it:

I was so consumed, I was so completely, "the addiction", I was so deeply into chasing that mirage of an exquisite, fulfilling relationship, one where I'd never long again for someone else, that would "make me whole", that I couldn't gauge how desperately ill I really was.

When we have been traumatized, and wounded, we often experience a feeling of incompleteness, emptiness, a part missing that needs to be filled...

And we engage in a frantic search to find that someone that will make us whole.

The experience of not being whole is because we have not accepted ourselves fully, without condition. We are whole, each and every one of us, but a divided self, for whatever reason, leaves us feeling incomplete.

No one else can make us feel whole...we can only do that for ourselves, by accepting and loving ourselves as we are.

Once done, never again will a relationship be based on self-directed need, but on self-expression and giving of self instead.


Cheers,
Ian

Letching Gray
01-06-17, 07:48 PM
Great to hear that it has been such a wonderful experience, LG.

For myself sometimes recovery is awesome, sometimes it sucks. Tonight I had a wonderful evening just hanging on the couch with a friend. Before there were always hidden motives whenever I was hanging with her. She is female and fairly attractive, which would be enough to get my head spinning. Though I valued our friendship I never could be truly authentic around her because of my addiction.

Tonight those addictive thoughts were there. A longing for romance, sex etc. But I accepted that they were there and that I didn't have to act out. After a while those thoughts disappeared and we had a wonderful open, honest and deep conversation in which I could truly be myself. While I never could just be satisfied with the situation as it was around any woman, now I could just enjoy being present without any need for romance, sex or anything more than just what was there. After I left I felt such a deep satisfaction about the way things went.

Still I also realize that I need to be careful here, because otherwise this wonderful feeling may turn into something more. We might not even be bad together per se, but it's just not something that would be beneficial for my recovery right now.

And it just keeps getting better. Recovery, over time, gets better and better. Life may not, but in recovery, I do.

Perhaps my situation was different, too, for I was married at the time, although separated. WE were not sure that we wanted to remain together, so there were several factors at play as I felt compelled to live by myself somewhere else to try to figure out what I needed and wanted and what I should do. I could change the cast, but I couldn't change the script until I recovered, as per the text in SLAA.

What you describe happened to you sounds pleasant and indicative of growth.

In SLAA each of us establishes his own bottom line behavior. It took a long time for me to learn what exactly my addictions were. I had to learn through trial and error what was healthy and what was bull. My capacity to deceive myself was enormous and I knew that. I wanted to be rigorously honest. I wanted to get this recovery business done and out of the way so I could live again. My willingness exceeded my readiness at times.

ToneTone
01-10-17, 12:44 AM
Hermus,

The answer is no, getting sober from sex and love addiction isn't about chastity. Not by a long shot ... I know it sounds like that at the beginning ... You'll know ... if you are really honest ... when you can have sex with someone in a healthy way ... But for the vast majority of people, there is a required period of withdrawal. That's to reset the system, to gain some perspective and to begin recovery.

I don't know if this helps ... but I know a woman whose father had a major drinking problem. Well, the father ended up getting his drinking in order after his family confronted him. Now in this case, the father didn't stop drinking ... But he stopped drinking if he was ever under stress.

So anytime he felt like he "needed" a drink, he wouldn't drink. Roughly, you are going for that ... sure you can down the line reengage socially. But you don't want to do it out of habit, reflex, chasing a high or as a way to cope with stress and life challenges.

For me, I about two years into recovery I started to date exclusively someone one-on-one, someone I REALLY LIKED .... and that relationship was healthy for me ... .

My counselor ... and she was slightly different from the 12-step group I went to ... she said if I spent intimate time with someone that I would be embarassed to introduce to my friends or coworkers whom I respect ... then that was a sign of addictive behavior ... When I got into my first real relationship after starting recovery, I was with someone I seriously admired ... who was I was quite proud to introduce to friends and family members and anyone I respected. Also there was no crashing ... no regret when I spent time with this person ... Spending time with her made me feel healthier and happier ... and there was NO SECRECY involved.

One of the ironies of sex and love addiction is that the compulsion actually undermines a relaxed "natural" sexual connection and attraction. Sex and love addicts start scheming in their heads, using various fantasies, etc ... and they don't really allow the natural connection to emerge. They go from 0 to 100 instantaneously ...

