Love Addiction: “I Hate You, Don’t Leave Me”

Ever loved someone to the point you would do most anything for them? Ever loved someone undeniably, irrationally, unconditionally? Did you ever think they could hurt you? No. Probably not. He is perfect most of the time, a ray of sunshine; charming, charismatic, kind, sensitive, receptive… he is your rock. Of course he would never hurt you. So what happens if one day… he just did? It was unwarranted, irrational and…impossible. Impossible? Really? Maybe it was your brother, or your dad… and now I hear you spit with utter contempt – impossible. No. Sure I get it – impossible, it was impossible in your mind and yet it happened. So what do you do? You walk, you say that’s it, over, c’est fini. That’s what you say, but how could you do it? He was everything to you…he was your family, he was your whole life…are you really going to throw a whole lifetime of happiness away over something that was, in the first place… impossible?

An abusive relationship never starts abusive. It starts as perfection. An endless honeymoon effused with invariable ingratiation, fulfillment, happiness.

Maybe it started from birth, a whole lifetime of affection and solidity. Thousands of women (and men it has to be said) experience this. This undying love that is all too apparent at the start of the relationship, too apparent to be true, and all too often, that’s just it – it is. Abuse happens very slowly, very subtly and it can happen to anyone. In reality when anyone is faced with that dilemma – where you thought it was just impossible, it becomes impossible to accept it ever happened… that time, and the next time, and the next. You may just start to consider your denial is rooted in something a little bit deeper than you were initially willing to accept… a dependency has grown… an addiction.

Love addiction is an actual ailment, rooted in fear and an extreme emotional dependence, an ailment today that our culture likes to glorify. The media, advertising proceeds to promote love addiction over healthy relationships. Right now as over a hundred therapy sessions take place all over the country, at least two of the people sat in the chair opposite will be a suffering love addict. Love addicts are people who are addicted to the feeling that love gives them, consequently they will stay in the relationship they are in at all costs in order to feed this “high”. Just like any other drug there are highs, there are side effects and there are withdrawal symptoms. When the drug (the person) supplying the love is absent the addict will deeply crave the drug. The drug’s absence will inflict self-destructive behaviour, often manifested in self-mutilation, imposed by the “low”.

So what about a love addict suffering an abusive relationship? Most of the time the two are closely interrelated: emotional co-dependents unable to relinquish control of their partner, or in the victim’s case, unable to relinquish the security of ‘love’ that the abuser supplies.

Our culture glorifies love, actually promotes love addiction, we project that idea of falling in love against all odds to get the “happy ever after” but this neglects all the actual groundwork involved in making a successful and happy relationship not to mention compatibility. Take Romeo and Juliet for example. Their love is what so many women might aspire to, an ever-lasting, undying bond, so strong you would die for each other. But in actual fact their short lived relationship embodies one of two love addicted people, both falling for someone very unavailable, both falling in love VERY quickly – at first sight – this idealised notion of love. When in actual fact if their relationship had managed to live out a week it never would have been functional. Romeo would have plunged a sword into every man who dared glance at Jules, whilst she would have tired of waxing lyrical all day, the desperation of her unsolicited feelings would have driven her to despair as to Romeo’s absence, the weighty fear of not knowing what he was up to, the question of trust, upon which they had nothing to base upon, given the short term of their relationship. They would have suffocated each other with control and with dependency.

Climbing up balconies, wooing, “fair Verona” and love at first sight are all very well for the fairytale. But as our dear ‘star-crossed lovers’ represent, they will not do for “the marriage”.

Images reproduced from cleo.com.au and shakespeareblogger1411.blogspot.com

Ecstasy – A Love Affair With Mandy

The “Drugs Live” show broadcasted on Channel 4 at the end of September 2012 provoked a prominent response amongst a large proportion of our society. To me, it struck a raw nerve as I recalled with reproach the fairly recent deterioration of a close friend upon succumbing to the drug “MDMA” (ecstasy). I felt somewhat infuriated at how flippant some of the doctors were, presenting ecstasy as something potentially harmless and even beneficial, when in reality, after what I had experienced with my friend, I knew this was far from the truth.

