Holy 12-step Batman, I’m An Addict!

Since Tuesday I have been anxiously waiting for today’s counseling session, and after my self-sabotaging behavior on Wednesday I was really antsy about it. When I sat in her office it didn’t take long for me to burst into tears while I described how I read about M and this girl’s blog. I pretty much bawled as I told her how I felt defective and weak and continuously compared myself to this girl and seeing herself as better than me. I explained that I still see M as the measuring stick of my self-worth and that I felt pathetic for thinking this way.

As we processed, I suddenly began to remember the series of events that turned and otherwise great weekend into a painful week.

Tuesday I was at an all-staff meeting and my old team was doing a presentation. I began to feel a sense of rejection and worthlessness again as I heard my old boss talk about how great everyone on the team is. In hearing this I couldn’t help but re-live that feeling I had when he chose me to be the one to go to another team. Add to that, I don’t feel like I belong to the team I’m on now and you have me feeling like I just don’t belong.

For the rest of the day I felt so unsettled. I was disappointed since I had a pretty good weekend and felt like things were slowly looking up. Now here I was feeling abandoned and oh so lonely. I tried telling myself that I would be okay, that this was normal and that I’ve been through worse so I’ll get over it.

I woke up Wednesday morning with a familiar anxiety I haven’t had in a while and this void in my being. I felt hollow. That’s when I decided to read that blog (the blog) and I sank deeper into my sadness and despair. Now everything is tainted with that flavor of hopelessness.

You see, as I began to remember this, I realized that I am truly addicted to my suffering. Not just in a metaphoric way, but in a genuine addictive nature and pattern. I realized that my addiction to my suffering is all too similar to that of an alcoholic or cutter.

It goes like this: I’m starting to coast along in my life with a feeling of emotional sobriety. Then I get triggered by something and think “I can handle a little bit of sadness, I’m strong enough, I’ve done some healing I can handle it” (similar to a newly sober alcoholic at a New Years party thinking “one sip won’t hurt, I’ve been sober for 3 months, I can handle it”).

Then my sensitivity begins to increase and I am triggered more easily and frequently. I begin to suffer a little more, and a little more until I am in a full-blown emotional relapse. This exactly how relapse happens. You convince yourself that you can handle “just a little more” until next thing you know, you’re sucking cock for blow.

In this case, I went to “the blog” to feel better (get high), because she usually writes about other men she sleeps with. It makes me feel good to know that M isn’t making attempts to be with her. Additionally, I also know that I’m taking a risk because he very well could be and I know, for a fact, that it will devastate me if I read about it. It is a common characteristic of an ACA to seek out ways to fulfill our abandonment needs, while doing anything to avoid abandonment.

What now?

What I have to do now is similar to that of any addict in a 12-step recovery, reach out for help at the first sign of a triggering event.

I have to say, in realizing this today I am feeling a bit creeped out like whoever I thought I was never existed. My addiction to things like food don’t bother me because they seem so obvious and manageable, but this addiction to my suffering is a whole different animal. It is so subtle that I merely saw it as me self-sabotaging when in truth it goes deeper than that. It is a mix of fear (at the fact that I have to do more intense and consistent work in my recovery) and calm (at the fact that I can see it more clearly and that there are tools for recovery).

Fear is the bigger of the two though. The idea of reaching out when I get the urge to read the blog, or feel abandoned, or entertain thoughts of M and other situations where I felt rejected terrifies me. I can’t imagine stopping doing those things.


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