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My addiction unapologetically destroyed every aspect of my life – especially my relationships with other people. For an addict like me, intimate relationships are perhaps the most dynamic. A very clear cause-and-effect role played out in all of my interpersonal relationships, especially in an intimate setting. It was once said to me, in treatment, that I was holding – the people that loved me the most – emotionally hostage. I remember the painful sting of confronting the truth in that statement. I was the queen of manipulation, deceit, self-centeredness, and utter victimization. I was willing to risk, abandon, and reject anything that stood in the way of my beloved opiates.

In the beginning, I was abusing my prescription opiates to cope with the unexpected loss of my mother. At first, I was completely justified and fully functioning. Most of my loved ones and close friends knew I was struggling with a chronic kidney disease so it wasn’t hard to disguise the truth. Codependency was my reprieve, long before I ever picked up a drink or drug. It’s no surprise this unhealthy mechanism followed me into my years of addiction. I was a people-pleasing, victimizing martyr of sorts. Long into my addiction, I always wanted to have someone around.

I was unable to sit alone with myself for any substantial period of time. I was living a double life. I got high alone then returned to playing my part in the face of the ones that loved me the most. Attempting to fill the inside with everything on the outside – I always came up empty and more miserable than before. Getting sober, I’ve learned a lot about myself. Most specifically, I’ve learned a lot about how my addiction impacted my intimate relationships.

Demolishing Trust

The level of secrecy, that became me, is perhaps one of the most shameful aspects of the wreckage of my past. My entire life became a mission to propel and protect my addiction – at all costs. I can vividly remember leaving my ex’s house, telling him I was “running to CVS”, with the full intention of going on my daily drug run. I was gone for over an hour when he called multiple times. I avoided his calls until I had drugs in hand, at which point I made up an elaborate story of my car breaking down and having to wait for help. These situations became an almost daily occurrence. I remember my ex finally sitting me down to ask if I was cheating on him. The insanity of my addiction is, I would prefer him to think I was unfaithful over discovering the stark nature of my disease.

I would lie, cheat, and steal in order to maintain my daily habit. The real truth is – I was a fraud. There wasn’t an ounce of truth in the persona I presented to everyone close to me. Ultimately, there was never any intimacy. I imagine this caused a ton of frustration, betrayal, and insecurity amongst every guy I dated during this chaotic time of my life. Making amends for this type of hurt has proved to be the most difficult. Today, I try to make amends by being forthright and honest in all of my endeavors – especially within intimate relationships.

Emotional Rollercoaster

I’d be lying if I said I cared about my personal relationships while I was abusing drugs and alcohol. I had one master – opiates- and they were calling all of the shots. I drank and abused other substances to drown out any/all emotions, which ultimately created more chaotic emotions and I’d continue to drink. This fatal cycle was founded upon emotional instability and a spiritual malady that beckoned for my death. As if my lies weren’t causing enough harm, my emotional response to anyone that questioned my lies was horrible. I was always on the defense, depressed, anxious, and certifiably insane. Obviously, all of these emotions spilled over into my relationships. I was ruthless, confusing, inconsistent, and unstable. I would prefer a verbal altercation and attack over my loved one addressing my addiction.

Prior to getting sober, I didn’t love myself – much less capable of loving anyone else. Every situation and relationship was a pawn in ultimately achieving my next fix. It’s hard to put pen to paper and admit things like this, but today I understand just how sick I really was. Whether abuse kept me a total victim, with an excuse to use, or the love kept me in a position of manipulation to get what I wanted – I stayed in relationships because it served me in some way. I was incapable of ever being intimate because I was living a lie. I drug all of my loved ones down into the self-propelled hell I was living in. Emotions were a weapon for me to ultimately follow the commands of my addiction.

Sharing Rose-Colored Glasses

In order to maintain my addiction, I was disillusioned with the idea that everything was fine. In other words, I lived in total denial. I perceived the world around me to be exactly what it was supposed to be. Denying my responsibility for the misery I was causing myself and others, it was far less painful to continue indulging in my vices. I trained all of my ex’s to become the perfect enabler. I spent quality time convincing everyone that I didn’t have a problem. I was physically sick and after all, I just lost my mother. When I was drunk/high I was affectionate, less anxious, and fun. Why would anyone assume I was struggling with addiction?

I wanted my suitors to believe the lie. I trained each one to blame themselves, deny the magnitude of the situation, and even minimize the reality of the situation. I knew that I could make my ex’s fearful enough that they would believe the only way to salvage the relationship was to deny my addiction and sweep conflict under the rug. This ultimately cultivated the perfect codependent relationships, fueling my addiction every step of the way. I had everyone wearing the same rose-colored glasses that supported my utter insanity.

I don’t think I will ever comprehend the full measure of the harms I caused other people – especially the people that loved me the most. I spent many years of my life rejecting love because I didn’t feel worthy. I couldn’t receive love because I didn’t love myself or the life I delicately constructed during the peak of my addiction. I will have 3 years sober on June 29, 2019. I never could imagine a life without drugs or alcohol. Today, I strive to be intimate with people in my life. I gravitate towards total transparency and vulnerability. I start every day asking for how I can help the next person that comes along my path. I try my best to be considerate, patient, tolerant, and loving towards every human in my life today. My severed relationships have been restored. Beauty for ashes, I am so grateful for the life I live today.

Written by Tricia Moceo
Tricia Moceo advocates long-term sobriety by writing for websites like detoxlocal.com, providing resources to recovering addicts and shedding light on the disease of addiction. Tricia is a mother of two, actively involved in her local recovery community, and is passionate about helping other women find hope in seemingly hopeless situations.

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