Hello. My name is H.M, and I’m an addict.
I think ever since I was a little girl that I was meant to be heartbroken. I remember being 6 or 7 years old imagining my heart being broken to different songs I’d hear on the radio, and daydream about how it would all happen. My imaginary boyfriends would always leave me in a dramatic fashion, and for some reason I would always be dressed in some extraordinarily (and unnecessarily for getting dumped) exquisite gown seen in black and white movies. I don’t remember having any of the normal daydreams of getting married and living in a big house with my husband, having children. As a little girl I hoped that my future was going to be spent with wild and uninhibited people that wore bright colors and made lots of noise. When it actually became the life that I led, I was almost prepared. I realize now that it felt like my version of being married and living in a big house, but with tattoos and unwanted pregnancies. My initiation into actual heartache wasn’t as romantic as I had imagined it would be. My very first boyfriend cheated on me when I was sixteen. I think if I hadn’t been humiliated in my first relationship that I wouldn’t have put up with so many more humiliating situations in my later years. Not that the age mattered, it was the actual fact that this had been my introduction to relationships. I didn’t think it had really affected me until I became the one who cheated. Sure I had cried about it, and had a couple of goons that I knew beat the two perpetrators to bloody pulps outside of a pool hall, but I didn’t realize it was laying the groundwork for a pattern that would follow me throughout my life.
I don’t think I ever realized being heartbroken would actually hurt my soul.
In my very early twenties I treated a perfectly lovely man with all of the anger and ire that should have been directed towards the many betrayals from my past. He stuck it out as long as he could, but I tried my best and succeeded in driving him away with his own broken heart and heavily laden with emotional baggage to carry into whatever relationship he found himself.
This made me feel guilty, and for years I would stay in a sadomasochistic relationship with myself by remaining in sick and unhealthy relationships for over two decades as a form of self flagellation.
The ends of my relationships kept me in bed for weeks if not months, and like an addiction it affected my day to day life in detrimental ways.
I lost yet another close friend the other day, and I began to reflect on all of the people that I have become close to over the course of my life, somehow gravitating towards those who are doomed to meet tragic ends, as though I had unknowingly turned my childhood imaginary life into a real one. My friends are passionate musicians, photographers, comedians, writers, painters, poets, etc. and some of them are wildly successful. Some of them are barely hanging on. But they all live the clichéd tortured artist lifestyle in which every single one of them is using their chaotic existence and tragic lives to fuel their passions. Liver failure from alcohol abuse, drug addictions and occasional overdoses, suicides, drunken car or motorcycle accidents that take their lives. I know at least every three to four months, someone I know will have died or will receive a prognosis of something or other that will bring them to a premature end.
I had no idea that at some point I found my own addiction, and it is to heartache. I go into things expecting it. I know it’s coming, and yet I continue.
Almost to prove my diagnosis to myself, or just in spite of it, I’ve begun to date after a ten year hiatus. He is a former addict that I met when I was 19. I was mortified by his behavior since he was only two years older than me but seemed completely invested in ruining his life. Over the years that I hadn’t seen him he seemed to enjoy breaking the law quite often. He carries a breathalyzer around with him that he’s court ordered to blow into at certain times throughout the day, and wakes up in the middle of the night to use it.
My addiction lets me sleep through it.
On the flip side of this, I guess I can finally stop looking down my nose at the friends that allow their lives to be completely controlled by illegal substances. My own addiction is legal, but it might be worse. I always laughed when someone would say that people are just born with addictive personalities, but like other addicts I guess my addiction was always there.
Even though I see a therapist once a week, no one will be able to stop me from leaving her office and going to pick up my boyfriend. He’s mean and selfish. Just my type. He yells at me if I make too much noise in the morning, and gets mad if I make plans with anyone but him. I am expected to wait until all hours of the day and night for him to finish with numerous band practices and be grateful for the few hours he spends here with me. And I do. And I am.
My addiction hasn’t yet gotten me to the point where I’ve ever stayed with him in the hovel that he calls home, but I did find myself talking about getting it set up for the winter as if I might be spending some of the upcoming holidays there. If you’re wondering why I’m doing this I think it might be to see if I’m going to finally be able to conquer my addiction, or if I’ll finally succumb to it. Time will tell, but in the meantime I’m going to let the heartache wash over me like a stiff drink after a long day with my therapist.