Written by Anonymous
NZ Born Maori

I'll be honest. I never had any intention to write the first piece let alone a follow up to it. I will start by saying I appreciate all the people that took a few minutes from their lives to read one addicts perception of addiction and some of the consequences of the decisions I made whilst within the fantasy world of addiction.

 What stood out to me was the volume of likes, yet there was not one single comment. I don’t mean that in a selfish way as my intention with that piece was if I was able to help one person reach out for help, my job was done, yet it showed me addiction is prevalent yet is still that unspoken taboo amongst society.

What I see from the support that I received is that addiction and the consequences of addiction are everywhere in today's society. Because of that, addiction is a silent killer of love, trust, relationships and unfortunately at times on both sides of addiction, life. Because of this I ask all those that liked the first piece or read it and let it resonate silently in your mind, or thought of someone close that could be suffering from addiction or the consequences of knowing, loving or trying to help an addict, to support them.

Every single addict has faced times alone. Times where bridges were burnt, lies were told, selfishness took over all other senses and in those times once it was all said and done the support is gone. 

What others may not see are the feelings of confusion, hurt, despair and loss of trust of those that either love, support or try and help and addict. To me these are the people that need the support. An addict will not change if an addict does not want to change. They need the desire to see a different path to lead in life, yet without that they will constantly slip and I say that speaking from my own personal experience. It took me losing the greatest love I have experienced to realise truly that I had a major issue that was no longer hidden away in my mind and that it was affecting my best friend.

In my first piece, I spoke of my former significant other, the light in my cold, dark world of addiction. A woman that is smart, beautiful, loving, funny and someone that will one day make an amazing wife, yet I couldn’t give her the two things she desired, truth and honesty. She deserved this 100%. For me to let her in. She was willing to support me, but I had to open up and let her in however this wasn’t always easy. As an addict, I felt like a failure already let alone constantly letting her down and feeling even worse about myself, yet not opening up made me slip further and further into a world of self-hatred and at times she bore the consequences of me not liking myself, and I made her not like me at times too. Addiction changed my thought process and unfortunately dishonesty became second nature to me. This in turn affected not only the way I saw myself but the way she saw me.

As an addict coming back into reality, away from my vices, I am seeing the damage that I did to her. I hurt her in so many ways, some had nothing to do with addiction, but many, many times I continued hurting her even when I knew it was wrong and even in times when I wanted to be honest, yet the words never came. Right at the end of our relationship we tried couples counselling, although there were other issues we both brought to the table, the main issue was the lack of trust predominantly caused by my addictions and a product of my addictions. Unfortunately, during those few sessions, I saw the pain and hurt I had caused her.

It was at this point I realised that for all her love, effort and support, I had to give her something back. I encouraged her to continue counselling, however individually, to help herself heal within. Thankfully she is committed to this and I hope with all my heart that she finds the mental clarity that she is craving and deserves. She also understands that no matter what happens in life, I will always be there to protect her and will do whatever she needs me to in order to help her heal.

Addicts are selfish, recovering addicts are guilty. Even today as the dark clouds of addiction seem to have less and less raindrops in them my guilt is what keeps me from moving forward. I still hurt everyday knowing the decisions I made and what I chose over love. It makes me feel hopeless and that is a feeling so many addicts will understand and be able to relate to. The feelings of no matter what effort we put in, what steps we take to change, none of it will ever change the past and change the damage that we caused during our darkest moments.

My decisions were mine and mine alone, and unfortunately, they made the love of my life realise that although we had an amazing relationship 95% of the time, it just wasn’t worth the effort to try and salvage it. As I said in the first piece, for this I do not blame her. If the shoe was on the other foot, I would like to say I would have tried harder to make things work but I can't guarantee that. What I can guarantee is that I never, ever want anyone close to me to suffer at the hands of either an addiction or an addict and I will do whatever it takes in my power to help those around me and also those whose lives are touched by addiction in some way.

I guess what I am trying to say is that if you believe you know someone who is facing adversity due to addiction, no matter what side of addiction they are on, reach out to them and make sure they are ok. The support systems for addiction are slowly improving across New Zealand. Don’t let there be any obstacles to getting support. Financially, there is free support for those facing addiction issues and those who are affected by addictions such as friends and families of addicts, especially for Drug, Alcohol and Gambling addictions. If you don’t have the confidence to reach out to them use the internet. It is such a powerful tool, and from my experience my former significant other took a lot of advice from various online forums where you are anonymous and can ask for support from people who have no doubt been in the same or similar positions.

If you are an addict reading this, hindsight is a wonderful thing and unfortunately for me it is too late for it to have any effect on the paths I took but if you see signs that you are suffering, let someone know. Let your loved ones seek support too. Don't force them to suffer because you are too. Allowing them to seek help and guidance may benefit you in the long run. Make the decision to reach out while you still have something to salvage and be confident knowing that every day gets easier and easier and day one is only the beginning.