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addiction is an enigma

I have decided that I simply don’t understand addiction and I never will.  I do not understand the desire/need/urge to do something compulsively, day after day, year after year, for one’s entire life.

In my “regular” brain, addiction seems so foreign because who wants to eat cereal for breakfast every day, year after year? Sure you can vary between Cheerios and Cornflakes, but I can’t imagine the compulsive need to eat cereal everyday. Give me scrambled eggs! Give me pancakes! Who compulsively wants cereal everyday? I’m sure this is a totally flawed analogy thus proving I just don’t understand addiction.

More specifically, here’s what I don’t get:

1) I don’t understand the need to look at naked people, or to imagine people naked. I really don’t think there is anything that beautiful about a naked person. Now a woman with a crisp button down shirt, a cashmere sweater and colorful scarf, leather boots and a handbag? That’s beautiful! A man with a finely tailored Italian wool suit? Handsome! Everyone looks better with clothes. Everyone!

2) I don’t understand the fetish with breasts. A friend of mine caught her husband ogling another woman’s chest.  She would say to him, “You know they’re just milk producing mammary glands. Half the population has them.” Bingo! I mean I don’t have a fetish looking at a man’s butt or crotch. Or elbows. Or knee caps. (My friend is now divorced by the way.)

3) I don’t understand the need to masturbate. In fact, I had no idea porn and masturbation were linked together until a few months ago. Yea, I know, how did I not know that. Naive! I’m 40 years old for crying out loud! In my defense, nobody talks about it. (My hubby sure never mentioned it!)  I never heard it mentioned at church as a teen, I was never asked by a Bishop if I do it, I don’t talk about it with friends when we’re at the park pushing our kids on the swings. Why would anyone do that? I’ve heard all the jokes about it on sitcoms but they always refer to masturbation as something you do when you don’t have a significant other to be sexual with. Not that it is ever okay, but I never thought married men (or women if I am being fair) do such a thing. I told my husband when he finally started confessing his double life to me that I would rather chew glass than touch myself sexually. I can’t even give myself a foot rub or a shoulder rub–it just doesn’t work, I would be doing all the work, I wouldn’t enjoy it. I simply don’t get masturbation. I never have, I never will. I can’t even type about it anymore. Foreign!

I don’t think my failure to understand addictive behaviors affects my ability to be a supportive spouse. At least my husband hasn’t said so and we communicate about everything these days. I love his guts and even though I didn’t ask for this problem, I am sticking it out, helping him, as best as I know how, through this very enigmatic addiction.