I am writing you today to tell you goodbye. I have built a new life, one much different than I have ever known before. A life that brings me joy, genuine friendship and love; a life I don’t need to escape from.
This is the end.
I know what you are thinking. That by writing this letter I have found myself in a moment of weakness, but it is actually quite the opposite. You see, I am strong today. I am much stronger than I ever thought I could be. Strong enough to recognize that it was you who took everything away from me. It was you who encouraged me to put my substance first and my family last.
I used to spend so much time thinking about you, and I am not so sure that will ever stop entirely, but I will not allow myself to romanticize our relationship. I’ve spent too much time, too many years, letting thoughts of you consume me. I thought if I could just understand why I let you into my life in the first place, maybe I could set up some sort of barricade to keep you out.
The truth is, you were following me for years, most likely my entire life, observing me from a distance. You took note of my every insecurity, every misstep, everything and anything that you saw which made me feel like a failure; which made me feel less than. I was feeding you this information, and I didn’t even realize it. How could I? You are stealthy. You are a ghost.
I still feel you lurking in the shadows. I feel you watching me every single day. I feel you every morning when I open my eyes, and I say a prayer before my feet hit the floor that I can avoid you for one more day. I feel you at night, when I lay my head down on the pillow after a long day, and I say a prayer of gratitude to a power much stronger than you.
I see what you are doing to my generation, and I have never despised anything or anyone as much as I do you. You suck the lives out of hundreds each day, and if you can’t take their lives you take their spouses and their children, their jobs and their homes, their dreams and their goals. You are a taker, perfectly disguised as a giver. You leave children without parents and parents without children; parents who spent their entire lives trying to protect their babies from the likes of you.
You cause millions to mourn the still living. You are a scavenger. You ravage families until there is nothing left but broken hearts, photographs of happier times and empty seats at the dinner table. I sometimes wonder how you can be in so many places at once? I wonder where you hoard everything you have stolen? Will you ever get tired?
I will admit that you still find your way into my dreams sometimes, and I wake up afraid with my head resting on a tear soaked pillow – your fingerprints burnt into my skin. For a moment, I question my sanity.
Today, I understand that my dreams are the only place you can find a way to reach me. It is the only time throughout my entire day where my subconscious is left unprotected. I hope you grow weary knowing I will not let you win.
You are a snake, that slithered its way into my life and held me clenched in it’s formidable jaw. The more I struggled, the further I sank into the abyss.
I didn’t have then what I have now, an army of warriors standing behind me. These warriors cloak me in love and strength. They are the complete opposite of everything you stand for. They offer me peace, hope and courage; laughter and joy. They carry me on their shoulders when I am weak, comfort me in my moments of despair and rejoice in my successes.
I used to believe you did those things for me too.
Cunning, baffling and powerful.
I still think of you sometimes, and every so often, I still miss you. At times, I miss the apathy you provided me. I have learned that it is OK to miss something, even if it is bad for me, as long I understand what comes along with it. I’ve realized it is not you that I miss, but the idea of you; the idea of what you once promised me, freedom from any and all pain. You came up short on that promise.
Pain, no matter how unpleasant, is a sign of living, and I choose to live.
Today, I know freedom. I wish you knew what this freedom felt like, but I have come to believe you are a prisoner of your own darkness, simply collecting souls to share your misery with.
I am sure I will feel your presence as long as I walk this earth. I have come to accept this as a hard truth, but your memory will fade over time and you will soon be just a whisper in the distance. And when I leave this world, it will not be because you took me with you, it will be because I have lived a life full of love, laughter and faith.
Someday, my spirit will rest in a beautiful place where the souls you have so selfishly stolen have been returned to a power much greater than you…and together, we will forget that you ever existed.
~This story was originally posted on the website Addictionunscripted.com in 2016 and has been edited by the author, Vanessa Day~