The Lovely Addict

Love, Netflix

love_ep107_masterAt the suggestion of my husband, who watches everything under the sun, I thought I’d check out the Netflix dark comedy Love. He kept insisting I watch this show because the main character, played by Gillian Jacobs, is supposed to be a love addict a sex addict and an alcoholic.

Well, for someone who doesn’t watch TV, let alone comedy series’ on her iPad, I spent the whole day binge-watching Love and got through the entire first season.

And while I liked the show–the characters are quirky and unmanageable but well developed and believable–there is still a long way to go before Hollywood can truly capture the love addict in all his or her chaotic glory without presenting a typical scripted character.

Yet, Gillian Jacobs does a pretty good job. I have to say, there were moments I cringed watching her fumble through some awkward moment, cross boundaries, have sex out of manipulation and not love, hurt her friends to feed her addiction and embarrass herself by stalking her main love interest.

Perhaps the most interesting reaction I had was to Paul Rust’s character–Paul Rust plays Gus, a goofy, “nice guy” who follows the rules but has an edgy side to him. I found myself unable to see him as a love interest for Mickey and was turned off by the idea of the two hooking up. In fact, it brought me back to a time and place where I would date a guy simply because he liked me, not vice versa. And no matter whether I found him attractive or not, I would have sex with him–almost as a “gift.” Within months, however, I would come to my senses and run away out of disgust and shame for dating someone I was so unattracted to. But as the show progressed Gus grew on me. There was a cuteness to him simply in how “nice” he was to Mickey.

I guess I could liken this love story to my own–though it’s quite different. I met D after I had a good deal of recovery behind me. And, I thought D was pretty damn hot. But, he wasn’t my type. That’s for sure. Whereas Gus and Mickey meet when she’s still in the clutches of her addiction. And let’s be honest, that’s where the show takes somewhat of an unrealistic turn. Water tends to seek its own level, and Gus is definitely the “healthier” of the two characters. Or is he? Being able to cross-date–a love addict with a healthy person– is extremely rare. This is where Season 1 leaves you. At the end of the beginning where they decide to be a couple. Well, it worked for D and I. Let’s see what happens with these two.

Gentle warning: while I didn’t find this show overly romantic or triggering,  you need to judge for yourself.  My advice to a newly recovering addict is to stay away from all TV and film until you have a little time behind your belt. If you’re in a good place, this show will have its intended effect–to make you laugh. If you’re in a bad place, sex, love and lifestyle could leave you longing for a fantasy life.

50 Shades of Love Addiction…

http://magazine.good.is/slideshows/abuse-is-not-romanceI hope you don’t go see this movie. There, I said it. And I know I’m probably too late. You’ve already read the book (as did I). But here’s the thing: IF you do see the movie, I would like you to be very aware that this is a film about a narcissist and a love addict. And the reason it’s so darn popular–even among the healthy crowd– is because, while many of us may have a fantasy about being devoured by a hot, wealthy narcissist, who, in the end, falls madly in love with us and finally becomes normal, we recognize that it is NOT REAL, or for that matter, SAFE.

And I am certainly all for the *fun* aspect of this film. All for the parody. All for the lighthearted play that it elicits. Heck, the book has already proven to be quite an aphrodisiac for many women who were on the brink of sexual starvation. But I am only for all these things so long as the person (woman) reading or watching or participating in this phenomena is healthy minded and can easily see the difference between safe and sorry.

GOOD Magazine has a fabulous slideshow depicting “movie posters” for 50 Shades, but they’ve added abusive lines from the book to really drive home the idea that “abuse is not romance.” I couldn’t agree more. Moreover, they are promoting a campaign called, 50 Dollars Not 50 Shades, where you donate $50 to battered women’s clinics and opt OUT of seeing the film.

In the end it’s up to you whether you view it or not. Love addicts need to be especially careful not to get sucked into the emotional bondage being offered, and the FALSE promise of love. This movie is not about love. It’s about control. And as we all know, control’s a cheap imitation for a real, meaningful, respectful relationship, and, what poor, misguided Anastasia could have had instead, if she held out for someone less self-absorbed.  Anyway, have fun with it if you can; and, if you can’t, watch any of these non-romantic movies instead.

