it’s hard to describe the pain and confusion you feel when your loved one willingly chooses to break their battle with sobriety. i am new to the idea of “recovery” and “sobriety” and “being in the rooms” but i fell in love with someone who fights everyday. i didn’t understand it – i admit that. i didn’t get the psychology behind being an addict or the difficulty associated with being an addict, but as i grew closer and closer to my addict, i began to understand more and more.
i say “my addict” not because i enjoy associating my loved one with being an addict, but because from the beginning, it was hard to even think of my loved one as someone who faced addiction. i have to call him “my addict” to remind myself that he is an addict in the first place. i have to call him “my addict” to remind myself that even on the good days, he is still fighting. sweet, charming, loving, caring, family-oriented, and so so unbelievably handsome. how does this person deal with this debilitative disease? the addiction is always hidden there. deep down at times, and closer to the surface at other points. always lingering, waiting to take over my beautiful boyfriend.
i thought i was falling in love with my dream boy, but i was also falling in love with my addict. hand in hand. the person i love, who i picture as my husband and partner for the rest of my life, who i have asked the universe to give me since i was 13, who i never want to stop staring at…he’s also an addict. the person i want to build a home with, the person i want to create children with, the person i want to see every morning when i wake up…he’s also an addict. my “if i wrote down a list of all the things i want in a guy, he would be it” dream guy…he’s also an addict.
i knew from day 1 that he was an addict. walked into our relationship full well knowing he was an addict. he was in recovery, choosing sobriety, but the threat of being an addict was still there. it will always be there. i knew that. i know that. what i didn’t know was what i had in store – the lying, the manipulation, the sneaking around, the narcissism. i was unprepared. but was i really? because why would he have been brought into my life if i was not strong enough to deal with the lying, the manipulation, the sneaking around, the narcissism? was he brought to me to be shown love and support and care? maybe things he has never truly been shown before from a partner? am i capable of showing him how amazing and special he truly is? am i the one that is supposed to show him that his life is worth living? i don’t know the answer to these questions. they could keep me up every night if i let them. instead i try to just face every day with open eyes, an open heart and hope.
he didn’t choose this life – he didn’t choose his addiction. just like i didn’t choose to be depressed and my great grandpa didn’t choose to be diagnosed with cancer. my beautiful boyfriend didn’t choose his addiction. in a way, i think his addiction chose him.
but that doesn’t make it any easier. and it doesn’t make it right.
and i have learned that being with an addict is hard.
it is so fucking hard.
it is so much harder than i ever expected. and as my therapist reminds me…i don’t have to do it if i don’t want to do it. so why do i stay? why do i wake up every morning and choose to be with my addict?
because my addict is a great person.
i see his greatness when he strums his guitar and makes what i call his “guitar face”. i see his greatness when he gets lost in thought staring at the sky or the trees or the flowers or the rain. i see his greatness when he plays with our dog. i see his greatness when he speaks of his dreams and his passions and his hopes. i see his greatness when he holds, kisses and rocks his sweet baby niece. i see his greatness when he cares for me and is concerned for me. i see his greatness when he laughs his deep, genuine laugh, even when it is over something so dumb. i see his greatness when he is naturally kind to every one around him. i see his greatness when he speaks with my family – my brother and my father specifically.
i see his greatness when he tells me that he loves me. and i believe him when he says it, too. not because i’m a fool, but because i see his greatness when he looks at me. he looks at me like no one ever has. he looks at me the way i have always imagined a person would. and that’s when i know that he deserves a great life, just like every other great person i know. unfortunately it’s just a little harder for him. because he’s not just a great person, he’s also an addict.
addicts are not bad people, but addicts do bad things. it’s scary. it scares me to think of the bad things that addicts do. most addicts also have experienced bad things that have happened to them that make them believe they only deserve the life of addiction. i wish i could change all the bad things that have happened to my addict that make him think he needs to be an addict. i wish i could convince him that the past is the past and does not define his future. but i can’t change the past. and i can’t take away this disease. i can only help better the future. i can only help ease the future. so that’s what i do. everyday when i wake up and choose to stay with my addict, i choose to make his future better and easier. that is my goal as his partner. does he always see it? no. does he hate me at times? yes. does he get mad at me? a lot. but that’s the addiction talking. it’s the addiction telling him to run away from all good things because he doesn’t deserve happiness or healthiness. it’s the addiction convincing him he is a shitty person who has done shitty things. but i don’t think he’s a shitty person. i think he does shitty things when he lets his addiction over power him. i think he does shitty things when he forgets how hard he has worked to be sober and fight addiction. i think he does shitty things when he lets his addiction win. but i don’t think he’s a shitty person. he has done shitty things but he is not a shitty person.
