Through The Eyes of Chad

My journey living with HIV, Addiction, Loss and Hope

After So Many Years…Why is it so hard?

Photo I took in the rain forest in Alaska

October 3, 2018

It has been over 8 years since I fled California.  It is interesting to think about it now. At the time nothing was clear, but today I can say I was fleeing.  I was running away from myself. I was running away from the very real destruction I left in my wake.  I had thrown away everything for drugs and sex.

This story is something many in our community have lived, and for some are still living today and for even more that have lost the battle and are no longer with us.  

There are some things that still sting like they occurred yesterday.  It is amazing to me how loss, and the pain of loss lingers for so long.  Random things remind me of this person, or that person. People who were so important to me. Some of those people were in my life for nearly a decade.   I always thought it would get easier. The guilt would fade away. That I could forgive the wrongs committed against me, but even more so that I could forgive myself for the wrongs that were inflicted by me to the people who stood by me for so long. 

In the end, I eventually pushed those people away from me or hurt them so badly that they were left with no other choice, but to cut ties and let me go. 

I had a therapist once tell me that I needed to let go of those connections, cut the ties in my mind, let go of social media, put the memories of the past away. I never could quite do that.  In my heart I thought one day I might make it right, I might find the words and actions to make it better.  But there are some things that can’t be made better.  

Many of the people lost, I rarely have spoken with since I left. It was probably healthier for all of us to just let it be.  I don’t think about them every day, or even every other day, or even every week,  but when I do the pain is still there and fresh.  Regret is not something I believe in. I can’t change the past. My journey good and bad was something I needed to experience in order to be a better person.  

In the end all things change. People come and go. The sun comes up and goes down day by day.  I try hard to not let the actions of my past define my future.  That isn’t always easy. It  has been exceptionally hard since my mom passed away in December.  I often find thoughts of using and other unhealthy behaviors popping into my mind.  But they go as quickly as they come.  I have a network of people I reach out to when it gets to bad. They always say “Secrets will take you out”.  I have no problem telling on myself, and owning up to the crazy shit that goes through my mind. 

I am not sure I believe the saying “Time heals all wounds”  I don’t know that is true. I do know that it changes and you find a way to cope with it. But I am not sure it ever really goes away.

Loss of a loved one whether from physical death or cutting ties hurts nearly the same.  Today I need to remind myself that I am on a journey and that there are many things to be grateful for in my life.  I can’t change the past. I can only choose what I want my present life to be.