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I loved him like no other. He told me that himself time and time again. And it was true. And yet he couldn’t love me back. Not really. Not like her loved her.

She was not another woman, as it might sound, but a drug. An addiction to a drug he maintained for over 26 years. A drug which had all but completely destroyed his mind.

We reconnected online. I had known him 20 years ago when we had worked together. I remembered this gentle soul on which I had a crush. I had kept photos of him all these years – looked at them occasionally and wondered why I’d let him pass me by. And now he was back, having reached out on social media, wanting to reconnect with me and others we had known in common.

The first reunion he stood us up. But kept chatting with me on social media. I was entranced by his writing and his seemingly endless knowledge of this city we shared. He suggested we meet up separate from everyone else. I jumped at the chance.

I was drawn to him immediately. It was an uncanny attraction like nothing I had ever experienced before. We went touring downtown – he seemed to know this city inside out. I was impressed with his knowledge of the history, architecture, of the streets and buildings of this city I have lived in all my life but somehow never knew before. He made me laugh. We talked about music, books, old friends, old times – we had it all in common. We had such fun. It was like reconnecting with your twin flame after being forced apart for years. I was burning for him.

It started too quickly. I could accuse him of “lovebombing” and sucking me into a premature sexual relationship, but that would be a lie. Oh certainly where was lovebombing, but it came after I too quickly dove in myself. The rapid jumping into the relationship was my doing. I went to him two days after we had reconnected. We were supposed to watch a movie, hang out. He walked into the room in nothing but a towel. Ok, maybe that WAS a bit presumptuous. But it wasn’t like I scoffed and ran. No. On the contrary. I pulled him to me.

We had sex exactly two days after we technically “met”. But we had known each other all those years before, so it wasn’t like I hopped in bed with a total stranger. Was it?

It moved quickly. We were soulmates within a week. Spending every possible second together. There were no fights, no jealousies, nothing but pure love and lust for the first 5 months. It was bliss. I had never met anyone like him before. I had never fallen so fast or loved anyone so much. And the sex – amazing. He was everything I ever dreamed of in a man. The way he looked, the way he felt, the way he held me, made me laugh, made me want to talk to him all night long. I had never felt that way for anyone else. No one had ever ticked every single box the way that he did.

He said he was in recovery for meth and alcohol addiction. He worked a menial job in manual labor now, making minimum wage. When I had known him before, he had been in computers, so I knew he was capable of much more. Now he lived in a small room below the store where he worked. He had no car. I asked about these things and he talked about an abusive relationship he had been in where the girl, who he had been living with, had beaten him up and he had run from it and ended up here. It sounded suspicious. But I felt guilty for my initial doubt. After all, women end up in the same predicament running from abuse – why not a man? He even showed me the scar on his face where she had cut him. And I wasn’t looking for someone to support me at this point in my life. I own a home. I have a good job as an executive. What I need is someone to give me love and emotional support – the material stuff I can handle myself. Maybe he doesn’t have a great career, own property, etc. But do I need that? Every man I had been with before who was able to support me financially and materially hadn’t bothered, and had been emotionally unavailable which was worse. So I shrugged off these warning signs.

One day I noticed the pint of vodka under his bed. And i noticed it was full when I left the room to the bathroom and empty when I returned. I asked him about it. Yes, he acknowledged, he’s an alcoholic. He’s trying to cut down. But it balances the meth.

Wait….meth? I thought you were IN RECOVERY?

Well, what he meant by “in recovery” is that he was “tapering off”…for the past two years.

I rationalized. I had never had a long term relationship with a meth addict before. He assured me he had it under control. He described how the establishment dramatizes and creates a nightmarish vision of this drug that isn’t really true. People use the prescription versions for ADHD, after all. And that’s really what he uses it for. It calms him down. He has anxiety without it. How bad can it be? And indeed, he hadn’t given me any reason to think otherwise. After all, he doesn’t scratch his skin like bugs are crawling on it, his teeth are perfectly healthy, he’s never violent or impulsive – at least not that I could see. So maybe he does really have it under control. Maybe it really is less scary than the “establishment” wants me to believe. I let it go. I even supported his view of things. Supported him.

