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Money does not make you happy


One of our neighbors/friends was very sad the other day. She was leaving her boyfriend/husband (I’m not sure what their relationship is, and I’ve never been inclined to ask) because when they got together years ago, he had told her he was a recovering addict but insisted he was clean. Now, years later, it turned out that he isn’t clean, or at least that’s her suspicion, because he is becoming verbally, emotionally (and perhaps physically) abusive toward her. He also inherited millions of dollars from his dead parents, but the money’s going somewhere and she can’t tell where, and he won’t tell her.

Presumably it is going into drugs, which he is ingesting, hence his increasingly bizarre behavior.

She came to say goodbye to us, because she was leaving him and leaving the neighborhood. She asked us if we knew of a place to rent. We told her we didn’t know, but pointed her to some websites that might be able to help. She wants to stay in the area because she likes her job, but she needs to start her life anew, alone.

I admire her strength in refusing to live with an addict, especially if he is abusing her. But her experience is yet another data point in my personal chart of observations of human behavior. The chart says that, in general, people do not change. Once an addict, always an addict. I’ve known many people who start relationships with “recovering” addicts, addicts who insist that they’re clean. A few of them were indeed clean. But every day is a battle to stay clean, and most of them relapsed over time.

I think it’s simpler to avoid all addicts, recovering or not. For every addict, there’s dozens of other people who aren’t, who are more worthy of your time and attention in a relationship. No addict is so special that you can overlook their addiction. Because, chances are, their addiction will come back to haunt them, and you. Ergo, it’s best to avoid them entirely. Unless, of course, you’re an addict too. Or you grew up with addicts, and you perceive addiction as “normal.” In which case, you are attracted to what you know, what you’re familiar with. (Sharon Osbourne, please call your office.)

Meanwhile, our female neighbor/friend is gone, and her ex-partner is alone in his house, with his millions, with his addiction, alone.

I wonder if he is happy. I doubt it.

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