I am writing today to say goodbye. I need you to know that I have built a new life, one much different than I have ever known before. A life that brings me joy, genuine friendship and unimaginable love; a life I don’t need to escape from.
I know that if I return to you, I will lose all I have gained. Please hear me when I tell you – This is the end.
I know what you are thinking. That by writing you this letter I have found myself in a moment of weakness – that I must miss you in some way. It is actually quite the opposite. You see, I am strong today. I am much stronger than I ever thought I could be. Strong enough to recognize that it was you who took everything away from me. It was you who encouraged me to put a substance first and my family last.
I used to spend so much time thinking about you, and I probably still will from time to time, but I will not allow myself to romanticize our relationship. I’ve spent way too much time, too many years, letting thoughts of you consume me. For so long, I thought if I could just understand why I let you into my life in the first place, maybe I could devise some meticulous plan to keep you out.
The truth is, you were following me for years, most likely my entire life, observing me from a distance – like a predator eyeing it’s prey. You took note of my every insecurity, every fear, everything and anything that you saw that made me feel like a failure. I was feeding you this information, and I didn’t even realize it. You are stealthy – a ghost.
I still feel you lurking in the shadows. I feel you watching me every single day. I feel you every morning when I open my eyes, and I say a prayer before my feet hit the floor that I can avoid you for one more day. I feel you throughout the day, breathing down the back of my neck at times as I navigate my way through life’s challenges. I feel you at night, when I lay my head down on the pillow after a long day, and I say a prayer of gratitude to a power much stronger than you.
I see what you are doing to each new generation. You are a slimy, dishonest salesman of the most evil proportions – inventing new substances, more potent and deadly, with the exact same promise – freedom from the pain of living.
I have never despised anything or anyone as much as I despise you. You suck the lives out of hundreds each day, and if you can’t take their lives you take their spouses and their children, their jobs and their homes, their dreams and their goals. You are a taker, perfectly disguised as a giver. You leave children without parents and parents without children; parents who spent their entire lives trying to protect their babies from the likes of you.
You cause millions to mourn the still living. You are a scavenger who ravages families until there is nothing left but broken hearts, memories of happier times and empty seats at the dinner table. I sometimes wonder how you can be in so many places at once? I wonder where you hoard everything you have stolen? Will you ever get tired?
I will admit that you still find your way into my dreams sometimes, and I wake up afraid over a tear soaked pillow – your fingerprints burnt into my skin. For a moment, I question my sanity.
I’ve come to understand that my dreams are the only place you can find a way to reach me. It is the only time throughout my entire day where my subconscious is left unprotected. I hope you grow weary as you begin to realize I will never let you win.
You see, I didn’t have then what I have now – an army of warriors standing behind me. These warriors cloak me in love and strength. They are the complete opposite of everything you stand for. They offer me hope and courage, laughter and joy. They carry me on their shoulders when I am weak, comfort me in my moments of despair and rejoice in my successes.
I used to believe you did those things for me too. I thought you were the only one who could ever understand me.
Cunning, baffling and powerful.
I still think of you sometimes, and every so often, I miss you. I miss not having to care or feel so much. Recovery has taught me that pain, no matter how unpleasant, is a sign of living, and to feel it means that I am living a full life. I am grateful for pain today. It has transformed my life – from victim to survivor.
You promised me a life free from all pain. You came up short on that promise.
I have come to believe that you are a prisoner of your own darkness, simply collecting souls to feed your insatiable appetite for human grief and despair.
As I continue on this journey, your memory will fade over time. Someday, you will be nothing but a whisper in the wind, and when I leave this world, it will not be because you took me with you. It will be because I have lived a life. A life full of all of the things you once promised me – love, family, laughter and faith.
Someday, my spirit will rest in a beautiful place where the souls you have so selfishly stolen have been returned to a power much greater than you, and together, we will forget that you ever existed.
~This story was originally posted on the website Addictionunscripted.com in 2016 and has been edited by the author, Vanessa Day~