The Lonely Addict


The other day I came across this revolutionary article on addiction. The premise of the article is that the war on drugs has been largely ineffective, because we don’t understand what actually causes addiction. The author of this article has spent years travelling and researching this, and has come to the conclusion that, contrary to popular belief,  addiction is not caused by a drug hook that hijacks our brains and makes us need the substance. Addiction is caused by isolation.

This seemed rather touchy-feely and simplistic, and I was skeptical at first, but the more I read, the more I agreed that the evidence is compelling. I’m not going to recount it all here, as this isn’t a scientific blog, but it did make me think about my own life and my experience with sex addiction.

At this point, while I would say my libido is still strong, I would also say that it is healthy. I have zero desire to have meaningless sex with anyone. I have been recently contacted by a few different men I’ve hooked up with in the past 6 months, and I wasn’t even a little tempted to take them up on the offer of more shenanigans.

This is NOT because I am having so much sex that I am totally satisfied all the time. Between last week and this one, Papa Bear and I had three dates in a row where we didn’t sleep together. We just weren’t at home because we were out doing other things. In the past, that would have driven me crazy. I would have probably insisted on sex on each date, regardless of us having to get up early for work. But though I thought that sex would be nice, or that I was horny, it wasn’t the crazy, cloying need that I have known before.

I actually haven’t experienced that level of need in awhile.

The husband and I had sex the other night. He woke me up around 2 AM and we went at it for awhile. Usually, after sex that lasts a “normal” amount of time–it was maybe half an hour to 40 minutes–I am even hornier than before. I want more. It’s like something wakes up inside me and I am not satisfied until I have almost overdosed on orgasms. This time, I was totally satisfied and happy and in a disgustingly good mood all day.

Isolation as the cause of addiction is certainly an interesting theory.

  • Rats isolated in small cages, when given two water bottles–one laced with drugs–were more likely to demand more and more of the drug laced water.
  • Rats in large cages with other rats, toys, and the finest rat food, preferred regular water when given the same two bottles.
  • People who break a leg and are hospitalized are given the medical version of heroine for the pain–and yet most do not become addicted, or seek out more, because once released they go back to their lives and their families and friends.
  • When Portugal decriminalized all drug use, and put the incarceration money towards helping addicts build community instead, drug use dropped by 50%.

It isn’t about the drug–it’s why we use it in the first place that needs to be addressed.

I’m not going to say that Papa Bear’s love saved me–that it cured my addiction. Love is powerful, but it isn’t all about romance and feeling like someone adores you. It’s everything else that has helped–my own little poly community. The feeling that my nuclear family and I aren’t stranded alone out here. It’s the friends he’s helped me make. The support when I am down. Having a second home. The constant cheer-leading and good advice and unwavering faith that I receive from ALL of them–not just him.

I’m also not going to say I am no longer a sex addict. I really don’t know, and its too soon to tell. What I will say, is that at the moment, sex is a want, not a need. It’s something I crave when I need intimacy, or when my husband is looking delicious in the light pouring into the living room as he’s drinking his morning coffee. It’s the desire to pounce on Papa Bear when he smiles and his eyes twinkle and I just want to experience all of him because I love him so much. And yes, sometimes my cooch just needs a cock in it, but not RIGHT NOW, AT ALL COSTS.  It’s an itch that needs to be scratched, but it’s an itch that can wait.

6 Comments on “The Lonely Addict”

  1. I read this article as well and found it interesting. In my own experience, when my primary relationship is not going well, I crave the attention from elsewhere. Being married and lonely really fucking sucks so I dull the pain by having relationships/sex with other people. When my husband and I are doing well and everything is lovely, I am not so inclined to stray. The urge is there, but I manage to keep my panties on. So yeah…I have the brain of a rat.

  2. A_Female says:

    I read it too. It frustrated me, because having been a person in recovery and knowing people in recovery most of my life, this theory isn’t new. All you have to do is spend some time in rehabs and and 12-step rooms to hear what comes out of peoples mouths -it isn’t just “I couldn’t stop doing the drug”.
    It’s even a theory of economics that if you want to stop people from buying something or buy something else, you don’t just stop producing the thing, you stop the demand, or offer something of more value. To this day the “War on Drugs” concept is a blight on US domestic policy.

    What also frustrated me about that piece was the idea that detaching from an addict and cutting them off is a terrible idea and can only hurt the addict. The author suggests that this is a punitive measure intended to hurt the addict. In fact, people who have been enabling addicts for years and years have been suffering in a way that is almost immeasurable. If they can even summon up a minute’s courage to step back and say “I’m not going to live like this anymore. My addict is not recovering and I am sick”, then it is in their best interest and the best interest of everyone for them to step away from the addict and get help for themselves. Most people I know who have stepped away from addicts have done so with the intent to let the addict find their way, and then have offered to be there in 100% support when the addict is able to finally make a decision about stopping. Because ultimately it is up to the addict to decide they want help to stop. All the love in the world coming from the outside might never help an addict if the addict is that far gone.

    Still, too many are incarcerated and too much money has been spent with no net positive result. I hope more researchers delve into this and get hard numbers so that some real change in policy can be pursued.
    Thanks for sharing it.

    • Thank you for your insight. I’ve never heard this theory before, and I appreciate your take on it. Enabling is never good, and of course, loving an addict definitely causes a lot of pain. Self care is important, and if they simply cannot handle the relationship anymore, then of course walking away is necessary for their own sanity and well being. The person absolutely has to want to change and take measures to do so. It will be interesting to see how research comes back and what it says. I don’t think that incarceration is the answer. 12 step programs are only effective for 10% of participants, and rehab doesn’t have stellar results either. There has to be an answer. And of course, being “cured” is subjective–I don’t even want to think about how I’d react if I lost my current support system.

  3. plantpage says:

    Great post

  4. d says:

    One of your best blogs ever written

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