As far back as I can remember, my biggest punishment was to be alone. I hated it. I could have a room full of toys and as soon as I was put in there alone, I was miserable. I believe this is where my journey began. My relationships have always been the definition of who I am. I take care of people, I fix things, and when my partner loves me, I am complete. This was my pattern of thinking for many years, and at the end of every relationship I was devastated.
When I was 21 I met a girl. She was beautiful, spontaneous, and mysterious, along with everything I wanted. She shared with me that she had a problem with pills and that she was working on quitting. At the time, I knew nothing about addiction and how it was going to affect my life forever. During our relationship I would help her detox, watch her go through withdrawals, the throwing up, the sweating. It would turn my stomach every time to watch the person I loved be in so much pain. After each detox , it would only be a matter of days before I would find drugs somewhere in the car or the house. Didn’t she love me? Why couldn’t she just stop?
This began our 3-year journey: her addiction to drugs and my addiction to her. I began to verse myself on anything and everything addiction, and in time I would find that the only reason for doing this was to fix her so we could fix “us.” When she would get up in the morning to get drugs (behind my back, of course), I would be up searching the house for proof that she was still using. I enabled her with money and emotional support. I got caught up in the manipulation and began to question my own gut feelings. I wanted my relationship, I loved her and I could fix this. Things in the house began to go missing; eviction letters were showing up and money was stolen from my family members. I had had enough and we ended our relationship. I couldn’t hide it anymore. I didn’t talk to anyone about it. I lied for her constantly, even to her coworkers. So she went to treatment.
This was the first time I had ever been alone. I was in an apartment with my dog and I fell apart. I wouldn’t leave the house and I eventually lost my job. I had such high anxiety that I refused to eat. I would lie to my family and tell them I was okay and eating. All I could think about was that I had just lost my partner. She was my world and I didn’t know what to do with myself without her. To me, it meant life was not worth living, and since she wasn’t begging to have me back, then that must mean there is something wrong with me; I’m not good enough. I obsessed over her; she was all I could think about, like a craving. I carried my phone everywhere and looked at it every second I could, waiting to hear her voice. Every call was worse and worse and I realized I was not what she wanted.
Eventually, I ended up in the hospital with an IV in my arm and the reality that if I didn’t get myself together, I was going to die. That’s when I discovered Naranon. I went back to therapy and started going to Naranon meetings. I found a sponsor who lifted me off of my feet and talked to me every day, reminding me that I was not alone. My ex- partner came home from treatment and lived with me. My main goal was to get her to fall in love with me again so we could live a happy, healthy life together.
Slowly but surely I learned the power of the Serenity Prayer and what it means to fully accept what I cannot change. I was told that Naranon does not “make or break” relationships. I learned about myself and discovered the strength within me to let go and let God. I heard at a meeting once that some of us hold onto things so tightly, it is like when you try to hold onto sand; the harder you squeeze, the faster it falls out of your hand, but if you just let it sit there, it will not move. I have learned that I am worth loving and that I must love myself before anyone else. A relationship does not define you.
I decided it was time to take care of myself and truly work on me for once in my life. I had to surrender some things that I was holding onto that meant so much to me, in order to be free. I had to treat her like a drug and I did that through the help of Naranon and my sponsor. I have found my passion in treatment and will become a therapist someday. I have been able to help other people like me, as well as addicts, because I understand the obsession and compulsion that takes over their entire being. I just happen to be addicted to a different substance. I love my life now and have become the person I am today thanks to my 12-Step program.