Characteristic 14

Trying to conceal our dependency demands, we grew more isolated from ourselves, from God and from the very people we longed to be close to. 

Marc N (NY) 

The attitude I have when I am active in my addiction is characterized by quotes like: "I'm attracted to you, but I don't need anybody". "I am single and looking, but I'm only used to perfection in others". " You may think that I am interested in you and want to pursue a relationship, but don't give me any reason to reject you or I'm out the door faster than you can say "intimacy issues". 

Then, I'm back in that lonely place, full of self-pity. Poor me. I'm such a catch, why doesn't anybody (that I like romantically) seem to recognize it? Don't they know that I'm a loving, caring person — capable of great gentleness and compassion? If only other people were different, then I'd be happy. I'm just a victim of the all the negative circumstances of my life. God is the ultimate conspiracy theorist — placing these difficult people and situations before me so I have to continue to suffer. And on and on – the point being that this is the voice of my denial. It's like an old pair of jeans that fit so well I hate to give them up. But what option do I have? I am not ready to admit that I'm powerless over the addiction. I will do it my way.

But the yearning doesn't go away. Well, if crumbs are all that I am destined to get, then I will build my house on the incredible shrinking foundation that an attitude of self-will offers. I will avoid the pain of acknowledging my need for meaningful human contact and seduce men at the gym or the park. When this isn't enough, I can just pay for sex, and there is always the escape into the world of pornography lying just next to my bed. My big secret stash? no one need ever know?

And one day I get honest. I'm not really desperate, but I'm acting like I am. I see myself chasing some elusive idea of happiness — begging for love that's continually out of reach. What about me, I don't want to be left behind! I have all the material things that are supposed to make me happy. But I can't control people to love me. I'm tired of manipulating men through sex and then rejecting them because I can't believe that they really care about me. Or I believe they will hurt me if I let them get too close. My insides are in turmoil and certainly don't match my outside. Worst of all, I can't control my own compulsive behavior. I have hit a bottom.

I have become willing to explore another way. It a big jump for my recovery when I go to a meeting and feel human enough to share. Just maybe this is a safe place where people will accept me and won't judge me. I can be vulnerable to the room because I hear others doing it. At first, I have to avoid direct eye contact and leave right after the Serenity Prayer. But, eventually I can rely on this fellowship, and even later I can feel better just knowing that I'm on my way to a meeting that I attend regularly. In the circle of SCA, I'm known and acknowledged. I am going to be okay. I am strong enough to look inward, to ask for help. I can be the parent I never had, I can hold myself through the loneliness and despair during withdrawal from the addiction. I am able to accept the reassurances of others. I am ready to start acting from a place of hope.