Recovery4Ever writes: You function best as “bad example” you say? I, for one, am grateful for your foibles in the love department. In my humble opinion that qualifies you quite nicely as a very effective Love Addict advice columnist — you have to experience it to dole it out!
With that encouragement, I return to the pile of unanswered questions from the July 20 Q&A at Jezebel. Think of me as Dear Abby’s evil twin.
One of my good friends used to be a sex addict. She would constantly cheat on whoever she was in a relationship with, and since she was 15 has never been single. She is 29 now. Two years ago she got pregnant, and since then she and the baby’s father have stayed together. For the most part she seems happy, but every now and then she sends texts to exes, flirts with guys, etc. This behavior gets more extreme when she drinks, which she does a lot of. Basically, I see her heading down a dangerous path. Is there anything I can do as her friend to help? - Lachelita
First, you can remove the words “used to be” from your opening sentence. Second… there is never much you can do to change another person, especially if that person doesn’t want to change. But here’s what someone said to me once, and it made me think. I was fooling around with a married man, which everyone but me knew was a terrible idea: “I can’t stay friends with you if you continue to see this guy, so you’ll have to choose,” she said. “I’m not going to tell you who to pick, but I will point out that I’m the one who doesn’t want to fuck you.”
You can tell your friend you think she’s an accident waiting to happen, and you’ll be keeping your distance until she sobers up physically and emotionally. And then you can get yourself to Alanon or S-Anon, because you don’t have to be an addict to suffer from the disease of addiction.
How can you keep others from not making the terrible decisions you made, and not looking up to someone like you as a role model? - MackDaddyBossMan
Pull the string in my neck and hear me say it yet again: “I function best as a bad example.” I wrote a whole book describing in lurid detail the horrible repercussions of the many terrible decisions I made. Where I can occasionally serve as a role model is that I did finally find a path out of the darkness, and it is my honor and privilege to point it out to fellow travelers.
My question essentially boils down to this: Follow your heart or make a prudent choice about a mate? I tend to fall in love with artistic, kinda self-absorbed types because that’s where my ‘weaner’ leads me. These relationships tend to fail, for whatever reason, probably because of the independent nature of the kind of men I like. My mother has suggested that I settle for someone who may not be as interesting or exciting, but is stable and reliable. This sounds like Hell. I currently have a boyfriend in the first category, and things are ok so far… - Moosy
Boy, can I relate. I have albums filled with photographs of artistic, self-absorbed types. This is because, one, I’m old and, two, I had really low self-esteem for a lot of those years. Relationships with self-absorbed men generally fail because the guy is by definition into himself, not into you. And you don’t think enough of yourself to demand a guy who is into you.
“Stable and reliable” may simply be your mother’s way of saying “available.” Which to you sounds like Hell because, of course, none of us love addicts would belong to any club that would have us for a member
The bad news is, just knowing this isn’t going to turn that hardworking, balding accountant into a studmuffin. It’s a process. I start by looking at the navel-gazing pretty-boy and saying to myself: “Well, there’s a nice looking pile of cocaine. I think I’ll pass.”
I have two questions. The first is, what is the difference between someone who just really enjoys sex and has it often, and someone with a sex addiction? The second is, because I’m nosy, what did you go to jail for? (you can ignore that if you would rather not answer but the listing made me curious) - LlamasLlamasEverywhere
Here’s the definition of addiction: A chronic and relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive use of a mind-altering substance or behavior despite negative life consequences. It’s pretty specific, and it makes diagnosis pretty definitive. Let’s break it down. If it’s an addiction:
Someone using a chemical (e.g. alcohol) or a behavior (e.g. masturbation) to alter their mood, even when they didn’t mean to, even when it’s causing problems, and…
…if they manage to stop for a while, they will start up again…
…because it’s a biological/physiological/genetic disorder, not just a bad habit or series of poor choices.
If you aren’t missing work, going broke, telling lies, breaking hearts, spreading crabs, waking up embarrassed and ashamed… I don’t much care how many people you’re sleeping with. If the police are called out on alternate Saturdays behind your jealous rages, one could be too many.
And I was arrested for “possession of hashish with intent to sell.” In the ‘70s, I was a felon. Today, I’d be a medical marijuana dispensary.