There is a huge and relaxed middle ground to dating and to sex. I briefly dated someone about a year ago ... and just kissing that person ... kissing! ... was far more mind-blowing than any of the addiction sex I had. The kissing was so powerful because there was genuine connection there ... genuine interaction ... closeness ... exploration ... and specificity ... I was with this specific person, this person I liked and trusted.

The addictive drive, by contrast, sort of collapses all individuals into the addictive experience. One addictive encounter resembles another ... just like for a drug addict ... a hit on X street at midnight ... is similar to a hit on Y stree at 10 am. in the morning.

The relationship ultimately didn't work out ... But ... time with this woman was not a stress reliever ... not an escape ... it was just a great part of life ...

Good luck.

Tone

sarahsweets
01-17-17, 05:07 AM
Living a sober life is the whole point for me and that goes beyond not drinking. It means all the negative aspects of my alcoholic personality get changed- the way I related to alcohol and people were very similar and overlapped sometimes. I know people who say they are sober but miserable. The only thing theyve changed is not drinking. The act out in other ways.

Drewbacca
01-17-17, 12:29 PM
Not going to read through the thread and participate at a deeper level, as I'm crunched for time... but just wanted to say,

I don't think there is a need for extreme all-or-nothing approaches. You still need love and affection and I think it can be just as harmful to isolate yourself from that (and if you have lots of women are showing interest, you are likely flirting even if you don't mean to).

I think that the key is to set boundaries. A healthy relationship will work with you towards those goals. How soon in dating can you recognize unhealthy behavior in another? Obviously, avoiding any moderate to heavy drinkers is a safe bet but that's the obvious part. Are there qualities that you are drawn to in a partner that are unhealthy? Can you make a list of no-go qualities that you will walk away from such a woman as a matter of principle?

I think that if you can find a way to approach dating for its own sake, and not look for a lifelong investment unless someone truly special comes along, you could find success without any need for abstaining. You just need to set those boundaries and hold yourself accountable to those. Perhaps even think of active dating as practice for not falling so hard and fast. The only way that I see taking a break as beneficial is if you find a way to strengthen your emotional response, in the meantime, through therapy or meditation, or whatever.

sarahsweets
01-23-17, 05:30 AM
Not going to read through the thread and participate at a deeper level, as I'm crunched for time... but just wanted to say,

I don't think there is a need for extreme all-or-nothing approaches. You still need love and affection and I think it can be just as harmful to isolate yourself from that (and if you have lots of women are showing interest, you are likely flirting even if you don't mean to).

I think that the key is to set boundaries. A healthy relationship will work with you towards those goals. How soon in dating can you recognize unhealthy behavior in another? Obviously, avoiding any moderate to heavy drinkers is a safe bet but that's the obvious part. Are there qualities that you are drawn to in a partner that are unhealthy? Can you make a list of no-go qualities that you will walk away from such a woman as a matter of principle?

I think that if you can find a way to approach dating for its own sake, and not look for a lifelong investment unless someone truly special comes along, you could find success without any need for abstaining. You just need to set those boundaries and hold yourself accountable to those. Perhaps even think of active dating as practice for not falling so hard and fast. The only way that I see taking a break as beneficial is if you find a way to strengthen your emotional response, in the meantime, through therapy or meditation, or whatever.

Those are excellent points. If you dont make wanting to date or dating the search for the love of your life, or have expectations, it changes your entire approach.

aeon
01-23-17, 06:26 AM
Yes, setting boundaries is key.

Problem is, if you don't address the issues that inform the addictive behaviors, there won't be any setting of boundaries, much less awareness of them.


Cheers,
Ian

Postulate
02-21-17, 12:48 AM
What is love addiction? I have never heard of anything like this before, pardon my lack of education. Sex and affection are the two key benefits that a man can draw from his relationship with a woman. The rest, he can do it with a male friend too, children can be adopted or made in vitro, and when it comes to personality, humor and so on, some of my male friends are so cool I feel like giving them a kiss on the forehead! So, back to topic:

Are you addicted to sex or affection? What is love, what do you mean by that? Because that's what a lover is right? A lover is a regular friend of yours, from which you enjoy receiving affection and sex, correct? What sets apart a friend from a lover is sex and affection.

Letching Gray
02-27-17, 01:27 AM
"Perhaps we confused sex and romantic intrigue with love, but in the final analysis it was authentic love we were, on a deeper level, seeking. After we were sober a while, we began to name this need which drove us into more and more desperate and hopeless sexual/romantic situations: the need for our lives to have meaning. Having a steady income could be important, having a creative outlet was a pleasure, having mutually supportive friendships was essential. But none of these things gave our lives meaning in the way WE craved meaning."