Warriors unite

Since my visit to the ER a few weeks ago, I have kind of (kind of) snapped back. I signed up for a few online anxiety and panic attack coping strategies sessions, read all about the six human needs, found a buddhist therapist who is teaching me mindfulness, got back into cycling every other day–ah exercise— and got my portion of the insurance bill for the ER visit. If anything makes you feel instantly healthy, it’s an insurance bill.

I also started reading Carry On, Warrior, the New York Times bestseller written by the woman who writes the Momastery blog. This book came to me by way of a mother’s day gift (along with a card) from my husband’s ex wife. She has never given me anything before, with the exception of a portable round cake carrier that I felt was one of those things every mother needs, but something I never actually wanted to pay for. I still have it, and every time I break it out, I think of her.

When I got the book and card, I really quickly wrote a thank you card back.  I was deeply touched by the gesture, and so I wrote: “I am so deeply touched by the gesture.” And then I wrote, without having read one page of the book, “This book looks hilarious.” Or something to that effect.

In retrospect, I should have read the book first, and then commented on it. Because, much to my shock, while the book does have its moments of hilarity, the essence of it is not hilarious at all. In fact, it is written by a recovering alcoholic and bulimic who got pregnant then married, then wanted a divorce, etc.  and through it all, has written about her “messy” life in the hopes of inspiring other women to not be afraid to admit to an imperfect life.

The first couple days I read it, I wondered if D’s ex thought I was a recovering alcoholic.

The second few days I wondered if she thought I thought my life was miserable. Then I wondered if she wanted me to know that her life is miserable.

And when I got to the chapter “Easter” where the author writes about her intimacy issues with her husband, I was thoroughly confused. Was she sharing with me her past with D? Did she still miss him? Or did she think we were having intimacy issues right about now, at the five-year-mark and she thought I needed to read all about it.

Of course, I’m over-thinking this. Her gesture was probably not as deep as I am making it out to be. It was an act of kindness and I need to take it as such.

But, I can’t help but wonder if she knows about this blog, if she reads it, or if she even cares. Chances are that she doesn’t. But if she does…

Here’s a direct message:

You’re a lifesaver. I have been going out of mind dealing with my teenage son with whom I caught smoking twice, and learned that he’s been getting drunk with friends as well. My position at work was phased out, and while I still have the luxury of receiving a paycheck, I have no “career,” and that kills me. Finding a new life for myself is scary as hell. ANd I don’t want to do it. On top of that, I feel physically run down. Thankfully, the one thing that is going right in my life is D. And while he can get on my nerves from time to time, and I can surely get on his (chapter: Easter), I feel as though I’ve found the promised land with him. He’s not the problem. I am. But this book has given me courage, and I thank you for “pouring the first glass of wine” and reaching out of your comfort zone to give it to me. Not only did you offer me a gift I can really use, you exposed yourself and let me in. That says a lot about your character.  And I thank you again.

The Lovely Addict on Huffington Post LIVE

Hey Folks,

I will be on HuffPost LIVE  this Friday, October 19, at 6 pm PST with Pernille, the director of Love Addict, to talk about, what else, love addiction. I am a little NERVOUS. Thousands will be watching. My goal is to try to steer the producer of the segment to talk about the SOLUTION rather than to sensationalize the actual addiction.

Oooh, juicy love addiction.  Stalking, crimes of passion, crazy obsessed women chasing after some hapless chap.

Please.

One of the biggest impediments to getting healthier is this kind of mentality. American culture places down and dirty behavior on a pedestal, if only for the sake of perverse enjoyment, of being entertained by it. Think  Hoarders, Intervention, Snapped, Cold Case Files. Think any American movie. Think the nightly news. Think, dare I say it, The Huffington Post.

Confessional blogs, in fact, tend to get far more readership than recovery blogs.  And it’s much more mainstream to talk about disease, as opposed to treatment.

