Wednesday, August 17, 2016
I'm Falling to Pieces
This is my first post since December 2015. I wish it was a happy post. But I don't have happy posts. I write about life and truth... Topics often filled with melancholy.
For years, I kept a dirty secret. I don't make a habit of bashing my husband (yes, he's still my husband) on the internet. It isn't right. Our past is full of heartache, but I don't want to leave something in cyberspace that could hurt our children years down the road. But sometimes, you have to come forward and talk about your experiences. Sometimes, your life lessons will benefit others.
For years, I lived with a drunk. I stuck around long after a smarter woman would have left. I endured immense cruelty, violence, and loneliness. It's ironic how alone you can be in a house full of people.
For years, I walked on eggshells because almost anything would set him off. His biggest fear was losing his bottle. At the end of John's alcohol abuse, he was drinking 21 shots a day. He was never sober. 24-hour-drunkenness. And he saw nothing wrong with it.
For years, we suffered. Even after I found the strength to leave, I was enslaved to him. Fathers are as important as mothers. Our children need their father. But, Drunk Daddy didn't pay bills. All of his income converted to vodka. His alcoholism financially drained me. After receiving a notice from the bank that his house was at risk of foreclosure, I took a second job. I paid my bills. I paid his. I bought every bit of clothing the children wore. I paid school and activity fees. I bought pictures. I provided every morsel of food consumed by the children in my home AND his. Since the day we moved, I have received $0 in child support.
For years, I made excuses for him. When he didn't show up to get the kids, I told them he must have been working over. When people at church mentioned he smelled like alcohol, I told them it was a very strong mouthwash. (People will believe anything because none of us want to believe there is a problem.) My life became too much for me. I was working 48-70 hours per week and didn't have a pot to piss in. That's addiction. It takes everything from everyone, not just the user.
For years, I loved a man with a mistress. It's sad. As I sit here typing this, I wish I could say he chose another woman over his family. But he didn't. He chose Kamchatka. $11 for a half gallon. Cheap booze. Drunks don't need quality; they need quantity. He bought one every 3 days. And that was just his home consumption. He was drinking at the bar every night too. When I finally realized how much he was drinking, and specifically how much he was spending, I snapped. I was working my ass off to keep him in his home. I thought I was doing the right thing, but I was just enabling him. So, I decided to stop. I confronted him with proof of how out of control he had become. It hurt me to look in his eyes and tell him I was done footing his bill. If you don't pay your electric, you will have to visit the kids in my home. If you don't pay your mortgage, you will be homeless. I am done working to save you. Save yourself.
For years, he turned to a bottle when he had a very large support system surrounding him that he could have turned to instead. His family is very close. We belong to a loving and uplifting church. We have community ties to therapists and addiction programs. He ignored those. Vodka owned him. It took my intervention, and our pastor, to convince him that he no longer had control.
For years, I have loved an alcoholic. And I will always love him. He was the boy who changed my world. Every good thing in my life came from my connection to him. A few months ago, he chose sobriety. For several days, he sweated out the alcohol on my couch. He has been trying so hard to be a good co-parent and a loving father. I have been so proud of him...Until yesterday. Yesterday, old wounds reopened. Yesterday, I received evidence to suggest he is drinking again. He's associating with drunks. He's spending his free time in bars. He's become involved with a 52-year old woman who is a daily drinker. Everything they do together involves alcohol. Everywhere they go, booze. How does an alcoholic maintain sobriety when temptation is all around? How can a sober person make such bad decisions? It's hard to believe the words of someone who made a life out of lying to me.
For years, I have believed in him. But I'm not sure I can anymore. He owns what he has done to me. I know he is sorry. But apologies don't take away pain. They're just words. Just when I felt like myself again, just when I thought I was getting ahead, I find I can't even Breakeven.