And then there was a “rehab romance”

I have more of an addiction to men and relationships than I even do to alcohol. That doesn’t make one addiction better or worse than the other, but it’s a fact. For as long as I can remember, the need to be “talking to someone” has been a necessity to me. Whether it be an actual relationship, someone I met online, a fling with someone I just met- I’ve done it all. It’s the validation I seek. I tell myself “if I can keep him happy, then I must really be worth something.” It feels a void. Of course this thought came from my subconscious, but it was there. It is there. And so it’s time for me to tackle this addiction to men, head on. Below I will be copying different entries I’ve written in my journal the past couple weeks.  The progression of these entries make me smile. Jesus is sometimes frustratingly faithful. Alright- honesty. 1..2..3..GO.

Relationships in recovery. I rolled my eyes when I heard the term “rehab romance.” I always believe I’m the exception. Why do I think so highly of myself that I believe something so common won’t take its toll on me? Sometimes I believe I’m completely unworthy, and other times I am convinced that nothing can get to me. This time I was wrong. I looked at this man, also struggling with alcoholism, also struggling with emotional pain- and we bonded. A connection formed that I rarely experience. I was told this would happen. I was warned. My own mind even cautioned me, but oh how I’m a stubborn one. I wanted to prove The Treatment Center wrong. Quickly I became emotionally invested, and vice versa. My gut screamed at me to run. I had no peace, yet my craving was so strong. I wanted to be with him.

[entry #1] //Oh Lord, you understand my wrestling heart, you see the grime I’ve covered in. I know your truth, but I continue to seek false comfort through the darkness. I’m abusing your grace oh Lord, I’m taking you for granted. Despite your constant love for me, I pick through what I want to receive instead of accepting all you have to offer. Your love is fierce and sometimes it hurts– so teach me to appreciate this painful love that can rebuild my life. I’m tired of stomping on your grace like a flower’s petals crushed into the ground. Renew my soul oh Lord, and restore in me a desire to fully immerse myself in your consuming love. Train my heart and mind to bravely scream “No!” at the lies the darkness entices me with. Remind me who I am, and whose I am– your daughter, your bride, your masterpiece. //

As people continued to approach me and kindly advise me to walk away before I spiral to destruction, I knew something needed to be done, but still, I felt powerless over my emotions, that continued to grow each time I saw him smile, or felt the brush of his skin. I was convinced I could focus on recovery and still be involved with him.

[entry #2] // Jesus you know my struggling heart. You see the battle of wills I’m torn between. If I surrender myself to you entirely, I must lay down my lustful desires. I can’t live only partially in your will and have peace. It’s all or nothing, yes or no, please or no thank you. Sometimes I resent the free will you’ve gifted me with. Occasionally i view it as a curse. If only you stopped me from saying “yes” or if only you physically turned me away from the schemes of the Devil, lurking in every corner. But then you remind me why I’m where I’m at. Just as my choices cast me into a miry pit, so can my choices elevate me to the highest mountain. Empower me O Lord, fill my spirit with your hope and determination. When my mind begins to wander and my body begins to crave, may I cry to you as my eyes shift from earthy to heavenly desires. This battle wages before me and my confidence is wearing thin. But through your grace and mercy, I’ll work to choose you in the end. As imperfect as I am, you dance and take delight in me; so humbly yet hesitantly I’ll lay myself down, piece by piece, at your feet.//

Back in inpatient, I would be walking to a group and would pass by him in the hallway. Immediately my entire demeanor would change and my focus would shift from recovery to romance. The realization that maybe those who warned me were actually right began to sink in. Skip forward to this week. I sat down with the pastor on staff, after praying that morning God would give me a swift kick in the butt if I really needed to call things off. Pastor Patrick looked me in the eyes and told me I’m addicted to men. He said that if I’m not working on all of my addictions while here, I’m not really in recovery. “Call it what you want, but without you surrendering this aspect over, you aren’t in recovery, Amy.” Talk about that swift kick in the butt I asked God for (but was hoping I wouldn’t get.) This wasn’t just about ending my current fling. It was about finally admitting that this addiction is just as unmanageable as alcohol and that I need help. So I picked up the phone and spoke the words I should have from the beginning. “Babe- I’m choosing me. I’m choosing my recovery. I’m choosing to conquer my addictions. All of them.” I hung up the phone and instantly felt loneliness. Going to the iTunes app store, without even thinking, I searched “OKCupid.” Old tendencies are so hard to break. I stopped in my tracks and threw the phone on my bed. Coping with loneliness is going to be part of the process I must go through in order to find healing. It’s the only way I will discover wholeness by myself.

[entry #3] // God, do you see my weepy eyes? Can you hear my hurting cries? Have you taking notice of my brokenness? I laid down my will tonight and it hurt. Searing pain entwines my mind. It was recovery or Him, so I chose YOU. You’re the healer of my diseases, so cure me from the chains of my addictions. Tonight I chose my needs instead of my desires. You empower me and set me ablaze with your spirit. As I take strides toward your heart, restore hope within me and open my eyes so that you are all I see. Choosing you is hard, but not choosing you is torture. May I find strength and comfort in the promises you have made, and may you touch my weary soul as my burdens begin to fade.//

I feel brave. I also feel weird and empty because this journey of healing has to just be me and Jesus. With disgruntled disappointment, I smile as I write this, knowing that for one of the first times, I chose my needs instead of my desires. And nothing beats that satisfaction, not even him. So here it is: just as I have to abstain from alcohol since I’m an alcoholic, I have to abstain from romantic relationships while I work on my recovery. People who have gone through recovery tell me to wait an entire year. I think that is going to be a strongly worded conversation between me and the Lord. All I know is that I’m TRULY in recovery now- in every way. Even when it feels like a part of me is missing.

[entry #4] // Father you stopped this crash and burn. You stepped in and sprinkled conviction all over my heart. You saved me from looming heartbreak and relapse mistakes. Glory to you from knowing my needs and interceding. You took over when I wasn’t strong enough to walk away. Praise to you from being attentive to my fragile heart. Thanksgiving goes to you for placing advocates in my life. Without you I sense disastrous results. But with you, all I can see is your presence and your will, no matter what that is. My cravings run deep, yet your love runs deeper still. My desires make me wander, yet your grace calls me home. //

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