They don’t mean to be, but they are. Addicts are selfish. They don’t see. They don’t acknowledge. They don’t consider the suffering of others. Especially, they don’t see, acknowledge, or consider, the suffering of those of us who try to help them to reach that golden shore – sobriety.

We spend time with them, because we hope. We listen to them, because we know they are isolated. But why are they isolated? Because they have broken their natural ties. Either because they view themselves as victims, and wish to protect themselves via distance – or because their natural ties, their parents, children, lovers, family, friends – have chosen to distance themselves to stay sane.

Not to be unfeeling, not be to crass. Not to mention our own suffering, but yes, I wish to mention humbly and seriously, in case any addict is listening, which I fully doubt, yet still hope: I wish to mention those few who still surround you. Those whom you can count upon a single hand, that you still feel that you can call in any emergency. Do you, Addict, realize, that we are real flesh and blood, real human beings, real thinking and feeling people, who suffer? Who bleed and fall down and get sad and feel disappointment and grieve? Do you realize that we are not just here for your use and your convenience, when you decide to pretend you are going to get sober, although deep inside you know damn well that you are not?

Surprise! We are not your blowup doll that you can pull out of the closet when your darkest needs arise, when your isolation and distance from all humanity stops you from having a real person who might consensually and mutually fulfill your needs. We are surprisingly enough, even though codependent, even if enabling, according to sober addicts who blame us for so much, real human beings, just as you addicts are. And whether you believe it or not, we suffer JUST AS MUCH as you do. We suffer, and feel, and hurt, just as much as you addicts do. And I dare to posit, more so, because we are clean and sober as we work through the betrayals, the disappointments, the anger, that your serial lies and false promises hook us into, lifting us higher only to drop us until every bone in our body is crushed.

We humble codependents and enablers don’t ask for much. We don’t even ask for your sobriety. Why? Because we know you cannot do it. We have a simple request – just quit lying to us. Lie to yourselves as much as you want. But quit lying to us. Quit telling us you are “good” and you are “fine” and you are committed to change when you have given up and don’t ever plan to change. Just leave us alone, so we can find sober people who want to do things that are mutually fun. No, that does not include standing by to be a witness to your pain. Believe it or not, we sober people actually have pain of our own, and yours is of no help to us. Leave us alone, so we can find people who want to be mutual.

What does that even mean, you ask. I will tell you. I seek someone who will listen to me, because I listen to them. Someone who will dance with me, because we dance together. Someone who will drive, because I will show them my secret mushroom spots in the green forest. Someone who will eat what I cook, but also cook for me. Someone who can talk about their suffering, but care about mine as well. Someone who is willing to be clean and sober and in touch and aware and sincere, because I am. Someone who is reliable, because I am. This is reciprocity. This is what addicts do not offer. They only offer their own suffering, as an excuse for their addiction. I don’t buy it, so please quit selling it. It has zero value.