It’s no wonder the American propensity for labeling people with disease and disorder is so pervasive. And why we can take “slightly abnormal,” put a label on it, and have it suddenly be something that needs treatment, a drug, therapy.

The percentage of men and women love addicts who participate in more extreme behaviors like physical stalking, crimes of passion, attempted suicide is very low. What’s far more pervasive is the woman who remains in an abusive relationship because she can’t bear to leave. She’s addicted to the repeat pattern of drama, pain, suffering, and the highs and lows of love.  Or the woman who doesn’t recognizing neglect, verbal abuse or physical abuse as a reason to leave. Or the woman who thinks (foolishly) that love is a reason to stay, no matter what kind of unhealthy behavior is occurring. Or, the woman who becomes obsessed with fantasy in her own mind over the love she believes she feels for someone who doesn’t pay her any attention, or who just keeps her hanging on for sex, or doesn’t actually exist.

That obsession, of course, can bring a person to do irrational, inappropriate things, based on their personal value system. But more than committing actual crimes, most addicts tend to simply expend all their valuable time and resources focusing on their obsession to the point of not living their lives to the fullest. They check a person’s Facebook page repeatedly, call or text too much to check up on their “person of addiction,” scream, cry, throw a tantrum, feign pregnancy, date married or unavailable people, sink deeper into depression, dive deeper into fantasy, have an affair, try to fix a broken partner, threaten to leave, and so on.

Hopefully, you get my point. We’re not all Fatal Attraction woman chasing after our object of desire with a butcher’s knife.

I do implore any new readers of The Lovely Addict to read as many pages on my blog as you can. It’s not timely. Go back through older posts. Most entries are advice on how to become healthier. The most popular posts can be found on the right side bar under “Top Rated.” Start there. If you have any questions, feel free to post a comment or email me at thelovelyaddict@gmail.com

Love Addict Documentary- available in USA

Many of you have waited for the availability of the Love Addict documentary. Well, it’s here! Almost. D and I will be in NYC on September 29 and 30th for the screening of Love Addict. It’s being presented among hundreds of other documentaries in the “Reel Recovery Film Festival” on 34W. 13th St., New York, NY 10011 and runs from September 28 – October 4, 2012. The entire film festival is dedicated to films about addiction, which, in and of itself seems a bit murky. And yet, the harsh reality of addiction is countered by the Hope of recovery. This same film festival is also coming to Vancouver, Los Angeles and Ft. Lauderdale. For more information go to Writers in Treatment dot org.

World premier of Love Addict, documentary

UPDATE: The program times and screenings are now available online here or below. Please note that the first entry on the schedule is theater, second is date, third is time.

Munt 10 Mon 21-11 19:45 tickets
Munt 11 Tue 22-11 12:45 tickets
Munt 12 Wed 23-11 14:00
Tuschinski 5 Fri 25-11 16:30 tickets
Brakke Grond Rode Zaal Sun 27-11 12:15 tickets

NEWSWIRE: Danish documentarist  Pernille Rose Grønkjær‘s Love Addict documentary was selected for the International Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam (IDFA), one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world for documentaries. The festival, which will be held from November 16 to November 27, will feature over 250 of this year’s hottest documentaries. The festival is open to anyone and guest passes and tickets can be purchased here. The IDFA site also has hotel recommendations in the area for visitors. There will be at least two screenings of Love Addict, both of which will be followed by a Q&A sessions, not only for the producer and director, but the stars of the film, as well. Eliza, Christian and Tracy, three individuals whose stories all unfold in Love Addict, will be in Amsterdam from November 21 to November 23.

Love Addict is a film that follows the lives of several individuals who are addicted to their relationships. For more information, please read a review here.

Naked, live, exposed…

This past week, I decided to do the unthinkable– come out from hiding and expose myself. No streaking, or anything like that. But I did start a Facebook page for the Lovely Addict and plaster my face all over the place. In reality, it’s not like I haven’t exposed my face before. I’ve posted the up and coming documentary here several times and it’s about to be shown at film festivals any week now,  so what’s the difference? I’m not sure.

