To My Ex, the Addict

To my ex with the addiction,

I remember when you were kind. Romantic. Goofy. Charming. I wish you had stayed the same.

They say every month in a relationship peels back the layers of the mask we put up at the beginning, and three months in, your true skin was starting to show.

No one told me you were an addict because most of your friends, if not all of them, denied it just like you did until it was a while into our relationship. You ended up pulling the plug about four months in, and you know something? It wrecked me.

Like any ended relationship, you begin to realize just how much you wish to contribute to someone else’s life, and if it’s forcibly ended without your consent, then it turns into heartache.

My heart literally ached for you like it was being twisted inside for the days following our broken relationship. The first weekend we were broken up, I went through a pack of cigarettes and way too many drinks to count just to avoid processing it.

I wondered how you were doing without me giving you influential, inspiring words that you could “do it.” You could “get help.” That “you should speak to someone, not me,” because I was only your girlfriend, not your counselor or mom. You were growing paler and emaciated by the week, and I was the only one you chose to talk to.

Everyone thought I was hysterical when I said you needed help. They said, “Regan, let him be. He’s still keeping down a job just fine. We see him all the time. He’s fine. Nothing is wrong. You’re overthinking it.”

I’m just curious to know, though, were you fine?

Do you remember the day you told me you used and it was all getting out of hand—the drinking, the late nights, the pills, the anxiety? In the neighborhood near your house, you admitted to me that you were lying to me. That you were cancelling plans with me so you could use with friends who did the same. You told me you were miserable, depressed, and felt like you were stuck in your dead-end job. You wanted to do something with your life. Looking back, I think you chickened out on breaking up with me then. Or maybe you wanted me to do the ill deed…

One more thing: It’s ironic to me how Adderall is just a little orange pill, codeine is fuchsia pink and coke is just a pile of dust. And you let those take priority over me.

I’m not trying to say I should’ve been the obvious choice, but I’m just admitting that I know I couldn’t make you high like one of those—that my humanity couldn’t deliver the euphoria or ecstatic feeling those drugs did. And it hurt me. In fact, it still hurts me to learn the hard lesson at 25 that love does not conquer all. Not if the love, or obsession, is displaced.

Now I know four years later that your addiction—our breakup—was not about me. It was about you, and your disjointed priorities. It wasn’t only me that suffered. You were suffering, and that was beyond myself to fix or repair. It was your addiction.

Your addiction hid the truth, and soon made your friends despise me for worrying—a whole room chastised me for wanting you to get help. And soon, a few stopped talking to me altogether. One elbowed me one day at work. Another called me a “self-righteous bitch.” The rest later agreed with me once they knew what was really going on…

To my ex the addict, I want you to know I forgive you and wish you well.

Whoever you were before the addiction showed up—I hope the kind, charming, lovable goofball comes back one day for some other girl.

For now, I hope to never see you again.

Your ex-girlfriend

Like this post? View similar content here: Lessons of a Toxic Relationship

by Regan Cunningham

Regan Cunningham is an amateur writer, poet, and iPhone photographer. Her work can be found on various blogs and magazines, including "Windrose” and "Fixed Heart, Free Hand" blog. Follow her on Instagram @Reganc25 for watercolors, coffee, and cute animal posts.


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