Loving An Addict

You will find yourself saying things like, “They HAVE to be telling the truth this time. There’s no WAY someone could be sick enough to hurt me this much… to lie to me again… to hurt our family like that… to break my heart again… to absolutely destroy the spirit of someone they love.”

And every single time you will be shocked at the fact that they DID lie… that they did take from you… that they didn’t follow through with their promises. You won’t be able to believe that someone could do those things to you because you would never do them to someone else. Their actions are unfathomable to you. Of course they are.

You’re not an addict. 

You will watch the love of your life look you in the eyes with tears in their own, begging for forgiveness and promising that this time things will change… and you will believe them… because you believe in love and you believe that if you just show them what they’re worth, they’ll stop doing this to themselves.

You will be crushed every time you realize that nothing has changed. You will wonder how many times a human heart can possibly break before its owner just falls down dead. 

Their lies will intensify. Their games will too. They will become masters at making you believe things, and as often as you call them on their lies, you will also find yourself playing right along.

You will always know, on some level, what’s really happening, but you will join in their manipulations. You will become a liar too; except your lies and manipulations will come in the forms of denial and self-doubt. You will take that precious small voice inside your head and stomp on it until it becomes a whisper… and then you will crush it some more. 

You will both dedicate your lives to lying to you. The truth will become so muddy – so absolutely lost – that it will become a foreign, abstract concept that you can no longer even grasp. 

You will spend every second of your life trying to decipher the meaning behind the things they do and say. You will listen for slurred speech, watch for changes in their eyes, search the house for drugs, and wonder if they just popped a pimple or if they’ve started picking at their skin again like they do when they’re actively using.

You will hear yourself cry, scream, yell, and act in ways you didn’t even know you were capable of. You will feel as though you are floating above yourself, watching in horror as you throw things, punch walls, slam doors, scream “FUCK YOU,”  and behave like an absolute rage-fueled monster. You’ll be so ashamed of yourself that you’ll find yourself apologizing no matter what unspeakable things were done to you before the explosion. 

You will become obsessed with their addiction. You will write letters they aren’t well enough to receive. You will spend hours explaining to them why they’re hurting you, only to suffer through the same hurt over and over again. They won’t be able to change any of it. You will scream and cry and beg and push and pull and bend your soul into tightly twisted positions trying with all your might to make them better. But YOU will be the one doing all the work.

You will lose your soul.

They will see how hard you try; how much you desperately want them to get better. You will convince yourself that your love can change their path; that they love you enough to fix this once and for all. All the while they will see your love as nothing but an opportunity. Not because they’re bad people, but because they’re sick. They’re so, so very sick. 

But so are you.

Their sickness will no longer be the main problem. Yours will quickly take center stage. Putting a stop to your misery would be as easy as packing a bag and walking out the door, but you will become so invested in their recovery that your own peace and well-being will slip away into obscurity. They will manipulate you with talk of leaving you, of suicide, of dying from their withdrawals, and most of all: their promises. The promises are the worst part. They will play on your hope, your desires, and on your love for them… and you will fall for it every time.

They’re not even necessarily being malicious. Often times they will mean every word they say. They’re just too sick to follow through, despite their best intentions.

You will lie for them. At first you won’t even know you’re lying because you’re simply repeating the promises they made to you. After a while you’ll realize what it really is, but you’ll still tell yourself it’s the truth because the ACTUAL truth hurts too much to face.

After a while longer, the lies won’t even be to protect them, but instead to cover up your own embarrassment. You will feel weak, hopeless, and ashamed. The realization that you have allowed someone to use you, lie to you, put you into debt, and break your heart over and over again will be so shameful you will dare not speak it out loud. You will smile and tell the world that things are fine. Some days you’ll actually believe it.

But until you detach yourself from the nightmare, you will undoubtedly be in the most devastatingly unhealthy relationship of your entire life, and it will never ever be normal. And deep down that crushed, tiny voice will still be saying the same thing: “You’re lying to yourself. It’s not going to get better. Run. Please. You can’t save them. You have to save yourself. You’re not helping them. You’re just hurting yourself.”

