The Universal Drug

Brigitte Tohm

The universal drug, the paradoxical addiction, and the reason worth living: Love. We talk about love in terms of addiction, and it makes sense. Love is the most intoxicating feeling on the planet, at once sustaining our very existence while drowning it in overwhelming waves of emotion that we can’t process until our hearts have been fractured by the very thing that used to keep it alive. Love is the indescribable thing that we don’t think we need until it has deserted us and we’re lying on the bathroom floor at 3 in the morning begging someone we aren’t sure exist to make us forget what love felt like in the first place. Forget all of the unhealthy things we use to make us remember that we are alive and not just shells of the people we could be. If you want to watch all of the hope in someone’s eyes leave and never return, tell them you love them once and never again. Love is devastating and all-consuming and terrible in its resistance to all things logical. We can’t talk ourselves out of needing someone else’s existence to live like we need oxygen to breathe. We can’t convince our hearts to stay within the confines of our body instead of giving little parts of itself to every person we love. We can’t convince our shattered pieces to knit themselves back together any more than we can convince a broken bone to mend itself. We are so, so fragile in the way someone’s freckled nose and beautiful smile can make us forget our own name. We are so easily destroyed when somebody’s eyes can make us forget why we stopped looking at people’s faces in the first place. God, we are fickle. And we are human. And we fall in love and break hearts and destroy lives and we do it all with two lips and a set of arms that feel more like home than any four walls ever could. Love is addicting and we are all addicts. But this is the one addiction that every single person on this planet shares – the need to feel wanted, understood, and cared for by somebody else in the world. And that is beautiful. Love may very well be an addiction to which we are all addicts. But love doesn’t just ensnare our soul – it frees it too. Love makes us terribly reckless beings, but it also makes us wear our seatbelt on the two minute drive home and check that the door is locked when we go to bed. It makes us wait until the other person gets inside their door and text them to make sure they’re okay. Love might break, but in the right hands, it heals – it is the paradoxical addiction. You see, drugs aren’t inherently bad – it’s the way we use them that can be dangerous. I like to say that love is the universal drug – in the hands of some, it is catastrophic. But those people with storm clouds in their eyes and hurricanes whirling through their veins shouldn’t jade our perception of love. We have to be strong enough to remember that anything can be misused, but anything worth having is worth fighting for. And I promise you, even if you have never experienced it, this is. TC mark

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