There’s a saying in addiction recovery that “we’re only as sick as our secrets.” Even after completing drug addiction treatment, some people continue to keep long-held secrets and/or act out in unhealthy ways. Much to the dismay of concerned family and friends and despite their best attempts at healing, some men and women may find themselves relapsing repeatedly on drugs and alcohol, even though they’ve tried counseling, 12-Step programs and drug rehab.
Is the chronic relapser doomed to a life plagued by addiction? Was drug rehab a waste of time?
Chronic relapse has varied causes. For some, ongoing stressors such as family dysfunction and major life transitions can trigger a return to drug or alcohol abuse. Others may stop using drugs only to “transfer” their addiction to other substances or behaviors that stimulate the reward circuitry in the brain, such as gambling, spending, overeating or sex. In some cases, an unrecognized and untreated sex or love addiction may contribute to the relapse cycle.
This is the friend you worry about. You wonder how she doesn’t end up in the hospital or on the late-night news. She doesn’t seem the least bit afraid of hooking up with strangers, even those she just met online. When it comes to sex and intimate relationships she takes a typical male role. Much like the character Samantha in Sex in the City, Dora has all the sex she wants and that’s just how she likes it. No one gets too close; no one can really hurt Dora.
Into the high of meeting new men, Dora hooks up online, through social networks on her smart phone, and in local bars. Dora often meets men for the first time at their apartments, never considering this might be dangerous because it’s so exciting.
Lucy the Love Addict – you have likely encountered her: She is dying for love. Always on the hunt for Mr. Right, her eyes scan every crowd looking for him wherever she goes. Unable to tolerate dinner or a movie out alone, and unwilling to go places or attend events unless available men will be there, she stays home alone a lot … but searches online. When out, Lucy’s made up and ready for a date whether at the Laundromat or picking up a few things at the corner store. You never know, he could be there — the man who will make everything okay. The one who will finally make her feel whole.
For a love addict like Lucy, every place has the potential for her to meet her one true love. Obsessed with finding the guy who will make her life complete, Lucy’s needful drama and intensity tend to turn men off. Sadly her relationships rarely go beyond the first few days, yet she doesn’t understand why.