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I was just a little kid when you entered my world. I remember the first time I saw you, heard you, smelled you, felt you. I guess at 10 years old all I wanted was to be liked, to be loved, to be needed.

In the beginning, you were attracted to me just as much as I was attracted to you. It felt like the final Tetris piece being maneuvered just in time to fit perfectly into my life.

You see early on we were a match made in heaven. You gave me confidence and with that came a sense of purpose. I was extraordinary at dealing with you.

At 12 you made me a hero in front of my dad. I never had to ask him for things… you had all the answers.

At 13 you gave me my first dose of anxiety. Oh, what foreshadowing this was. When we would hang out with my friends together I was the only one who would leave happy, they didn’t have such a positive relationship with you early on. When their parents started to hear we were together they grew cold towards me.

“My parents said you’re not allowed to come over.”

When I heard this through the phone it felt like someone poured boiling water directly into my bloodstream. I didn’t understand really. I remember crying in my room and thinking to myself that I would give the 1,000 dollars back that you had given me just to not be outcasted.

All of a sudden I was alone… again.. but there you were with open arms, waiting to pick me back up.

At 15 I remember the first time I got to truly show you off, it was in the cafeteria in high school. My friend’s grandfather worked as a janitor and he always bullshitted with us at lunchtime about different things. When he started talking about you I jumped in instantly to give him advice. He gave me a glance as if he was intrigued by what I said and then proceeded to walk away. The very next day he was waiting for me at the front of the cafeteria with a smile that could light up the midnight sky. “Wow you were right,” he said as he hugged me in front of everyone.

Man did I feel cool and important, and it was all because of you.

We grew closer and closer as the years went on. We had ups and downs but mostly ups. All the material things you brought to me didn’t compare to the foundational set of decision-making skills you prepared me with.

I was 21 when I first realized you might be a long-term problem. I started hanging out with you strictly alone and I couldn’t stop. It’s all I wanted to do. You affected my mood when I was with other people, you kept me up night after night.

I used you for every decision I had to make, you started to become one with who I was – it slowly was no longer you and me it was just…..me.

I started to feel alone again in a different way. The relief you had given me for so many years felt distant, hard to come by. I tried harder with you to regain the connection and harmony we once had. As I brought our relationship to new highs, deeper and deeper into despair I fell.

Anxiety became our newest addition. Fixed in its place. I could hear my heartbeat every second of the day as if it was synced with the clock on the wall. This level of suffering became normal for me, it was ok because I still had you.

At 23 you made me believe I didn’t have to get a job to survive- like I was different than everyone else. You always left a small window of opportunity open for me which Is why I loved you so much. At this point all I needed was a chance, a glimmer of hope and once again you were there to greet me. You were unforgiving with your grip on me- like a tree’s roots deep into the earth’s surface.

At 25 I realized maybe you weren’t everything you made yourself out to be. I got a real job but I took you with me. You were there when work got stressful, you were there when work was great, but slowly the tables started to truly turn.

You kept me up night after night- lie after lie. I started to resent you for everything you had put me through. I tried to break up with you numerous times, I swore on everything real that you would no longer be apart of my life only to wake up the next day and run to you like a toddler who missed his mother.

It got real bad. The relationship was now 100% toxic yet I could not get myself to separate from you. When we were truly together, just you and I, you made me feel like time stood still. I did not need friends or family, I did not need food or sleep. Being with you, just us, was all I asked for.

At 27 you held my hand as I got fired for the first time. You whispered in my ear that everything would be ok. I knew you were lying yet I still listened to you closely. At this point, I had to hide the fact that we were together, especially with my family, at all costs. I would have died before letting them know about us.

At 28 you forced me out of the country. A new beginning. I was ready to leave you behind, once and for all. The weight of you felt like a piano resting on my back, I just couldn’t tolerate it anymore. I didn’t talk to you for months but you were still on my mind, every single day and every single night. I started to feel what life was like without you, it felt good for a moment but then terrible the next. I just didn’t have closure, I wanted you back but I was too afraid to admit it- I hated myself for this.

