In the midst of fact-checking our post on celebrities who beat addictions today, we were all a bit surprised to read of Oprah doing coke quite regularly back in the ’80s. This was a tale I’d heard once before, the details of which had escaped my memory, so I decided to do a little more investigating to see just what Oprah had said about her prior drug use, and more importantly, if she ever explained why she started using in the first place. That’s when I came across this January 14, 1995 article in the Observer-Reporter that relayed the details of Oprah’s confession on her talk show as she spoke with a guest who, too, had been addicted to the drug. After describing the drug use as her life’s “great big secret,” Oprah admitted that she was introduced to coke by a former boyfriend and started using because of their relationship, adding:
“I can’t think of anything I wouldn’t have done for that man.”
Almost gives you chills, right? As I looked that quote over and over again I thought really, anything? You can’t think of anything you wouldn’t have done for that man? But then I had to be real with myself for a second and think, am I so far removed from that?
While I can certainly think of a host of things I wouldn’t and didn’t do for my ex, it likely wouldn’t take much effort for me to come up with an equally long list of things I told myself — and him — that I wouldn’t do and couldn’t tolerate, yet ended up participating in and putting up with anyway. Sure, I was young — or younger — as Oprah would likely say of herself if she ever chose to speak on her past relationship again. But when is youth ever an excuse for compromising your personal values? You don’t have to be old to stay true to yourself. It’s just supposed to be easier to do after you have several years under your belt — theoretically.
I’ll spare myself some of the guilt and embarrassment of sharing the details of those things I accepted in the name of love and desperation, but they all fall under the general categories of dishonesty, disrespect, and disconcern for my general well being. Like lying about the role, shall I say, of certain women in his life, or calling me a half-a**ed b***h during an argument in public, or asking me to do things that could put me in jeopardy. I can puff out my chest and say I exited stage left once some of these things happened, but I can just as easily put my head down and think of how long it took me to decide to leave — for the last time. Truth be told, my list of things I wouldn’t have done for that man wasn’t all that long, and it appeared to get shorter and shorter as time, and our relationship ,went on. So yeah, I’m not so different from Oprah after all. We all have our drugs of choice, hers just happened to be a literal one.
Unfortunately, almost every woman has wasted a “there is nothing I won’t do for him” attitude on the wrong type of man and gotten ourselves caught up into some mess that makes us one of those but now, born-again relationshipers. And though we all like to think we could never, ever, ever find ourselves traveling back down that road again — and hopefully most of us won’t — some of us will. For some reason, those cliche sayings, like “never cry over someone who won’t cry for you” or “never make someone a priority who only treats you as an option,” are coming to mind right now, but the issue here isn’t really the other person. Whether the individual you’re involved with is worth readjusting your moral compass isn’t what’s up for debate. What needs to be assessed is your self-worth and whether you value yourself, the person you have to live with every day, more than another person who may be in you life for nothing more than one reason, maybe a season, and likely not a lifetime. This is why so many relationships books start with chapters on self-love and knowing oneself because peer pressure is very much alive in relationships and if you haven’t already established who you are and what you stand for, well, that’s how you end up doing coke with your boyfriend of six months, or taking someone back umpteenth times after they’ve already showed you who they are is not a good match with who you are.
Oprah and I may have dropped the ball in our “younger” years but I think we can both say that now we can not only think of a laundry list of things we won’t do for a man but also know that we really won’t do them. Let’s hope most women out there can also say the same.