To The Man Who Chose Drugs Over Me

Cody Cardilla

“You don’t need your fucking wallet!”

That is the last thing we fought about. 10 days ago. The last time I heard your voice and knew you were “okay.”

That is all I think about sometime around midnight, as I lay tossing and turning to thoughts of you being somewhere cold and alone or scared and hurt. No phone (because I turned it off).

And no fucking wallet.

My mind cannot help but wonder if you are alive or dead, and the odds of each. Maybe 75/25. Maybe not. But I imagine that is what everybody tells themselves right before burying somebody they love who passed way too soon because they believed it “wouldn’t happen to them.”

Which is what you say, until it happens.

The idea of it all makes me sick to my stomach, and I just want to hear you tell a terrible joke that I won’t find funny. Just to know you are safe. Or at least your warped version of it.

In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to believe you choose the drugs over me. To believe you have a choice. To believe that you are happier now.

But that only lasts a moment, before I start to remember addiction is a disease. A cold-hearted monster who ruins lives and families and beautiful people every single day and literally gives zero fucks.

I start to remember the Hyde to the Jeckyl, the Ryan to the addict. The young man with striking blue eyes and contagious smile, who dreamed of being a dad and was so socially awkward that he used pick-up artist’s methods that he read in books.

See, I loved Ryan. I fought for Ryan. I held on for Ryan. The Ryan who ever so briefly made appearances and reminded me of the man underneath the addict who lies, cheats, steals, and disappears. Who is selfish and moody and disconnected. Who always chooses drugs.

See, I hate the man who chose drugs over me, over his son, over our family. The drug addict who slowly consumed the person I loved and refused to give him back. The unrecognizable person you have become.

Mourning the loss of someone who is still alive seems like a waste of time. But when I see you, I don’t see Ryan anymore. I see the monster underneath, the shell of a once beautiful person who lost it all to his demons. Despite my desperate pleas to save you from yourself, I watched you fade away and disappear. Helpless. Hopeless. Faithless.

I stayed for so long because I always believed in you, in us. I saw your past and your pain and your misery, and I wanted to give you an escape. One that didn’t involve shooting up. One that you had always wanted but could never find. I wanted to show you that you could  be happy, that you deserved to be happy.

Maybe I failed you. Maybe I was never enough or what you really needed. Maybe I only made things worse.  But fuck, I loved you. Even now as I choose to walk away, I do so with a heavy heart and indescribable sadness. Because you were my person. You were my best friend and the man I thought I would spend the rest of my life with. There was never a doubt in my mind: you were the love of my life.

What we had could of been great. It could have been the love they write about in poems and songs. It could have been forever.

It should have been forever. 

But I cannot keep holding on to a man who is not there. A man who does not even care about himself. A man who only cares about his next hit, his next fix, his next binge. A man consumed by a monster. A man that I cannot fix; that I should not have to.

Leaving you is honestly the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. And I constantly find myself second-guessing the decision, horrified at the idea of you being alone. Of you thinking that nobody cares or having no one you can turn to. But I also know I cannot continue down this destructive path with you. I know that our beautiful baby boy needs me. I know that my understanding and my empathy and my love has enabled you. Has prevented you from hitting a rock bottom that might actually wake you up and realize what you have to lose.

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