There is no denying that I have not done everything perfectly in my departure from the life of active alcoholism. On the softer side, I classify as supporting evidence for the expression, “He put down the bottle, but picked up the fork”. I’ll probably spend the next six months re-losing the weight I’ve gained since I signed myself into treatment back in March of 2015. It’s time to turn this ship around; I really can’t handle going through another wardrobe change. I’m relatively certain this stems from still experiencing that emotional hole from time to time; that void I’ve always tried to fill with things or people outside of myself. This is a long process and its hard work to permanently change a lifetime of bad habits, but as the old saying goes – “its progress, not perfection”. I’m still working the steps and I haven’t yet had a distinct “spiritual awakening”. I’ve had a few moments of clarity, but step twelve irrefutably states: “Having had a spiritual awakening as a RESULT of these steps…”. I do look forward to what that experience will be like for me when the time comes. In the meantime, it’s nice being free from the shackles and obsession of the drink. Unfortunately, though, indulging in food has not been my major malfunction in these attempts to keep filling the void.
I have been married for a while (now separated/divorcing) and in a long relationship before that with a couple short flings in between. The world of dating or now as it seems, casual encounters, has changed a bit while I was out of the mix. I really didn’t know what to expect re-entering the world of meeting new people and putting myself back out there. I can’t safely go to bars and I already tried the church girl thing so I decided to explore a path I’ve never traveled before. Enter sites like Tinder, MeetMe, and a myriad of others out there on the internet and in an app store near you. I can scroll through hundreds of women from a device in my pocket and based merely off a profile picture, decide whether I would or would not give them a chance. It’s highly addictive, especially for somebody with a pre-disposition to such an affliction like myself. It also seems rather shallow to me, but in the current state of my life, it became surprisingly appealing. Get in, fulfill my needs, and get out. No attachment; no obligation to build trust; no worry or jealousy – no feelings involved. Period. But in my experience so far, that’s not always how it goes down, and relations aren’t sustainable thanks to my actual lack of desire for romantic connection.
I’ve never considered myself as being of “player” status. I’m not the “hit and quit it” type of guy, but lately, I’ve been teetering on the fence of that realm, in my own way, and I’m not exactly sure where this behavior is coming from; although I have a few hypotheses. I find myself leading women on with false intentions – stating my desire for a relationship so I can get what I want, then abruptly cutting them out of my life with no real valid explanation as to why. These women had started to developed feelings for me, yet I can’t seem to ever feel anything significant for them – except for lust. It’s practically effortless to be whoever I want on the internet. It’s easy to come across as appealing and genuine, smart and charming. I never use fake profile pictures or write anything untrue about myself, but I can embellish a little in the way I come across in conversation; transforming into a chameleon and blending into whatever they’re looking for in a man. After all, when you boil it down, I am still a combined addict, master manipulator – and I know how to get what I want.
I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that this is unhealthy behavior for a guy in my situation; a guy that wants to incorporate integrity, morality, and class into a life mostly devoid of such things. Although I don’t always feel the effects when leading these women on, I understand that I have compromised a few on my quest to perpetrate selfish desires. The most recent woman opened my eyes to the innocence I was taking full advantage of. She was fairly younger than me and naïve and I finally started to feel guilty about what I had been doing – so I stopped myself before things went too far; before I caused too much damage in yet another life that unsuspectingly crossed my poor-intentioned path.
Let’s explore my hypotheses of why I have been acting this way. I’m going through a lot of change right now which is ultimately out of my comfort zone. Almost instinctually, I want to grasp onto anything that temporarily gets me out of myself and with alcohol not being an option, women are the next best avenue. For the most part, I have kept the focus on my recovery and sidelined my need for female attention or validation. However, I have not totally been able to control it just yet. My marriage fell apart most likely due to my alcoholism and distant behavior. I pushed my wife away into the arms of another man, and even though it was presumably a result of not providing her with what she needed, it inevitably took its toll on me and my view of women altogether. I lack trust. I have major rejection and abandonment issues circulating in my head. I feel temporarily better when I am the one with the authority to dictate how things are going to play out; to have the power to reject or abandon somebody else, instead of being on the receiving end of such situations. The problem is, once again it’s just a temporary fix with no long-lasting implications. It’s not right for me to feel better about myself at the expense of someone else. It’s not the life I want for myself and it’s not the model I want to set for my children as they grow up. Identifying this new problem is the first step in righting the wrong; taking personal ownership and knowing that I will have to make amends to those I have hurt along the way – and, most importantly, not continue the trend.