Deep down, we were probably bound to cross paths again somehow. It was always just a matter of when that day would come. When it came, what would it look it? How would it feel?
The funny thing is that I not only saw it coming, but also tried to avoid it. Part of me didn’t want to fall down the rabbit hole again; part of me wanted to if it was even possible to have a cordial conversation with you; part of me needed to know what would happen.
I’ve seen addiction in my family, and I’ve struggled with it myself. I fell into a horrible gambling addiction over a one-year period that was easily the worst of my life. Somehow, that year was both a blur and remains vividly clear. I’ve felt addiction firsthand, and because of that I try not to use any form of the word “addict” in jest.
I remember the feeling of keeping things to myself. I remember the shame I felt talking to anyone about it — acknowledging that what I wanted wasn’t healthy. I eventually found recovery, but like any addiction, it sticks with you. You’re always an addict. Relapse is the around the corner at every turn. I was always afraid that you were the sweetest drug I ever got a taste of.
I needed to know for certain.
Our interaction could have easily been avoided, but part of me needed to know that while whatever I felt for you wasn’t healthy at the time, that wasn’t how I felt now. I needed to know that even if we never get together, you would not be an obsession in my life. I needed to know that even if we ever were to get together, it wouldn’t be toxic for me.
I’m glad I did.
It was nice to hear your voice again. It was nice to catch up, if only for a moment. I said that I’ll probably always care about you on some level, and I doubt that will change. But how I feel today is nothing like how I felt a year ago, and that just might be the best feeling of all.
I can deal with knowing that I care about you. I can deal with knowing that you still mean something to me on some level, for whatever reason. I can even deal with the harsh reality that we will almost certainly never end up together. But I couldn’t deal with knowing I was addicted to you. I couldn’t deal with knowing that you would be unhealthy for me.
Now I know I’ll never have to worry about that. I’m free. Free from whatever spell was over me for more than eight months. Free from the embarrassing and pathetic behavior I carried on over that time. I’m here, living without you, and I can deal with that.