For one, the documentary clip is tucked away nicely in old threads, so I don’t have look at my own face every time I log in to write something. I can pretend it doesn’t exist. But when you go and hang a sign outside your shop with your face on it, there’s really no escaping the fact that you exist. In that sense, I feel a little naked on Facebook, and it was a pretty nerve-wracking step for me. But two things: in a matter of months, if anything happens with this film, I’ll be “outted” whether I like it or not. And, some of my favorite bloggers (baggagereclaim and confession of a love addict ny) are baring all. If they can do it, so can I.

The trouble is, I walk a fine line. By coming out, I risk embarrassing myself, my friends and my family. I am now more open to criticism and my biggest fear is that people will laugh at me. Ugg. REJECTION! It’s already happen with, dare I say it, my own brothers. I love them dearly but they are very conventional, simple-minded guys, who laugh at others for sport. Then again, they used to laugh at me because I flew off to live in Europe and then both of them ending up either dating or marrying an International girl and flying off to Spain or Ireland themselves.

Anyway…

The bigger joy (and goal) here is that I love to write and that I really am on a mission to inspire worth and value in every woman (or man) who has ever remained in a crappy relationship long past the point of dignity. I also read something somewhere that I never forgot: “Write about what makes others uncomfortable, including yourself, and you stand to make a change.” Love addiction definitely makes me feel uncomfortable. And I know it makes others uncomfortable too.

So…let’s hear it for a little discomfort! And by all means, come visit me and “like” my Facebook page and be uncomfortable with me 🙂

Dream, dream, dream…

Last night I had all kinds of crazy sex dreams about my ex. It was one of those nights, too, where the dreaming didn’t stop. When I woke up this morning, next to D, I felt a pang of guilt. DId I emotionally cheat on him? Does my subconscious mind wish to go back to G? Am I have feelings for G again??? These thoughts didn’t sit well with me.

Back in the day, after I broke up with G, I dreamt of him incessantly. I believed in my dreams, I lived by them, and I truly thought they were messages from God that foretold a hidden truth. It was wishful, little girl thinking, of course, but I was so heavily influenced by my dreams that I sought out my ex the next day so as to recreate the dream–only to regret it in the end. In reality, the dream never played out. In reality, G was the same avoidant, distant person I was trying to get away from.

So, why did I have the dream and what was its message? I needed an interpretation. In the past, I turned to dream analysis books. But today, I turn to my logical brain for a more realistic answer.

While many dreams denote wishful thinking–or what Sigmund Freud called “repressed longing” –most dreams are your brain’s elaborate and somewhat jumbled response to the previous day’s events. Allan Hobson and Robert McCarley (two scientists obviously not as glamorous or as big as Freud) concluded, rather plainly, that dreams are “random electrical brain impulses that pull imagery from traces of experience stored in the memory.” A rather bland theory, but one that makes sense. In my case, I worked side by side with a few grungy musicians on a work project yesterday, and my brain was, even then, making conscious parallels between these guys and G, who was also a musician. Last night, I came home, happy to be with D and so we, ahem, had great sex. My sleeping brain must have combined the memory of these two events into one.

Dream interpretation will most likely always be up for debate. We can believe our dreams foretell repressed longing, invisible truths or plain ‘ol chemical impulses trying to make sense of the previous day. My point? If you’re trying to move on from a bad, unhealthy relationship, it’s probably safest to believe that your dreams have no hidden meaning. That they are simply memories rearranging themselves in your subconscious mind based on your conscious mind’s experience of the day prior. Are you longing for love? Do you miss your ex? Most likely. But you’re subconscious dream-mind will catch up to your conscious will to move, and you will stop having dreams of your ex. Though, not completely.

