Love is an addiction, and I am not good with addiction. I’m writing this post so I do not send a text: it’s that simple. I sit here at my desk, legs crossed on my office chair like I know I really shouldn’t because it’s bad for my back, and I press the buttons on my keyboard that will keep my hands busy so I do not send a text to my ex saying ‘hey, how are you? I was wondering if you fancied hanging out?’ Earlier this evening, I pressed other buttons – on the microwave, to heat up my dinner, so that I wouldn’t send a text. Later, when it’s reasonable enough that an adult might call it a night, I will brush my teeth so I don’t sent that text, go for a pee so I don’t send that text, roll my mattress out onto the floor and take a sleeping pill and have a wank and put on a podcast so I do not send that text. I will do all this extremely mindfully. With the focus and dedication of a powerful woman who will – under absolutely no circumstances – send that fucking text. Love is an addiction, my friends, and I have no willpower.
Someone once told me that willpower is a muscle – you have to exercise it in order to keep it strong. Sadly, like so many of my other muscles, it is withered and limp and useless. I’ve spent so much of my life attempting to locate that willpower muscle. Trying to flex it and failing, before falling back on something that promised me easy oblivion to obscure the knowledge of my inadequacy.
Addiction, then. Let’s talk about that instead. Much more familiar territory. Warm, welcoming territory – hazy and cosy through curtains of smoke. Sharp and exciting like the tang of cocaine. Burning hot and fierce like vodka.
Love is an addiction.
Cravings and substitutes
As I sit here at my desk, pressing buttons to avoid sending that text, my addictions keep me company. There’s vodka in my glass and forest-fruits flavoured vape in this little black box beside me and – oh, you think the vape means no cigarettes? I so wish you were right, but sadly no: the vape is here to hold my hand until the clock tells me an hour has passed and I can go outside for the good stuff. The bad stuff. The stuff that smells like nineties pub ashtrays and teenage rebellion and kisses from men who won’t judge me.
Love is an addiction just like smoking, but see these words right here on the page? They stop me from sending that text as sure as the vape delays the next time I’ll go outside to spark up.
Beside me on the desk there’s a packet of sleeping pills, and melatonin gummies right beside them. Because for every bad addiction you need a slightly-less-harmful substance to lean on when you’re pretending to yourself that it’s OK. The methadone to your heroin. The vape to your cigarettes. The melatonin gummies to the diphenhydramine that one pharmacist has decided they are no longer willing to sell you (true story).
Love is an addiction and I want it want it want it
At some point I’ll remember this week and laugh at myself. One day, very soon, I’ll look back at the woman I was today and roll my eyes at her dramatics. I’ll edit this blog post and put it live because sometimes people tell me it’s good that I am ‘honest’, so it doesn’t feel right to hold back on publishing the ugly stuff sometimes. It feels important to ensure none of you are tricked into thinking I have poise or chill or – that word again! – willpower. So you can see what an absolute wreck I continue to be, even as I make jokes on Twitter and write porn and act like everything’s fine. I hope I’ll be disgusted by this post when it goes live because by then the cravings will have faded, and I’ll have forgotten what it was to be this aching, needy person – pressing buttons just to stop myself from sending that ill-advised text.
But for now, while I write it, I still am this person, so I’ll let you in on a secret. Come closer. I keep it back here in the cupboard along with the spare vodka and nicotine gum and prescription-strength co-codamol that I should really be saving for migraines. Lean in, open the door, have a look, here’s my secret:
I’ve composed that fucking text.
Over and over. Time and again.
Fancy a night?
I know this is inappropriate but… are you free this weekend?
Six weeks is longer than it sounds, isn’t it? Can I come over?
I tossed a coin, split the universe, universe told me ‘yes.’ You free?
And more and more and more. I’ve composed that text a thousand times, not just in my head but on my phone. Where I sometimes wonder if he glances at his in the same moment, and sees that telltale dot-dot-dot as I type, delete, type, delete. Rinse, repeat. Drink more vodka and smoke another fag and check the clock to see if it’s time yet to chew a couple of gummies and call it a night and celebrate the passage of another day in which I didn’t hit ‘send’.
