Imaginary Boyfriends


When I say “they say” it’s safe to say that “they” are friends in the program. They say that my only job in the first year is to not drink. No one said anything, not a word, about having to be nice. So, I am going to squeeze as much mean as I can into the next 15 days. So, out come the bloody claws of the Slushkitty. Just kidding. Well, I’ll do my best to be nice anyway – progress not perfection, right?

Perhaps you think you know where my first stop on Mean Street will be? No! I am not going to be mean at all, nope. Not in the slightest. I’m not going to mention CM again, except as a reference for what to avoid. There – that is as mean as I will get… especially because, in the spirit of trying to be nice, I just had to scrap another 45 pages of Hell Hath No Fury blog material aimed at CM!!! (Shakes fist at sky).

Anyway, I am so confused by all of this love bullshit. I can’t get out of my own way – I feel like I am stuck in glue. I’m so discouraged, and I feel like I haven’t learned a thing about having healthy relationships. Not true, they say! They say I learned about what I need and what I want because I wasn’t getting it. Yeah, I guess. Whatever you say. Those red flags that I didn’t see with CM (sorry) that normal people, or even abnormal people with marginal self-esteem, do see, were, to me, ticker-tape in my One Woman Parade of Crazy, celebrating the fact that my heart isn’t cold and dead – it’s just retarded. But because of all this whining (when I raise my hand in meetings lately, people roll their eyes and get up and go to the bathroom or take a smoke break), I am getting remarkable amounts of tough love from everyone. I feel like it’s a badge of honor, this tough love. I’m almost at the one year line, and people have stopped pussyfooting around me, they call it like they see it now. They think I am fearless and bulletproof, a COOL KIDS badass who can bravely navigate through life’s hazards, scathed but stronger, tougher, hard as nails. It makes me want to jump up and down and clap, and hug everyone, and put a gold star on my forehead!

But yeah, I’m not going to talk about CM anymore for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which is that I am getting creepy(er). Also, because every second I spend making myself crazy trying to understand what I did wrong is a second I am closing my heart to someone who deserves and will appreciate this hot mess of love. And also because I fell in love with a heroin addict at a commitment on Tuesday night. …

Besides the abscess on the back of his elbow, he was SO CUTE! What a looker! A dreamboat really! We didn’t waste any time. We were outside during the break and talked under the canopy of what I understand to be a pretty swank detox. This was our conversation:

What he said: Do you have an extra cigarette?
What I said: Of course! Here you go.
What I thought: I’ve been waiting all my life to give you this “extra” cigarette, this one I wasn’t planning to smoke, because it belongs to you, just like my heart.

What he said: You’re really beautiful.
What I said: That is so nice of you! Thank you!
What I thought: I love you. We’ll beat this.

What he said: I can’t believe I am here.
What I said: Have you been sober before?
What I thought: You know our love is forbidden, right?

What he said: Yes, I had about 7 years, then I relapsed after my ex-girlfriend picked up again.
What I said: I’m sorry. That must have been terrible, really hard.
What I thought: So, you’re single?

I actually did not sign up for COOL KIDS to find a boyfriend. I actually signed up for COOL KIDS to get rid of a boyfriend, among other reasons. Over the course of this past year, I’ve had a lot of imaginary boyfriends. By this, I mean imaginary romances with real guys. Our love so complete and subtle, they often are unaware that these love affairs are happening, so I am always dramatically mourning some unrequited love. But lately, these relationships seem to be materializing in reality and spouting red flags which I am reeeeeeallllllly going to try to see from now on. I admit I like the attention – I mean, this is what happens when you’re sexy. Hmmm. I am probably not ready to date. I am probably really not ready to date when my imaginary conversation with my imaginary boyfriend goes something like this:

What he says: I love you.
What I say: You need help.
What I think: You need help.


6 responses

  1. Best yet! You are bullet-proof. Think of the living hells that you have survived. What, a fucking boy is going to destroy you? I think not Wonder Woman. Despite our delusion of control in determining ourselves as “ready” or not ready”, relationships present themselves when they are “ready”, not when we are. You did the right thing in getting into this PAST relationship. Because it happened. Good job slushcat.

  2. Hey Cara,

    I know I wrote this last time, but you’re a REALLY TALLENTED WRITER.
    You really capture what the inside of my alcoholic brain feels like.
    Which is reassuring just like meetings and AA friends…
    At least we’re not unique and alone.
    Plus getting together and talking about it (or reading your blog) restores me to
    sanity for another day.
    You hit on something I think most people in AA experience – the imaginary
    boyfriend/girlfriend phenomenon.
    Which is why after a few years of sobriety, I started to go to Hair Of The Dog, an
    all guy morning meeting.
    My brain is obsessive enough without imaginary girlfriends, plus people speak
    more honestly since no one’s trying to impress their IG.
    I know I had to learn everything I thought I knew when I got sober – casual
    conversation, friendship, relationships, boundries, self care… you get the idea.
    You’re WAY ahead of where I was after 1 year of sobriety.
    I see your blog first as really funny and true, and great self therapy, and a real
    Your writing makes me feel more connected and less alone, which is what I
    think AA is al about.


    Plus your blog is a great source for future band names – (One Woman) Parade
    Of Crazy, Mean St., Hot Mess Of Love…

    • Oh, Ed!!!
      Thank you so much! You made me tear up in the best possible way. Yes, learning everything – conversations, friendship, relationships, etc.. yes, indeed I get the idea. You were one of the first people to reach out to me and encourage me, and for that you were… my first boyfriend! Really! 🙂
      I miss seeing you but that sweet baby of yours is a pretty good excuse. My One Year is next Friday, the 13th. I’ll be speaking that day at the meeting formerly known as Appian Way, and the following Wednesday at Live and Let Live. I really really hope you can make it to one of them! Bring the whole family!
      Thanks again, Ed!
      ~ Cara
      P.S. LOVE “IG” – ha!

      • Hi Cara,
        You’re so cool!
        Funny, smart, creative, good hearted, and (like the IB in your last column
        said) BEAUTIFUL!
        Not to forget most excellent 60’s retro future taste (I’m a big fan of retro –
        everything I’ve ever designed looks like it’s out of the Jetsons).
        I know this word is cringe inducing, Cara, but you’re special…
        Both as a friend and an IG.

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