Just like last night, G does pop up in my dreams from time to time. How can he not? I had a relationship with him for several years. But no matter what the dream, I know in my heart of hearts that I love D and that my dreams of exs or even “strangers” don’t mean much. In reality, it’s laughable to think that I would ever give D up to go back to a life with an avoidant who didn’t love me the way D loves me now. It’s laughable to think that a dream could inspire me to give up the real and true strength I have built within myself. So……enjoy your dreams, question them, accept them for what they are: not part of a healthy, realistic recovery plan!

Film Review: “Love Addict, Stories of dreams, obsession and longing”

In January,  Pernille Rose Grønkjær called me up and invited me to New York City. I had taken part in a documentary on love addiction two years ago with G, my “person of addiction” and it was finally finished. Grønkjær, the director, wanted me to come up and be one of the first to see it. I was thrilled, but scared as hell that exposing my “story” would be a loss of personal dignity. If there was one thing I wanted to avoid it was being presented as a “junkie” or some reality TV nightmare– hard lighting, stark camera angles, disproportionate, ugly presentation, compromising bodily or facial expressions- face down in the gutter type stuff. That wasn’t me.

So when I sat up in her tiny hotel room (in a chair at the foot of the bed) at the Paramount on Times Square, her laptop in front of me and the earbuds on, I have to admit, I squirmed in my seat with anticipation. What was her vision for this film? Would she do justice to defining a personality disorder that could be as simple as dating men to avoid individual responsibility or as complex and pathological as fatal attraction? Or would she try to make the documentary as hideous and bizarre as possible for the sake of ratings and reviews, only capturing the extreme end of the subject? If you haven’t noticed, American TV does that—makes mountains out of molehills, turns a rather benign, quirky topic into an outlandish, extraordinary tale of bizarre proportions to the point where whatever is being presented looks bleak and disturbing. I was hoping to avoid that too.

Of course, in my segment, all I really do is sit on a bench with G, Princeton University behind us, and describe what it was like (ahem, note the past tense) to stay in a relationship where I was underappreciated and putting up with less than ideal treatment from a guy who did, in fact, love me. Is that really “love addiction” or just being a sucker? I’m still not sure. And yet, there I was, at the beginning of the documentary—my face plastered on the big screen, discussing love and addiction. Dignity seemingly intact.

Or was it?

The six other character, whose lives were being lived concurrently with the filming of the documentary, seemed as though they’d sacrificed their dignity (it’s so easy to recognize faults in others; nearly impossible to recognize it in yourself). Christian, for example, is a long-haired musician, living with his mother, dating a woman online whom he only met twice, and who ends up breaking up with him over the phone. Tracy is an overweight, tattooed mother of 38 who’s in a relationship with a 23-year-old, unemployed guy. At one point she finds out she’s pregnant and despite her boyfriend’s obvious horror and rejection, she says she hopes to keep the baby anyway. Adelaide is a rather attractive, well-spoken, petite actress from New York, a torchbearer, who had refused to let go of the man she’d fallen in love with and had previously been suicidal. And Jennifer, the most haunting of them all, is a morbidly obese love and sex addict who, when lonely enough, goes into town and offers herself up to any man (or group of men) who will have her for the night.

This brought me to question whether or not I really could maintain my dignity if I am presented with such a raw, exposed line-up of folks who just can’t seem to get their acts together. I mean, let’s face it, I am exposing the same desperation, the same vulnerability, and the same despicable weakness. I am, after all, one of them. Am I not?

As the documentary progresses—80 minutes worth of up close, personal stories unfolding, each one seemingly more tragic than the last, Grønkjær sits on the bed half working, half watching my reactions. When Tracy says, “I know this guy’s not good for me, and that’s why I break up with him time after time, but I can only do it for a little while before I have to go back,” my eyes well up. It brings back painful memories, the embarrassment of who I used to be. At another part of the documentary I’m mortified at Christian’s denial. He really thinks this woman loves him and yet, it’s so obvious she doesn’t. Again, another reminder of my own past transgressions. But it’s when Jennifer, sitting on a faded, worn sofa in a dark, empty room says that her love addiction “is an attempt to fill the void we all have inside us,” that I lose it. The dignity I thought I’d be able to hold onto goes out the window. The reality is, there’s nothing dignified about this story.

