I understand addiction now. I never did before, you know. How could a man (or a woman) do something so self-destructive, knowing that they’re hurting not only themselves, but the people they love? It seemed that it would be so incredibly easy for them to just not take that next drink. Just stop. It’s so simple, really. But as so often happens with me, my arrogance kept me from seeing the truth of the matter. I see it now though. Every day, I tell myself it will be the last. Every night, as I’m falling asleep in his bed, I tell myself that tomorrow I’ll book a flight to Paris, or Hawaii, or maybe New York. It doesn’t matter where I go, as long as it’s not here. I need to get away… away from him—before this goes even one step further. And then he touches me again, and my convictions disappear like smoke in the wind. This cannot end well. That’s the crux of the matter… I’ve been down this road before—you know I have—and there’s only heartache at the end. If I stay here with him, I will become restless and angry. It’s happening already, and I cannot stop it. I’m becoming bitter and terribly resentful. Before long, I will be intolerable, and eventually, he’ll leave me. But if I do what I have to do, what my very nature compels me to do, and move on, the end is no better. One way or another, he’ll be gone. Tomorrow I will leave. Tomorrow I will stop delaying the inevitable. Tomorrow I will quit lying to myself, and to him. Tomorrow. What about today, you ask? Today it’s already too late. He’ll be home soon, and I have dinner on the stove, and wine chilling in the fridge. And he will smile at me when he comes through the door, and I will pretend like this fragile, dangerous thing we have created between us can last forever. Just one last time. Just one last fix. That’s all I need. And that is why I now understand addiction. From “Strawberries for Dessert” by Marie Sexton
Here I am trying to live,
or rather, I am trying
to teach the death
within me how to live.
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