Saturday, July 11, 2009


Alcoholics get help. Sex addicts get help. Drug addicts get help. Hell, even people with foot fetishes get help. There's an intervention for everything--but what about help for an addiction to bad relationship habits? Or better yet, why isn't there an intervention for addictions to other people? When you're trying to quit smoking, there are patches, programs, and therapy groups. When you're trying to quit someone, there are bottles of alcohol, tubs of ice cream, and the friends who are willing to listen to your babbling about "what's-his/her-name," but you can drink too much booze, eat too much ice cream, and drive your friends away and yourself insane. One addiction can feed another, and you could end up an alcoholic, fat, and friendless.

But what's the tried-and-true cure for person-addiction--or is there even one single antidote?

We all know the dangers of most addictions in life. Some make you sick, some can kill you--all throw your life off-course and in line for a rollercoaster ride through emotional hell. Even the word "addiction" rallies up a nasty stigma equivalent to having some embarrassing tick or smiling non-stop with spinach in your teeth on a first date with someone you're crazy about. Addictions please you when you're using, but even over-use can get tiring, and we're all familiar with the after-effects of most addictions. You end up with some sort of hangover that makes you want to jump off a building or knock yourself out just so you can sleep.

Do you get over one addiction by replacing it with another? For example, I've become slightly addicted to exercise. It helps curb other cravings and bad habits. What about for other addictions? Does one replace cocaine with alcohol? Sex with food?

If you don't get to or don't want to get to the replacement stage, sometimes you try willpower. Yet, even if you have the best intentions not to "use" and do a decent job for a little while, your substance makes a surprise appearance that takes you back into your initial infatuation with it. At least mine has.

"It" went something like this. I met him, his friend got him to ask for my number with much coaxing despite the fact that he was very interested. He was insecure, as he kept asking me if I was into him (when, let's face it, it was clear I was), and wouldn't really make any moves until he was pseudo-sure. Without his friend there, I have a feeling we wouldn't have talked. He told me he'd call, he'd take me out. It sounded nice, but I had that gut feeling that kept taunting me with "yeah, right!" I still hoped...

He didn't call. He texted instead. Incessantly. We had full-on text conversations for a few days, and he even suggested we hang out (*gasp*). That gut feeling was still there, but she was being silenced and pounded out by "I hope, I hope, I hope." I got excited.

Then he became silent.

I pseudo-gave up...
...then went out to where we met, and texted him with some coy test along the lines of "guess where I am/where the hell have you been?" type of thing. He came. We flirted and hung out. He hit on someone else while I was in the washroom. I got mad, blew him off, he got mad, he apologized profusely and followed me around until I forgave him. We spent the rest of our night out together with my other friends, and didn't part ways until we all did, after 5 am. He texted me a few times saying he was surprised to see me, that it was good to see me, that he wants to see me and what do I think. I told him I had fun, and when he asked me what I thought about seeing each other again, I replied with "I hope."

Instead, more silence ensued.

Déja Vu? F*** yes.

One drunken night, I texted him, playfully reprimanding him for not calling and being a confusing bundle of attractive walking seduction. I didn't use anything close to those words, but finished some petty texts with saying that I like him, but I want a guy who calls. He texted me back until that last one. The next day, feeling guilty for other things and displacing my guilt on stupidly texting him, I apologized to him for my drunken shenanigans. He said it was totally ok, and proceeded to ask me what I was up to. Instead of asking me to do something, we kept texting for a bit then bam. His damn silence. I sent one more text later on as a test, then gave up. Silence equals uninterested, right?

Well, he had the nerve to text me a few days later, and I haven't responded.

I'm not stupid, or pathetic, although the fact that my heart actually beat faster when I saw his number pop up made me blush almost as badly as when he kissed me or looked at me with that longing look that rendered me (almost) helpless. Logically speaking, on paper, he's not what I'm looking for. In reality, the warmth he exudes and the vertigo he inflicts on me tempted me to actually become stupid and call him and forgive him for being a coward. I can almost still feel the ghost of his arms repeatedly pulling me in and covering me, protecting me from the world. When he let himself open up, he was protective and possessive in a sweet way. It puzzles me that a rational human being could consider sacrificing her own dignity, intelligence for that rush of feeling that tingled through every extremity and fogged up my vision. Then again, why do smokers slowly kill themselves, cocaine addicts screw their brain over, and alcoholics plunge into a dark abyss that usually drags their loved ones down with them? Obviously, this isn't nearly as serious or devastating. I'm not making light of serious addictions.

Yet, here're some harrowing points of thought:
-what if I had called him?
-what if he's a complete jerk?
-what if I had gotten myself into a mess that would have been near-impossible to get out of?
-what if he tries to snag my attention again sometime soon?

What if is too dangerous to ask. Even more dangerous than the possibilities of what they refer to. And, he's a coward. He might have his reasons. I have hope that maybe he has some good explanation for not wanting to call a strong, smart, seemingly attractive young woman who was obviously into him.

One more "what if" for consideration:
-what if this is my sick cycle that desperately needs to break? I know the credentials necessary for relative happiness in a relationship, but my body seems to respond differently than my mind too often. I spiral into dilemmas like this, and my head becomes a mess of logic versus want.

So what should I have done? There will always be other possibilities, others who like me and who I like. Do I wait and/or jump on one of those possibilities? Is that the cure? Is it right to replace my addiction with a distraction that may in turn become a new addiction? Can you even heal from the burn marks of past addictions by such replacement? Or do you need to focus on your problem and find some proverbial scar-preventing treatment before moving onto the next possibility?

I could tell you what I decided to do. But it won't make it right or wrong. It just puts it in black and white. And it doesn't remove the underlying questions behind this blabfest.

What do you think?

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