The first sign of meth psychosis came when we went out of town with my family. I have trouble sleeping with someone else, so we slept in separate rooms. In the middle of the night i got up to use the restroom and found his light was still on. I knocked – curious if he was ok. He had shut himself in the closet with a bottle of wine, rocking back and forth and complaining that someone was watching him through the window and they wanted him to hate me. I coaxed him out and into the bed. I held him and soothed his fears. He calmed down. In the morning, he admitted being sometimes delusional – claimed it was the result of frontal lobe damage caused by getting hit by a car a couple of years ago. He’s basically schizophrenic.

I’ve been brought up by my NPD mom to be a good little caretaker. As much as I hate to admit it, in a sick twisted way, I think this just made him more appealing. Sure, it occurred to me – isn’t frontal lobe damage what is caused by meth? But he had medical records to prove the accident and the brain swelling. Who am I to judge or doubt?

It was on this trip I began to see the impulsive irrational behavior also. When we were going to get back late due to an extra stop my family wanted to make, and I asked him if it would interfere with his work, he just shrugged and said don’t worry about it. I pushed and learned he would be late for work if we made the stop. I offered to drive him back since we were not dependent on my family for transport. No, he insisted, it’s not a big deal. He didn’t want to miss the opportunity to spend one more day with us. I convinced him to call his boss, but his boss was busy and told him to call back later. He never did. I kept insisting, but he told me to back off – I didn’t understand how the place worked. This is how they treat each other. Um…ok I guess.

When we returned, they fired him for not showing up.

The first full on psychotic break came about 5 months in, about a week after the job loss. I offered to pay him to do some work in my garden, as he said he loved doing stuff like that and he would need the money for rent. I had a hair appt, so left him to do this work for a couple of hours. We were texting back and forth while apart and everything seemed great until all of a sudden he started to text weird things like “why do you keep texting me? Is it so you can come back here and see that nothing has gotten done and have an excuse not to pay me?” He claimed I was making him agitated because he needed to get this work done. OK, I apologized and stopped texting.

When I came back, he started to show me what he had done. I thanked him, I praised him, I asked how much do I owe him. He asked if there was more he could do to earn the money – he didn’t feel he had done enough. I assured him it was great, and really it was. He had done more than enough. I told him I would give him more work for more money if he wanted. In the middle of this, I noticed a vodka bottle – appeared to be empty – on top of my AC unit inside my house. I thought it was an odd place to stash a bottle of vodka and also wondered where it came from given I had none in the house and he had no money, so asked “is that a vodka bottle up there?”

He flipped out. “You don’t notice any of the work I’ve done but you’re quick to notice the vodka. Yes, I’ve been drinking.” And then launched into a 5 minute lecture accusing me of setting him up by texting him the whole time he was supposed to be working so that I would come back and be able to accuse him of doing nothing but drinking. Which I had NOT done. Then it developed into accusations that I had some rental car company drop off a rental car for some guy from San Francisco I was having over to have sex with. And that I was “using” him to get out of a relationship with my ex husband (who I had been divorced from for over 8 years). And that he was just my whipping boy and my slave and since I think he is so useless to be good for nothing but grunt work why don’t I go fuck myself. Totally incoherent accusations. I started crying. I told him I don’t understand. He screamed at me that I am just like his ex who abused him. She also said she doesn’t understand. That’s what we all say when we are trying to ruin him. Etc etc. It was getting out of hand, so I told him I need a minute and walked away into the other room. I came back a few minutes later to find him walking out the door and down the street. I walked out behind him and asked where he’s going. He flipped me off from behind and kept going.

