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SEX . . . and LOVE addiction

I had the idea for this blog in February 2020, but then all hell broke loose, and my attention shifted. I still wanted to write about this topic since it had been on my mind, so here it is. Better later than never. Enjoy!

In late 2009, I found myself sitting in meeting rooms with strangers. I don’t talk about recovery much because I never went through the full 12 steps myself and I never had a sponsor. I have nothing against them; I just believe there are many paths to freedom, and you need to find your path; mine was yoga. Kudos to you if you found your peace through Twelve-Step programs. It just wasn’t for me. Codependent behavior had been deeply rooted in my makeup from my upbringing. I was always worried about Cyndi (my mom) and walked on eggshells not to trigger her; I always aimed to please and wanted everything to be okay. I could sense as a very little girl the need to be the caregiver for my mother; her mental illness influenced and molded a lot of my behavior because there was never any space for me; it was always about her and her mental state. I grew up feeling it was my responsibility to fix and control everything and everyone. Let’s just say that becoming a teacher only reinforced my need to control, but also allowed me to learn boundaries.

After listening to some of my dating mishaps, my work “Mama” suggested I try going to CoDA, Co-dependents Anonymous. I had never heard of it before, so I gave it a shot. Those first few meetings were so informative. I sat. I listened. And eventually, I shared. I saw a reflection of behaviors and traits being mirrored back to me in those rooms. I saw how unhealthy my coping mechanisms were and I needed to change my patterns. I was a special education teacher at the time, and I was working on helping my own students change patterns of behavior; this was familiar territory. Let me tell you, after 28 years of self-sabotaging, self-depreciating, self-denying, controlling, and manipulative behavior, it was a lot harder than I expected, but a lot easier to recognize my patterns. Trust me, they are still present, and I must check myself every fucking day. Ahh, the beauty of learning and growth.

During an all-women’s CoDA meeting, a woman mentioned SLAA, Sex and Love Addiction Anonymous. I was intrigued. I went home and immediately did a search on the web. And yup, you guessed it; I also engaged in a lot of these behaviors. Holy hell. I felt seen. But I also knew that I did not need to continue with this kind of unhealthy dynamic in my dating life. I continued to go to CoDA meetings and SLAA meetings in early 2010. At the time, I was dating an alcoholic Los Angeles police officer who was completely unavailable, yet I desperately wanted to help him. Shortly after starting my healing journey, I had to let go of this unhealthy relationship. That was the last man I tried to change and save.

One night, sitting in a co-ed SLAA meeting, a man got up to share. He was speaking familiar words about feelings. He was sharing feelings and they were the exact same ones I had experienced in my dating life; the longing, the desire to be seen and felt by my lover. I never heard a man speak that open and honest about how he felt; it was unexpected. I saw this man, as a human (I know, what a wild concept!) I saw he had the same fears and insecurities as I did, as other women did. We longed for love and acceptance. His vulnerability allowed me to see him as a soul; not as a sexual object or sexual being. I never experienced that before. And I am so grateful for that moment.

Since that time, I have learned that it is an ongoing, continuous practice and process to love and accept me. All the parts of me, even the ones that I want to hide. I continue to find tools to help change my patterns of behavior. I have my daily meditation practice, my yoga asana practice, healing Reiki, EFT, weight lifting, and breathwork. For many years, I thought I had all my issues squared away and I knew what was best for everyone around me. I gave unsolicited advice to my friends all the time. After discovering that we are all on a journey and we have to live life in a way that is meaningful to us, without the need to be approved of by our friends or family, is very empowering. Self-improvement is a never-ending process. Self-study and self-inquiry (svadhyaya) are part of the practice of yoga, which I am dedicated to. Occasionally, the know-it-all in me starts to poke its head out and I have to remind myself to stay in my lane; I don’t want anyone telling me how to live my life or someone’s unsolicited advice, so I do my best to keep my opinions to myself. Whenever I start to have these big feelings or the need to act in a way that is unbecoming, I invite that little girl version of myself to sit down and breathe with me. I want her to know she is heard, she is seen, and she is loved. Even though I didn’t get exactly what I needed from my mom and dad, I can give myself those things now.

Never stop learning and growing. It is the gift that we can give ourselves and the people we love. But mostly, for us.


Your Health and Wellness Coach


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