I went back to the hotel, and Romeo was in worse shape than when I had left him. I started Googling withdrawals and trying to educate myself on what to do. I got him into the bathtub and did my best, but eventually had to call 911 to come help me because I thought he was going to die in front of me. I tried to get him committed on a 72-hour hold in the hospital but was unable to. He came back home with me and slept for a couple of days. When he finally came to some sort of normal level of functioning, I told him I could not be a part of this lifestyle anymore and that he never should have picked up Brynlee that weekend, let alone bring her to a trap house. He began to cry and begged me not to leave him.
“I don’t want to be like this. Why am I like this? I just want to be normal. Please, please help me. I don’t want to die like this. I hate myself more than you could ever hate me right now,” he repeated over and over.
It is unbearable watching someone you deeply love be trapped in the throes of drug addiction. They are fighting for their life in front of you. And there is nothing you can do but stand by and watch their disease take everything from them. Addiction is a cunning disease, and the severity of Romeo’s addiction was like nothing I had seen or read about after 15 years of sitting in courtrooms, reading hundreds of chemical assessments, and knowing clients who had lost their lives to addiction. The range of emotions I had exhausts me to even think about now. I do not know how I was even functioning at that point. Keeping up with the demands of my job, taking care of Romeo, trying to protect the girls and keep them and myself safe was too much. I was breaking under the pressure, but I loved him so much and was beginning to have insight into what it was like living in his head every day. Living with addiction and untreated mental health is debilitating. I didn’t see Romeo as a frightening addict. I saw him as a frightening man with a dangerous addiction problem. A clean Romeo and a drug-using Romeo were two entirely different people. The good doesn’t disappear. The belief that if given proper treatment, the good can resurface doesn’t disappear. It does grow dimmer. The dichotomy of fearing and loving the same person steals your soul and leaves you falling further and further down that dark hole an addict has spent their whole life trying to get out of. Seeing him with this very sincere remorse, pain, fear, and passionate desire to be someone he could not be all just further added to the toxicity and complexity of our relationship.
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