Friday, April 11, 2008

Mine as well face it...

Dear Lynn,

I am not writing you about alcohol or drugs, I have never had a problem with either. But I think that I might be addicted to my boyfriend. I always want to be near him and I find myself becoming anxious and depressed when we are apart. It seems I never want to be alone anymore and have a hard time functioning without him by my side. I love him so much but I think I need some help, any suggestions?


Dear Emma,

Just like I had never planned on becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol, I also never planned on becoming addicted to my boyfriend, who we will just call Chuck (although David if you are reading this, you know who you are).

You see, I thought I had made it to safe harbors once I removed all of the pills, powders, and booze from my life. But I have now come to realize that life always finds a way to teach you the lessons that you most need to learn. Especially the ones you didn’t seem to catch the first time around or in my case the first thousandth time around. I seemed to have this little problem, once I found something that made me feel good, once I discovered something that I loved, I wanted to have it, all of the time. I needed to have it yesterday, now, tomorrow, and forever. Whether it was the newest flavor of Pringles or a five foot eleven blond haired surfer named, Chuck, I just had to have it.

I became obsessed; I wanted and NEEDED to spend every waking hour with him. So I did just that. Whenever we spent time apart I would feel like you do, depressed and anxious, my whole world revolved around Chuck. I put all of my time and energy into this relationship, wanting to make it work, hoping to always make him happy, and needing his validation to feel good about myself. But it didn’t seem to matter how much I would give or focus on Chuck, I continued to feel empty inside and even more depressed.

I seemed to be back on this all too familiar road again, of looking outside myself for peace and fulfillment. If Chuck would just commit, put a ring on my finger, profess his undying love to me, surgically attach himself to my body, I would be happier than a pig in poop. I was looking outside myself for love and acceptance, hoping that someone else could give it to me. There were certainly temporary fixes out there, I knew very well about those: drugs, cigarettes, sex, food, America’s Next Top Model. But with these intoxicants I was always left wanting more, feeling used, abandoned, and alone. And now with Chuck I was feeling that way too. Empty and alone.

But one fine day something clicked. I realized I needed to walk away in order to reclaim myself and my life. Not sure what the exact tipping point was, it could have been the day Chuck walked into the bedroom to let me know he was going surfing, and I threw myself on the floor crying like someone had just told me that Bush had been reelected for a third term. Or it could have been the fact that I began to count how many slices of turkey he would put on his sandwich, finding myself bothered that he was consuming way too much poultry. Whatever it was, I knew I needed to discover who I was on my own before I could be in any type of relationship or partnership with someone else.

Was it easy? NO. I had to face some stinky stuff that I had kept locked away for quite some time: my fear of being alone, my daddy/abandonment issues, my constant need for approval and validation, my incessant need to pick lint off of whoever was closest to me. But once I did this, once I faced these things, I could sit at home all by myself and not only be OK with it, but happy, and joyful in my own skin.

So Emma, you asked for my suggestions and here they are. Work on the relationship you have with yourself first, make it the best one you got, considering you are going to be stuck with you til the day you die. Nothing and nobody else can show you your worth but YOU! After you have your own love, support, and approval, the rest is icing. Believe me. I also think immediately after you finish reading this, you should read Melody Beattie’s book, Co-dependent No More, it will kick your ass…in a good way.

And David, if you are in fact reading this, I want you to know that Chuck and I are very, very, happy together.



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