At 29 I was back in the states when tragedy struck. Everything I knew about the past, the present, the future was suddenly frozen in time. I no longer knew the difference between up and down, stop and go, life and death… I was as lost and alone as a sunken ship in the trackless field of the deep cold ocean. Once again there you were, with open arms, calling my name.

Life was different from this point. I no longer had to hide you as well. We took our relationship to new highs which brought me to new lows. As the resentment between us grew so did the lies., the deceit, the suffering. I wanted you out of my life but I just didn’t know how to do it, for I tried for 10 years and failed. There were times where I thought maybe we were just meant to be together and this was the life I was supposed to live. Boy was I wrong.

At 32 I decided enough was enough. You had taken a toll on me that I can not put into words, my body could not handle it anymore, let alone my mind. It was 22 years in which you controlled me. I wanted to be free, I wanted to have a normal life. I knew the only way for us to truly separate was for me to be honest with my family about our relationship which is what I did. It was by far the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.

November 25th, 2020 is when we officially separated for good. This day I intend to go down as the turning point in my life.

So here is my goodbye letter to you.

I will miss the excitement you brought me, the hope, the ability to make boring work tolerable but that’s about it…

I won’t miss the anxiety, the time spent, the hot and cold rushes through my body, the unbearable stress, the lies, the deceit, the artificial maneuvering, the panic, the drama, the mood swings, the compulsion, the manic behaviors, the hate, the lack of self-respect, the lack of integrity, the lack of discipline, the lack of honor.

I won’t miss the feeling of misery, the manipulation, the dedication, the obsessiveness,  the suffering, the aggressiveness, the passiveness, the suffering.

I won’t miss the look on my finances face, I won’t miss…. You.

So goodbye gambling, once and for all, goodbye. I don’t love you and I am starting to realize I never did.

Author: JG

I was just a little kid when

How does she coax a rose from a stone?

Cold flat surface and non-dimensional plane.

Heavy burden of stone, lifeless, exhausted, no name.

Her days have moved forward with more days yet to come.

And like a stone she won’t let go of the things that she’s done.

And she sits contemplating the greatest of sin, treating each day as a means to an end.

Until one day a question came in the form of a prose.

Is there any way to coax a rose from a stone?

Is there any way to move a stone to rebirth?

No more counting on someone or something to show her self-worth?

So she sits at her table, a stone in her hand and reaches an agreement they both understand.

This life did not give her something already made, but provided the pathway to let her be brave.

So to answer the question that came from this prose;

How does one coax a rose from a stone?

The answer is simple, but the path isn’t straight.

It takes time, patience, bravery, and love to create.

Author: Joyce Brand

How does she coax a rose from

Our Ground Time Will Be Brief

Pressure on figs makes them sweeter.

—Arabic saying

 

If only your date of death were slipped

under your door—then maybe you’d jettison

your adolescent, super-human fictions, not film

your roof-launch onto piled mattresses;

maybe

you wouldn’t walk across the arc

of the bridge’s left girder on a dare,

sneakers snugged between round buttons

of oversized bolt heads, river and train streaming

beneath, your pals waving from the bank

like frightened windmills;

maybe, just maybe,

you’d stop telling yourself there’s time

for another shot, another black out drunk

where tales of that other self mount,

achieving cult status—

time for cigarettes

coughed up in the cemetery—Dog,

you’ll get over it, choke it down;

maybe

you’d stop saying there’s time enough

to travel to that distant island

with its Recovery sign twinkling;

or time

to make love again and again to

a woman you don’t love.

If you held

death beside you every night

how would you live each day differently?

What carnival ride would you choose

as the hands near zero?

What words

would you commit to? Poems that attack

cancer cells, as if the push

of pen could clear fields of them

blooming in someone’s lungs?

Would you drive

across seven states to tell your ex-lover: I slept

with someone too, shouldn’t have blamed you?

Would you sign intake forms with your real name?

Takethe train to Hoboken

and hold her hand

again? Here, this is that notice,

a Coming Soon sign

wrapped around a book of matches.

