What confuses me is that you claim to have loved, more strongly, these men with potential. In the piece you don’t really reconcile this. I’m not advocating for women to go out and fix all the men with potential and clearly you aren’t either. But what of these “made” men for whom you felt less affection? Did they have their own problems that weren’t related to drugs, specifically, so harder to pinpoint? Was the fact that you loved them less not an issue? Your father lived a second life. It’s not substance abuse, but I share you experience of not having a father around all the time. It’s hard in its own way and I’d argue no less a problem. In other words (echoing some of the comments) we all have problems and we all have potential. Sometimes the catalyst to truly overcoming a rut is love. Sometimes all it takes is one person to believe in you, to love you through and despite your problems. Life is a journey, I envy yours — so filled with love. When the heart and the brain compete the outcome is rarely rational. Have you now been able to find the love you desire with men who strictly get shit done?