I’m feeling a bit down today and I have to let some of this crap out of my head. I’ve just been to my third SLAA meeting in a year, where I was able to identify with pretty much everything that I heard. It was scary. About halfway through the meeting I started to feel like bawling my eyes out and ever since then, it’s been a challenge to suppress the tears. Finally, the truth that I am a sex-and-love-anorexic-addict is clear to me. I can’t hide from it any more and I can’t let it continue to eat me up. It’s been eating me up for a lot longer than anyone knew. All my adult life I have clung onto the fantasy of redemptive romance; for years I’ve shied away from real relationships because they terrify me and I do not know how to perform in them. The guys I go for are bad for me; the fantasies I have of them maintain a tight grip on me. I can’t have sex without feeling shame. I can’t fall in love without immediately needing the object of my desires to rescue me from myself. In short, I haven’t got a bloody clue how to have a normal, healthy adult relationship.
I wanted to share about all of this in this afternoon’s SLAA meeting but it was so busy that I couldn’t find it in me to jump in and take my chance. It was one of those meetings that I hate, where the next person begins sharing the nanosecond the last person has said their final word. I’ve never found much recovery in those meetings; part of me feels that I’d benefit a great deal from learning to ‘take the plunge’ and open my mouth in them. Since today is only one of two anorexia-focused SLAA meetings in London, I think I’m going to have to keep going back there.
When it was over instead of sticking around to speak to someone I disappeared as quickly as I could, convinced that I would burst into tears the moment anyone spoke to me. Instead of seizing the opportunity to find the kind of spiritual connection with another human being that I so desperately need, I ran away out of habit. I was exactly the same in AA two years ago – I don’t know how I ever got over that. Actually I do know how I did it, but I can’t bear the thought of having to go through that process all over again. I have my comfortable meetings in AA now where I know everyone and where I can share quite happily every week, but they’re not enough any more. This sex problem goes way deeper than my alcohol problem, to such an extent that I don’t think AA is the right place to deal with it any more. SLAA is the right place – if only I could magically find the friends there that I’ve taken two years to find in AA.
From the meeting I walked to Hyde Park, where I sat behind a tree and allowed myself to weep quietly for a few minutes. As soon as any passers by approached I would force the tears back in. My inbuilt phobia of showing emotion in public remains strong. It didn’t help that I’d chosen to put to a playlist of classical music on my ipod – when it came to Barber’s Adagio for Strings I was a quivering wreck. I was full to bursting point with emotion; I still am. I’d like to think that I could share about this in my AA home group later on this evening. I’d like to think that inside that safe space I could let some of these tears out. I feel a bit sick now from keeping it all in. I haven’t cried in an AA meeting for a long time. I don’t know if I’ll be able to do it today. I admire people who can cry in meetings – it always seems like such a tremendous relief. I’m not depressed about the fact that I’m so upset right now. I’m actually grateful that I have these feelings today. When I want to cry I believe I’m closer to God, just as when I talk about my feelings, write them down, or produce a creative piece of work I am close to my version of God. ‘Letting go’ means letting it out, in whatever way I can. Writing about this here has helped to calm me down a bit, of course. But sharing in a meeting would probably be even better for me, if I am honest. I pray that I can find the courage to do the right thing today, whatever that is. I don’t want to drink, thank God. But I’d like to act out sexually, and that is not good. I need a spiritual solution, and after two years of following a spiritual path it is clearer to me than ever that the fellowship(s) hold an answer.