There are certain people that come into your life that you just keep going back to. You wonder if they’re the right person for you. You wonder if you could find someone better, if you deserve someone who treats you better. Your mind is in a constant state of wonder, but you push those thoughts aside and you go back to what you know.
You go back to what is comfortable and convenient because that’s the easy choice. But you know what you’re dealing with day-to-day is anything but easy. You’re life isn’t normal when you’re dating an addict. In fact, your life is anything but normal. Each day is a constant battle for your loved one and you quickly find yourself becoming their therapist.
I was in a relationship with an addict for close to four years. I don’t regret those years, but I do wish I would have had the courage to listen to some advice I received at various points along the long, twisted bumpy road that was my relationship. I wish I would have taken the time to listen to before I fell in love with an addict, but more important I wish I would have listened before I lost myself in the whirlwind toxic romance.
1. No matter how hard you try, you’ll never be able to save them. No matter what you do, you’ll never be able to save someone from their own demons. Addiction is a disgusting, terrible disease and the demons of addiction are one of the most powerful forces on earth. You can try your absolute hardest, but it will never be enough. No matter how hard you try, it will never be enough to save someone. You can’t save someone from their own demons, they have to save themselves. And that is the hardest pill to swallow.
2. There are some things you simply cannot fix. You’ll have sleepless nights racking your brain trying to figure out a solution or something new to try. You’ll make phone calls reaching out for help. You’ll do research to try to find the best possible treatment centers. You’ll spend more time trying thinking about your loved one than you’ll spend thinking about yourself. You’ll do everything you can possibly do, and it still won’t be enough. You’ll have to accept that every issue doesn’t have a solution. You won’t be able to fix this problem, no matter how determined you are. Your loved one’s addiction is something you simply cannot fix. Period.
3. Love doesn’t always win. You’ll beg. You’ll plead. You’ll love with all of your heart and then some. You may even be someone who loves until it is physically impossible to love any one person more than you love your loved one. Eventually you’ll realize that your love will never be enough, because you love someone who is sick and isn’t capable of choosing to love you above all else. Love can win, but it doesn’t win when you’re in love with an addict.
4. It’s not your fault. Terrible things will inevitably happen. It’s a guarantee when you’re dating an addict. You might spend nights petrified with fear because you don’t know if your loved one is dead or alive. You may find yourself calling jails or hospitals to try to find your loved one. You’ll find yourself at some of the lowest, darkest points in your life. You’ll wonder if there was something else you could have done to prevent your current situation. You’ll have a sliver of you that feels like it’s your fault, but it’s not. It’s not your fault at all, and it never will be. When you’re dating an addict, their actions and choices are not a result of anything you did or said. Nothing that happens is your fault, and you need to wholeheartedly believe that. It’s not your fault.
5. You’re stronger than you know. You eventually realize that sometimes, the hardest thing and the right thing are the same. You love with all your heart, but you know deep down inside that you deserve more. When the relationship ends, you’ll discover just how strong you are. You’ll feel so low and you’ll wonder if you made the right decision. You’re strong enough to make it through this, and you deserve to. You deserve to love yourself and be in a happy, healthy relationship. It’s okay to love someone who isn’t right for you, but it’s not okay to lose yourself entirely in the process. You have to believe that you’re strong enough to push through the bad days and the adjustment period. You’ll make it through this and you’ll amaze yourself with how strong you are.
6. It’s okay to move on. You’ll learn that eventually you have to go your own way and move on. It will be one of the most difficult decisions you’ll ever make in life, but you’ve learned that you’re strong enough to make that decision. You’ll accept that it’s okay to choose yourself and you’ll learn that you always have to love yourself first. You’ll always have the love and memories you shared with your loved one, but it is okay to move on. People come and in out of our lives for a reason, and not everyone is meant to stay in our lives forever. It’s okay to move on.
I wish I would have known that there is nothing wrong with choosing to take care of myself first. I wish I would have known that I had a choice to call it quits before I completely lost myself. I wish I would have known that I was strong enough to stand tall and stand up for myself and what I deserve. I wish I would have known that love is a strong, powerful force but there are some things that no amount of love can heal.
I wish it didn’t take me completely losing myself to realize that my loved one was sick and it had nothing to do with me.
I wish I would have listened when I heard these important pieces of advice along the long, twisted bumpy road that was my relationship.