On the futility of loving addicts


Image by Pensiero via Flickr

An older, wiser friend asked me last week why I had stayed in a relationship with an addict.

Why? Because I love him. Just a simple universal truth. I know he had issues, but so do I. (I’m admittedly  far from perfect.) After 18 years apart, we still loved each other; that kind of love doesn’t  happen too often on this planet. Although he had problems, I believed in his love for me and in his fidelity. I thought that if I loved him hard enough, strong enough, then he’d eventually face his problems and enter a substance abuse program, for the sake of his family.

When he and I were together with our daughter, there was a feeling of wholeness. He and she and I were complete together. We complemented each other. She is part of him and part of me but uniquely herself as well. I could see no other future but one with him, in which we took long walks through the streets that had become our streets,  visiting our regular haunts, spying on crows and spotting buffleheads from ocean paths, growing old together.

I believed that in our lives we’d each come full circle back to the other and I envision no future life without him as my center. My faith in our story and in our love became my religion. I planned to sell my house in Vermont when my youngest child had graduated from high school and live in a duplex with him; so that I could be messy and have a dog on my side and he could be neat and live with cats on his.

Unfortunately, I placed all my eggs in his basket and lost.

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