It’s been almost 2 years and 4 months since we were together last, 841 days exactly. It was so hard in the beginning, your comfort no longer holding me tight. I was lost without you. I thought of you constantly. I woke up and thought about you. Went to bed thinking of you. I cried when people mentioned how happy they were around you. I did everything I could to forget. I had to try new things, go to new places, find different friends. But even still, letting go of this relationship after almost 22 years seemed unbearable. They say time really does heal all wounds and as time goes on, I truly do feel stronger.
Have I thought of you? Yes, quite often in fact. Your presence is everywhere, so you make it difficult, almost impossible, to escape you. In the time we have been apart you have tried new tactics to re-engage me. You make yourself look more appealing by having different pick-up lines and being at even more social events. No one invited you to the kid’s baseball games but you still show up. I can finally see past all your tricks. Plus, you never loved me to begin with and that was one of the harder things to accept. You were always there through the good and the bad but the more present you were the less present I became. You initially showed me how it was to escape. You provided a high I had to continually chase; it was a freedom I had never felt before, but it became prison I nearly died in.
And still, you never truly loved me as much as I believed I had loved you. We have already been through so much and no matter how much I gave it was never enough. You always wanted more. More of my time, more of my money and more of my soul. I kept pouring more of you into me, yet you managed to suck me dry. At one point you made me consider it was me…. that I was the problem. I thought that if I could just try harder to moderate our time together that you would love me the way you once did. But you never loved me.
I was chasing the promise you told me when we first met. Do you remember what you said? You told me you would make me feel alive and happy, you would help me to forget the things that happened in the past. That I could rely on you because you gave me a comfort no one else could provide.
But now here I stood in front of you as a shell of what I once was. You kept telling me to try harder, that I was the problem. Sad part is I started to believe it. I would make myself sick trying to figure out ways to keep you in my life. The lies I told myself, the lies I told others to justify why we were still together. I trusted that since you made everyone else happy, I was somehow broken. Watching each person in content when they hung out with you, while I felt empty and alone when we did, really made me angry. I was dying inside. I knew it was over, but I couldn’t imagine my life without you. We went everywhere together. We had so much fun, until we didn’t.
I started to notice how strategic you were in separating me from those who knew me best. You became possessive and wanted me all to yourself. Isolated and alone. I thought this was love but little did I know that it was becoming toxic. Now I was blurring the lines in whether our relationship was even healthy anymore, but I was committed to making it work. It was when things started to get physical that I started to really question how much I was willing to die to keep you. I started to need you so much that I would physically shake in the morning, my heart would palpitate, stomach in knots and I would groan from my head throbbing. When did we get here? How did we get here? But most importantly why am I still here?
I finally left; I had no other choice. Moderation never worked for us, and I wasn’t willing to continue living this way, suffering alone. Completely depleted and raw…. all my flaws exposed leaving me ashamed and full of guilt.
Like I said before, it wasn’t easy, and you haven’t made it easy either. But I now know that true freedom is escaping the one thing that tries to hold you so tight. The freedom you provided was a false sense of confidence. It was such a dense fog of lies that I had to put my blinders on to see that my light was still there. I had to step out into the unknown, I had to push past fear and doubt. I wish I would have loved myself more back then, so I didn’t have to seek validation in your pit of despair.
So, while I wish we never met I am also grateful for the time we spent together. Without you I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I love how I don’t even notice you anymore in passing. But when others tell me about their relationship with you and how it’s deteriorating, I quickly remember how you made me feel and only hope I can shed some encouragement and light so they can leave you too.
A little over two decades seems like so much time wasted (all puns intended) but now I know the best is yet to come, without you. Now I have all of me present, aware, and alive.
They say things come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Alcohol, you were around for a season and a reason. Now I will spend my lifetime raising awareness to my children, family and friends that you are just a toxic asshole that only loves to entangle people into your sick game of bullshit.
Finally, Alcohol, thank you for destroying me. I was able to rise out of that grave with a fresh perspective on life, love, spirituality & vulnerability.