Don’t Set Yourself On Fire to Keep Others Warm

Next in my loves lost series, I will regale you with a tale of woe (not really I just like how that sounds). In Season 2 of SATC, Carrie briefly dates a recovering alcoholic. She breaks it off when she realizes that he’s using her to replace his old addiction.

My freshman year at Rutgers, there was this extremely cute guy who worked in the dining hall. Like super hot. Like probably the best looking guy that I’ve ever hooked up with thus far. Let’s call him…..Sam*. Sam was a year ahead of me. Anyway, whenever me and my friend would go to get food,  he would swipe us in with the angriest look on his face, and when I would say thank you he would never reply.

Fast forward to September of sophomore year, and I’m walking to the bus stop after hanging out with my friend, and I see him at the stop, working. (For some reason Rutgers used to have security guards at the bus stops). I look at him, he looks at me, and I keep walking.

It’s a couple of days later and I have suddenly gotten ill with tonsillitis. My tonsils are swollen to the point where I can’t eat anything, I have a 100+ fever and feel delirious, and the antibiotics I’ve been given are making me go to the bathroom. In the midst of this, I get a notification on my phone. I check it and see a Facebook friend request and a message from Sam. I was so excited I almost forgot how sick I was lol. I didn’t even know how he had found me, but I realized he must have gotten my name from my ID card when I used to swipe into the dining hall.

We talk for a few days, then we make plans to hang out. I’m feeling better by this time, but not 100% (my tonsils pretty much stayed swollen and infected until I got them removed in December). The first time we hung out, he brought his friend *Kenny, and we hung out in my dorm room with my roommate. It was really cool. All four of us hang out again, this time in the apartment that he shares with Kenny and two other people. It was here that I realized he smoked weed and liked to drink, which I didn’t see as odd, because hey we were in college and that’s what college kids did.

We hung out a couple more times, and I realized that I REALLY really liked him. The first time he kissed me, I finally understood what people meant when they said someone gave them butterflies.  We started hooking up but never got around to having sex because after a couple of weeks of hanging out, he started drifting away. Instead of letting him go as I should have, I insisted on bringing him back to me. I demanded why he hadn’t made me his official girlfriend.

He revealed to me that he had a weed and alcohol addiction. Instead of doing the things he needed to do, he would stay in his apartment and smoke. He told me that the times he wouldn’t reply my texts, he was out drinking. He would drink so much that he would forget where he was and how he got there. He had had the chance to play football for Rutgers, but had lost his motivation and stopped practicing. He would skip classes for weeks at a time, and practically failed every class one semester. This was my first time being with someone who was dealing with something this big, someone who wanted me to be their light at the end of the tunnel.

I promised I would help him, and things seemed to be back on track until the drifting began again. I was at a crossroad. I was spending all of my time worrying about him, skipping class to hang out with him, making sure he was alright. I could continue chasing someone who was in no shape to be in a relationship right now, or I could let him go. Ultimately, I chose myself. I wasn’t going to sacrifice myself, my sanity, and my dignity for him. While the weed addiction was real, I also sensed that he just didn’t want to be in a relationship with me. We eventually stopped communicating, although I would see him around school sometimes. I later found out through a friend that he was in a relationship, and he ended up graduating the same year I did, and is in a relationship.

The lesson here? Sometimes someone needs help, but you may not be the right person for the job. And that’s ok.



*names have been changed to protect the innocent. And myself, from a lawsuit.



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