A Letter From the Recovering Love Addict

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I have never smoked a cigarette. I’ve only engaged in the occasional glass of wine, and rarely the drunken night. I have never known what it was like to be high on drugs, but oh, did I know what it was like to be high. I’d like to think that love was my drug of choice. While others kept a joint between their lips, I always tried to keep a man there. No shot of vodka, no sip of wine, would ever taste as good, nor be as satisfying, as the taste of a passionate, messy kiss. And though my body has never felt the rush of cocaine, or the daze of marijuana, I didn’t feel the need to find a higher high. The intoxicating buzz of being in love, always felt like just enough, the perfect addiction.

For the past two years of my life, my days have been centered around a man, and a relationship. I woke up—I texted him. I rearranged lunch plans, canceled meetings, turned in late assignments, for the very sake of spending more time with him. And no night was complete without a goodnight, and you guessed it, a thought of him. And I was perfectly happy doing so, after all, I was feeding my addiction.

Though I had spent my teen years in a rigid rebellion against all things high school dating, after falling in love my first year of college—I was hooked. The idea of dinner without holding hands over the table, sounded dreadful. Goodnight’s without I love you’s seemed unnatural. And kisses without commitment, were nothing I wanted to be a part of. So naturally, after my earth-shattering first heartbreak, I picked up the pieces, and jumped into headfirst into another beautiful love affair, an embarrassing few days later.

Spoiler alert: my addiction to love only got worse, after my second fix left me too. And much like my first heartbreak, I tried to fill his place, and feed my craving, as soon as physically possible.To my dismay this time around, I wasn’t getting the high I needed. And before I knew it, I was experiencing the withdrawals they talked about. I spent nights tossing and turning and staring at the place where he slept in my bed. I looked at old photos, and played songs that were a strange sort of torture. But with every day, I looked at one less photo, and played on less sad song, and called it my own personal rehab.

And through this process of watching obscure indie love films, and being a clichéd lover who had lost, I realized that conquering my addiction to love was no different than conquering an addiction to drugs—but everyone seemed to treat it differently, anyway. No one in their right mind would ever tell a heroine addict to turn to alcohol instead. Yet time and time again, I’ve heard the words “you can’t get over someone, until you get over someone new.”

In my case, using another man to satisfy my withdrawals only left me to deal with old cravings, whilst feeding my new addiction.  I knew that the only way I could “get over” this breakup, was not to get over someone new, but to quit cold turkey—no matter how much it hurt. Like any other addict, I was going to have to learn how to live life without the high I craved. And while I know that it will be far from an easy process, and much less satisfying than falling in love again, I am in desperate need of recovery.

So, while your first instinct post-breakup may be to reactivate your Tinder account, and spend your nights kissing strangers, might I suggest that all you loveaholics out there, instead, enjoy your own company. Because I can assure you, leaping into a new relationship for the sole purpose of forgetting your past is not a healthy foundation for love to grow. And while this is all much easier said than done, I know that my time apart from love will only lead to greater and healthier love down the road.

In fear of sounding like some ridiculous self-help book: love yourself, and realize that your identity does not depend on your relationship status. And understand that like anything, romantic love can be used for bad, as much as it is used for good—your addiction to love equally as dangerous as any other. Despite many people being under the impression that there is no such thing as "too much love." I am living proof that there just might be. Nothing: no person, nor no passion of yours should consume your life entirely.

 My name is Kiana, and I am a loveaholic (and you just might be too).