I was reading about addiction, and I stumbled on a TED-X talk by Glennon Doyle Melton, a writer with a blog, and the author of Carry On, Warrior, a book that seems mostly culled from her blog. I was intrigued at least thrice over: first, most intensely, because – well, there’s something about her. She’s not exactly (or really, at all) my type, but I find her insanely sexy. There’s something in her physical bearing, the way she carries and wears her vulnerability, that resonates intensely for me. I watched the first ten minutes or so of her presentation transfixed: I was as curious about the intensity of my attraction to her as I was attracted to her. Maybe more curious. There was something almost inevitable, impossible, about how appealing I found her. (I ordered her book and downloaded it to my phone before the TED talk even finished.)
Second, she is in some structural ways quite similar to me: she is a mother of three, a recovering alcoholic, a former bulimic, who found redemption through some combination of family and writing. And who doesn’t like to see someone with whom they can identify, from whom they can draw inspiration. (Plus, she got a book out of her blog – something I’ve often fantasized about, but never done a single thing to bring about.) She has had a troubled marriage: she’s quiet about it, but it seems likely that her husband had an addiction problem – maybe one similar to mine.
And third, there is the fact of her redemption tale, which is so very different from mine. She found redemption in sobriety, and in God. Her God is much like mine would be if I had one. He loves everyone, doesn’t mind cursing, and isn’t too concerned with rules or judgment.
I may have some things to say about her tale of redemption and her writing at another point. I just finished the book, to which I had strong reactions, both positive and negative.
For now, though, I’m just focusing on my physical reaction to her.
In 12-step programs, there is often joked to be a “13th step” – the step that involves bedding another program participant. In the sex fellowships – at least the predominantly straight ones – this is (in my experience) actually pretty rare, as they often sort themselves by sex, so straight male members don’t encounter all that many straight female members. I don’t know if gay SCA members hook up more regularly. I suspect they do. And I imagine that at SLAA, which attracts a much more gender-mixed crowd, I suppose it must happen. But in the various other fellowships, it’s just not likely: there aren’t many women who show up at the ostensibly co-ed meetings, judging (appropriately) that it would likely be really triggering and difficult for them.
But I’ve heard tell of the powerful magnetism that many addicts have for one another. Though I’ve never felt it, there was something odd, powerful, surprising, in the strength of my reaction to this woman (whom I was watching on a small screen in a public space). I think this was the first time I’ve consciously experienced that powerful draw of addict to addict.
Postscript: Having read the book, and followed her blog a bit, I’m less drawn to her. Not because it’s bad, or anything like that. I think I just find her bubbliness a bit… unseemly. The Ted talk was much more about vulnerability and weakness and hardship, which I find sexy. The book and the blog kinda overflow with a triumphal optimism that ultimately sent me running.
That said? She’s still hot.