I was an addict.
I’ve been an addict in some capacity my entire life. For most of my life I didn’t recognize it because many forms of addiction are acceptable in our society.
I was addicted to alcohol, sugar, and love from anyone but myself. As I ventured into my dark night of the soul and stayed there for a good chunk of time, I was then told by a spiritual mentor, “You’re addicted to your pain.” She used to point out to me that I had a cycle around money that sabotaged me from ever being fully stable. It wasn’t even that I was irresponsible with money. I was simply addicted to the pain of not having it, which kept me from ever consistently receiving it.
I was addicted to the story that things were hard. I was addicted to the story that life worked for other people and not for me. Most recently, I’ve been addicted to the story that I awaken men and then watch them leave. I’ve called in man after man who meets me, is inspired by me, and then doesn’t want to rise up to their full potential.
After nearly ten months of it, I finally got sick of it. It finally became crystal clear this final time. I watched a man each week tell me he was tired enough of his own shit and was going to choose differently. Each week he fell into the same self-sabotage trap, making the same choice he swore he wouldn’t make.
The first few times, I had compassion. I held space and listened to his frustration. As someone who has gone through it in so many different areas of my life, I could feel his pain. The next time it happened, though, anger began to fill my body and I knew that was my boundary needing to be set.
I couldn’t do it anymore. I could no longer hold space for him, watching him make the same self-sabotaging choice once again. As I thought of releasing him, my heart hurt. I told him, “I don’t have another round in me. It hurts to be able to feel your pain.” I began to close off my heart again just so I wouldn’t have to feel the pain of each man I met. I couldn’t do it anymore. I needed my heart to remain open.
As I reflected to friends today, I was asked, “What’s active within you that is attracting in so many men who are in need of healing? Is there a part of you who needs to be the caretaker? Is there a part of you that feels you need to heal men?”
To be honest, I think there are lots of things from my past that could have caused me to call in so many men who are in pain. Part of it is knowing how much pain I was in in my last relationship and as hard as my previous partner tried, he didn’t know how to hold space for me. I know what that healing journey looks like and I know I am capable of holding massive amounts of space for someone in order to facilitate their healing. Maybe part of me feels like I owe it to men for how I treated my last partner.
Another part of me realizes I haven’t fully embodied the version of me who is healed. Sometimes I forget how far I’ve come until I meet someone who is earlier in their journey. Usually by that point I’m already emotionally invested.
It feels like when you lose weight and haven’t fully embraced and embodied the thinner version of yourself. You end up continuously grabbing your old size off the rack because it’s the size you’ve always grabbed. It has become habitual. I think part of me keeps grabbing the wrong size man off the rack, forgetting I’ve released my old baggage. I have healed. I am an evolved version of myself, worthy of a man who has done the same amount of work on himself.
And yet, as I sit here and write this all out, I think there’s a part of me that has become addicted to someone else’s pain. I no longer have that deep, gut-wrenching pain. I have deep, unconditional love for myself in a way I never knew was possible before. I know the power of that transformation and maybe on some level I wanted to experience it again through the eyes of someone else. I wanted to watch someone else transform before my very eyes.
I can’t though. I am no longer an addict with all the addictive patterns I’ve healed within myself. With that, it’s time to also release the addiction to someone else’s pain. It’s time to put on my new size called joy, peace, and wholeness.