You said we could be lovers. You knew just how to inspire me, and I went along with it. Because pain brought out the best storyteller in me and I loved telling heart-breaking tales, even if it killed me. It nearly did. I fell asleep after a nod was too much for my head to return to an upright position. I pretended to be fine, but realized it was a lie as I sat at the desk, staring at my reflection in the vast mirror that hung on the wall. You were suppose to make life bearable, but you only made it worse.
I clutched my stomach and ran to the bathroom at the thought of you. Slowly, I began losing what little weight I already had. But I didn’t care, I just wanted you to love me. Every hit brought me closer to this delusion of love that you created. I could say goodbye to the ex-lovers who beat me, but why couldn’t I say goodbye to you?
My first introduction to N.A. was in Philadelphia of 2014. A friend was going to a meeting while we were on our weekend getaway with a bunch of other friends. At this point in time, my problem was still a secret, so I went as moral support in disguise. I quickly found that Philadelphia had uninspiring meetings. We left halfway through the meeting due to side conversations that wouldn’t hush, and being outsiders, we weren’t trying to push politeness onto strangers.
My second meeting was in Florida 2017. My friend – who attended A.A. frequently – offered to take me to N.A. I never shared in my first meetings. I felt as though I shouldn’t be sitting in that room, because I was much younger than most people and had less years tallied in my drug and alcohol problems. I questioned again, whether I really had a problem or not because I had listened to horror stories that my own couldn’t compare to.
Now this is where my mental illness – undiagnosed – takes over. My emotions are swirling around my head, flaring up at random moments, and causing destruction along the way. This is why I stopped drinking. Because a third of the way into the bottle, and I am sobbing over my regrets and dead friends. And the people around me look at me like I’m a ticking time bomb. Honestly, the only thing that was wrong was my self-medicating habits that never really solved my problems. Yet I looked to you, as if you could conquer any demons that scratched at my eyes. I found you in a heartbeat, because your love was something you gave away so freely. I frequently kissed goodbye because I knew you couldn’t save me, but I so desperately wished you could.
Now I’m sitting here without your love, and at times, I feel empty. I tell myself that I could control it, but I’ve been sober long enough to know that it is a lie. So I open my cabinet in the bathroom, I stare at two bottles full of required medication to keep my head level, and I shake out a morning pill. I turn it over in my hand for a moment, silently contemplating if the rest of my life would be filled with happy pills. I wonder if they’re working, or if I just think they’re working. I wonder if they’ll stop working. And if they do, where does that leave me?
I think it’s safe to say that drugs and alcohol were never my real problem. My fear is of myself, and this disease that has tortured me since I was fourteen years old. Only now does it have a name, and I don’t know what to do with it.