I recently cut my hair. Most people I interact with on a daily didn’t even notice, even though it was a drastic change for me. But that was ok. It felt amazing to shed the weight and to feel a change. A friend quoted Coco Chanel to me after learning of my hair cut and said, “A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life”. And I did.
Soon after that, within days, I decided to sell my furniture. The furniture that I had for the duration of my relationship with my ex husband. Just, shedding… things.
Soon after that, within days, I decided to shed my addiction.
I firmly believe, the older that I get and the more I learn, that we are all addicted to something. Addiction is a frightening word but if you really analyze your life, really dig deep, I can almost guarantee there is a vice. There’s the obvious: alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, gambling, sex, caffeine. Then there’s the less obvious: maybe sports, exercise, behaviors, and maybe, just maybe…even people.
I am addicted to a person. I am addicted to the person who has betrayed me time and time again. I am addicted to the love, the hate, the chaos, the bad, the good, the ugly, the borderline emotional abuse, the lust, the hope, the everything. I just recently, within the last year, have admitted this is an actual thing. Being addicted to a person and codependency is very real.
We’ve been divorced for over a year and separated for over two. People get divorced everyday and move on. But with addiction, it’s not that simple. I never completely quit him. I never allowed myself time. I never kicked the habit. I never gave up the high. It’s an addiction that lives in my soul. An addiction to the person I once saw as my second heart. The grieving became too much, and the loneliness became even more. I would dive right back into text messages and calls and obsessive thoughts, just wanting my fix of him. I just wanted to feel better. I could not handle being dope sick. It’s a weakness. And he certainly knows this.
No, I never planned on a complete reconciliation. I never wanted another marriage to him or cohabitation. I just wanted him in some form. I wanted him to love me or just want me. I wanted some semblance of a family. I wanted to force that. I wanted him to be different than he was and change old behaviors, shed addictions of his own. With or without change on his part, I just wanted him. I wanted the safety net of him and the support. I wanted the late night texts and the random intimacy. I wanted to dismiss all of the betrayal and pretend that this hybrid of a relationship we had was ok. It was unconventional but it was ok and it was good for me and therefore good for my daughter. He said he wanted me, too, as he always has, but his actions prove otherwise, as they always do.
I fooled myself into believing that I had control, as most addicts do. I made my rules, as most addicts do. If I only saw him a couple times as week and we only vacationed together, it wouldn’t become dangerous to me. Heartbreak wouldn’t be eminent if I just followed my own rules. But then the rules are stretched and a bigger dosage becomes the new rule.
And then there’s an event, an overdose of sorts, as there always is with addiction. A rock bottom moment where I have some self reflection and wonder what the fuck I’m doing. The danger is clear and the denial subsides. This is the moment to take advantage of and bail. For good. Some of us in addiction have had several of these rock bottom moments and we just hope that this time will be the one that will stick. I will make it stick this time. I have to. I have to be ready to do the work. I have to actually do the work.
I’m detoxing. I’m shedding.
The first hours were strong and full force, cold turkey. There’s a fierce confidence within those initial hours and a certainty that I will never look back. I was empowered by my independence and my courage to move on.
As the hours passed, the pain set in. Gut wrenching, real pain. That realization that the void is sneaking back in. The fear is sneaking back in. The reality is there staring me in the face. I am alone and I have to find a way to be ok. In reality, I have been alone for a very long time and my drug of choice has only been there to lie to me, pretending to ease my pain and fill my void. It’s a pseudo effect, a pacifier.
I have to break habits and that’s what it’s about. That’s the simplest answer to addiction: it’s just a habit that must be broken. Because with most habits that lead to addiction, it can literally or metaphorically kill you. Being addicted to this person, I am giving myself away piece by piece. I am killing my spirit. I become unrecognizable to myself in the throes of addiction, as many of us do. How can we not if we’re giving so much of ourselves to someone or something else? It dims our light. It prevents us from being our truest form.
Every time I use again, I am saying it’s ok. It’s ok to allow myself the betrayals, the lies, the empty promises. I am saying it’s ok to settle for someone that cannot and will not give their all to me. I am saying this is good enough for me but above all, I’m saying it’s good enough for my daughter. I’m teaching her that a person who should be a partner, but is too caught up in self desires, is acceptable on his part-time schedule. No. No, this is not what I am willing to allow her to settle for in life.
It’s not about winning over this addiction. No one wins. No one gets a medal. It’s just about surviving it and finding a greater version of myself through the process. I know I’m here somewhere, whole and complete. We are all complete on our own if we allow it. This ideology of having a “better half”, or just an “other half”, is complete and utter bullshit. We are not all halves walking around in need of someone else. Getting out of that mindset is crucial. I have to allow it; trust the healing process.
They say that 21 days kicks a habit. Day 6. Dope sick and still in pain. But it is better than the alternative of self destruction. Freeing my heart of this will allow for so much more on the other side of the pain. It will be cleansing, this shedding.
I will not give myself away anymore.
7 thoughts on “The Shedding of Things”
I love this – all of it. You have the power – the choice is yours. Time to take care of you.
Thank you for reading. I just visited your site and you are quite the inspiration!
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How nice of you to say – thank you!
All this in itself is completely underatandable. The only crime is that there is anything….anything attached to it thats emotional. Thats where the damage happens.
Oh how I can relate to this in so many ways, I’ve done it all .. I can say today I’m so grateful for who I have become, today I love myself and the people in my life that truly love me for me, it’s so true the NO LIMITS that occur in your life when you truly love yourself…. Not that a man or woman make your life complete however because I fell in love with myself I have met someone with the same respect of one self whom is ,positive loving,giving , caring, honest . I would hv never found this if I didn’t believe I was worthy of because at one time I didn’t believe in me, today I do and today I’m grateful for having such a wonderful life.. I’m grateful for this amazing story I just read, it was so true and very moving… Luv ya girl
I have just, this morning, admitted to myself my relationship addiction. I feel a bit of shame about it as the relationship was not a marriage but a boyfriend (of only about 7 months at that), but I am working to make peace with this reality and convince myself that this knowledge will lead to a happier, brighter future. It is hard to know if he really did not love me enough or I simply did not love me enough but either way, I must work on practicing self love before I can move forward with someone new.
I am wondering how you are doing now as it has been a few weeks since your original post. I hope there is still the clarity and determination you began with.
Thank you for your comment! I’m sorry you’ve found yourself here too. 7 months or 13 years, doesn’t matter. All the same pain. I hope you find yourself in a successful recovery soon.
I am doing ok 4 weeks in. Not great by any means, quite depressed, but it’s getting a little easier. Thank you so much for asking!!