The rustled paper seems to whisper: Go on,

burn down the house, set fire

to all that doesn’t matter.

                                                Here, this envelope

and note can kindle it, watch the blooming

take the wood.

Author: DAS

Our Ground Time Will Be Brief Pressure

Zopiclone 

Author: Annie K.

PM.

Zopiclone.  Zo. Pic. Lone.

Zo.

Zo, zo tired.

Wash your fatigue over me,

like a welcome wave on hot feet burnt by sand.

Pic.

Pic me up and plonk me down.

In my bed.  I don’t care

about the lights being on or;

the wind smacking the curtain or;

the the child crying.

I can’t see you.  I can’t hear you –

No more.

Lone.

Lone Alone

Without you –

Stress, worry, hopelessness.

Lone Loner Lover Love

Lovely.

Sleep

Goodbye

Thank you Zo. Pic. Lone.

AM.

Wake

Hello

Fuck you Zo.Pic.Lone.

 

Wrong side of / off bed

Hangover without drink.

Drug dependency.

I’ll be tired

all day and won’t sleep tonight.

 

Eyes fizzy,

brain fuzzy,

stomach woozy,

 

Zopiclone,

Why do I consume you?

Now you consume me.

Zopiclone  Author: Annie K. PM. Zopiclone.  Zo. Pic. Lone. Zo. Zo, zo

Author: Katlynn Gibbs

This has been the hardest goodbye I could ever imagine.

Without you, I begin to feel shy all over again.

I would count on you to break me out of my shell.

Now that I don’t have you, I get mad and start to yell.

Fearing learning how to learn again,

I realized that I must find myself a new close friend.

Not wanting to say farewell forever;

yet knowing deep down that it’s only for the better.

Now, I’m consuming myself with love made by me.

Accepting and moving on will be the most important key.

Changing my mind has been the difficult part.

While here, it has seemed to go hand in hand with my heart.

Without you, I will always be glad for my steady health.

While I’m suprisingly pleased with this better, new improved, version of myself.

Author: Katlynn Gibbs This has been the hardest

Author: Maggie Millian

There’s so much pain.

It feels like an ocean.

Sometimes the ocean is calm and sunny.

But when there’s a storm,

And the water gets choppy

I feel the waves crashing against my body.

But the thing is

that even when it is sunny,

The ocean is still there.

And I know what the water is capable of doing to me.

How quickly it can turn on me.

How the water can lift me up 

And deliver me back down 

gently.

Or it can drown me. 

And when the storm comes,

The problem is,

I never know if it will pass.

And I certainly can’t remember how the sun felt.

All I can remember is the grief of knowing that sunshine was once possible.

Author: Maggie Millian There’s so much pain. It feels

Author: Savanna Tufts

Behind her bright eyes was a mind full of fear

She hid that pain well, barely ever shed a tear

Her smile hid a heart full of hurt but she still had a laugh like no one else

She cared for everyone in the world, everyone except for herself

She took the wrong road, that speed limit growing faster

The progression was excessive, she was a beautiful disaster

That smile would fade and that laugh would disappear

Her mind growing foggy and her thoughts now unclear

Her conscience being drained, and her sense of belonging was gone

Impulsive and unable to differentiate the right from the wrong

Being stripped of who she is, that beauty turning into a beast

Her innocence transformed and a monster would unleash

Unrecognizable from the woman that she once used to be

She needed a glimpse of hope to realize that she had to dig deep

And reach into her soul and find within herself that little girl

The one that would once smile in public and it would light up the world

To teach her that she doesn’t need to be scared, give her the strength she never had

Tell her that she can remain pure in a world that is brimming with bad

To let her know that it doesn’t matter who she became, only who she becomes now

She can turn that beast back to beauty, if she would let some faith in and allow

Allow positivity in and surround herself with like-mind others

That have the same goals as her, that way she no longer suffers

With an everyday obsession to rid herself of her truth

To stuff the pain and hurt that she keeps bottled in from her youth

To grow and let go of those that keep holding her back

That keep dragging her down and blocking her light so it’s black

Darkness is debilitating and it keeps her from leaping toward

Her dreams, and It hurts her, but their stagnant and she has got to flow forward

Cuz if she doesn’t heal what hurt her, she will bleed on those those that didn’t cut her

