Last year I thought I fell in love. I quit my job and moved away from Calgary to stay with him. The first month was so perfect, he was so charming and kind. It was fantastical, obviously too good to be true, but I fell for it, hard. Even after I found out about his coke addiction, I convinced myself things were still a fairy-tale. It doesn’t take long to pick up a drug habit if your significant other is using. I heard my mother’s voice escape from my memories, I knew what she’d say, and I knew what I should’ve done. When he told me I had to be more careful because the RCMP had an open investigation on him, I should’ve bolted…. But you must understand he had brainwashed me to worship him, lest I get beaten. I ignored every red flag I saw, and I used the drug to numb the pain I felt the first time he hit me. Of course it all comes down the hill here, with me stuck at the bottom curled up on the floor. I remember how his kick felt as it connected with the side of my stomach, and how I stared at the carpet fibers for an hour thinking about how similar we were at that moment. Stuck in one place and constantly stomped on. I really was trapped at this point. He was convinced I was talking to boys on my phone and meeting with them behind his back, so he took my phone. I was only allowed to use it to text my mother and he supervised me, making sure I’d say everything was fine. All my stuff was at his house, and without my own car I couldn’t just leave. Fortunately, my mom is an amazing detective and started hatching a plan with the RCMP. She came to town one day and he let me see her for an hour. She told me she knew about the drugs and suspected more. She gave me a safeword to use on the phone, and that word saved my life. In the last month of hell I discovered a green pill on his bedside table. I asked him about it and he freaked out, refusing to tell me what it was. I eventually found out it was fentanyl. Later that week, we had a huge fight which resulted in him slamming my head against the microwave, throwing me against the corner of the wall, and pushing me onto the couch. He saw the blood before I did, and started apologizing and crying, begging me not to go the hospital. He cleaned me up and gave me a line of fentanyl. That line was one of the worst mistakes I’ve ever made. Since that day I constantly crave it, only avoiding it because of the terrible withdrawal I went through when I sent my mother the safeword three weeks later. I sent the safeword because he threw my stuff down the stairs, threatened me with a hammer and used it to destroy both my dressers, and finally threatened me with the shotgun he kept in his room. I ran outside with the phone hoping he wouldn’t shoot me on the street, and sent her the safe word. She had told me that if I texted her the safeword, she would call the cops and bring her truck and the neighbor’s truck to help move me out. Luckily the gun was an empty threat, he hadn’t loaded it. He was packing his valuables and trying to run. About 8 cop cars arrived to corner him in right as he started up his truck. Ever since him, I’ve struggled with my identity and I’ve found it difficult to care about myself. When I’m around people I feel isolated, because I don’t think they understand what I’m going through. I’m trying to act normal and feel confident but it is difficult when the truth is I am exhausted by pain. I will still keep moving, because I have to, and I hope this struggle helps me grow.