You were there, you lived through it, you loved them

Sunday Star - - FRONT PAGE - If you have a per­sonal story and are will­ing to share (anony­mously is fine) please email tal­bot­goe­spur­ple@gmail.com. To find out more about Tal­bot Goes Pur­ple, go on­line to www.tal­bot­goes pur­ple.org.

On a beau­ti­ful sum­mer evening at the Maid­stone Club in East Hamp­ton, New York, I at­tend a cock­tail party cel­e­brat­ing the 21st birth­day of the daugh­ter of a so­cially prom­i­nent and af­flu­ent family.

I did not at­tend elite board­ing schools and Ivy League col­leges, so I do not know many peo­ple at the party. Stand­ing among three gen­er­a­tions of the one per­cent, I look around for my boyfriend but it seems as though he has dis­ap­peared. My high heels hurt my feet.

A ro­man­tic fog rolls in, shroud­ing the golf course. While I look for him, my boyfriend shoots up heroin for the first time in the pool house with other party guests. My life is about to change for­ever.

In the time that fol­lows, as ad­dic­tion takes over my boyfriend’s life, it also dra­mat­i­cally changes mine. We lose the apart­ment we share, but not be­fore I clean up hu­man fe­ces, find dirty sy­ringes float­ing in the suds as I wash dishes, put out a fire on my bed, am robbed, and find a pros­ti­tute in my liv­ing room. Blood is ev­ery­where in our apart­ment, most mys­te­ri­ously arc­ing across the ceil­ing.

My boyfriend steals my debit card and cleans out my life sav­ings. I lose my job. He loses his job on Wall Street.

His lit­tle brother, who still has braces, shoots up and be­comes an ad­dict.

I start get­ting tested for HIV. I am scared to tell any­one about his ad­dic­tion or to get help.

Even­tu­ally, through a se­ries of mir­a­cles, be­cause ev­ery­one in­volved has reached the bot­tom, he is ad­mit­ted to one of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foun­da­tion Ad­dic­tion Treat­ment Cen­ters.

In a taxi with ev­ery­thing I own on the seat next to me, I go home.

Here is the im­por­tant part:

This story is sim­i­lar to that of many peo­ple ad­dicted to opi­ates and those who love them. The ad­dicted per­son dies or goes to re­hab, and the lover, fa­ther, mother, sis­ter, or child takes a deep breath. The im­por­tant part, the part I want you to cut out of the news­pa­per and carry in your wal­let is this: It is not your fault. Noth­ing that hap­pened has any­thing to do with you. You were there, and that’s it. You lived through it. You loved them.

Now, go find some dreams of your own to ful­fill. Don’t look back. You can’t do any more than you did. It is over. Live a full, rich life. You will carry the pain with you for­ever, so don’t feel like you have to stay in touch with the per­son whose ad­dic­tion took over your life.

Peo­ple, like my boyfriend’s lit­tle brother, will die, and that will al­most crush you. Pain and sor­row will wake you dur­ing the night and will be part of the rest of your life. Tamp it down, how­ever you can, and the next day smile be­cause you beat it again. Then, go and live your life. God­speed, my friends.

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