Thursday, August 25, 2016

Raisin' Cain, I Spit in Your Eye

The painful truth about making my life public is the mixture of response I receive.  Most readers are very supportive.  Thank you.  I love you.  I am so very touched by the prayers and well-wishes.

But every now and then, someone feels the need to kick me when I'm down.  This message is for that "anonymous" someone. (Psst... never leave an anonymous comment when you're logged into a social media account.  I know who you are.  *kisses*)

Keep kicking.  Your hate makes me stronger.

You may think you know something about me.  You don't.  You know nothing.  You are so wrapped up in your own mess, you fail to notice me.

My posts this week are not malicious.  They are simply a therapeutic way to voice my pain.  And it's MY PAIN.  I can be as public as I want these days.  I have nothing to hide.  I have no reason to remain quiet.  I was foolish to be embarrassed by Jack's drinking and stupid to think hiding his problem protected him.  I should have shouted it from the mountain tops years ago.

There is something very unsettling in a comment made anonymously.  And while I don't owe anyone an explanation, I find I have something to say.  Jack does not have a new woman.  I have not lost my mind over the fact that he began a brief, sexual relationship with someone else.  I couldn't care less about that.  It is his choice in partner that worries me to my bones.

Jack is an addict.  He chose to bring another addict into his life.  Perhaps you don't see the danger in this.  Perhaps you are ignorant.  I can accept that.  But I know all too well the danger of it.

Example: Jack is a smoker.  Awhile ago, we both quit for an entire year.  On his birthday, we stupidly decided to buy a pack of cigarettes to split while out with friends.  I was able to continue to be a social smoker every now and then.  (And I have since quit... 4/1/2015) Jack was immediately back to a pack or more a day.  Jack is an addict.

If Jack sits on a bar stool every day or hangs out with drinkers in his free time, he will eventually take a drink.  Ask him.  He admits this.  His brain will tell him one beer won't hurt.  And then the next time, he will have a few beers.  And then the next time, maybe some vodka.  And then he will die.  The father of my children will die if he drinks again.  Let me repeat that in case you fail to recognize the seriousness of his disease: THE FATHER OF MY CHILDREN WILL DIE IF HE DRINKS AGAIN. 

So, dear Anonymous Reader, do you think I am fighting over some woman?  No.  I am fighting for my children.  You know them, Anonymous.  I thought you cared about them. But in case you have forgotten, they are amazing and they deserve to know their father.  A sober father.

I love them more than life.  I will do what it takes to make sure they have everything they need.  For a long time, I did it alone.  Jack is clean and he is working on sobriety.  If I have to upset his life, meet his lies with truth, or hit him in the face (that happened) to help him see the danger in his decisions, that is what I will do.  Over and over and over again.  My conscience is clean.

Thank you for bringing up things that were resolved years ago.  It reminds me how far the rest of us have come.  You paint an unjustified and ugly picture of me to readers who have no idea what you are writing about.  You help me remember me: a revival of my former, glorious self.  Thank you.  The Bitch is Back.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

I Learned to Live Half Alive

An open letter to my husband's mistress.


In the beginning, we both liked you.  You were a fun flirtation to bring into our lives.  You came around for parties.  We carelessly passed you around.  You were such a good time. But you weren't a daily presence in our home then.

Jack took to life on the road.  You comforted him when I couldn't be there.  You kept the lonely away.  You helped him feel comfortable talking to others and making new friends.  I still liked you then. I didn't realize how dangerous you were.

When he came home, he occasionally visited you in bars.   Every now and then, he brought you home with him.  It didn't concern me.  We had a new baby and you weren't needed to ease loneliness he no longer felt.  I would give just about anything to go back to the days when our little girl was the light of his life and you were unimportant.

The twins arrived and the stress quadrupled.  Jack was laid off a lot.  He was a proud man and I think the inability to provide for the needs of his family took a toll on him.  I was also out of my mind with postpartum depression and terribly hard to live with.  He left our home for 6 months and took you with him.  I wanted to die.