One night you will be so hurt, so angry, and so broken by their latest betrayal that you’ll tell them you hate them. You’ll scream it at the top of your lungs while shaking with rage. They will cry and you will feel terrible… because you know you don’t hate them. You hate their addiction. You hate yourself. You hate that you live in a world where something like this exists. You hate people and places and even inanimate objects that don’t even deserve it because you’re just SO broken down that you’re losing your grip on love, hope, sanity, peace, and joy.

You will wake up every morning and tell yourself that THIS is the last time they break a promise to you. You’ll pump yourself up. You’ll practice every word. You’ll be SO ready to tell them off… but then you’ll go home and they will find a way to make you sacrifice your peace for them. Again. And you will let them. 

You’ll post pictures of yourselves on Facebook, trying so hard to appear happy. You’ll convince everyone but yourself that your life is normal… but you will have no memory of normal… no understanding of it at all.

You will cry. A lot. Even if you weren’t a crier before. You will cry. You will lose all respect for yourself. You’ll sink hopelessly into depression, but you’ll be completely oblivious to it because it has simply become your normal. You will begin to retreat far into yourself. You’ll find yourself sitting alone in the dark on a regular basis staring at your phone or just off into nothingness. You’ll hear yourself casually make normal conversation with someone who hurts you daily. You’ll resent them, love them, abhor them, and fear for them all in the same second. You will hate yourself for letting your life become what it is. 

You will build up the courage to tell them how they make you feel, and they will throw your feelings right back in your face. To the addict, nothing is worse than being sick. Their thought patterns have literally been changed and their brains have been rewired by the drug and the insanity of the disease. You will talk yourself blue in the face, but nothing will change. 

You know they’re sick, but you’ll always take it personally. Instead of understanding that they CAN’T care enough to change, you will start to believe they simply don’t care enough… because you don’t deserve it… because you aren’t worth it… because you aren’t good enough… because you don’t make them happy enough… because you didn’t try hard enough… because you aren’t perfect… and you’ll start to accept the horrible things that happen to you every day. Apathy will take over completely.

And even on those rare days when you see things for what they are, you will be too afraid to leave. They will have their grip on you so tightly – their hands so deep in your world – that you can’t just leave. They will threaten you with all the ways your life will be worse if you leave, and you will accept it. And again you will hate yourself. You will feel trapped… bullied… afraid… hopeless… weak… dead inside. Utterly dead. 

What you won’t realize is that you’re not speaking to the intense, strong-willed person you see in front of you. The person spewing those threats in your face is terrified, broken, and weak. You are their only means of continuing their addiction and – no matter how much they love you – they will say what they have to, to keep you around. If you walk out the door, so does their money, their transportation, the roof over their head – whatever it is you’re enabling them with – and, most importantly, their high. They will do and say anything they possibly can not to lose that. Your feelings, your relationships, your mental health, your heart… nothing will matter more than their ability to keep using. Nothing. 

You will have good days. You’ll start to notice that those good days line up with the days you give them money. Suddenly they’re kind and helpful around the house. Suddenly they’re positive and pleasant. But the bad days will become more and more unbearable and you will find yourself being thrust around on a rickety roller coaster with no seat belt. Every night when you go to bed, you will feel as if you just spent the day fighting for your life. And truthfully, you have.

You will no longer have a decent grip on reality. You’ll hear people talk about their loved ones and the arguments they have, and you will laugh under your breath, longing for arguments like theirs. You’ll wish you could argue about where to go have dinner or who’s turn it is to do the dishes. Most days you just wish you had enough money to eat… to not have to lie about why you can’t go out to lunch with friends or meet up for drinks after work.

You will start to fantasize about running away… even if the home you live in is in your name and you pay all the bills. You’ll truly consider leaving it all behind just to escape the misery.

You will fight with your loved ones. They will become obsessed with your situation too – out of love and fear for your well-being. You will fight with them. You will fight FOR the addict and then go home and fight WITH the addict. The addict will become all you think about; all you speak about… the only thing on your mind every moment you’re awake. 

You will sit helplessly as you watch your heart break, your hopes crumble, your finances shatter, your relationships wither, and your self-esteem abandon you completely.

You will die inside. You will love them. You will hate them. And eventually, you will realize you’ve lost them… but only after you’ve completely lost yourself. 

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