Once upon a time, there was a woman who loved a man with all her heart. They had a family. They had a home. They had a history.
Part of that history was colored by drugs. This is the story of a woman, who, by the Grace of God, found that she loved herself more than he loved meth. This is her story.
Nearly four years ago, she stopped abusing meth. But he didn’t. His addiction grew worse. He would promise to stop every time she was ready to leave. And every time he made that promise, the devil gave her false hope, and she stayed, only for him to hurt her and everyone she loved.
But she loved him, relentlessly. She saw a future he didn’t care to join in. He couldn’t even participate in her present.
Every day was a present for her; a gift of life that balanced by a struggle against deep-seeded demons. And though the drug was right there – laying next to her the few times he came to bed, changing hands at the perimeter of her home – she never gave in.
She was going to persist, she thought. She was his ride or die, she thought. She would withstand any pain, and excuse every behavior as the result of drug use.
Life was harder than it had ever been for her. She was trying to survive in a world of stigma. She started a business. She wanted a better life, and she wanted him in it.
What about their children, she thought? They saw it all. They saw him assault her. They saw the bruises. They heard what he did. They knew what was happening. But if she left him, she thought, won’t that hurt them more? And could she live without him?
As she lived her life and hoped and prayed and cried for him to be by her side, he spent less and less time at home. Countless homemade dinners sat in the pot as she sat hungry waiting for him at the table he never came home to.
She sat on her couch, held her pillow, cried herself to sleep… not because she wanted to rest, but because her eyes could no longer stay open. Any noise throughout the night and into the early morning would wake her. Is he home? All she heard was the emptiness of her room. And when he finally would come home, smelling of ice and the streets, her anger and worry would melt… because all she cared about was that he was finally home.
He would promise to stay home. But it was a lie. He promised he was not with other women. But those were lies, too. She knew it, but she held out hope. And for every heartbreaking situation, there was a story… there was his story. And he was good at telling her his story.
And then she got stronger. Then, her heart began to vacate of his madness and his lies and the devil he tried to trick her with. She began to stand up to his stories, and then all of a sudden, everything became her fault. He blamed his infidelities and his drug abuse on her. He tried to make her feel responsible for his sadistic ways.
Before she knew it, nothing was his fault, and everything was her doing… that her sobriety was a burden to him. That his responsibility to his family was a hindrance to his betterment.
She took time away from him, because the heartbreak he caused her was drawing her dangerously close to the edge. And it was in the silence of her heart that she realized she finally had peace. She didn’t know it until he was far from her that all these years, she had been so desperately lonely. That even though she once loved him, she loved herself and her children more.
So she told him she was leaving. And he begged her, just as he had begged her before, not to leave. And when she would not budge, he said that her leaving would break up their family, and that she – not him – would be hurting the children. And when she did not yield, he threatened to kill her and all her friends. And when she told him to go shove it where the sun don’t shine, he disappeared into the darkness he loved so much. Because that’s where he belonged, while she worked so hard to be part of the light.
This was the true him. All these years, she had been in love with a lie. All these years, she had held herself back because of a trick. All these years, the light within her had been dimmed by the shadow of his presence.
Do not cry for her. Pour the champagne. Celebrate her freedom. She is me. I am her, and I am no victim. I am a survivor.
To every woman out there watching this, who saw herself through the words I spoke tonight… in the darkest of your hours, may the light within that God has blessed me to see… shine bright in you. May God bless you with His Light, and keep you in His peace.