"You know I hate when you just stand there and stare at me," my husband said from the couch, barely looking up from his video game. "Yeah, but I married you, which means that I get to stare at you whenever I want," I replied as a mildly defeated, sort of smug smile formed on his face. I had a habit of staring at him at random times, without actually saying a word to him. He hated it. I think he thought a stare from a woman meant a fight was about to ensue, but this just wasn't one of those things. I stared at him like a child stares at the gates of Disneyland the first time they see them. Pure amazement. Because having someone marry me, especially someone who was a good person, happened to be the high school love of my life, and cared about my children and I equally—was not something that was always realistic for me. In fact, being a woman with anything to offer another human being was a recently new development. Because five years ago, I was useless, helpless, and dying. Because five years ago, I was an active addict. I'd like to say that it was my grandmother's death, my mother's battle with cancer, my emotionally troubled childhood, or my failing out of my first semester of college that propelled my journey into darkness, but the truth is that the signs were there since childhood. I was always a little chubby, because I loved food and found comfort in it. Next was love. I loved love, and felt pain when I was alone. Next was t.v. I would find myself obsessing about the news, or crime documentaries, or the end of the world, to the point where my family thought I was crazy. As I made my way through high school, I found other obsessions; partying, shopping, and driving too fast down empty back roads in an attempt to fill the growing void in me. I followed these vices, especially the partying, through my late teens, eventually finding pills. It was a summer day, I woke up late in the afternoon, something that was happening more and more often lately. I remembered that someone had given me a pill the night before. “It’s a Perc 15,” they had told me. Just like any other day, I took a shower, had coffee, and on this day, I took this Percocet, like it was Tylenol... like it was no big deal, like it didn’t hold the power to change the course of my entire life.
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