Three letters. Tiny word. Massive question. Why would you choose to drink when you know you can’t stop? When it is frightening and it hurts you and everyone around you? Why do something you know is ruining your life? What could possibly be so wonderful to you about drinking that you would choose it above anything at all? Never mind to the exclusion of everything else? How can anything feel like it’s worth this much? This is my why…
I loved you from the moment we met, it was sudden and total and all-consuming, when you were there? No one else in the room. No one else existed for me. When you weren’t there I missed you with a need so intense that all I could do was count down the hours until we could be together again. The only time my life made any sense at all was when I spent it with you.
Not true of course.
You who I burned for, with a longing so fierce it consumed me in its entirety, you who made the rest of the world disappear glass by glass. Who made the bad go away and put a beautiful filter on the world that accentuated the good. You who understood me, who never questioned me. How could words even begin to describe what we had? Nobody else could ever understand what we meant to each other. They just didn’t get it. They weren’t capable of loving this way.
We belonged together. It was just that simple. It didn’t matter what other people said about you. About how bad we were together, I just wanted you.
I didn’t want you. I thought I needed you to survive. Big Difference.
It took years for me to realise it was all one sided-that you never loved me. That I meant nothing to you. That I was just a vessel. That you weren’t the life raft I was clinging to-you were the current pulling me under.
Love can hurt. But it’s not supposed to damage.
I really thought I would die without you. It just felt so wrong I didn’t understand how anyone could, why they would want to? Who would choose a life without you after experiencing it alongside you? When we ended I never knew a loss like it. I really thought I would never love again-how could anything come close to the way you made me feel?
You made me feel nothing in retrospect. Numb. Empty.
I loved you so much. For a decade you were the only thing I could see. And now I never think about you at all. You took everything I had, everything I was. Stripped me away piece by piece- but I built myself back up. Put myself back together again. And yes, truly, I never think about you. And I know how to really love now. And this love is so different. This love gives back. To me, to everyone around me, it’s so real and pure and true. It makes you pale into insignificance.
Imagine if I’d known that, all the wasted years I spent trying to make you my love story of the century.
I see you now with other people-and I feel nothing. I barely notice you are there most of the time. I don’t even miss you- you who were my all. Bigger than my pride. my sense of self-preservation. You who fulfilled my every need and want. Everything I’d ever wished for- in you I found. And it’s gone. My longing, my desperation.
Turns out you weren’t the one for me after all. My love story with you was quite average in the end. Not so spectacular after all. Nothing special about us. Very mediocre compared to the love I am capable of experiencing these days, actually.
Turns out it’s only love if you can feel yourself being loved back.
The false premise of addiction is not something you can inject reason into from the outside. Or use rhetoric to navigate. There is nothing you can do to help someone who thinks they love something this much. It is down to them and them alone. Even though this love is based on lies-to the addict it still feels true. It is still the most real thing in their existence. And until the cracks start to show in this belief? They won’t want to change a thing.
And if you are walking around carrying the guilty burden of feeling you failed the alcoholic in your life? Failed to get through to them before they killed themselves with the object of their affection? Let me say it again; there is nothing you could have done, or said, or been. There is little consolation in knowing you had to share a mother or a wife or a daughter with a false love and need like this.
But please do not blame yourself because honestly? You didn’t stand a chance. You did everything you could. Nobody can do a thing more than that.
Put that burden down.
Take it off.
Let it go.
No more why’s.