Love is an addiction, and as I write this it’s been six weeks since I last saw him. Love is an addiction, and I wouldn’t be trying to kick something that wasn’t genuinely harmful for me but… I am so bad with addiction. I want to gulp him down like cheap vodka and Nytol. Inhale him like cigarettes. Snort him like cocaine.
How not to beat addiction
One little hit couldn’t hurt, exactly, could it? Just one little night where I place my worries on a shelf far out of reach and cycle up to see him. One teeny tiny fuckparty, just the two of us, during which he’ll grab my hips and shove his cock in so deep it’s like an injection and I’ll babble ‘thank you‘ over and over. A few hours of fucking and talking and dancing and pretending that life isn’t really there, and even if it is, it doesn’t matter. Like getting battered on cheap vodka to forget a bad day at work – swallowing one single night of sex that’s brutal enough to blot out the hard stuff that happens when I’m sober.
I’m still pressing buttons, and I haven’t sent that text.
It feels like trying to quit smoking – an exercise as vital as it is futile, at which I have failed every single time I’ve tried. But I still haven’t sent that text so now I wonder if the wasted, flabby muscle that might once have been my willpower is growing with each passing day. Perhaps every text I compose and do not send builds that muscle up – flexes it, makes it stronger. Maybe if I can make it through the next six months I can make that muscle strong enough that it’ll haul me through to the end of my smoking addiction. Wouldn’t that be a thing?
But love is a powerful addiction, and I’m not confident in my ability to quit. I sniff out news of him the way an ex-smoker will inhale when they see someone on telly taking a drag. Involuntarily breathing deeply, like they can suck the nicotine out of the screen. A friend makes a throwaway comment that she saw him last weekend, and I try to bite my lip and keep from asking more, but who am I kidding? I just want to pretend to my inner self that I tried my best. In reality I just ask her – immediately and instinctively and with absolutely no hesitation – “how is he?”
Nothing she can tell me will ever be close to enough. Because love is an addiction, and vaping is never the same.
I don’t want to know how he is as in ‘fine’, I want to know how he is as in ‘the feel of his dick inside me and his breath on my neck.’ The sound of his voice and his laugh. I want to hear his stories: not from headlines and gossip but direct from his own mouth. Then I want to kiss that mouth while I ride his dick and hear him tell me with aching delight that my cunt feels good so good so fucking good. I want him to stand behind me at the bathroom mirror and whisper fantasies about pumping spunk deep inside my ass while I whimper for him. I want to cycle through thunderstorms to his flat and have him tell me I look hot when I peel off my waterproofs and stand in the hallway dripping puddles of rain and sweat. I want to sit on his balcony at two in the morning and have him breathe hot weed smoke directly into my lungs, and touch my nipples with cold fingertips and tell me he loves me.
Love is an addiction. I want to down him like vodka, snort him like cocaine. Melt into oblivion on the back of him like two prescription-strength codeine gulped ten minutes before bedtime. But while I don’t know if it’s true that willpower is a muscle, I do know one thing about addiction: you cannot beat it by having a little bit more.
I wrote these words, and pressed these buttons, and the clock reads eleven pm now: a reasonable time for an adult woman to take two Nytol and call it a day.
And I may have drunk too much today, but I did not send that text.
Here’s some info and advice on addiction from the NHS if you’re struggling and you’d like support in dealing with it. I don’t think they help with the ‘love’ thing though.
By the time you read this it’ll have been 10 weeks, not 6, so if you’d like to respond I will happily accept ‘congrats!’ or any gif that involves a medal/trophy. No sympathy or advice though please – I don’t write these as a cry for help, I write them because blogging is my job and I want to commit to that job with as much honesty as I can. As with all the break-up diaries, this is just a snapshot, if you liked it/related to it/found it useful/enjoyed seeing me wring blood from the stone that is my soul for the purpose of harvesting retweets then – as ever – please share.