30 minutes later, I started getting incoherent texts from him. He hopes I’m happy – because of me he got fired. He hopes I’m happy – because of me he is sleeping in a dumpster tonight because he is locked out from the store where he lives. At one point his mother texted him and he sent me a pic of that text with the threat “Did you call her? If you called her or ever talk to her, it’s been nice knowing you, you’re DEAD!” He kept texting about how people around him were threatening him, that he had no place to go, that he was squatting downtown with the homeless people. I asked him if he wanted me to pick him up and he could sleep at my place. He answered “Sure, and you can leave all the windows open so your neighbor’s dog can more easily come inside and kill me.” And “So YOU can kill me. How do you plan to do it? With a knife? A gun?” This went on for some time. Finally he said “Come pick me up.”

I picked him up downtown. He was still raging. He kept calling me names and accusing me of cheating on him, trying to kill him. He called me stupid and ugly. He said stupid ugly girls like me always think they can get away with shit, get away with mistreating him. He ranted on and on. I was worried about him. I thought he was having a schizophrenic break. I didn’t want him sleeping on the street. Yet, he was scaring me. I didn’t want to take him back home with me either.

I took him to a hotel. He accused me of knowing about this hotel because I regularly bring men there to have sex with them. I left him in the car while I went in to get a room. The only one they had left was a $200 suite – but I took it. Trying to sneak him past the front desk while he was still verbally abusing me was nerve wracking. Once we got in the room, he lay down on the floor and acted pissed as hell. When he saw that I was leaving, he got really angry. But I left quickly.

A sleepless night. I came back the next morning to be sure he would leave the room. I was concerned how I might find him, how I might find the room. I was honestly worried he might destroy things, in his condition, and I would have a huge repair bill on my hands. Luckily, he hadn’t. I hoped maybe the delusion would have passed and he would be better, even apologetic. He was not. At first he wouldn’t even open the door.

When he did open it, he was still ranting. I offered to take him to the train. He said I better, I owed that to him at the very least. I should have left then, I know. Why didn’t I?

Instead I drove him to the train, being verbally abused the entire way. He threw the phone at me, which I had given him because he could no longer afford to pay for his own, saying “I don’t want anything of yours!” He threw his books, which he was meaning to sell to a bookstore, at me because “I don’t need to carry all this crap. Do some reading! It will do you some good, you’re such an idiot.” He told me he would like to see me “beneath the wheels of a car, bloody in the street.” He said I “deserve to be stabbed to death.” The onslaught continued when he got out of the car, he leaned in to continue to yell accusations and insults at me. He then walked to the middle of the street and threw a book I had given him into the street – a present I had received as a teenager from the father of my best friend. I was too scared to go retrieve it. I was scared of him. I just wanted to be away from him. So I drove off and left this bit of my history – and him – behind.

I missed that work day due to lack of sleep and being completely confused and upset. What had I done to cause this? What, exactly, WAS this anyway?

A few days later, he reached out. He was all apologies. He was mortified by the way he had behaved, the way he had treated me, his queen, the love of his life. He begged me to see him, to tell him all that he had said and done and everything it made me feel. He would understand if I didn’t want to be with him anymore, but please let him see me, please express myself because even if we aren’t together, he can’t bear the idea of me holding on to the resentment I absolutely MUST have for him after that. I caved. I agreed to see him.

It had been a meth delusion, he admitted. He had been convinced that I was bringing someone to my house to have sex with after he left. He saw a car parked strangely on the street outside my house and became convinced this was a sign of my plans to cuckold him. He was terrified by what meth had clearly done to his mind and how it had made him behave. He wanted to quit now. He hadn’t done meth since that day and he planned to quit for good. He needed to. He hoped I would be there because he needed my help to quit. He needed my love. Like a good little caretaker, I felt nothing but love and pride at being so deeply needed. I agreed to stay with him.

I demanded he enter therapy with me – he agreed. I insisted he stop meth AND alcohol right now. He agreed. I set some milestones with rewards for staying off the drugs – after two weeks clean I would get us a super expensive hotel room with a spa tub and sleep with him in the same bed (that was important to him and something I rarely did because I can’t get a good night’s sleep with someone else). After a month clean, I would take him on a trip. Etc.

We did start therapy. Every week he talked about how he hadn’t done drugs  or alcohol for another week. We were happy. Everything was golden. Then came the second meltdown – it took place during our one month clean trip away reward…

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