"By expanding our definition of love beyond the sexual and romantic context, and aligning ourselves with this larger experience of love as we learn to give more freely of ourselves, we bring ourselves into the flow of divine Love, divine purpose." -From Sex & Love Addicts Anonymous Basic Text, p. 140-141

dvdnvwls
02-27-17, 03:15 AM
Living a sober life is the whole point for me and that goes beyond not drinking. It means all the negative aspects of my alcoholic personality get changed- the way I related to alcohol and people were very similar and overlapped sometimes. I know people who say they are sober but miserable. The only thing theyve changed is not drinking. The act out in other ways.
Changing your way of living your life, vs just finding a technical solution to one problem.

Postulate
02-27-17, 12:01 PM
"Perhaps we confused sex and romantic intrigue with love, but in the final analysis it was authentic love we were, on a deeper level, seeking. After we were sober a while, we began to name this need which drove us into more and more desperate and hopeless sexual/romantic situations: the need for our lives to have meaning. Having a steady income could be important, having a creative outlet was a pleasure, having mutually supportive friendships was essential. But none of these things gave our lives meaning in the way WE craved meaning."

"By expanding our definition of love beyond the sexual and romantic context, and aligning ourselves with this larger experience of love as we learn to give more freely of ourselves, we bring ourselves into the flow of divine Love, divine purpose." -From Sex & Love Addicts Anonymous Basic Text, p. 140-141

I have not read that book, but I can tell you with assurance that whoever wrote that testimony, or realization, whatever you call it, is still stuck at the stage of magical thought. He never stopped believing in Santa Claus. Normally, when a child passes adolescence and grows into adulthood, he leaves behind the magical thought, and adopts a mature thought. The text above is not the product of a mature thought, it is the product of magical thought.

It's the thinking of a child who still believes Santa will pop out of nowhere and fill the tree with gifts, whatever the technicalities of that happening are, technicalities don't matter to him. It's magical! It just happens! Woooooow! Love is greater than everything. We couldn't find authentic love. Ohh! When you are confused because reality does not align with a fairy tale, the confusion will prevail if the magical thought holds still.

It's non-sense and whoever wrote that has a lot of growing up to do.

sarahsweets
02-27-17, 02:57 PM
Its disrespectful to basically poop all over recovery literature that someone who is working a 12 step program, uses to get sober. You took a concept that other's find life changing and flat out called it fake, or "magical" as you said it. Some of us have healed with that magical thinking. Besides that, the thread really isnt about what you think of recovery literature.
I have not read that book, but I can tell you with assurance that whoever wrote that testimony, or realization, whatever you call it, is still stuck at the stage of magical thought. He never stopped believing in Santa Claus. Normally, when a child passes adolescence and grows into adulthood, he leaves behind the magical thought, and adopts a mature thought. The text above is not the product of a mature thought, it is the product of magical thought.

It's the thinking of a child who still believes Santa will pop out of nowhere and fill the tree with gifts, whatever the technicalities of that happening are, technicalities don't matter to him. It's magical! It just happens! Woooooow! Love is greater than everything. We couldn't find authentic love. Ohh! When you are confused because reality does not align with a fairy tale, the confusion will prevail if the magical thought holds still.

It's non-sense and whoever wrote that has a lot of growing up to do.

Letching Gray
02-27-17, 03:02 PM
His experience was so profound it changed him forever and led to a fellowship of men and women and the spin-off of similar groups that have had an extraordinary impact throughout not just the United States but around the world. They have no fees. They have no leaders. There is no "organization" per se, at all, but many millions have found new, sober lives through what burst upon that man in that lonely, dark hospital room.

Becoming free of sex and love addiction for any addict, and particularly for those with a natural tendency to addictive behaviors, now has a proven path of recovery.

Letching Gray
02-27-17, 03:21 PM
"The proof that our surrender was indeed unconditional was that we now refrained, one day at a time, from every form of bottom-line behavior we saw as part of our own addictive pattern.

The possibility of finding some form of faith based not on any specific conception of 'God' but rather on the need to find such a faith, was the beginning of spiritual healing.

We could choose to tip our own cup over and let the sickness run out of it.

We could not refill the cup through our unaided will.

The enemy was US.

Some power greater than ourselves would have to do the refilling.

We were to empty our chalice of disease and refrain from refilling it again ourselves.

