Back when I wrote IF YOU STAY, I received a lot of e-mail from readers.
Most of it was amazing and inspiring from readers who had also known addiction, or knew of someone who had.
However, some of it was from disgruntled readers who said that my story wasn’t realistic. That if someone took drugs to disappear into oblivion, then chances are that they were, in fact, addicted and that I was sending out the wrong message of rainbows and butterflies with my book.
If you read my work, you already know that I’m a big believer in Happily-Ever-Afters. I mean, people read fiction to escape from reality. Why in the world would I want to depress them with a book that ended in any way other than happily?
When I wrote IF YOU STAY, that was the reality of my “Pax”. He wasn’t an addict at that time.
Unlike fiction though, life continues to evolve and change. A book, after it ends, won’t stray from the final storyline. That HEA will remain for all of eternity.
Life, however, does change. And sometimes, the changes aren’t for the better.
I’ve always said that I wouldn’t reveal who I based Pax Tate on. He didn’t want me to, and so I won’t. I never will. Readers have guessed that it was my husband, but I can tell you that it is not. It is someone else that I love, someone very close to me.
And unfortunately, he has descended into the world of addiction.
At first, like Pax Tate, he was a user, not an addict. He wanted to disappear into oblivion, into a place where he didn’t care about anything. He realized what he was doing and I sent him to rehab to be on the safe side. All seemed to be fine.
But he started using again and this time, the outcome hasn’t been good. He’s throughly addicted. If you follow me on social media, you might have noticed that I haven’t been online a lot. I’ve been preoccupied with this horrible issue. When I am online, I usually act normally, because that is my coping mechanism. I’m a very private person and I don’t tend to advertise my private life.
However, I do have some things that I want to say.
I’m writing this so 1) you know why I’ve been fairly absent online, 2) to address reader concerns that I wasn’t depicting reality with my storyline in IF YOU STAY and 3) to flip the bird at addiction itself.
I’m here to tell you that anyone can be an addict. It doesn’t matter if you’re white, black or purple, if you’re rich, poor, or middle-class. Addiction knows no discrimination and it knows no bounds.
We live in a world where high schoolers are offered Ecstasy in the hallways for $10 a pill and where they can get heroin as easily as they can get sweet-tarts. It’s sickening, saddening, and devastating, and it is the reality of our day and age.
However, THIS is our reality too:
The human spirit is created to thrive, to fight and to eventually overcome. We’re all born with an innate sense to fight to survive, to fight what oppresses us, to come out on top, and to be healthy, happy, and strong.
SO EFF YOU, ADDICTION.
With today’s support networks, groups, medications, doctors and therapies, WE CAN BEAT YOU. Anyone who is addicted to a substance and wants to fight it, can. Anyone who wants to fight it can WIN. All they have to do is set their mind to it, be strong and fight it.
Will it be easy?
Is it worth it?
All of us, every one of us, deserves to be happy, healthy and strong.
With that in mind, I’d like to ask for your prayer. I’m a huge believer in prayer, and I believe that the more people who pray for one thing, the better. The more voices, the better God can hear.
Can you please say a prayer for my “Pax”? He desperately needs prayer if he’s going to beat addiction. He’s strong, but addiction can level the strongest person. In order to beat it, you have to be strong, determined and have God’s help.
If you can pray for him, for God’s help, I’d be eternally grateful.
In closing, let me just say that the fictional Pax Tate will forever have his Happy Ending. He is happy and strong, and living a perfect life with his wife Mila.
My real-life Pax might be struggling now, in the most difficult struggle of his life, but I have full faith that he will come through it. He will overcome it. That’s what human beings are designed to do.
No matter how hard or difficult something seems at any one time, always know that a Happily-Ever-After is always possible, whether it is “REALISTIC” or not. The power to change lies within us, and no one else.
If you are a reader who contacted me about IF YOU STAY not ending in a realistic way, please know that I heard you and I respect your concerns. I still stand behind my notion that not all users are addicts, but I do fully believe that if a user continues to use, he/she will eventually become addicted. Just as I believe that addicts can overcome it if they choose to fight.
If you are an addict or struggle with using, or if you know someone who does, please ask for help. Contact a support group, go to your doctor, tell your parent. JUST GET HELP. Please.
And if you’re a drug dealer, whose sole purpose in life is to addict our children to toxic substances for the simple reason that you want to line your pockets with drug money, you can go to hell.