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.