Loving an Addict

Illustration by David Rappeneau

Illustration by David Rappeneau

There’s a reason there are meetings especially for the loved ones of addicts — it’s a rough ride to care for someone who has lost so much of themselves to substances.

Here is a reader submission on the helpless feeling of caring for someone suffering from addiction:

he will come home covered in broken glass
but never know where the bandages are kept
soon, you will realise even the softest people
can have sharp, serrated edges

do not let these scrape away parts of you
so that you resemble a bottle,
you are a human being
and human beings should not be
easy to hold, or
easy to swallow

when the first, second, third lover
mistakes your skin for a souvenir of their sobriety
do not start hosting AA meetings in your chest
your heartbeat, is not therapy
no matter how much you want it to be
and you cannot process another person’s poison

you are not liver
are not kidney
you are only open arms
that never stretch quite wide enough

when dating an addict becomes a habit, recognise your own addiction
stop trying to heal people who are picking at their wounds
there is a difference between someone who has a fire behind their eyes
and someone, who is on fire.

Poem by Maddie Godfrey.