My addiction is like a ghost. 

It’s there, but I can’t see it. I can’t touch it. 

But I can hear it. 

It’s always just behind me, whispering in my ear. 

Sometimes it whispers so quietly that I forget that it’s there, and I think my addiction is me, just “normal” thoughts I’m thinking. 

But it’s not. It’s its own thing. 

“Wouldn’t it feel better if you were high? 

“You don’t have to feel this way. Pop a couple pills, and you’d feel so much better.” 

“No one needs to know.” 

“You’re never going to feel good on your own again. You know that, right?” 

“You’ve damaged your brain and nervous system too much. You’ve wrecked any ability you ever had to feel good naturally. You NEED to pop pills now to feel good. There’s no use denying it.” 

“You’ve lost any ability you might have once had to navigate the world without pills. Maybe you once had a chance to develop into a strong, independent person; but that ship has sailed long ago. At this point you need all the help you can get.” 

My addiction doesn’t seem to tire. It doesn’t sleep. It doesn’t take breaks or vacations. 

When things go well, it’s there. 

When things go not-so-well, it’s there. 

Literally all it does is come up with arguments for why I should use. 

And it knows all my buttons. 

It knows what I care about; it knows what I’m afraid of; it knows what memories and regrets are virtually impossible for me to think of without pain. 

My addiction is patient. 

And it is cruel. 

My addiction finds ways to blame me and confuse me. Things that couldn’t have possibly been my fault, my addiction finds ways to convince me were my fault. 

And in standing up against my addiction, I am always alone. 

People may want to help; people may love me; people may want me to succeed. 

But they’re not in my head. They’re not there behind me in the middle of the night. 

My addiction is. 

And nobody understands what that’s like. Not really. Even if they want to. 

My father was one of the smartest, most willful, most intimidating, most memorable people I’ve ever known— and he couldn’t stand up to his own addictions. 

I’m not half the man my father was. 

“What chance do you think you have?”, my addiction whispers to me right now, as I write this. 

“Do you think writing about it’s going to help?” 

“Nobody’s going to save you. You may hold out for a night, or a week, or a year, or a couple years. But I am more patient than you are. I will always be here.” 

“For you to win, you have to be strong and lucky every night. I only have to win once— and then you have to start all over.” 

I’ve lain in bed, my breathing sufficiently slowed by overdosing of opiates, that I’ve realistically wondered if I would wake up if I fell asleep. 

My opiate usage has resulted in constant, high pitched ringing in my ears that may never go away. 

My nervous system has never fully recovered from the chills and sweats that occur when you stop long term opiate overuse. Nobody can give me an answer about whether these symptoms will eventually go away. 

“Wouldn’t it be easier just to use, and feel a little better for the rest of your life? After all, you’re going to die at some point, and all this effort will have been for nothing. You’ll have given up using for what, to be able to say you quit using? Is it worth it?” 

I’ve learned not to argue with my addiction. 

For as much talking as it does, it’s not interested in a conversation. 

It’s not interested in my comfort. 

It’s not interested in anything other than getting me to use. 

I wish I’d never felt the warm rush of pleasure and comfort that I first felt when using opiates. 

The memory of that feeling has become a thing that has haunted me on the brightest day and in my darkest nights. 

And maybe it’ll win someday. 

But not today. 

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