Friday, September 27, 2013

More on My Blasted Compulsive Behavior

I have not hidden my struggle with my addictions that are embroiled within the codependent behavior for which I am in recovery. This month, culminating this week in a look-myself-squarely-in-the-face reality check, I have been dealing with love addiction. I acknowledge that my overwhelming thoughts on this are along the lines of "Really? More compulsivity to address? Can't I just be done with this? Is there no end to the ways I find myself thinking and acting compulsively?"

I have a history toward the obsessive side most notedly regarding food and cigarettes. I also tend to use spending, given the chance, and I can see the lure in drinking and gambling. I recognize the addictive behavior and how it just shifts from one vice to another. It is all about that chemical fix to relieve the pain and obtain that momentary high. Oh, that blasted coping skill! 

I have learned that in addition to the aforementioned, I also get a buzz from the attention and newness of a relationship. Now that I am facing singleness and  beginning a new chapter in my life, the old patterns have surfaced. Wouldn't you know it, so has the addiction. I have been slightly dismissive of the knowledge that I am a love addict. It has been the topic of many a session with Debra, yet it didn't seem to be having much of an effect on me, or so I thought. I was, afterall, working heartily at overcoming the food and cigarette fix and doing my Twelve-Steps on co-dependency. I really did not embrace wanting to take on more. Debra had recommended some readings on this topic, however, and I appreciate Pia Mellody's work, Facing Love Addiction. The insight gained is so very valuable. Knowledge, it seems in and of itself, though, does not replace the need to confront and overcome the compulsive behavior. If that is all it took, I would not be struggling. And struggling I have been.

I'm writing here to reflect and share my recent experience. I do this as part of my efforts to stay in, or in this case return to, The Healing Lane. I acknowledge that with the recent high of feeling the connection (real or imagined) followed by the painful low of facing the reality of what I have been doing has prompted a temporary departure from The Lane. The unhealthy behavior has included nurturing a flood of thoughts and emotions in-congruent with the development of the relationship, hence imagining a relationship that is not yet a coupleship. It has included an onslaught of my texting without response; the imagined reciprocated feelings; what my dear friend refers to as "making a cake out of the crumbs I've been given." Even when I began seeing myself engaging in this, I didn't want to stop myself. 

Fortunately, I'm getting used to recognizing when I'm in that compulsive mindset, and that it leads to disaster. I commend myself for confronting the behavior before it got completely out-of-hand (I recognize that this is a relative statement, so out-of-hand by my standards). Although I avoided a head-on collision from my Lane departure, it brought with it shame and guilt. Those residues are lingering yet today. 

I am getting much better at resisting the urge to not act out in food or smoking, but the desire to do so still surfaces far too often. I want to remain humbled and to not take my sobriety for granted. Which is why I share this latest trial here - my on-line journal. I never know if my experiences resonate with others or not. My desire is that by being open, I provide an opportunity for discovery. Debra gave me the nicest compliment today along those lines; and that is being authentic is the most sincere form of vulnerability that one can exhibit. I have chosen to stay in the fight; the fight for my health, serenity, and relationships. I renew my commitment to dare greatly by sharing my struggles. The arena is a place that one gets knocked around. So it seems fitting.

Bottom line - when I am in my addict mode, I am not authentic. I am hiding, medicating, seeking relief, avoiding, ... which is not genuine nor authentic. Being authentic and vulnerable is all about The Healing Lane, and I know that is where I want to be. 

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