There were no guarantees.

Undergoing the death of our addiction-riddled self and the rebirth of a redeemed, affirming person." SLAA

Things have changed since that was written. There are guarantees for those who give themselves to recovery. People are living out new lives free of the monster of sex and love addiction.

Postulate
02-27-17, 05:00 PM
Its disrespectful to basically poop all over recovery literature that someone who is working a 12 step program, uses to get sober. You took a concept that other's find life changing and flat out called it fake, or "magical" as you said it. Some of us have healed with that magical thinking. Besides that, the thread really isnt about what you think of recovery literature.

Well Sarah, when you read something like "authentic love", no alarm bells go off? What does it mean "authentic love"? As in, a love that has a valid certificate of authenticity? And if so, there must be an authenticator! So then might as well figure out who that is, in order to get one and make my love authentic!

If the author of that text is able to explain to me what authentic love is, without coming to me with a book, nor speaking of the atom or the mountains, I will listen to him. Sure he is helping others, but your definition of help can differ from mine.

Hermus
02-27-17, 05:13 PM
Saw that some things were posted in this thread again. I thank you for your advice Postulate, but I would kindly ask you to refrain from talking about things that you have no clue about. Especially if it is about a sensitive and life threatening condition as addiction.

DJ Bill
02-27-17, 05:28 PM
As my contribution to this thread, I'd like to tell a short story. There once was a man who would form relationships with one woman after another. He was a rock god so it was easy for him. But then, he wanted more than one night stands. So, he hooked up with the best, caring, fantastic woman in his world, for after all, she Loved him.

But, he found that the woman was not perfect, had baggage too, and lots of problems he tried to fix. He couldn't so he started drinking to dull the pain of the relationship. That worked for a while, but....

Then he broke up with her or she with him, he can't remember. His world was torn apart , then run over by a truck , and flipped upside down. What was the answer?

He thought the answer was in the bottle, so he attacked it with gusto....then after he had lost most of his money, friends and possessions, he decided to slow down a little on the drinking.

Well, what do you know, wouldn't it be just like him to find another woman to be in his life??? And this time it was truly the most kind, caring, beautiful woman in the world. And he really Loved her, so they'd never break up like that last relationship....

But she wasn't perfect either. The cycle repeats, again and again. Eventually he finds AA meetings, and meets a girl in AA. He ignores his sponsor's (and most everybody's) advice, and hooks up.
They told him don't enter into any relationship for at least a year. But....she was special, she really Loved him.

The story gets told over and over again, starring our hopeless addict. Insert a few decades here...then repeat.

Today he has spots on his kidney, his liver is failing, and he can't seem to put more than a week of sobriety together, even though he has been told that drinking again will kill him. he is unemployed, and his last employer would love to rehire him, but can't risk the alcohol becoming an issue.

Moral of the story: NO relationships, dating, or flirting for at least one year of sobriety, and then after that run it by your sponsor when you feel ready. Our hero chose to ignore that advice.......and maybe the next binge will be the one that kills him.

It is a true story. (And no, I'm not the guy in the story, thank my lucky stars!) And as of right now, it has been over a week since we last talked with our "hero".......so who knows what road he chose this time. :(

Postulate
02-27-17, 07:10 PM
Saw that some things were posted in this thread again. I thank you for your advice Postulate, but I would kindly ask you to refrain from talking about things that you have no clue about. Especially if it is about a sensitive and life threatening condition as addiction.

When I broke up with my ex, I went drinking. I drank a glass, got a headache, drank 2 more and got a migraine. Then I stopped drinking. So you're right when you say that I have no clue how you can put the two and two together.

You have made your point, with the groups and everything, and I agree with that, but your understanding, personal philosophy and sociological elaboration, that's on the table and it's up for debate. That's not life or death matter.

peripatetic
02-27-17, 11:56 PM
moderator note:

this is a support forum, not a debate forum. thread temporarily closed for section moderators to review.

i do not close threads lightly, but this has gotten out of hand. i'm disappointed that someone seeking refuge and support is having his thread closed because it is going off topic and into esoteric debate when there's a struggle happening that very well could impact the thread starter's life and well being.

when/if this thread is reopened, the guidelines will be adhered to or infractions will be issued.

adhere to the guidelines, folks; stop attacking and/or belittling people. again,this is NOT a debate forum.

if anyone wishes to have a debate, please private message me for the password to the private debates section and i'll happily give it to you so you can start your own thread there.

-peri