What is love addiction? What does it have to do with drug and alcohol addiction? In my experience, quite a bit.
Love addiction might come in more extreme forms than what I am talking about here, but in my direct experience, love addiction occurs when two people are in a relationship because they are codependent. In most cases, at least one of the people will dread the thought of being single, even for a short period of time (such as a month or two), and possibly both people will dread being single. In addition, one or both people will have substance abuse issues, and suffer from some level of chemical addiction to either drugs or alcohol.
Now are these hard and fast rules? Of course not. There are plenty of people who are very codependent who do not use drugs or alcohol, nor do they have partners who do so in some rare cases. Self destruction comes in a million of different forms. Chemical addiction is just one such outlet. There are many other avenues.
So this is just based on my own experience and what I tend to see in the world. I work with recovering drug addicts and alcoholics, so of course my perception is tainted; filtered heavily by my associations. I work with recovering addicts every day. Most of them are in detox.
Is it love or is it addiction?
Anyone who has fallen in love in a brand new relationship, especially in early recovery, knows that it is easy to be blinded by love. It really sweeps you away. The problem is that the “newness” of the relationship is like a drug all unto itself.
If there is one thing that I have watched over and over again in recovery, it is the tendency for people to get into relationships too early and end up relapsing because of it. Love and addiction are a dangerous combination.
Every single recovering addict thinks they are immune to this. None of them are. Not one person.
I lived in long term treatment and watched several dozen guys relapse during their time there. Almost every single time, it was because of a relationship. And every single guy thought he could handle it. Who would really want to think otherwise?
Relationships are extremely dangerous in early recovery. Especially new ones.
If you are facing love addiction
If you know that you have a tendency to get caught up in codependency and mix love and addiction together, then you are at least starting on the path of recovery because you are aware of the problem. Most people who are facing love addiction never realize that there is anything wrong at all.
The best thing to do at this point is to get to an Al-Anon meeting and start learning about codependency and how it works. There are several books out there such as “Codependent no More” that can give you quite a bit of insight as to how love addiction works. Go the library and get this book and read it and you will be well on your way to recovery.
Better yet, get to an Al-Anon meeting and share your story with the people there. Listen to their stories and let them help you with their experience and advice. Most or all of them will be aware of their own codependency issues and have learned how to deal with them in some fashion.
So if you have determined that you have an addiction to love, you should start by admitting this to yourself and vow to take immediate action. If you just wish happy thoughts and try to change your behavior this is probably not going to make any huge changes in your life. But if you take some of the suggestions here and get out there and ask for help then you will be able to make some real changes. Your life can be a lot better and your relationships can be a lot healthier if you are willing to put forth an effort.