It was a habit I developed around and for him… The feelings I had for him were based on addiction — but not to cocaine. At first, he was my drug. The feelings he evoked in me were the same. Ups and downs, unreal passion, doubt — and towards the end, I felt trapped and insecure, but didn’t even want to consider quitting… I loved him. He was mine. And I wanted to take care of him, until the end. Although, in my mind the end was much further away… When I couldn’t have him anymore, I tried desperately to get that feeling back. I needed it, for my very survival. I tried new cocktails; a new drug, a new boy — every time. A couple trips left me recoiling in recovery…

Each time I wished he would save me, but toxic things never do.

It’s been a year and a half since I left Dick, and I still think of him often. Every once in awhile, for reasons I really can’t understand, I still miss cuddling up to him. I can’t even remember what if felt like when he would yell at me — it almost diminishes how strongly he affected me. Although, I vividly remember how it felt to have my sweet dog jump in between us, as if he could soften the impact of his livid words. My dog shook in fear, with his head down low, terrified to feel the blow of his anger but ready to protect me. That memory is what reminds me of how toxic we were, together. If not for that memory, I could probably still convince myself that everything was my fault.

I met Dick while I was blowing-off work. I’d recently broken up with my fiancé, and was enjoying a summer of distractions. I was going to Lake Tahoe with every opportunity I had. It was my Summer of Love — and by that, I mean I embraced everything about the hippy culture I’d so long laid claim to. I went to nude beaches and I met boys who grew weed and fed pretty girls drugs, because, why not? It was like a weekend that would never end, and while I was unattached, I loved it. It was my proper introduction to Cocaine, MDMA, Magic Mushrooms, Ketamine, Xanax, LSD, and the most casual and somehow connected sex I’d ever had.

It still feels good to reminisce on that summer; I fell madly in the most intense love I’d ever felt. He was strength and security and comfort in the most masochistic form I could have chosen. He tried to warn me; he told me of his ex whom he really still loved, but whom he’d left broken. He saw her become unhappy while he tore her down, and he was scared the same thing would happen between us. When he told me of his fears, I just wanted to love him even more. Our relationship completely consumed me. I lost parts of myself in him. I was passion and he was intensity — and if it was a competition, he most definitely won.

Dick was bluntly honest, even harsh sometimes. In the beginning, I respected him for it. I saw it as strength, even when it sliced right thru me, because it made me feel like I could trust him. Honesty was a quality that strongly appealed to me after my previous relationship; but it wasn’t long until he was lying to me about simple things, simply to avoid my “bitching”. Soon I realized he wasn’t honest as much as he was harsh. He told me I was lazy while I constantly cared for him and his household. I remember feeling like he thought of me as cheap labor more than as his girlfriend. I remember him comparing me to his exes. I remember him being so angry I felt hated, and then wondering why he was with me… and then wondering why I was with him.

It was love, until I realized that loving him was killing me, in ways. That isn’t drama. I’m not crazy or high or overreacting… It is what it is. There was a little chemical assistance, with all the coke and benzos; I didn’t really realize at the time how all that could really affect either of us, but I do now — and I regret that neither of us took the initiative to stop fucking with our own heads. I don’t think we would have ended on such a sour note if we’d been levelheaded, but we never were.