#TBT: In the Face of Addiction, I Chose Self-Love

I HAVE AN ADDICTIVE PERSONALITY. 

When people hear the word "addiction," they often think of drug abuse or alcoholism. while it is true that addiction can be about narcotics, you can also be addicted to [seemingly] less dangerous things, like coffee, sweets or even another person. for the past three and a half years, I was addicted to a person. this addiction was unhealthy, emotionally draining, and just downright toxic for both parties involved.

i've since walked away from anything or anyone that does not positively serve my mental health. through it all, i learned that it was really me vs. me the whole time. 

but really, who do you root for when you're the only one in the ring?

i wrote this poem below earlier this year, while i was still struggling to answer that question and ultimately, beat the addiction.


in the face of addiction, i chose self-love.

addiction was a me VS. me wrestling match, every day of the year. 

addiction was when i became my own personal punching bag and professional boxer, all in one person.

addiction was when my mind sobbed, begging for me to stop rolling with the punches, but my body beckoned for me to keep the blows coming.

addiction was being in the ring and the stands of that wrestling match at the same time.

addiction was a punch away from a technical knock out, and a twisted sense of gratitude that I was spared the punch i believed i deserved.  

addiction was not knowing which “me” i was supposed to be rooting for in that fight, if any of them at all. 

addiction was like looking my drug dead in the eyes and telling him that I forfeit, but praying that he wouldn’t take my word for it.

addiction was constant highs and lows. the highs never seemed to reach their original peak, while the lows dipped deplorable depths. 

addiction was like a whole new emotion that somehow managed to combine euphoria with grave depression. 

addiction was simultaneously a daily prayer for God to put me out of my misery and a secret oath to live [not quite] happily ever after. 

addiction was avoiding those who know me best, and embracing those who loved me less.

 

addiction became synonymous to self-deception, until i chose self love.

 

self love is being kind and nurturing to myself, every day of the year.

self love is becoming my own cheerleader and star athlete, all in one person.

self love is listening to my heart when it tells me to choose real happiness and patiently nurture my healing bruises.

self love is deciding to pull myself out of the rings and the stands; self love is deciding that the show is finally over.

self love is walking away after the first blow, recognizing that i don’t need anything that is detrimental to my health.

self love is rooting for all of me.

self love is looking my love dead in the eyes, and telling him that he is everything; that i am also everything, but we will not be anything together.

self love is consistency and bravery with new rewarding heights around every corner.

self love is like a whole new emotion that gracefully combines assurance with empathy.

self love is simultaneously unlearning self deprecating behaviors and celebrating the smallest milestones.

self love is detaching from those who know me least, and gravitating towards those who bring me peace. 


i know i'm not the only one who has dealt with a complicated love before. the greatest piece of advice that i can give to someone struggling with an unconventional addiction is that the other party does not have to be bad, evil or have negative intentions for you for the situation to just be wrong. i chose to stay for three and a half years because i loved that person (oftentimes and unfortunately more than i loved myself) and because i kept pacifying my unhappiness and unhealthiness by saying that he meant well. 

BUT HONESTLY, SOME THINGS ARE JUST BLACK AND WHITE. 

when i chose self-love, all else became overwhelmingly clear.

I walked away to set us both free, so we can find the truer and greater love that is meant for us. and I know we both will.  

only love,

ri