Ryan Donnelly's Blog

When Your Apology Is Not Enough

As you know from reading my previous posts, I did some really disgusting things to people I love. Most of the people had at least 20 years of a relationship with me. Knew the kind of person I was before the path of self-destruction. Over a two-year period, signs were being displayed through my actions that things weren’t right. I wasn’t the same happy-go-lucky Ryan. I was extremely depressed, felt worthless and it showed. I put on weight, sheltered myself from friends and family, lived my life in a bottle, literally and figuratively. People noticed how much alcohol I consumed and started to worry. I didn’t like people telling me that I was drinking too much but decided I needed to find something more discreet. I was introduced to oxy, from a “friend.” Why take all that time to drink to numb myself when I can secretly go into a bathroom, pop a couple of pills and be content with life without anyone noticing. Seemed like a flawless plan at the time. The first couple times I used, I never felt better. Opiates have a way of flushing your body of any negativity, I could have been surrounded by Right Wing extremists and have had a nice convo with them. My secret was all mine. I wasn’t telling anyone that I found this shit. Not knowing at the time, that as happy and high as it made me, when I came down, I was much more depressed than before I used. So what does an addict do to get rid of the depression? I bought more and more pills. And soon, it was all I bought.

As time went on, I started stealing from people I loved. I even ended up stealing a gun and tried selling it to my “friends.” Each one of them knew I had a gun, did they tell anyone? Nope. Now don’t get me wrong, friends don’t rat on each other. But I was wacked out and asking friends to borrow money, I had a gun, I was distant. Bells should have been going off. But nothing happened. I kept on my path of stealing. Not until I robbed a best friends parents house did it become personal. It wasn’t until I took prized possessions from “friends” that anyone cared. But as I understand it now, after the fact, it wasn’t that they cared about me, they wanted revenge. They wanted me to suffer, because I made them suffer.

Now let me make this clear. I stole things from people, that marked love, had priceless history. I took from people a part of them. So I deserve to pay for every cent of value that I possibly can. Try to make things right, even though things will never be the same. I never deserved an acceptance, but what I got in return was not what I was expecting.

While in rehab, I had a counselor who had been down the same exact rode as me. Addicted to oxy for years, he stole from his family and robbed friends. So I was able to relate with him, with the feelings I had about myself. The feelings of extreme remorse, worthlessness, embarrassment. How could I ever say I’m sorry enough. His advice to me was to take a couple of months and work on my mind. Think of nothing but yourself. I didn’t understand this while it was coming out of his mouth. “How can I be selfish at a time when I should be pleading for forgiveness?” He told me, “if you worry about how to make it right, you put that burden on your weak-minded self right now, your no good to anyone, you’ll crack, you’ll be back on the street in no time, stealing or worse off dead. Your too weak a person right now to do anything but make your mind stronger, apologies to everyone you hurt are in the future, when you understand the impact you made and your head is clear to face the consequences, that’s when you apologize, because you really mean it.”

After rehab, I moved in with my father in a town outside of my hometown. I felt the need to live with him because it was away from the destruction I caused. I had to slowly get stronger before I put myself back in that environment. Little victories, of going into Toms River and leaving. Driving past places I used to buy drugs, seeing the mental facility I was committed in from the outside, little touches with my past at a time made me stronger.

One morning many months after the destruction I caused, I sat down at my father’s computer and wrote an apology to the families I hurt. They were sincere, loving letters. They were a ripple in the pond. I planned on slowly showing these families that I was filled with remorse for my actions and grateful to them. What I received as a response from one family was love. They only cared that I was ok, that I was myself again, and that though the hurt I had caused them was extreme, they would like to pursue some sort of relationship again in the future, but made it clear that it would be hard to trust me and that it would take time.

About a week later I received a letter in response to mine from the other family I hurt. I was not ready for this letter. This letter was the complete opposite. I understand the betrayal I cast on them, but this letter was nothing but venom. It was written by their son, the guy I was friends with for nearly 20 years. It was very clear in this letter what they thought of me. They let it be known that I was not sorry enough, that I probably didn’t even write the letter to them because it didn’t sound like me, that all of my old friends agreed after reading it together that I must have had someone else write it for me. They made it known that if I didn’t pay a set amount of money to them that criminal charges would be processed.

I sat at the desk in front of the computer, reading this letter over and over again. It became very clear to me that these people I was friends with for 20 years were right. They had no clue who I was.

Truth is truth.

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