Grief, Anger, And Dealing With Yet Another Tragic Loss From Overdose…

With drug addiction claiming yet another good friend from my life this past week, I have to admit, I’m angry. Having now lost over a dozen friends from my life to this disease and knowing there’s not a dam thing I can do about it beyond what I’m already doing, is precisely the reason why I’m so angry.

When I received a text about two weeks ago that one of my close friends from recovery had overdosed and was now on life support at the hospital, it was almost as if I was in a complete state of numbness to it. Of course, I did my best to muster as much faith as I could, and as much hope as I could, that he would come back. Yet, in the back of my mind, I knew the statistics and how none of those I’ve ever known who ended up on life support have ever come back.

As I sat in the hospital staring at the machines in silence while dozens of family members and loved ones did their best to keep it together with red-soaked eyes, I struggled to remain hopeful. Hopeful to a disease that seems to have become far more powerful than God these days. Ten days later, when I received a text message that my friend had passed, even after I had prayed every day for it not to happen this time, I didn’t exactly react. In fact, I think I just felt numb.

Drug addiction related deaths have become such a regular occurrence in my life now, that I don’t even get the chance to grieve one person’s passing from it before the next one hits my front door. Frankly, it sucks. For as much as I pray on a regular basis nowadays for God to help those struggling with addiction, especially drug addiction, it sometimes feels as if my prayers don’t matter.

I’m sure you can tell in my words that I’m grieving, and if anything, I guess I’m in that stage of grief that’s anger-based. Why shouldn’t I be? My friend was only 56 years old and other than the drug addiction that plagued his life over the past year or so, he was quite healthy. Yet all the healthiness in the world goes out the door once any recreational drug starts getting inserted into it.

You know what’s the hardest thing to watch when a person succumbs to drug addiction, or any other addiction for that matter? Their will to live. Having watched that with both of my parents and too many friends throughout my life, I truly wish there was more I could do to prevent it from happening.

I’ve sat in meeting after meeting sharing my own journey to recovery from addiction with countless people struggling from it listening. I’ve given my phone number out thousands of times to suffering individuals as well. I’ve truly done my best to insert hope into a hopeless situation, but rarely does any of my actions seem to make a difference these days.

I am thankful though for the rare times my experience, strength, and hope with addiction do seem to connect with someone, as there have been a few diamonds in the rough. And that’s what I know I must continue to focus on, even as the face of darkness continues to show its ugly head when it plucks another loved one from my life due to drug addiction.

Sadly, it’s those of us who are left behind when another soul dies from drug addiction that end up suffering the most. We have to learn how to live on with the pain of their loss and figure out how to let go of all the bitterness and anger we often feel towards the drugs themselves, towards those that introduced the drugs to our loved ones, and sometimes even to God for not preventing it from happening.

Unfortunately, there’s free will, which often seems to trump God’s will when it comes to drug addiction. And that’s why it’s so hard to keep the hope alive every time I deal with another loss from this disease.

So, as I continue to grieve and work through the pain of healing from yet another terrible loss from drug addiction, I plan to continue doing my best to keep spreading my experience, strength, and hope, all while remaining grateful for when my message of recovery does end up saving even one soul…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

The Basic Signs Of Sex And Love Addiction

I’m often asked what the signs of sex and love addiction are from people who don’t quite understand what the addiction is or are possibly facing it themselves. In light of that, the following is a quick list of the basic signs of sex and love addiction.

Signs of Sex Addiction

  • Desire to stop or limit a sexual behavior and cannot
  • Deny, rationalize, defend, or minimize sexual behavior
  • At odds with values
  • Sexualize others
  • Hide sexual behaviors/living a double life
  • Use sex to heal past trauma
  • Degrade or degraded by sexual behavior
  • Violate trust of others
  • Get sexually transmitted diseases and sexually transmitted infections
  • Use people for sexual gratification

Signs of Love Addiction

  • Abnormal preoccupation with love including in their entertainment.
  • Love is consuming and obsessive.
  • Obsessed with finding “the One.”
  • They lack true intimacy.
  • Short, highly intense relationships.
  • Craves initial rush, becomes restless & anxious over time.
  • Expects someone else to solve their problems, care for and/or “rescue” them.
  • Demand unconditional positive regard at all times.
  • May create conflict if their issue or expectation is unresolved.
  • Attracted to Love Avoidants (people who are emotionally unavailable) and abusers.

