Characteristic 8

We became addicted to people, and were unable to distinguish among sex, love and affection

Michael R (LA)

This is like a two part characteristic for me. The first part is easy for me so see in myself: We became addicted to people. I can become hooked on someone so quickly, I am unsure of what their name is, but I am convinced that I will spend the rest of my life with what's his name. Being addicted to someone brings up a lot of codependency issues and I am not proud of the amount of guys I have stalked or called relentlessly on the telephone because I needed the fix. I wish I could say that these obsessions have been lifted now that I have over three years on my plan, but it is something I still struggle with. The difference today is that when I feel like this I can make a choice to either act out my feelings of disappointment or I can call a program friend and gain support to take the high road, and stop taking out my feelings on others. In a sense, I can choose whether I want my feelings to lash out at someone and seriously compromise my serenity/sobriety. The decision seems obvious to a normy but it is something I still struggle with. 

The second part of this characteristic is a bit more tricky and subtle for me. I have a big problem with distinguishing between sex, love, and affection. After all those years of acting out my discernment has been greatly impaired. These three things are so important and kind of blend one into another, that it is hard to find the line that separates them. If I am in love with someone, sex and affection are present as well that's pretty obvious. But most of my history has dealt with having sex with someone and trying to find the love and affection when in fact, we were just using each other. The tool of dating really helps me figure things out before making a sexual decision. Recently, I met a guy online and we clicked sexually and we met for coffee and I was very sexually interested in him, but the more time we spent together I realized that we had nothing in common other then what we liked to do sexually. After seeing him a couple of times I could have had sex with him and it would have been okay on my plan, but that's not what I want in my new life of recovery. Using people and being used is not tolerable for me anymore. So I ended the dating or rather the appointments, prior to sex. This would not have been possible without the support of the people in the program and an understanding of the characteristics. Sex, love and affection are like the legs of a stool, all three must be strong to support the weight of this intimacy seeking addict.