Anorexia - Sexual, Social & Emotional
In Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, we may suffer from addiction to sex, love, relationship, fantasy, romance, and/or codependency. And there is still another addiction some of us suffer from: anorexia. As an eating disorder, anorexia is defined as the compulsive avoidance of food. In the area of sex, love and relationships, anorexia has a similar definition: the compulsive avoidance of giving or receiving social, sexual, or emotional nourishment.
Some Varieties of Anorexia
Some of us may not have had sex or been in a close personal relationship in years. Or we may be in partnerships, but find it difficult to be emotionally close. Or we may be the members in S.L.A.A. who seldom speak in meetings, disappearing the instant the meeting is over. We may be those who, outside meetings, are barely social. Or we may be the kind who do not have intimate friendships. We may have many acquaintances, but no one we’re really close to. Or we may have close relations with only certain people, such as our children, but keep our distance from anyone else. There are many other varieties of anorectics as well. But whichever kind we are, in some important way, all of us have distanced ourselves from experiencing love.
As anorectics or as people with anorectic tendencies, we may have a wide range of feelings and responses. Some of us feel overwhelmed in social settings. Others of us get high by socializing with a great many people in order to keep ourselves from intimacy with any one person. Some of us feel incapacitated by shyness in relationships with others. Others of us are in relationship but are passionate only in one area of it; for instance, we may be emotionally invested in the relationship but remain sexually or socially unavailable. Or the opposite: we may be sexually invested, but emotionally detached.
Just as our feelings have a wide range, so do our behavior patterns. For some of us, anorexia might take on the form of an overwhelming dread of making phone calls. Some of us function well in particular situations, such as the workplace where intimacy is not usually valued, but find we are distant with family and friends. Others of us have used alcohol or drugs to become emotionally withdrawn. Or we used them to become sexually, emotionally, or socially daring, while essentially remaining out of contact with others in any meaningful way. In this way, we have used other addictions to act out "anorexically".
Are You Anorexic?
Ten of the fifty questions from the Anorexia pamphlet are provided here to help you decide if you might identify as anorexic. Ask your literature representative for the entire pamphlet.
Do you go for long period without being involved in a sexual or romantic relationship?
Do you go without social activities for extended periods of time?
Although in a relationship, have you found that, for a long while, you have not experienced: romance? sexuality? intimacy? friendship?
Are you alone more than you want to be, but feel unable to change that?
At work do you have trouble developing relationships, talk only when absolutely necessary, or hide out in the work?
Do you avoid relationships with a certain gender?
Do you stay aloof when in groups?
Are you afraid of being noticed?
Does being in the presence of others exhaust you, even if you like them?
Do you habitually panic or push people away when they start getting too close?
Hope and Recovery
You are not alone. There are many who respond as you do and who feel as you do. Or who once felt that way. We have begun to do the work of recovery and change in Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous. We endeavor to stop a pattern of sex and love anorexia and we work the Twelve Steps of S.L.A.A. We have found, no matter how different or alone we feel, that reaching out to others – to give help and to ask for it – helps us to recover from our anorexia.
Some S.L.A.A. meetings have a specific focus on anorexia. If there isn’t an anorectic meeting near you, you may want to start one. For more information about recovering from social, sexual, and emotional anorexia, including anorexia-focused meetings and literature, contact the The Augustine Fellowship, S.L.A.A., Fellowship-Wide Services Office: www.slaafws.org.