A Goodbye Letter to My Addiction

Dear Addiction,

When I first met you, I wasn’t sure how I felt. I liked the way you made me feel but I didn’t like how I was around you. I acted differently around my friends, I ditched school to be with you, I even spent my hard-earned money on you. 

And what did you give me? You flattered me. You told me good things about myself. You said I was smarter than other people, even more attractive. I believed you for a while. I felt like if I had you by my side I could conquer the world.

After a while, you started to tell me that I didn’t need anyone else. I should abandon my friends, shut out my family. You advised me that I was too smart for school. When I objected that I needed school to find a good career, you told me that I didn’t need a career, that there were other ways of making money aside from hard work. 

You seduced me with the idea that I was free of all prejudices and that “society” was trying to brainwash me. Abandoning my career goals, I turned to petty crimes. Abandoning friendship, I turned to exploiting others. No longer brainwashed by society, I hardly realized how I was being brainwashed by you.

Cooped up in my apartment for weeks at a time with only you for company, I began to dawn on me that I was in an unhealthy and abusive relationship with you. You wouldn’t let me see anyone else. I would try sometimes to go out and have fun with my real friends. After only an hour or two, I would feel you calling me, tugging at me, telling me I had to go home and be with you or I would suffer consequences. 

You threatened me with illness, depression, anxiety. I reached a point where I wouldn’t go anywhere without you. The other people I was with were bothered by that, and they began to avoid me because they didn’t like you — and they no longer liked the “me” I had become.

I tried abandoning you. I succeeded for a while. I stopped frequenting the liquor store you always hung around in. I cleaned my apartment and redecorated to remove all traces of you from my life. I started a new job, got a girlfriend, and started to forget you.

 I realized how good life could be. Sure, there were times when I missed you when I felt weak or bored without you, but I was happy. And then I saw you at a party. You were with someone else. I wasn’t jealous. I didn’t even look at you the whole time I was there. I knew it wouldn’t be good to talk to you. But I couldn’t stop thinking about you.

A week later, I found myself fighting with my girlfriend. I was upset. Without thinking, i went to you. I thought it was just a rebound, that I would see you once and then return to my life. But it never worked out that way with you. Once I was with you, you wouldn’t take no for an answer. We were together again.

After that, my life is a blur. I spent years trying to leave you, but I never succeeded for more than a few days or weeks at a time. I had no money. In fact, I was in debt because of you. 

I spent time in prison because of you. You sent me to the hospital more than a few times. I felt so alone, even though I had you. You were no longer a consolation. I knew you were destroying my life. And I knew there was nothing I could do about it.

And then I sought help. I don’t know why I didn’t do it before. Maybe I was embarrassed to admit how much control I’d given you… But I was so desperate, I called someone I knew who was sober. He told me I didn’t have to fight you alone. I enrolled in a treatment center. The first few days were the worst. 

At a medical detox center, I missed you every second of the day. I was sick with withdrawal from you, but I felt your hold weakening. Afterwards, I went to an inpatient treatment center where I made friends with a bunch of other people whose lives, like mine, you had wrecked. We bonded over and shared stories about what you’d done, what you’d made us do. I realized I wasn’t alone.

Now you’ve been out of my life for three years. I realize when I first left you, I never properly said goodbye. I guess back then, when I first got sober, I wasn’t confident that I would stay that way. Now I am. I’m taking enormous strides in my life. 

I went back to school. I am close with my family again. I have an active social life. A great girlfriend. And the obsession is gone; I don’t miss you. And I don’t blame you either anymore. I’m responsible for my own behavior now. I know I’ll never completely forget my first love – no one ever really does. 

If I returned to you, I know I’d be hooked again. But every day I will keep doing what I have to do to keep my obsession at bay — counseling, 12-step meetings, etc — so that I never have to see you again. And so that I can be there to help others who you might victimize.

Well, I guess this is goodbye.

-Jay

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DAVID BEASLEY

DAVID BEASLEY

David moved to California from his hometown in North Carolina after multiple failed attempts to get sober. While living in an all-male sober living, David started to excel as a leader and mentor. These skills and tools ended up being the catalyst for his recovery and ultimately the foundation he has today. David has a passion for helping young men and sharing his experience. After working in the treatment industry he noticed a serious need for ethical sober living facilities. This prior work experience brought about David’s idea and drive to open Design For Recovery. He’s ambitious to promote growth and change within each individual client that enters the house. David has a strong presence in the house and continues to be part of mentoring young men on a daily basis.

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