When you love an addict, you put their needs before your own.
When you love an addict, you let their cravings dictate the trajectory of your lives, that is to say if they’ve in fact, decided that there is room for both you and their addiction.
When you love an addict, you better get used to being in the backseat, because that’s where you’re going to be living for the next little while. Or forever.
When you love an addict, you learn that what you feel and what they feel are very different sentiments. Your day hinges on the amount of their supply. You can watch a funny movie and laugh. To them, a movie is only funny with a little bit of help— a booster if you will. It could be a little pot, or maybe a hallucinogen depending on the visuals. How could a movie be watched any other way? How dull. How boring. How mediocre. They can’t watch a movie unless they’ve got their drug of choice on hand.
Why have breakfast without a drink? Why have a drink without a line? Why go dancing without rolling face? Why spend a rainy day inside without a fix? Why bleep one person when you can bleep five? If they know they’re running low, they turn from that charming, lovely, loving, engaging, sweet, funny person you fell for into someone else entirely— untethered, disjointed, unengaged, flakey distracted, cold. Is this the same person you fell in love with?
They wear your lovers’ mask so well. Your touch, once welcoming, is shrugged off.
An embrace? Forget it. They’re cringing. Shoulders all the way up to their ears, and that little vein in their temple is pulsing. Is that sweat or a tear?
They don’t hear what you’re saying, but they don’t really care. They don’t know what you want or need, they only know what they want and need right this second. They can’t breathe. They’re just trying to breathe. You might as well not even be there.
When you love an addict, this is the pain you will bear witness to again and again. You will see how the strength of your lover seeps out of their veins, their mouths, their skin. You will see how hungry they are, how empty, how desperate. How ugly wanting something so badly can be. While all you want is for them to be the person you once knew again.
So maybe you’ll call someone your friend’s coworker knows. Maybe it’s someone you already have on your phone— you remember they said something once to you, off handedly, at some party. They have this thing and hey, it’s cool if you don’t, but if you ever want it, they’re just a text message away. And they’re always coming or you’re always leaving the island. It’s the Bronx, it’s Brooklyn. It’s Washington Heights. I know that’s still Manhattan but it’s so, so far, outside of your bubble, it might as well be Canada.
Ahhhh. Your lover sighs. Relief.
When you love an addict, you’re either a conduit or a deterrent. You’re either a player or you’re on the sidelines. You’re ride or die or you’re dead to them. Cohort or adversary. Ally or enemy. Get it? But you love them, so you do what you can to keep up.
You love them so much you have a little taste yourself here and there. Not enough to get you addicted too. Just enough to touch their high.
You know you don’t have an addictive personality. You can stop whenever you want to. You’ll be fine. You tell yourself all these things as you edge closer to that trap door you know leads all the way down, down, down into the rabbit hole. Tie a ribbon to a tree, you’ll be back on safe ground soon. Bread crumbs worked for Hansel and Gretel didn’t they? I mean in the end, before they were caged in. Open your eyes, and look into the eyes of your lover.
They’re beyond blissful, you swear you can make out constellations in their pupils, their eyes are so bright. And you want to be there too. So badly, with them. You don’t want to be around the shadow that they leave behind when all the stars are gone.
So you take their hand and jump.
When you love an addict, you become addicted too.