Some time back I wrote a post called "i like to feel" in which I talk about a lot of the things to which I am not addicted. I recently discovered something to which I am addicted. I am addicted to love, or at least the illusion of it. I am addicted to my relationship, probably a lot of my relationships. I am addicted to people, and right now painfully so to one person in particular.
It hit me tonight as I drove in the car, lamenting the difficulties we are having, worrying desperately that our relationship will soon draw to a close, that a day may come when I longer get to see him, hear him, smell him, touch him, bask in his presence. I felt like I could die. I felt what I believe is a craving. I craved to be in his presence, and this is far from the first time I have felt this way.
I have often wondered what it must feel like to crave, to truly, addictively crave one's drug of choice. I wondered how much it was visceral, how much emotional, how it must be to not be able to shut off that sensation. I am sure it is different for every different person, and for every different substance one can crave. Now I have some insight.
My craving feels like a desperate need to see him, be near him, as though everything in my world will be OK if I can simply get into his presence, into his arms, or even better into his bed. My craving starts in my mind, starts with a cycle of thoughts that involve a lot of pain and insecurity and discomfort, and then it moves into my throat which feels like it is a rough knot that I cannot possibly swallow past, then my mouth gets dry. The craving keeps moving till it gets to my heart [I had typed "hurt" instead of heart in my first draft. Talk about your freudian slip.] which feels hollow, feels a terrible vacancy aching to be filled. Then the sensation hits my stomach which flips nauseatingly. The sensation is absolutely physical and emotional in nature, and it is pressing and demanding and gives me the keen sense that nothing will quench this desire other than him.
I feel it now, a wild desperation to get into my car and leave behind all responsibilities, all logical behavior and get nearer to him. And I've done it. I have unexpectedly shown up at his door many times over the years and in different incarnations of our relationship. Sometimes it is rewarding, a good score; I reap some temporary gratification through receiving the desired response, the right words, the right reaction, the right embrace, as though a stronger version of the drug I use just hit the streets and hit my unsuspecting bloodstream for the first time. Oftentimes succumbing to that craving does not pay off; I've built up a tolerance to certain responses he may have to me and I need more, stronger, better interactions to make this hit worthwhile.
I seek his company again and again to stave off the unbearable sensation of being without him, just like junkies seek their high again and again just to save themselves from the unbearable sensation of being sober.
Now I've got another label I can tack on to myself: codependent. So what? I am not going to start going to a 12 step support group. I am glad to be aware that this behavior is not healthy. It is helping me to keep myself in check, keeping me from getting in the car and doing drive-bys just to see if he's home, what he's doing, if he's alone. It is helping me to recognize that if our relationship does end that I may not die from longing for him. There is likely to be a painful period of withdrawal and then recovery, and I will make it. Oh yeah. I remember. I have felt this way before, have felt this way everytime a relationship I am in draws to a close before I am ready for it to do so. And I do get better.
But then there is the next relationship.
I feel little hope right now for the likelihood of my getting into a healthy, successful, long-lasting partnership. I think it is common for those of us who are still single as we get older [Older is, of course, relative. Right now I feel older, having moved firmly out of my twenties.] to doubt that we'll find a mate. I think it is especially common for single mothers with half-grown children and mountains of debt and yard-length stretch marks and unfathomable responsibilities to feel that way. Who would want to walk into this mess? Nevermind that I am beautiful and strong and smart and an incredibly caring, generous and attentive partner. It would take an especially secure person to look past all of the challenging features and dive into the substance of my life. I have a hard time picturing who that person could be, especially because everytime I try to see them in my mind's eye, I see only one man, the same man whom I have adored for ten years, with whom I have shared some of my most profound experiences. The man whose mere presence acts as a balm to my soul. The man whose shirt I keep balled up next to my pillow so I can have the scent of him near me all night, every night.
I don't fucking care if I am codependent. I want him. I want only him. And the healthy, conscious, precious, loving woman part of me knows that given the proper attention and energy we can be together, healthfully.
Denial? I don't know what you are talking about.