i wish every day he could see that his life is beautiful. that he is beautiful. that he is worthy. that he is worth it. but some days he lets his addiction get the best of him. my addict only beats his addiction on the days when he wakes up and chooses to beat his addiction. to be stronger than his addiction. to be courageous against his addiction. the days when he wakes up and chooses to prioritize something else over his addiction, are the days when his addiction wins. those are the days when his addiction bests him. those are the days when i don’t know him anymore. those are the days when i lose sight of my beautiful, funny, caring, loving, charismatic, outgoing, charming and handsome boy. i hold myself tight on these days and hope that he will find a way through and make his way back to me. i sit and pray that tomorrow will be better, that tomorrow he will wake up and choose to beat his addiction again.
i could be making a huge mistake by sticking by him. i could be causing myself to get hurt. to be lied to. to be manipulated. to be snuck around. i know that i could be allowing myself to be in pain. but when he is sober, when he is himself, when he is that beautiful, funny, caring, loving, charismatic, outgoing, charming and handsome self…he is why i stay. when he is not my addict, that is why i stay.
they say that the amount of time you have been together means nothing when you meet your person. i am living that reality. Jonathan and i have only been together a short time compared to how long i have spent looking for him but the reality is that i feel certain he is my human. ask my closest friends and all my family members. they will tell you, they will vouch for me. i knew from the second i met eyes with him, on that rainy and dreary Sunday night, that he was my person.
our relationship is difficult, but i trust that he was brought into my life for a reason. i found him and he found me for a reason.
today, Jonathan celebrates a year sober from his true drugs of choice. i have only spent a small part of that year with him but i still feel an immense amount of pride and happiness for him. everyday i think about how challenging his life is – even the smallest things can be so much harder for him because of the way his brain functions and what he craves. he doesn’t often realize how special and worthy he is, but i hope that one day he is able to see himself the way that i see him.
he has this beautiful way with people, of being able to connect and relate to anyone he speaks to. he is so musically talented and uses his talent to express himself. he is so genuine. i don’t feel like you can use that word to describe many people, but from the day i met him, i described him as genuine. he has the biggest heart and the truest intentions – that goes a long way with us because i come from a lot of hurt and pain in my past. he does as well. we are both broken people who have experienced painful things. but together, i believe we are able to be whole again. together, i hope i can make him feel whole again.
i wrote parts of this post a few weeks ago during a very hard time when i didn’t see a way out. i am so thankful today that we found our way thru that time. i am completely aware that more hard times are most likely on our horizon. but i am trusting the universe to lead us in the direction we are meant to follow.
in the beginning i was hesitant and did not know how to tell people that my boyfriend was an addict. it wasn’t that i was embarrassed of it, it was that i didn’t know how people would react. there is a stigma surrounding addicts and i completely admit that i believed and assumed the absolute worst about addicts. until i met Jonathan and learned that addicts are great people too. they are not always what movies and books portray them as – liars, cheaters, stealers, killers, beaters, grimy, dirty, scumbags. they CAN be. certainly. but that’s not how ALL of them are. they are people who are dealing with a monstrous disease – some of them find a way thru, some of them never do.
i now have absolutely no problem talking about Jonathan and his addiction. i actually enjoy informing others, as well as researching and learning myself. i now tell others about Jonathan and his addiction with pride. because Jonathan is so young and so capable, has the whole world ahead of him, and found a way thru his addiction. yes, it has only been a year. a strenuous, character-building, challenging 365 days. but i trust that it gets easier with time and eventually every day will be easier and easier for him. yes, it has only been a year. but he has a lifetime to go. a beautiful lifetime to go.
there are thousands that dream of getting sober – wish they could get sober – but never do. there are thousands that die from never being able to get sober. Jonathan is not one of them, and because of that, i am so proud of him. every day, i am so proud of him.