Trapped in a cocoon, blocking metamorphosis from happening so her wings cannot flutter

And that will fill her up with shame and remorse and strip her of her happy ever after

And her beautiful success story would end, once again, a beautiful disaster

Author: Savanna Tufts Behind her bright eyes was

Author: Savanna Tufts

My bottled up feelings boil up and like a volcano they eventually erupt

I impulsively pick up and start burning everything that I touch

These cravings engulf me, as if they were a  tidal wave

They master and control me, like I am their vital slave

Like a sink hole, my face descends and begins to concave

My eyes deeply sunken in, like a skeleton in a grave

Like a tornado, I spiral, and start destroying everything in my path

When I can’t get what I want, you know you’ll hear my wrath

Relapse after relapse and another mistake after mistake

Breaking my heart and my home, like there was an earthquake

The thoughts of my past flow in rapid, like there is a flood

Ruining the lives of my friends and the lives of my blood

This disease steals all of my light, as if it were an eclipse

I got some tools to stop, but my belt isn’t fully equip

Some people claim it’s not a disease, and ignorance is bliss

Will this be the death of us all, like there’s an apocalypse

Like a hurricane, addiction is cruel and a force

You have to let each relapse just run it’s course

As we let a natural disaster run the course that they do

Cuz if intervened you don’t know what might ensue

The overwhelming fear and remorse rumbling in my mind like thunder

Sometimes so unbearable I think I’d be better off six feet under

I wish they could just shock my head with a bolt of lightning

So I could have a normal brain instead of one that is frightening

I’m afraid of my own thoughts and my life starts to crumble, that’s erosion

It’s blowing up every bit of my persona, now that’s an explosion

Coating my character like rust on metal, now that’s some corrosion

Every single hope and dream I’ve had shattered, like an implosion

I’ve got to pump the breaks and start moving slower, not faster

Because I’ve got to stop living my life like an unnatural disaster

Author: Savanna Tufts My bottled up feelings boil

Author: Aimee Simmons

It’s happening. I’m losing me again. Quite honestly I don’t know if I was ever found. Found in a way that fills this hole, this pain.
You.
I’m waiting on you again.
It’s not your fault you have restrictions. I’m just having a hard time with the intermissions.
I’m anxious and tired; nauseated and can’t sleep.
What am I letting you do to me? Or more logically, what am I doing to myself?
I loved you.
I. Love. You.
And it’s killing me because you’re so close yet still so far.
We are both yet still so far.
Is this real? Or do I listen to my gut? Will I ever really be enough? Are these my insecurities or the ability to see your soul? Are you really narcissistic and manipulative? Is it time I let go?
I’m scared. The pain and anxiety I felt for so long; wondering, worrying, praying for you. No matter what you did to me, I forgave you. I did wrong too.
You get sober and you ask for me. Why?
I’m right back to feeling like I’m not pretty enough for you or good enough for you. The past haunts me. Is it true?
I’m right back to being scared this is all a game. I don’t wanna play.
I don’t know what’s real.
I can’t talk to you and I need you.
I’m so conflicted. I love you so much it’s like a sickness.
Please tell me what’s real.
I need to heal.
I love you.

Author: Aimee Simmons It’s happening. I’m losing me

Old Me

Author: April Cornwell

Crystal rocks & different kinds of baggies
money stacked 5’s, 10’s, 20’s, & 50’s
phone goes off another person at my door
plenty of money doesnt matter I want more
police are running up surprise its a raid
I was careful but is always ends the same
county here I come and I don’t even care
hell I knew the risks & still bravely dared
opening my eyes realizing it was just a dream
no shaking or cold sweats for I’m still clean
I refused to live that life any longer
that’s the old me now I’m stronger.

Old Me Author: April Cornwell Crystal rocks & different