Would like to comment on two articles in the May/June 2016 issue of Lesbian Connection Magazine, on the topic of addictions. Please note ALL the articles on addictions were EXCELLENT, but these two, in particular, resonated with me.
"Last Fall I ended my 22-year relationship. We had been in a civil union for the past 15 years, though things had not been very 'civil' for quite some time."
"The very short version of the story begins with her back injury several years ago. The resulting chronic pain, and her increasing use of various medications (both legal and not so legal) to treat that pain, has slowly turned her into someone none of our friends, family, neighbors or co-workers can recognize. She looks the same - maybe a little thinner - but her behavior is out of control. Lies upon lies on top of other lies. Then there's the fraud and check forgeries amounting to tens of thousands of dollars stolen from me, my business, our families, friends and neighbors. We all agree that none of us are equipped to give her the help she needs."
"Various treatments - including massage, acupuncture, spinal nerve injections, TENS units, and yoga - have been little or no help. Ultimatums have had no effect, and our last resort has been to press charges on the theft, forgery and fraud. That way the court holding a possible felony conviction over her head may force her to get into rehab. The courts in our county are very big on treatment for drug use instead of jail. However, they are also very strict about what happens is a person doesn't follow the conditions the court has assigned. Sounds harsh but we (mostly me) had to do this in order to prevent more damage to a lot of people."
"Partners ever again? I doubt it. Friends? Maybe . . . Of all the crap to overcome - the drugs, thefts, fraud, etc. - the toughest one for me to come to terms with is all the lies. Even being friends may be out of the question."
- Fran, Worchester, VT
Have had a recent brief relationship with a 71 year old woman, 13 years my senior (I am 58).
Although I normally took my time in getting to know someone before engaging in romantic involvement (90 days prior to agreeing to be exclusive and sexually involved, one year before moving in together), I allowed the relationship to be rushed because she said she had "terminal lung cancer," which I later found out to be not true. Should have known better as every terminal lung cancer patient I have ever known had an oxygen concentrator in their home and was on oxygen 24/7.
Was drawn to her charming personality and talent in art, photography and in playing the keyboard.
Later I noticed she was able to RUN up and down the stairwell on a regular basis. There was a reason for this. Turned out she would meet with local drug dealers in the parking lot in the middle of the night and deliver their drugs to tenants in my senior tower (the drug dealers were reluctant to enter the building because of all the security cameras and, because of their youth, they would stand out like a sore thumb).
Also learned she had UNTREATED Bipolar Disorder. She refused to treat it because she enjoyed the mania and hypomania, thinking it increased her creativity. Sadly, she could not see the downside far outweighed the upside, and she would engage in dangerous behaviors as a result, least of which was abusing prescription painkillers and street drugs to "level herself out." Not only was she addicted to prescription and street drugs and alcohol, but also to anything that stimulated her brain's endorphins and adrenaline, such as promiscuous sex.
What have I learned? So-called "alternative treatments," for Bipolar Disorder, such as dietary changes and herbs, do not work, although they may be helpful as an adjunct to medication; in the future, never negotiate on my boundaries, even if she was truthful about having terminal lung cancer, or any other reason; and to be aware of falling in love with a person's talents rather than with them (I was in love with a fantasy).
Luckily, she never stole from me, as being poor as a church mouse protected me. Thankfully, two wonderful friends saw through her and saved my sorry a** before I was too deeply involved.
Partners ever again? Definitely not, as the more I learned about her, I uncovered lie after lie. Was amazed on how many people accepted her "friendship," when she constantly badmouthed her friends, who only the day before spent time with her. Her mood swings were totally unpredictable.
Friends? Again, absolutely not, as I don't believe in building a friendship or relationship upon a fantasy, like a house of cards.
Painfully, I slowly realized I had a lot to offer and I deserve better!
In the second article, I would like to comment after you have read it, as I do not want to spoil the surprise!
No Turning Back
"From the moment I first laid eyes on you I knew we would be together. You had such an alluring way about you. I saw you from a distance interacting with others. You were so popular, the center of attention; it seemed everyone wanted you. There was something so mysterious about you, the way you made everyone feel so special. You were cool, glamorous, elegant, sophisticated and oh so sensual - but there was also something dark and forbidding. I knew in my gut I should stay away."
"I was still young and naive. Looking back, I know you really did take advantage of me. Of course, at the time, I didn't care. I was so drawn to you; you took my breath away and seduced me. The first time we were together you were so forceful, so powerful. I literally thought I was going to pass out. And from that moment on there was no turning back. You had your hooks in me."
"I was obsessed with you, thought about you constantly. I couldn't wait to be with you. We had such a perfect dance. Even though you were the temptress, I would always make the first move. I would pull you into me. I couldn't wait to pull you into me. I couldn't wait to taste you. I was overcome by your scent. I loved the smell of you. I couldn't wait to feel you inside of me. No matter how much time we spent together, I could never get enough of you. I was always anticipating our next rendezvous. When I was with you I always felt so special; sensual and rebellious."
"We began to do everything together. I brought you with me to the clubs, the beach, out to brunch and dinner, to spend time with family and friends. We were together in every room of my house. You even spent time with me at work. We were inseparable. You were truly the center of my universe. We did some crazy things together. And we did nothing in moderation. I spent so much money on you. Over time I realized that I was behaving erratically. I knew I had become irrational, but I was so dependent on you. I would chase after you all hours of the day and night. I covered for you time and time again - although you burned me and ruined my things."
"And then you turned on me, as I always knew you would. It was subtle at first. But I began to see that you controlled my every thought. I couldn't make a decision without you. You kept me from pursuing new interests. I lost out on career opportunities. I stopped participating in activities I used to love. I began neglecting myself and those around me. I felt weak and foggy. I felt dirty. I was isolated by you. You were suffocating me. I was aging before my time. How often was I disgusted by you - repulsed by you? How often have I tried to leave?"
"And now, after all these years, I have matured enough to recognize that I am using you as a crutch. I know I don't need you. I know I can live without you. And I know that the only way to cleanse myself of you - breathe again and regain my strength and my Self - is to just do it. I will miss you always. But I have come a long way, baby. And when I do finally break free of you, there will be no turning back."
"Goodbye forever, Virginia (Slims - Menthol Gold 120's)."
- Theresa D., Patchogue, NY
As you now know, the article refers to an addiction to cigarettes, yet it describes my co-dependent relationship perfectly.
The single word to describe my relationship was not love but "limerance," another name for infatuation.
She was "popular" because she was the number one drug dealer in my building, and she had a car. It is amazing how much people who don't drive will tolerate, when you have a car!
Over time, it was amazing how many things "pointed in the wrong direction," such as lying, secretiveness, infidelity, mood swings, road rage, manipulation, smoking cigarettes and marijuana, as well as drinking behind my back.
What did I learn from this? Do not let your lover separate you from your family and friends. Do not lose yourself in your relationship, as tempting as that may be. Maintain and guard your boundaries. Do not allow your lover to "rush" the relationship, again, as tempting this may be.
As my mother used to say, "a great date does not always make a great mate."