The Secret Diary of a Love Addict: Day 1 (My First SLAA Meeting)
I did it.
I drove my scooter all the way there. It was the longest trip I’ve ever done solo. Rob always drove the long distances, the irony of which is not lost on me.
I parked and nearly fainted a few times and walked into the room.
There were two women inside, both middle-aged with buns and flowery skirts and lipstick, totally normal-looking, chatting about sewing or something. Then one woman left and the other woman introduced herself, and I realized she was the one I’d spoken to on the phone. She was in her 60s and so sweet, like someone’s mum, and then three girls about my age or younger showed up, which made me even more relieved. And two dudes came in and sat at the other end of the table, and the mum woman opened the meeting with the serenity prayer, and then said, “Because this is Adeline’s first meeting, maybe we can all share what brought us to SLAA?”
I nearly fainted again.
Holy hell. It was like hearing my own story, over and over, with slightly varying details.
“I traveled across the world for a man I barely know.”
“I choose guys I don’t like that much.”
“My mom beat the shit out of me with a broom.”
“I’d have sex when I don’t really want to.”
“I don’t feel really alive unless there’ s romance in my life.”
“I let my relationships take over everything else.”
“I stay in a relationship that causes me pain.”
Check, check, check.
When they were done, the mum lady — Rebecca — said I could speak if I wanted to. I didn’t want to. But I opened my mouth anyway, and somehow managed to say it.
“Hi, I’m Adeline and I’m a sex and love addict.”
Because it’s true. Because it has been true for many, many years.
I shared how grateful I was for their honesty and their courage.
And that was it. It was over. And I was still alive.
There is an actual SLAA convention (that’s a thing) in two weeks, and the women went for lunch to talk about organizational stuff and invited me along. As it turns out, one of them, Dorothy, studied meditation 20 years ago with that teacher I studied with in Australia last year.
This is how you know you’re on the right track.
On the way home, I thought more about my story. Yes, I liked Rob’s company… but not that much. But how I had more in common with him than I had with Luke. You know, Luke? The guy I went to fucking New Zealand for?
How every guy I’ve ever been with, EVER, was either someone I didn’t like all that much, or was himself an addict. Or both. And emotionally unavailable. Which is another thing I kept hearing today in that room.
Reading You are a Badass last night, I’m seeing how I have always held myself in this trance of unworthiness. How I don’t believe I deserve someone totally amazing. How I have this ingrained belief that I am not attractive enough, not together enough, not young enough. My boobs. My hair. My cellulite. My lack of confidence. Everything.
I’ve told myself to make do. That these guys were good enough. That I wasn’t going to get better. That they ticked enough boxes, never mind that they were didn’t take care of themselves / were constantly distracted/ were alcoholics / workaholics / distant / avoidant / had totally different morals than I did. Doesn’t matter! Suck it up, Geller! Be happy with what you got! You’re not getting any younger, or hotter.
Oh, also on the list of addict behavior: setting a period of celibacy and then not sticking to it. You know, like I just did with Rob.
The point of SLAA is not to be single forever, which is what I’d originally thought, which is part of the reason I was scared to join. (Although being alone for the next few weeks sounds pretty fucking wise.) The point is to change my perception of myself, so I can stop getting involved in these types of situations. And to be aware of how they “make” me feel about myself is a drug, like that sense of sexiness and awesomeness and desirability I got from Rob.
Oh, speaking of Rob, he wrote me a letter today. On paper. By hand.
He gave it to Justina and Matthieu at the beach to deliver to me. I read it out loud to them when they got home. When I was finished, Justina declares, “I give him an ‘F’ for communication skills.”
I laughed, and then came into my room and cried.
The letter said, in a nutshell, how he thought it was cool to get involved with me because I said I didn’t want to be committed, but then he got the feeling that I would want our relationship to go on after we both left The Island. It said that he misses me and wishes we could be still friends. It said nothing about being sorry or having made a huge mistake. I’m sure. I reread it 14 more times.
I am so hurt. So sad. Why?
Because I can’t bask in the glow of his I-want-you-back, even though that would probably be the worst thing.
Because I can’t revel in him saying “I really was falling for you and I just wanted to protect myself,” like that ever fucking happens.
And so what? I don’t want to marry him. I just want his adoration. Because, apparently, that is what addicts do.