At times we are oblivious to how addictions can manifest.
When our minds are so stressed and exhausted and desperate for distraction we can unknowingly form addictions.
I have recently realised that in my attempts to run away from facing a lot of hurt I became addicted to love.
We commonly think of addicts as alcoholics, drug abusers, gamblers. We think of them as unstable and unable to function effectively in society. We can usually see their addictions in their demeanour, actions or the effects it has on their life.
I did that. Told myself that to be an addict you were out of control and that your vices were easy to spot.
My birth mother has had problems with drug addiction and alcohol use for a long time. She has Borderline Personality Disorder and is very emotionally, physically and mentally abusive.
So in order to ignore the pain and to convince myself I would not carry on the cycle of abuse, I believed that as long as I didn't have drugs in my life or binge drinking then I wouldn't become her.
I was disillusioned and unaware of the obsessions I had created to avoid processing the lifetime of scarring caused my mother.
I became addicted to wanting to be loved because underneath it all I felt completely and utterly unlovable.
I had been left as a 9 month old baby by my mother and spent the rest of my life yearning for love and affection. That desperation allowed me to be manipulated, used, abused.
I believed everything horrible that was said to me and mistrusted anything that was good.
I needed to be loved by another so much that I returned time and time again to those that were hurting me in the hopes that if I could just be different then the abuse would stop.
I allowed myself to be hurt by others to numb myself from my self-inflicted pain.
When I did find some stability and authentic affection I held onto my self-doubt so much that I spent years feeling unworthy. I felt that any moment they would realise I was a fraud - incapable of love - and that they would leave me. I opened up the most I have and at the time truly felt blissful but now I see I was using other distractions to avoid dealing with my hurt.
Since the age of 13 I have always been in some kind of a relationship. I have feared being alone.
Fear that leaves me breathless, heart thumping, mind racing.
I have put my self-worth in the hands of a man.
I told myself that as long as there was someone there telling me I am beautiful, loved, kind, a good person then everything would be fine.
The truth is that I didn't honestly believe those things about myself and in order to get by I used others words as a crutch.
I was addicted to avoiding my childhood and adult pain, addicted to seeking attention and affection.
Addicted to chasing love.
When the truth in all of it is that as long as I didn't love myself I was never truly going to accept it from another anyway.
So I embarked on a journey into loving myself.
Even writing that brings tears and cuts deep into my soul.
I believe that my realisations must now be occurring because I am finally strong enough to face them.
Sometimes when we start this path of healing we have to search deeper than just the surface.
We have to wade into the depths of our sorrow to find the causes. We have to not be distracted by all of the half-truths and stories we have created in our minds to attempt to keep us safe.
We have to accept that when we do truly discovery our underlying fears that they don't make us a broken person.
They just make us a person that is carrying burdens that are no longer needed.
They make us human.
They are there to remind us of our life so far and they teach us that we still have a heck of an amazing life to live now that we have recognised and acknowledged our story.