If you can relate to a good number of either of these, know there is help out there and you’re not alone. I’ve decided to also provide a link below to a list of 40 questions that can help you decide whether you have a problem or not with sex and love addiction. When I first did this survey almost eight years ago now, it was well before I openly admitted that I might be a sex and love addict. When I finally began working the 12 Steps for Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA) though, I was honest enough to let people know I had answered “Yes” to at least three quarters of those questions. Thankfully, these days, my answers to this questionnaire are far different due to me working the 12 Steps and maintaining my sober line for almost seven years now.

Here’s the link to the SLAA 40 questions -> https://slaafws.org/download/core-files/The_40_Questions_of_SLAA.pdf

And please remember, this is help out there and you’re not alone…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

The Addiction That Still Seems To Make Everyone Uncomfortable Talking About…

I’m a pretty open and forthcoming person about all my former addiction-laden life, both in my writing and with any public speaking opportunity. While I’ve found it to be quite freeing being that way, I’ve noticed there is one of my past addictions that still seems to make everyone uncomfortable anytime I talk about it. That being a sex and love addiction.

Like alcohol addiction, drug addiction, gambling addiction, overeating addiction, and plenty of other addictions, each were once often misunderstood by the general population. Take alcohol addiction for example. The general assumption long ago was that an alcoholic was someone who was homeless and always had a paper bag-enclosed bottle of some type of alcohol in hand. It was also thought more than not back then that a little more self-control was needed to curb the behavior of someone who drank too much. Nevertheless, it was something not talked about much early on and tended to make people uncomfortable when brought up. The same has been true of any other addiction that emerged into the populace over ensuing years. Yet, as more people have come forward and talked about their own battles with varying addictions, the more each addiction has become understood in society and led to greater acceptance.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case as of yet with sex and love addiction. Currently, the picture still being painted of a sex and love addict in most places in this world is of someone who is either a pedophile or a pervert in general that likes to do things such as exposing themselves in public, especially to children. Sadly, both are quite far from the real picture of the majority of sex and love addicts.

In my case, my former sex addiction consistently related to viewing pornography and engaging in cyber/phone sex acts, all of which were always connected to people my age or older, and usually far older than I at that. As for my former love addiction, which was far worse, I had the tendency to chase after various unobtainable individuals who I’d become infatuated with, always claiming they were my soul mate and then sacrificing my entire life to being around them. And no matter how much I ever tried to self-control either of my sex or love addiction behaviors, I could never seem to escape them.

Thankfully, there were those who came before me that had enough wherewithal to start to talk about this addiction and create programs like Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA), Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA), and Sexaholics Anonymous (SA). If it wasn’t for them, I’d probably have accepted much of the harsh labels and judgements still being placed on those who suffer from this addiction.

So, here are a few facts with sex and love addiction. Like all other addictions, sex and love addicts can’t miraculously find enough self-control to curb it. Sex addicts are not just pedophiles, perverts, or people who haven’t exerted enough self-control to deal with their sexual appetites. And love addicts are not just codependent individuals who have no sense of self-esteem. Rather, there are deeply-ingrained issues within each person who suffers from this addiction that have led to the addiction in the first place.

My sex addiction began as a way to deal with my feeling inadequate in this world, something that started way back in my childhood. My love addiction began in a similar way, because I never grew any sense of identity growing up and instead my life was always about pleasing my parents and then everyone else in turn.

The bottom line here is that sex and love addiction doesn’t need to make anyone uncomfortable. Most of the other prominent addictions don’t make people uncomfortable anymore because so many have come forward and talked about them publicly making each more understood. The same can be true for sex and love addiction. It’s just going to take more people coming forward and braving the masses to tell their story like I continue to do…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson