Fool Me Once, Shame On You...Fool Me Seven Times, WTF Is My Problem?

It’s only 9 am and I’ve already managed to f*ck up the day.

I look to my left and there he lays, peaceful and innocent. For once, he’s stripped of his arrogance and self-righteous flair, mute from his demeaning criticisms and commands. He’s immobile from his powerful stride.

He seems human -- well, almost.

I squeeze my eyes shut in hopes that when I open them, he’ll be gone. But, of course, he remains guilt-free and blind to the insurmountable distress he brings me in addition to his presence.

I feel tormented, but it’s my own fault, and I know this. So, why can’t I stop this vicious cycle of constant disappointment?

The pretty music and twinkling lights of this twisted carousel were once so enrapturing. But, now, he’s gone and I’m alone.

I’m on my seventh lap around, each time bobbing past a figure of disappointment as it stares me in the face and waves to me with a smirk. I have to get myself off this cyclone because, quite honestly, it’s making me sick.

We are all familiar with that sh*tty realization: We've allowed ourselves to succumb to the temptation we’ve vowed time after time to avoid.

Mental clarity hits us just a little too late the next morning when we wake up to their warm, smooth skin pressed up against our own.

After months or years of bitter trauma, we finally scratch the surface of full recovery.

And, just like that, we slip into a relapse; we’re back to square one.

For only a moment, I feel serenity and comfort in his familiar scent and delicate kisses down the side of my neck. But, then, that moment fades and I am back to where I started months ago, when he left me the very first time; the very first time I banned him from ever returning into my life.

Here we are, again. My chest is heavy and my thoughts are fogged with disbelief that a person can modulate such beautiful and equally empty promises.

I used to believe those promises, even when they fell through after my gut gave me fair warning. I’m wrapped in his arms and his security with hopes that this time around might be different.

And, like a tidal wave, the emotions, wishful thinking and forced justification wash over me; suddenly, I’m helpless. Again.

It never fails. It’s like he has some radar that gauges the perfect moment to reappear in my life. Months had gone by and I managed to leave behind my bitter remorse with the memories of "us."

That perfect moment arrives just as I lift my head to lock gazes with him as he steps though the front door of the crowded bar. And, suddenly, temptation stares me in the eyes and approaches.

The fear is unsettling, but it’s recognizable. I am in control, but then I let go. It all happens so quickly. And to think weeks had gone by without so much as a fleeting thought about him; now, he stands before me and I begin to swoon.

I’m greeted by the numbing sensation I find to be so tranquil just before the wreckage. Despite my firm grasp on the bar and reality, my thoughts become a blur and the smoke he emits lulls me into an immobile state.

Suddenly, his words of promise, apology and change fill my lungs with each inhale as they pour from his lips. I feel the familiar buzz consume my common sense and ability to think rationally.

With each exhale comes mediocre sobriety — just enough that I can hear the voice inside begging me to walk away, but not quite enough to tame the inferno that has already sparked within. It's not enough to pull me away.

Again, I inhale.

The buzz climbs and the sweet nicotine he pumps into my body oozes and drips with acidic lies and tainted desires cloaked in soothing affirmations.

My promising road to recovery has become a dead end, and I can’t help but surrender to his kiss, fully equipped with every stimulant and rush of adrenaline for which my body pines.

One touch, and the explosive shock streamlines through my veins, leaving me in a euphoric trance. The initial fear dissolves and rapture begins to spread, consuming any and every doubt I ever deemed relevant.

It’s one hell of a high. But then I come down.

The aftermath of self-loathing and grief I expose myself to with this man in the course of our history is sickening. You would think I would have learned my lesson. There is a saying I’m sure you’re familiar with: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

Well, does it stop at twice? What about the sixth, seventh or maybe eighth time? Who claims the shame, then?

Hell, is there any shame even left at that point?

The continuation of that phrase in regard to such a relapse might go more along the lines of, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me the seventh time, what the f*ck is my problem?”

How can we continue to open up our bodies, hearts and souls to such vile exploits in hopes something positive will eventually come of it?

We fall from such heights without the intention of catching ourselves at times like these. We close our eyes and jump in hopes that maybe this time, that person will be there — not to catch us, but to jump with us.

His or her hand in our own, with nothing to catch us both but love. Wishful thinking, I suppose.

But when he or she doesn’t jump and we’re left to come down from the high alone, our initial reaction is to blame that person. Each time we jump as he or she walks away, we begin to feel stupid and wonder why we continuously fall for this stunt.

No one likes to feel stupid, so we blame our demise on something or someone else to escape exposure to humiliation.

Sure, we can pin this blame on anything leading up to the relapse. We blame our friends who left us alone at the bar just long enough for him or her to strike for number three. And, then we were fooled a fourth time.

Let’s blame that one on the sh*t week that left us feeling run down before he or she swooped in to pick us back up for that short time span. Oh yeah, and the fifth time that person fooled us, well, that’s easy; we can blame that one on the alcohol, naturally.

The blame game can’t last forever, though, and the excuses will eventually become null. There comes to a point when there is no longer any blame left to pin on anyone but ourselves.

We should never compromise our happiness on anyone’s account -- especially after that same person has led us to the brink of hysteria multiple times in the past.

It’s okay to miss that person and to wish things could have transpired differently. It’s okay to be sad or fear his or her sudden absence after we hit the delete key.

It’s a lesson that tends to be hard to swallow when your heart is pulling you in one direction, while your brain pulls you in another. It’s a lesson we gain only by experience.

There is no self-help brochure with detailed instructions, guiding us on how to let go after the third letdown. There is no amount of advice or eye rolling from our best friend that will detour us from craving his company.

And, there is certainly no quote on Pinterest that will cure the emotional upheaving once the comedown ensues his departure.

It is up to you, alone, to climb out of this hole you continue to dig; fill it in, walk away and never look back.

We consume this toxin and allow it to pollute our bodies by choice. This means we can also extract this poison from the wound and ultimately heal for good.

It’s your choice.