It has been 44 days since we broke up. That means it’s been 1056 hours since I last told you I loved you while we were together. 63,360 minutes since you were my guy and I’ve now endured 3,801,600 seconds of complete heartbreak.
I vacillate between the stages of grief. The denial that surfaces when I’m at “our” bar and I’m expecting you to walk in at any moment and we’ll pick up planning our future where we left off. There’s anger that you are more empowered with the demons that reside within than the love I gave you. The bargaining that I do with myself that if you just come back, I’ll put up with whatever you throw my way, including the drinking and the drugs. I go through the depression stage most of all, when it randomly hits me that you’re not my person and I’m walking through the grocery store and the pain is so great I’ll almost collapse. I thought I almost hit acceptance last night, when I finally deleted your number out of my phone, along with those of your mom, your dad, and your best friend. I thought I hit acceptance when I hadn’t cried for two days, but my subconscious had other ideas as I woke up remembering the dream I had of you last night, and the lone tear that streamed down my face told me that the final stage of grief was nowhere near.
Kj, I have a picture on my phone taken the day before you went to detox. You’re sitting behind me, arm wrapped around me, and just as I went to snap the selfie, you decided to kiss me. The pic just shows the side of your face with your lips pressed near mine. I’m looking at the camera and my eyes are bright green and sparkling with happiness that you’re going to get better and we are going to start the new chapter in our lives. We sat in the car and both cried because we knew it was going to be hard. We knew our relationship was going to change drastically from that point forward. We were determined that we’d make it and despite the odds (40% to 60% relapse rate for substance abuse disorders), you’d make it too.
We didn’t make it though. I had no clue what I was getting into. That loving you in recovery was harder than loving you as a drunk. I could have never guessed that sobriety would change you so much, that eventually it would be for the better but in the short term but the process would be heart wrenching. When you were drinking, you couldn’t get enough of my body. When you stopped, it was all I could do to get you to make love to me once a week. When you were drinking, you were in constant communication. Sobered up, I could barely get a good night text.
Even though it was never confirmed that you relapsed, I knew you well enough to know the signs. The forgetting, the meanness, the lies were all signs that were lit up in my face like the flashing neon Bud Light sign outside of our bar. I gave up on you KJ. I gave up on us because I needed to save myself. I wish I could take it back and taken a chance dipshit (remember, this was always my term of endearment for you). But this was one thing that you were determined that would be completely out of my control. When we were on our road trip, you told me how much you loved me. That you never thought you’d be able to get someone like me. That you dreamed of us being a family. But despite all of this, you promised that if you found yourself caught up in the alcohol and drugs again at any point, you’d walk away from me, because you needed to be man enough to make the decision to do what’s best for me.
I”m trying KJ, I really am. I went on a date that was terrible. I started swiping again. I tried to distract myself by talking and flirting with old friends. I started going out again to our bar and sing karaoke, even though I have to walk away when someone sings Bohemian Rhapsody and dealing with the pain of being ignored by our best couple friends is hard. I try to do anything to not think about the fact that you texted me twice to let me know you’re okay, and I now haven’t heard from you in ten days. You let me know that you moved to another state after we broke up to get a change of scene to deal with your issues. You apologized for everything that you did to me. It’s not enough,. I work over 80 hours a week so I don’t have to think about the emptiness I feel when my brain points out that we are really over this time.
I picked this version of this song over Prince and Sinead O’Connor because of you. You played it for me while we were lying in bed one night. I had my head on your chest and I was forcing you to try Peeps (because how could you have gone 36 years and never had a crappy, marshmallow bunny?). We were talking about how scared you were of stopping the drugs and alcohol and going into a deeper depression, which led us to the conversation of Chris Cornell,
I don’t know if you’ve found someone to take my place. I do know what we had was real. I know time heals wounds. I’m following the creed you would recite when you entered recovery. One day at a time. That’s all I can focus on. Getting through each 24 hours without you. I hope you’re overcoming the fight within you KJ.
I love you always,