When I was 26 years old, I met a man I quickly fell in love with. He was intelligent and passionate and he held a master’s degree in Art History. He spoke French and he could cook and he would buy me red velvet cupcakes from Sweet Lady Jane’s on Melrose Avenue. He was dapper and charming and he fell in love with me just as quickly as I fell in love with him. Plus, he loved Sharon Olds – who happened to be my favorite poet and I made it a done deal.
by Lara Frazier, Clean Recovery Centers
I met this man at the same time in which I was prescribed Adderall. I didn’t think much of it. The Adderall was given to me by a doctor so it had to be safe. Plus, it made me feel better – energized, motivated, ambitious. I started to fall back in love with my life and I spent many nights and early mornings writing poetry and sipping chai tea. Life seemed heavenly.
At times, I would split my pills with my boyfriend. His roommate was prescribed Adderall so he used to take some of his. They helped him focus and they made us both feel happy, ecstatic, and important. His misuse of pills didn’t concern me. By this time in my life, I had tried a variety of pills and been prescribed them for all sorts of reasons – a car accident, a minor surgery, anxiety and insomnia. Whatever I felt – pain, sadness, depression – there was always a pill to reverse these feelings. Pills became the answer and love became an obsession.
Overtime, my boyfriend grew concerned with my pill use. He noticed I was hardly sleeping and that I would spend far too much time in the bathroom. I used to take my pills with me in the bath and read. I thought I was hiding this from him, but he knew. He asked me to stop. He said he had dated a woman who had been addicted before and he didn’t want to do it again. He threatened to break up with me if I didn’t stop. I promised him I would. And when I made this promise, I truly believed that I would. I didn’t want to lose him from my life. At this point, he had become just as big as an obsession as the pills. I thought of both constantly and couldn’t imagine my life without either.
As the story goes, I couldn’t stay stopped. My boyfriend cleverly moved back to Quebec to escape me. He could never break it off or say the words, but he thought that if he moved to another country, I would give in and be OK with our ending. It didn’t turn out that way. I followed him to Quebec and packed up my apartment in Los Angeles and I vowed that love was going to save me. From my addiction, and from myself.
When I moved to Quebec, things got worse – not better. To make the longest story short, we ended and I entered rehab for the first time that December. I was lonely and afraid and I had nothing but an addiction that kept me paralyzed, inconsistent, and in fear.
I completed the 28-day program and truly believed that my addiction was over. It wasn’t. I noticed that if I couldn’t get high from pills, I had to find another way to get high. I started using men in the same way I used pills. My drug addiction was intertwined with my love addiction. It was the worst pairing on earth.
I went to treatment 3 more times. I was asked to leave during my 2nd and 3rd stay in treatment because I got in a relationship with another client. Every time I left treatment, I left with a man by my side. It was toxic.
Two people who aren’t healthy and are hardly sober won’t be able to maintain their sobriety together. This was my experience. Whenever I was with a man I met in treatment, my addiction would get worse. I would use drugs I never used before because the man I was with would introduce me to them. I would refuse treatment and help because I didn’t want to leave my partner.
I wish that I had listened to the people who told me to leave the relationship, get help, and stay single, but I didn’t. I thought I could do things my own way. I refused to take the advice of those wiser than me. But when I did, I succeeded.
The best thing I ever did was stay out of a relationship for my first year of sobriety. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but it taught me how to stay with myself.
I have been in recovery for four years. I sought help for my love addiction and my substance-use disorder. I learned the meaning of codependency and I looked at my relationship pattern. I surrendered to the process and let go of what I thought I needed.
In my recovery, I have seen friends succumb to their drug addiction because of the relationships they are in. They make excuses for their partners and also for their relapses. Love addiction kept me from getting clean and sober. Unhealthy relationships do not allow space for a person to grow. I am so grateful that I learned how to stay with myself. The loneliness I felt in early sobriety has been replaced by a deep love for myself, and for my life.
Lara Frazier is a truth-teller, a sobriety warrior and a writer. She is a FIERCE believer in the power of owning our stories and is a strong advocate for addiction recovery. Lara shares a story of healing: in sobriety, through addiction, in life and love, and in all the other big huge moments of fear and magic that we rarely talk about, but we should. Find more of Lara’s work on her website at www.larafrazier.com or follow her on Instagram @sillylara.