The documentary, aptly named Love Addict – Stories of dreams, obsession and longing,  presents an idea—love addiction—for debate and discussion. But it walks too fine a line between depicting actual addiction and poor management of one’s own life. What we call addiction, does not appear to be the case in the lives of these individuals. Instead, you have my segment, which comes in the beginning, and which “describes” what love addiction is—almost psychoanalytically. I describe the pain and loneliness of waiting for G’s call, of putting up with his drug use, of having no sex or even touching for over a year and of not being able to end the relationship despite obvious signs that it was over. It’s a story of frustrated love most people can identify with–at least to a point.

And then you have the others’ segments, which “show” each individual’s mis-management of his or her life. People who attempt to hold on to love, but go about it in a very dysfunctional way. On the one hand you have characters that are deeply aware of their behavior and on the other you have characters who are clueless. There is some disparity, and yet there’s not. Realistically, whether I like to admit it or not, we’re all the same. We are all trapped in addictive behaviors, unable to get out.

What I initially thought the documentary failed to do is present a more black and white, cookie cutter version of the addiction. And yet, I think that’s crux of the problem—defining love addiction is a near impossibility. There is no one black and white manifestation of the dysfunction and thus, why so many terms exist to define it: love addict, romance addict, ambivalent love addict, torchbearer, avoidant, and so on.

Unlike drug addiction or alcohol addiction, love addiction is not black and white. An alcoholic is addicted to alcohol and so he drinks and cannot stop. A drug addict is addicted to drugs and so he shoots heroin or pops a pill and cannot stop. Well, a love addicted is addicted to love, but there’s a myriad of ways this manifests itself. The addiction is uniquely personal like a fingerprint; it is an amalgam of distorted behavioral traits that comes out in the realm of a person’s dating life and/or relationships. It’s vague, mercurial and evolving. Susan Peabody writes in her book, Addiction to Love:

Love addiction comes in many forms. Some love addicts carry a torch for unavailable people. Some love addicts obsess when they fall in love. Some love addicts get addicted to the euphoric effects of romance. Others cannot let go of a toxic relationship even if they are unhappy, depressed, lonely, neglected or in danger. Some love addicts are codependent and others are narcissistic. Some love addicts use sex to manage feelings; others are sexually anorexic. What we all have in common is that we are powerless over our distorted thoughts, feelings and behavior when it comes to love, fantasies and relationships.” – Susan Peabody, Addiction to Love

Like any addiction, love addiction is nearly impossible to control. You may recognize you’ve got a problem, you may even be so self-aware as to psychoanalyze yourself. But you keep repeating unhealthy patterns of behavior without the ability to control them. I’m not so sure the American public gets this, when it concerns love, or anything else addictive. I often hear, “if something’s ruining your life, then just stop doing it.” Then again, this is the country that has bought millions of copies of “He’s Just Not That Into You,” ominously indicitive of a possibly greater probem of love addiction in a younger generation. And yet, it’s difficult for most to understand why someone who “gets it” and recognizes the problem cannot change their behavior. I’m not so sure the documentary makes this point clear. But what the documentary does do is offer a glimpse of a rather undignified way of existing. For love addicts out there who can relate to this, that just might be the catalyst that helps incite a desire to change,  and to recognize that it’s not OK to stay with someone if they no longer love you, if they beat you, neglect you, avoid you or hurt you.

What the documentary fails to do is present the less glamorous, more mundane side of the issue: recovery. Recovery rates for addictive behaviors, like alcoholism, are disappointingly low (according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, only one-third (35.9 percent) of U.S. adults with alcohol dependence that began more than one year ago are now in full recovery). In that sense, recovery is a rare bird, an anomaly and therefore, you’d think, worthy of a documentary in and of itself. And yet, recovery is, for lack of a better term, boring. It’s making peace with daily life, living without drama, sticking to values and believing in your own self-worth. It’s dignified. And who wants to pay money to see that on the big screen when instead, you can watch some poor sucker licking Jack Daniels off the kitchen floor? And yet, it may be more important to tell one side of the story (addiction) so as to inspire the other (recovery).

