I suffer from a painful addiction.
Some people think addiction only applies to drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex and other commonly accepted vices. I know you can be addicted to other things though.
Every sort of addiction starts out innocently. It’s something that seems so bad yet feels oh so good. You think you can control it, and usually you can, for awhile. Whatever you’re addicted to begins to take over your mind at some point, though, and that’s when the trouble starts.
Maybe, if you’re addicted to a person, like me, your mind starts rollicking at 2am wondering what you could do differently to win this person over again. Perhaps you replay the entire relationship over and over in your head, looking for any clues that justify the way you feel. Sometimes, you even begin wishing things were different, even though wishing is a fruitless endeavor.
One time, I decided to confront someone who had been hurtful and deceptive. It was someone who I thought I was close with and could count on to remain in my life, confrontation or no. Clearly I was wrong, because she snarled back with scathing insults and cut our relationship off completely.
I agonized about it for far longer than I should have. After awhile, after I had exhausted the story with all of my friends, and after I still didn’t feel better, I started hiding my feelings again. I’d get off the phone with my best friend and think to myself, Well that was good! I didn’t bring her up at all.
It felt like a victory over my addiction, but it wasn’t. I just started hiding my obsession, which began to make it feel dirty. Hours of Googling the same information over and over. Hours of Facebook stalking. Hours of looking up articles about how to get over a hurt. Never any luck moving on.
After a year, it started hurting slightly less. Let me emphasize slightly. I found out she was pregnant, and after I got over the shock that I was so cut out I didn’t know, I decided to send a congratulatory card. Weeks went by, and every time I received a Facebook friend request, my heart skipped, hoping it was her. It never was. I have no way of knowing the spirit my card was received in, but it became obvious that she wasn’t interested in rekindling a relationship, even on a lowly surface level.
Cue more hurt. Cue more anger. Cue more obsession.
I knew what I had to do. I had to stop getting my fix. Once again, I consulted Google. Once again, the only answer was what I had dreaded doing from the get-go. If I really was ready to move on, it was time to employ a block.
The panicked addict in me freaked out. Maybe I should try calling or texting her, just one more time to see what happens. Once again, I had to realize that she’d had plenty of opportunities to reach out to me over the past year-and-some-change.
Nothing but radio silence.
With that brief glimpse into my fevered mind – and trust me, this version is really the TL;DR version – I decided it was time. It was time to stop agonizing, and it was time to stop caring, and the only way I knew I would stop was by cutting it all off. No more does my blood pressure rise at the sight of her name. No more does my stomach roil when I see a new photo. She is frozen in time where I left off.
I still obsess, but without new fodder, it’s going to get easier. I still wonder if my niece gets the cards I send, but I’ve had to accept the fact that I can’t control that. I still agonize over how I’ll explain this to my daughter without her worrying that every time she gets in a fight with someone, they’ll cut her off forever. I wonder how I’ll feel the first time she asks me why she doesn’t have aunts, uncles or cousins. How long will it take her to realize her family doesn’t look like the other kids’?
Anyway, here’s to the first steps of freedom, and no more burnt skin.