 

Adam went to University carrying expectations; “University is the best time of your life”, “These are the years of self discovery.” For Adam, it was the year he met Mandy – beautiful, comforting Mandy. Mandy was always there for him; when he was down, when he needed to just get away from it all. Mandy was loyal, Mandy was trustworthy, the only problem was – Mandy was a Class A drug.

When people often think of drug use, they think of people at a rave sharing a bottle of pills, a group of youngsters toking on spliffs in a dimly lit room. For Adam, MDMA was his medicine, his girlfriend to come home to when he had no one else. This is exactly the self-destructive behaviour that got him taking MDMA every day of the week for months on end.

Adam came across MDMA through a friend who had tried it and was raving about it’s effects. She told everyone how she felt “pure love” and just wanted to dance all night. Adam’s first response was weary as all he had ever tried was marijuana. Nevertheless, the next time he went out, without question friends had shoved it in his hand and told him to rub it on his gums. The taste was insufferably putrid. He was a little scared of what the effects would be. That night he did not feel the real effects of the drug. But it gave him the courage to do it a couple of weeks later – properly. More.

There were 6 of them. The six inseparables. One night they decided to stay in with MDMA and marijuana. They all took turns rubbing it on their gums and chugging down water to take away the taste. As time went on Adam started to feel the effects. His eyes began to widen, jaws began to clench, palms began to sweat. He noticed himself showering friends with compliments and love. He was having the time of his life.

Sounds kind of cool so far, right? Sure, it was – it’s renowned as a recreational drug for party people. But for the lonely – BEWARE. This drug sucked Adam in like the devil in a red dress. As the year progressed, his days got darker and lonelier. He went from taking MDMA once a month with a crowd to once every other week with a bunch of friends, to once a week with a few friends, to 2 times a week with one friend, to every day – alone. As the days got closer, the more depressed he became, the more in denial he became and the more attached he became to Mandy. He carried on taking it and as a result, the effect it had wasn’t as potent. So he went from buying half a gram for one night to two and then three grams per night. MDMA is known as a party drug. He took it at home. Alone. Everyday.

Eventually money ran out and life came to a complete and utter standstill. It was like for two weeks straight he felt totally comfortable and with a blink of an eye it disappeared. Reality dawned in a way that he didn’t know it could. He found himself snapping at friends, feeling heavy and dull and drinking a lot. As a result of drinking he would go into friends’ rooms late at night and beg them to buy him MDMA. It’s funny how drugs can make you act. They can push you to completely debase yourself and compromise your pride for the sake of a substance.

Adam’s frustration eventually led to a breakdown causing him to contemplate suicide. I had never considered him as a suicidal person but at that time the act seemed so conceivable, it was frightening he could seem so at peace with the notion. His moods were going from contented to extremely depressed and hysterical in a matter of seconds and he didn’t seem to know why. The more alienated he felt, the more his friends estranged him. They began to judge his unusual behaviour, it scared them.
He tried the doctor, he tried advice, but no one seemed to know what was going on. It was as though no one believed that MDMA could have such a psychologically damaging and addictive effect on a person.

It is now half a year later and after having to leave University to go and recuperate in extensive therapy, Adam is much better. I wont lie and say he’s completely rehabilitated. There are times we play songs that he associates with MDMA and it makes his heart pump faster and I can see him reminiscing over the feeling ‘Mandy’ gave him. I can see he still craves that feeling. He’ll even dream of taking it.

Nothing is good in large doses….. except maybe in the short time that ‘high‘ feels like it is. But then you look in the mirror and realize it has been a month since you’ve taken a shower. You’ve failed your course. You’ve lost your friends. Is any high worth it? Decide for yourself… “Drugs Live” conducted an experiment within a controlled environment to evaluate the effects of MDMA on the brain, it seemed like a pretty crazy experiment for people like Adam who knew the result.

Don’t decide based on the observers. Decide on the addicts. Decide on Adam.