Who can tell? At the moment, the film is creative, aesthetic, and intense, with a fairy-tale-like, evanescence threaded throughout. At certain points, there’s a little girl in a delicate white dress who walks through an enchanted forest looking for her “Prince.” A young boy meanders through the rooms of an old house, looking for his “Princess.” The fairytale scenes are a reminder that we all grew up believing that one day we would find our Prince Charming or Princess. In that sense, are love addicts that much different from anyone else when it comes to wanting true love? But the main gist of the documentary is our tales of perverse,  twisted reality– what we think we have versus what we actually have. And yet, the characters are likeable. I found myself rooting for them, feeling sorry for them, relating to them, and cringing at their shameless confessions. I even wanted to give a gentle pat on the back to the old me, the girl up on the screen I used to know long ago, and tell her, “You’ll be OK. You just have to believe in yourself.” I should never have had my doubts that Grønkjær would fail to create an alluring work. The fact that she’s from Denmark is proof. European filmmakers can shoot someone sitting on the toilet and make it look like pure art.

And honestly, that’s what Grønkjær did. Sort of. She may have removed some of my dignity (or did I do that?), and forced me to recognize the ugly side of my addiction through the lives of all of us. But it’s worth it if she has the ability to collectively present us to an audience willing to listen. And whether said audience will judge us as love addicts or a bunch of fools who can’t management our lives, so be it. Recovery– because that’s the only solution to any addiction– teaches us this: that dignity is achieved despite a sense of failure. It is the one constant that leads us out of the trenches and keeps us from ever going back.

Virgin Mobile ad

This ad has been around for a few months now, and I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about it. On the one hand, it’s hugely insensitive and irresponsible. I mean, they wouldn’t dare put an alcoholic or drug addict in a commercial, have them stumble around, drive drunk, crash their car, but still be able to use their iPhone. Would they? No. Culture, for the most part, now dictates that it’s negligent to design ads that use diseased behavior as a comedic marketing tool.  So why create the same kind of humor out of love addiction— something that has ruined the lives of many men and women, whether they stand on the giving or receiving end the situation.

Even films like Fatal Attraction drew unnecessary drama and Hollywood “horror” to a real life issue that made it almost impossible for anyone who truly suffered from love addiction to overcome the stigma created by that film and get help, or be taken seriously.

On the other hand, let’s face it, it’s a funny commercial. Have any of us ever been so obsessed that we’ve sat up in a tree to stalk some clueless PoA on a first date? Probably not. And even if some of us can admit to doing even wackier stuff than that, oh well. Maybe we can look back and laugh. If we lose the ability to laugh at ourselves we lose our strongest defense against the pain of reality.

What’s not funny is what another member on the LAA forums posted regarding the fact that there’s a whole new generation of young people being raised with these phone. Not only that, but these phones make it increasingly easy to lurk, stalk and prey on other people because of access of information. With the ease of these phones, love addiction will become the norm. Worse yet, I recall a couple years ago having a conversation with someone about all the instruments of technology she had to avoid just to maintain NC: her house phone, her cell phone, her work e-mail address, her home email address,  the texting feature, online instant chats, Facebook, MySpace, and so on. This list doesn’t even include local hang outs that she had to avoid, and spots close to work.  These were all ways in which she connected to her PoA and what she ultimately had to avoid after the break up.

I guess there’s an immediate lesson here: try to limit communication with someone new through one venue only. Give him or her an isolated email address, separate from your home or work email address. And likewise, try to avoid getting his contact info too. When D and I first started dating I didn’t know his phone number nor ask for it for a good two months.  Save communication to one location: if you met on Facebook, keep it there. If you met out through friends, offer your cell phone number, but not your landline. Once you share all your information with someone it’s really hard to get it back– And by all means, LIMIT contact and personal information to only those people you know well. Either that, or you might have someone sitting in a tree stalking YOU.

There’s the opposite side of the spectrum too!