But I pulled myself up from the trenches.  I found me again.  I guess I assumed Jack had found himself too.  He came home... Not because he wanted to, but because he had to.  We made the most of it.  For a little while, we got along well.  And then you returned.

For 6 long years, I fought you.  I threw you out.  He brought you back.  You were more powerful than me.  You evicted me from my own home.  You took my place in his life.  I only had children and love to offer. My gifts created duty and required reciprocity.  You promised an altered sense of reality and the ability to forget one's pain.  And you gave freely.

But you cost so much.  You destroy trust.  You destroy happiness.  You destroy families.  You destroy lives.

You are not my disease, but I am sick.  There is so much of me missing.  I'm tired of fighting for someone I no longer believe in.  I am tired of fighting for my children to have a relationship with their father.  I am tired of fighting you.  Add mine to your Jar of Hearts.  I can't fight you any longer.

I hate you, Vodka.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Things End Up a Bit Too Heavy.

Grief is like the ocean.  The ebb and flow of a tide.  Coming closer and closer until the wave crashes on the shore and then backs away.  Receding into the blackness.  Seeming to disappear.  And then back again, as if it never left.

But what am I grieving?  I don't know.  The breaking of a promise?  The loss of trust?  Am I still grieving for feeling forced from my home?

Me, sans make-up and no sleep for nearly 3 days.  Sadness makes one look old.  It isn't pretty, folks.

I have taken so much criticism in the last 20 months for moving out.  I hope friends and loved ones now understand why I did.  It wasn't that I didn't love my husband.  I did.  So much.  I always will.  I had to leave our home.  There was no other choice.  Our daughter could not be raised in a home where a man treated a woman that way.  Our sons could never be allowed to believe that type of behavior was common and acceptable.

It was not a decision made lightly.  We had several conversations about the possibility that I would move out.  I cried.  He cried.  But he never stopped drinking.  So the children and I had to go.

He helped us move, assembled beds for the children and even accompanied me when I purchased appliances. We have spent much time forging a friendship and many overnights talking until nearly morning.  He is still thoughtful enough to call his home, "our home."

I stopped trusting him long before I moved out.  While he was still drinking, I hated leaving the children alone with him.  My overnight visits started as a way to make sure they were safe.  But they continued long after he stopped drinking.  And we seemed to find a deeper level of intimacy than we had even in the prime of our marriage.  I was truly trusting him again.

So imagine my surprise, my shock, my extreme disappointment when he violated my trust.  He put his sobriety at risk by spending night after night in bars.  He went to parties where getting drunk was the entertainment.  He became sexually involved with a 52-year old crack addict.  These cannot be the decisions of a sober man.

Neither one of us have slept the last 2 nights.  He has spent both nights in my apartment.  Maybe because he is trying to salvage our friendship and somehow convince me to trust him with our children.  Or maybe because he doesn't trust himself to stay sober alone.

We have cried.  I have yelled.  We have held each other.  We have pushed each other away.

I'm not sure what I am grieving.  But I know I am.  Even I am aware of the presence of the emotional stages of grief.

Disbelief:  I cannot believe he did this.
Anger:  I hate him for doing this.
Denial:  There is no way he screwed a crack head, is there?  No way he would bring that mess into our lives.  She isn't really a crack head, right?  (He did. She is.) 
Bargaining:  Lord, if you just keep him sober, I'll do anything.  My kids need their dad.  Please.
Guilt:  If I hadn't left, he would have found sobriety and stuck with it.
Depression:  How do we move forward?  What's the point?

It's all there.  These feelings.  Everything but Acceptance.  I don't know if I can ever accept that he is alcoholic and makes addict decisions.  I don't know if I can ever accept the level to which he has put his own health and the lives of our children at risk.

Grief is like the ocean.  If you're not careful, the tide will pull you under.  I'm hurting, but I'm a fighter.  And even though I find myself far from the shore, somehow I'll Float On.

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.