Don’t Save Him.
Really — he doesn’t want you to.
He stared at me throughout the night. His gaze did not falter. I had only seen him around once before. His gaze held me every time my coy glances flashed his way. The obnoxious party surrounding us seemed to become muted every time we exchanged these moments. But I didn’t think much of it. With one-too-many glasses of champagne in your system, its easy to not think much of anything. I certainly didn’t think he would be more than just a night.
Six months later we were practically moved in together. It was either his house or mine. I had hoped we would soon find ours together. We were traveling, meeting new people, loving each other and starting a future. Or so I thought.
Its a cruel entity, the romantic mind. Romanticizing every situation, more times than not, ends up haunting the mind with what could have been — no — what should have been. The romantic mind has a plan, an endless vision, and does not accept the fact that this vision may differ from reality.
Now, there is beauty to the romantic mind; we have ideals and dreams, and us romantics do occasionally find a person with a similar vision. When we find this person that’s all the conviction we need to continue this way of thinking, this way we torture ourselves. I was convinced he had my vision, too.
His story was heartbreaking yet admirable; he had never been dealt an easy set of cards, but nonetheless he picked himself up, found a great job, and looked out for himself. He had his vices though, and understandably so, but I never thought they would get the best of him after all his hard work.
Inhale. Exhale. Cough.
Bong rip number four. How many more did he need? I sat in the living room, anxiously tapping my foot, dreading the hours ahead. We would be physically together, but emotionally and mentally, he would be elsewhere. I would not find him.
There comes a time in every relationship when both parties drop their veils and show their faces. I considered myself a simple girlfriend, and I believe that was true throughout our time together, but the things that bothered me had finally bubbled up. I couldn’t hide it any longer. Both our veils dropped.
Sss. Crack. Gulp.
Beer can number twelve. Hadn’t he drank enough tonight? I sat there among drunken boys, wondering if he would notice my discomfort. “Loosen up,” he’d tell me. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t self-destruct, too. I needed to be the light in his life. I wanted to set an example. I wanted him to see the possibilities beyond this small town, filled with few aspirations and closed minds.
I was losing him. The calls were less frequent, and he had found a new partner: substance. He was more addicted than ever. He was becoming a stranger.
Now don’t pin me as a total prude — I smoke and drink, too, just not on a daily basis. Alcoholism runs deep in my family. I am no stranger to these vices. I refuse to live in the same cycle.
With a constant stream of outside comments like, “I’m so happy he found a girl like you,” and, “Finally something healthy for him,” it was easy for me to label my own self as his savior. In an attempt to compromise, I asked him to moderate his usage. Not quit. Moderate. I was confused with his response. Silence. I found myself lecturing, crying, then yelling in an attempt to provoke some signs of life from him. He wouldn’t budge. And it was at this point that I found myself trying to save someone who did not want to be saved.
I wasn’t his savior. I’m not his savior.
That’s the thing with me. I’m such a fixer. If there’s something wrong, I plan to find a solution and move forward full speed ahead. The repetition of negativity may fuel some people, but for me it is not so. I want it gone.
Week after week passed by. It was one fight after another (which was really just me yelling to the air). One night I found myself crying on the side of his road. I had been begging him to stay sober that night, begging him to work with me. I wanted my boyfriend back. Then he left me there, on the side of the road. With no means to leave, as all my belongings were trapped in his jeep that sped away, I waited. I waited until he came back, completely intoxicated with defiance, and a few bong rips, too.
“You left me here, crying, so you could smoke?” I screamed, enraged. I was meeting a new side of myself now as well.
“You can’t control me,” he spat.
“I have never, EVER, tried to control you,” I cried from behind him, following him into his house. “What the hell is wrong with you?”
Then, silence. Again. Then I cried. Again.
I was getting nowhere. So I walked out. I didn’t want to walk out, but I did. My legs just started moving, and for the first time, I was the numb one. For the first time, I didn’t think.
My best friend told me I did the right thing. My mom told me she was proud that I did something she could never do. But I didn’t care about myself. I wasn’t proud. I wasn’t worried about right or wrong. I just cared about him. Was he safe? Was he sober? Do his friends know? Does he even know what happened?
I cried for days. He told me I couldn’t control him, and ironically, I was letting him control me instead. I waited for his call, and I even called him.
A few days passed and I finally saw him, intoxicated of course. All I heard was “you’re the one who left,” as if I abandoned him, too. No apology, and still no compromise. I kissed him, using all the strength left in me to show him I cared. With my shaky hands on his stubbled cheeks, I told him that I hoped he would talk to me soon.
Two mornings later I woke to his call.
“I can’t be with you,” he said softly, his hoarse voice unrecognizable. “I know I’m making a mistake, but this is what I want to do right now.”
If the guy you love chooses to move away, it definitely hurts. If the guy you love decides to love someone else, it inevitably scars. But when a guy chooses substance over you…
Well, its just disappointing.
I cried for him. Not for myself. I cried for his unused potential, I prayed for his safety, and I still hope for his health and happiness.
And sure, I was mad. Hell, I still am. But I also realized that his slap in the face had finally shaken me from my romantic daze. I finally saw that my years spent idolizing boyfriends and “teaching” them right from wrong had only left me with breakups and breakdowns. Sometimes, you just have to let go. For being something that sounds so carefree, letting go is an exhausting process. He has always been a lone wolf (that’s what his friends call him), and he must figure this out in his own way. For now, I send him good thoughts when I feel strong enough to do so, and I move forward.
Yes, I still am a fixer, and even though I couldn’t fix him, I have gained the courage to fix myself. A lesson had been learned. The only person you can control, is you. The only person you can save, is you. In retrospect, I now realize that I did save myself. And I will every time.
— — This is my first story on Medium. Feedback is greatly appreciated. :) — —