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Opinion | former TCW issue

My Double Life as a Secret Addict

I was afraid of being found out, but then grace found me.
My Double Life as a Secret Addict

I’ve always wanted to be liked.

No, that’s not exactly true.

I’ve always wanted to be your favorite. Everyone’s favorite. All the time.

I could quickly read people and become the friend they were looking for, editing my likes and dislikes in accordance with their opinions. I could be funny, serious, the star, second fiddle, whatever the situation called for. I preferred being the person you wanted me to be rather than risk being myself. Why? Because I knew if you discovered the depth of my addictions, you’d be revolted. You’d recoil. You’d leave.

I had a wonderful husband, beautiful home, successful career, and new car. My carefully crafted image had to be upheld, precarious though it was. I hid my shameful secrets for years, until the pain of living with addiction became worse than the fear of others finding out about my addiction. There, in that tiny crack of grace, I somehow found enough courage to ask for help.

These People Are Losers

When I went to my first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, I drove around the block three times and then parked out of sight. Still, 11 years later, I can’t believe I actually walked through the door. I had a crippling addiction to drugs, alcohol, sex, pornography, shopping, and prescriptions, and I could not believe that anyone—anyone—had ever done the despicable things I had done.

To cope, I looked for all of the ways I was different from the people sitting in the group, counting them off in ...

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