Hi – My Name is Marianne and I am a recovering Love Addict…

Image result for god grant me the serenity prayerWow! Typing that headline made me nauseated. This is a huge, life-changing admission; one that I am struggling with now that I recognize my problem.

I used to think I was special. I have come from a horrendous past, and have fought to rise above it my entire life. I raised four kids, without knowing how to parent, and I celebrate their successes in having become better than I ever imagined that I could be despite my questionable choices throughout life. In my memoir Finding Gloria, I mention how I thought I was blessed because I was not a drug addict or an alcoholic; nor do I gamble or fight with other additions (Other than smoking, which I quit for 5 years, and then started again 2 months ago). I thought I was special. Until 2 days ago, while working on a book design for a new client.

I don’t normally accept handwritten manuscripts, but I did in this case. Trying to build my business, I will take almost any project just to pay the bills. I have struggled with doing this project for months for various reasons. I just could not get into it. I believe now, that I “got into it” exactly when God wanted me to. I was not ready to read the chapters that talked about sex and love addictions; actually, when I took on the project, I didn’t even know these chapters existed. If I had gotten into them before I was ready; before I had prepared my heart, and mind for it, these revelations and the self-reflection that followed, would have led me into a very dark place.

What is love addiction? This article answers that question better than I can. I am not going to delve into the nitty-gritty on how I fit this exactly – that is between me, and God!  I just KNOW I do. I remember someone once telling me that “not everyone who smiles at you, wants F— you – they are just being polite.” That comment didn’t make sense to me then. I thought it was funny – but in retrospect, it is the truth. I was so desperate for love, acceptance and attention, I saw every single male (and female) that I met as a potential love interest, relationship, and even “husband”. So many things now make sense – why I was never happy in all my relationships; why I never felt good enough; why when I felt that way, I began looking for attention elsewhere. I was also looking to the high that not only came from having great sex but the high of feeling love and acceptance, even if it was only for 8 seconds and then I would hate myself, and destroy everything and everyone in my path.

I’ve done many shameful things over my adult life – all stemming from the belief that I had no value to anyone, other than what I had between my legs. I was told this from childhood; it was deeply ingrained in my belief system. Every time I was sexually assaulted, it was easy to blame myself, because after all, I was born to be a whore. I did not see myself as anything else. This has led to confusion when I have been in non-sexual relationships. I didn’t understand that relationships had “lulls” and it was not all romance and in the bedroom. So when the sex died down (if it did) I was on a mission to find a replacement, or at least an ego boost. I took dangerous risks, in chatrooms and online dating sites. I thought I was better than most, because I didn’t date anyone, or even sleep with anyone. But I did lead many people to sin with my words and sexual writing. When most people would have moved on, I teased and pushed; just to know that I was wanted even it if was only for a roll in the hay.  I used my body to manipulate people, I got off fulfilling other peoples fantasies, without consideration of my own inner heart and how it made me feel. Even though it made me sick and hate myself, I did not stop – I could not stop. After all, no one would love me, unless I was sexy, and knew what I was doing in bed.

I recognize now, that this is why I have struggled so much of my relationships. Why it was so easy to move from one man to the next. I played some horrible games with people. IE: My second husband. I only met him because I hated myself, and felt I owed him, after leading him on for months; I also felt sorry for him because he was a 36-year-old virgin. Once we slept together, I had no plans on ever seeing him again. But he had his own issues, showed up and I could not stop the game. I thought I could create a “happily ever after”. All I wanted was normal – but there was nothing normal about this. The marriage only lasted 6 months, because it was not real. He became a victim of my issues; and for that, I am truly sorry.

In the past year, I have learned that I am more than what I am in bed. I have learned that I have more value as a person than someone to be used sexually. I have learned that I am a strong, amazing woman; I am creative, I have a big heart for the many people in my life – I am more than what I have between my legs. I still struggle with seeing that side, every single day, but I refuse to be a product of my past anymore. I know I am better than this; I know this behaviour feeds my anxiety and my desperation. I choose to heal.

As levelling and frightening it was to discover this about myself, I can confidently say, I am “recovering” – because I am doing things differently these days. A few months ago, I decided to be single for awhile, to find myself. Married at 18, 4 kids by 25, I have never lived alone, or been single. The old me, would have about 4 or 5 people “in the wings”, as I sort out my stuff, so when I am “ready”, I have a choice on who I want to be with (or all of them). This time, I have chosen to give myself time to heal, forgive myself, and learn how to be a good friend. While I still struggle with understanding how someone could want or love me, non-sexually – or even sexually in a healthy way, I am giving myself time to learn how to give and receive love, in a healthy way. I am giving myself time alone, to figure out who I am and what I want in life. I am giving myself time to heal, and most of all FORGIVE myself. Forgive myself for making so many wrong choices; for hurting so many people, but most of all, for giving power to words that were lies in the first place!

God created me in His image, and he doesn’t create garbage. He loves us and doesn’t want us to abuse ourselves. When we are abused, he wants us to come to Him for healing, and He loves us, no matter what. I am learning that with Him in my life, I am strong. He is healing me because I have asked Him to. Ya, I am seeing myself in ways I never have before. And it hurts. But that is the thing – to heal, we have to dig into the garbage before we can let it go; and with Him, we are strong and never alone. I can do this!

So consider this my very public apology to everyone; my past, and my present. What I hope and pray, is that with this new knowledge and understanding in myself, I will actually be able to move forward and find my “happily ever after”. Because I do believe that God has someone special in mind for me. He may already be in my life, and we just need tons of forgiveness to deal with before we can move forward in a healthy, loving, GOD APPROVED way, I don’t know. What I do know, is at this point, learning to love and forgive myself is on the agenda. The rest will fall into place in His time; and I can’t force it. Because if I do that, I will just be feeding the addiction, and I want and deserve better than that.

Thank you Jesus; for giving me the gift of insight. For loving me enough to forgive me, and heal me! I humbly ask that you continue your work within my heart and my mind; I beg for forgiveness for hurting myself and many people along the way. I ask that you heal them from the damage I may have caused in their lives and hearts. I beg you to free me from this horrible sin. I also ask, that you put the right people in my path, who can help me. Lead me to the promised land; I know my work is great, but I cannot do it in the condition I am currently in. I pray this, in Jesus name. Amen