‘I found you barely breathing. Lifeless, sleeved roll up, hunched over, gasping for air. I shook you and shook you. I was numb.’: Woman’s bittersweet realization loving heroin addict ex-boyfriend, ‘saving you will always be my best decision’

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“You can’t choose who you fall in love with. Love always chooses for you – and for me, love chose a drug addict.

I’d liked to say I knew what I was getting myself into when I let him back in my life 3 years ago. After all, we knew each other since 7th grade. But in reality, I really didn’t. How could I? So much was different since then. The last 3 years of my life consisted of constantly worrying and immensely loving someone whose only worry was themselves. I found myself so happy and in love one minute and so completely low and sad the next. In and out of jail the first year, in and out of rehab the year after. Spending my weekends driving to Rhode Island to see you. I saw how much it hurt you to do this to me. To your mom. To family. To yourself. You didn’t want this life. You didn’t want to live this way. You talked about our future together, getting married and having kids. You showed me you really did appreciate me and loved me in those small ways that were our meaningful ways. Ways I will always cherish and remember. We were a team like we should be. This was the life you wanted, but heroin didn’t.

Courtesy of EP

Heroin had other plans for you, and I wanted nothing more but to change that for you. The day I found you, barely breathing, I wanted heroin to know I was not going anywhere and I was going to fight for your life. Fight for you to survive the death heroin wanted for you. I knew something was wrong when you left our apartment for too long that night. I hoped when I went outside to find you that you would be fine. What I found in your truck was the love of my life, lifeless, sleeved roll up, hunched over, gasping for air. My heart broke for you. I shook you and shook you, praying the life was not sucked out of you. I was numb, unaware of what to do. But when you finally sat up, I couldn’t help but let out a sigh of relieve. You were alive. You may have been out of it, but you were alive. Still on this earth with me.

The only thing I needed to hear from you was that you were going to rehab. To get the help you needed. I went to sleep alone that night in our bed, while you slept on the couch. I was traumatized by what happened, but I was still so in love with you, I told myself things would be okay. You told me, ‘I’m going to fix this. But I don’t know if I’m going to rehab.’ It wasn’t until days later that you would finally get the help you needed and in each passing day, my worry rose to an all-time high. Too many excuses, too many stories not adding up. I needed help and used old resources to get it for you. I was so grateful for them. It eased my worries slightly. But, then it hit me. Next stop: Florida. One thousand miles always from me. From our little life together.

Courtesy of EP

I waited for you to call every day after you left, and the day I heard your voice was the highlight of my life. Months went on and you started succeeding in Florida. You were working, doing the program and were healthy. You were given opportunities that you weren’t given here. I was so happy for you. I knew you had this potential in you all along. But, you were pulling further and further away from me. I hadn’t seen you in four months until I visited and long distance wasn’t going to work for us. I wasn’t ready to fully let you go, so I continued to be a support system to you as you were to me. What you may not know is, I was so focused on not letting heroin kill you, I almost let it kill me. I let it consume my life worrying about you, it affected our relationship more than I realized.

All I wanted was for you to overcome your demons. I wanted you to see what I saw and the potential you had. I wanted you to prove everyone wrong that doubted you and turned their backs on you. I wanted to share the highs and victories with you just as much as I felt your lows with you. 3 years later, and you have overcome it. You pushed through to one year sober. Something I always saw for you and couldn’t wait to celebrate with you. But you decided to share that milestone with someone else. Forget about me and our life together. Leave me to go through the lows alone, although I never did for you.

Florida changed our relationship. Something I never saw for us. Distance never was an issue before whether it was jail or rehab, our bond never faded until now. After everything we went through, you cut off communication with me through a text. You let me know you were seeing someone else through a single text. That was all I deserved to you. A text message that read, ‘We can’t do this anymore, it’s not doing any of us any good right now.’ You went on tell me there was someone else and ‘I’m sorry for the way I did it, but I did it, I told you, who knows what will happen down the line. We’re at different points in our lives right now so I’m sorry for how this happened. I hope nothing but the best for you.’ That was the most I could get out of you. No explanation or closure. No understanding of why I wasn’t good enough for you. Heroin didn’t kill you, and for that I’ll always be grateful, but heroin changed me without me even knowing it at the time. Heroin is part of my story now even after you moved on like our relationship wasn’t everyone’s idea of the end game. And I’ve come to terms with that.

You may have turned your back on me, but that won’t cause me to falter. That will not diminish my character or change how much I will fiercely love others. I may have had my own suspicions of what was going on that you once again fooled me to believe was false. But you see, that’s the thing, I always had faith in you. I always saw you in the best of light, because that’s who I am as a person and I loved that person with you. So, I may have been misguided, but I won’t let that make me bitter or feel like I am hard to love. I won’t let my decision to support you be a negative. I won’t let myself regret what I did or what we had. I loved you, I still love you and saving you will always be one of my best decisions. But you? You just lost the greatest thing that’s ever happened to you. The person who thought the world of you even through your weaknesses. The person who rooted for you and knew your life was worth saving. The person who lost herself saving you from your disease. And that? That you will not find again. That is rare and that will always be your biggest downfall and regret.

But, as for me? I am rebuilding. I am taking the pieces you picked away at up off the ground. I’m working two jobs while furthering my education. I welcomed a beautiful goddaughter into the world and I couldn’t be more honored to hold that title and responsibility. I’m taking the time to do things for me that lift me up and remind me to never let myself get that low again. I remind myself every day that I am worth it and deserve the same amount of love I give, and I know the love I gave to you will feel that much better when I give it to the one who truly deserves it. You may have left me broken, but I most certainly am not where you left me.”

Courtesy of EP
Courtesy of EP

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by EP. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more powerful stories like this:

‘The officer asked, ‘If you’re a nurse, why are you with a junkie?’ They searched for ‘evidence.’ My person was gone.’: Woman says love of her life died of addiction because of ‘shame, stigma’ surrounding the disease

‘He got involved with women who resembled his mother. He was in a dark place. What he found, was heroin.’: Woman loses the love of her life to addiction, urges he was ‘not just some junkie’

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