To the friend who left me, I thank you.
You probably didn't know this at the time, but you broke my heart. I had never before felt such pain, such abandonment, such confusion. I looked up to you, I admired you; your marriage, business, home. I did everything I could to be closer to you, to show you my adoration and appreciation. I sought your approval and craved your attention. I put you on a pedestal and idolized you.
Until one day, you said enough was enough. And that was it.
It took me years to grieve the pain. I was angry, offended, and hurt. I didn't understand what I did (or didn't do), or how I was to move forward without you. Was I not worthy? Not good enough?
Things got much worse for a while, before they would get better. But then sobriety came. And I began to learn about myself, my choices, my unhealthy needs and wants. The pain slowly turned to empathy. I realized it wasn't ever your fault, but mine. You were never to blame; my addiction and poor choices were. I had no idea what a healthy friendship was, nor how to reciprocate one.
I still can't believe how you lasted as long as you did, trying to steer me in the right direction, all while protecting yourself and family. It must have not been easy, with the constant worry, confusion and heartache. In fact if I were you, I would have left much sooner. You did all you could, while you could. But the best thing you did, was to leave me.
You were my safety net. I clung to your coat tails and stood proudly in your shadow. I was fooling myself into believing that I was somehow still okay if we were friends. I didn't have to show up alongside you. You did all that for the both of us.
But now I realize I needed my heart to hurt like that, I needed to be shaken hard, I needed someone to tell me that who I was becoming and what I was doing was not alright. That's what you did for me. You LEFT me, so I could FIND me. And sometimes, we need to be left alone to do just that.
Now I no longer grieve, as I have accepted what is, what needed to be for us. I see you from afar and admire the wonderful wife and mother you are. A respected fellow traveler following her passion, clothed in grace and dignity.
I no longer ride coat tails or stand in the shadows of others. I also vowed to God I'd only place Him on a pedestal from then on, as He is the only one worthy of idolizing anyway. I now walk in an honest and vulnerable light; following my own unique purpose path, bravely sharing my truth while learning to stand tall in my own story. I no longer place the burden or expectation on others for my happiness and security. You helped teach me all of that.
It would have taken me a lot longer to get sober if it wasn't for you leaving. I was just barely hanging on, and thankfully to you, you let me fall. That's what real friends do. That's what real love is.
It's hard when we love someone, to walk away. It takes courage and having a deep rooted hope for the future. It takes trusting a Higher Power to care for that person, knowing that it's not our job to save them in the first place. Thank you for being strong for me. For us. I am forever grateful for you letting go. I thank you.