I Don’t Hate You

I don’t hate you. I’m not going to lie; a lot of the people who love me do… but I don’t.

I have felt so many emotions since I first found out about your addiction… pain, remorse, regret, fear, terror, sadness, hopelessness, helplessness, brokenness, resentment, anger, and full-blown rage… but never, ever hate. 

I have tried to educate myself as best I can about your illness. I have read about the way the brain is literally rewired and the survival hierarchy changes. I understand that you genuinely feel like you are dying and fighting for your survival. 

I understand that you still feel love, guilt, and pain, even when you are doing horrible things to the ones you love. 

I can only imagine what that must do to you. I understand that the cycle of addiction makes you feel miserable, hopeless, afraid, and alone. 

Before you, I thought that drug addicts were just selfish people who wanted to have a good time at the expense of others. How wrong I was. How wrong so many people are.

I would not wish your pain on my worst enemy. I wouldn’t wish it on the most vile, terrible person I know.

I watch you scream, cry, bleed, fade in and out of reality, do things you hate yourself for, and suffer on a daily basis. No one deserves to feel the way you do. Addiction doesn’t just “cloud the mind.” It is an absolute mindfuck. I can see the torture you feel 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is unrelenting. 

You are battling yourself. You don’t just lie to me and to the other people who want to see you well. You lie to yourself. You hurt yourself. You berate yourself. You hinder yourself. You convince yourself that you are okay… that this is the last time… that everything will be fine once you just do this one last thing… and then you wake up in the morning physically sicker than you can stand to be and emotionally crushed at the reality in which you live…

…and you live in that tortuous cycle day in and day out. 

The amount of sadness I feel for you is indescribable. 

No matter how many times you tell me that I am heartless… that I don’t love you… that you are going to die and it’s my fault… that I am literally killing you… 

…no matter how many times you have lied to me, stolen from me, pawned my things, and shattered my belongings in a fit of panic and rage… 

…no matter how many times you have broken my heart… hurt me so deeply I felt as though I would stop breathing from the pain… no matter how absolutely insanely terrible things have been… I have never hated you. 

It’s interesting that we are both, now, running purely on survival instincts. You are compelled by your physical need to continue your addiction… your physical and mental belief that you will die if you have to stop… that you won’t make it through the withdrawals… that anyone standing in your way is an enemy who must be moved. 

I, on the other hand, am compelled by the need to save myself… to save you… to save our family. I know, with a clear and sober mind, that you will die if I don’t stop enabling you. I know that I will lose my home, my car, and, most devastatingly, myself if I do not walk away from your addiction. I have to survive. I have to save myself. I have to. 

And this, for me, is the hardest part of loving an addict. All of the things that a person should do when someone else is hurting or in need – all of the things that are in my nature to do – are absolutely detrimental to our survival. Hearing you call me cold, heartless, hateful, horrible… it is one of the worst feelings I can imagine. My love for you is so deep… so passionate… so raw and so real… 

…but day after day I have to argue with you and deny you something your brain is telling you that you literally need in order to live. It is the cruelest type of torture… for you and for me. 

So please – please – understand… I do not hate you. I cannot hate you. 

It is because I love you that I have to make these choices that feel so cold to you. 

All I can do is hope that one day you will find yourself in a place where you are well enough to understand. Until then, I have to live with whatever you throw at me… rage, guilt, threats… and probably even hate.

But I will never hate you. 

I just have to run as far as I can from you.

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3 thoughts on “I Don’t Hate You

  1. I have learned the hard way what someone addicted to opioids feels like. And, I will disagree on one point you stated about addicts being diseased. Believe me, they are normal, born just fine. It’s also true that drugs rewire our brains. Therefore, I see addiction to opioids as poisoning and the after affects. Keep on loving your addict because that IS what they need. My son died from drug addiction, but he journaled what he was feeling and doing so that he could keep track and try to figure out what to do to save himself. Maybe your addict would benefit from reading my son’s journals . They really opened my eyes and have opened up a lot of conversations between addicts and their loved ones. God Bless you both, Jane.

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    1. As for addiction being a disease, I know there is a big argument there between people who believe it is and people who believe it isn’t. I do know that most of the addicts I know suffered from depression, anxiety, ADHD, or other mental/emotional issues before they began using, but I recognize that it can affect anyone. I recently learned that the nephew of someone I know was on the streets using… he had just graduated at the top of his class from an ivy league school. Disease or not, addiction is a horrific, terrible thing.

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