Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Hey God, I Have A Complaint

Sobriety.  I could feel every nerve ending in my entire body.  “How am I going to do this?”  I felt so afraid and so alone.  My kids were gone.  My boyfriend was gone.  My cats were even gone.  No job, no God, no savings, no license, no health insurance, no hope and not much desire to deal with any of it.  

I couldn’t think.  I couldn’t listen to music. I couldn’t watch TV.  I couldn’t read.  I couldn’t hold a conversation.  Everything either made me angry or sad.  Everything SUCKED.  My pity party had no adult beverages!  Or guests.

When Rich first passed away, I wished I could fast forward to the end of my life.  I was willing to skip everything, say goodbye, then find him on the other side and be happy again.  Alcohol would get me closer and closer to that.  Days would pass in a blink and I would be that much closer to him.  I became dependent on.  I needed it.  It had a hold on me and I pushed everything and everyone else aside.  The thought of not having it, ever again, was overwhelming.  I thought, “Who could possibly do that?  Why would anyone want to do that?!?!”  It was my go to. It did exactly what I wanted it to do. It worked until it didn't. It was winning.

I thought about a dream I had shortly after Ethan was born.  I was standing in my garage holding the baby.  I saw Rich at the end of the driveway walking toward us.  I was relieved.  I was delighted to realize he was home.  He came back to me, to us.  I handed him Ethan.  He held him and looked so lovingly at him.  He brought their cheeks together and breathed him in.  He smiled at me and touched my face.  He handed the baby back to me and said, “You can do this.”  He turned to leave and I was confused.  He said, “I love you, Den, but God has given me a gift.  I wouldn’t come back if I could.”
(Rich and I were not the sort to speak about God.   We mocked organized religion, too.  In fact, we were blasphemers. That was a visit, I’m sure of it.  I spent many years hating God.)

I wanted Madi and Ethan home so I picked up the phone.  I asked someone who lived near me to go to a recovery meeting with me.  I knew I had to stay away from the city and build some supports in the North Hills.  I knew I needed to take their suggestions.  I needed to find out how to live in a world that offered me only pain, a world I felt wronged me, without being altered.   It's called life on life's terms. Ugh…

Thursday, May 21, 2015

"Digging in the Dirt"

I did not like the sound of breaking up, at all – not even with PKN.  Deep down I knew this was not the guy for me.  I knew we didn’t work.  Plus, we each had a heartache the other didn’t understand or even want to understand.  However, my addiction had convinced me otherwise.  I thought I needed him.  I wanted a happily ever after.  I wanted to love him.  I would even say the words to him, but each time they would catch in the back of my throat and I would swallow a burning tear.  I wanted my Rich Rust. 

M and E were staying with Rich’s Aunt and Uncle in Kennedy Twp.  I would take 2 buses there to have a short, supervised visit with them.  It was excruciating and humiliating.  I was so ashamed. Then I would some how make my way back to the X’s apartment in Sq. Hill.  I pretended liked the recovery meetings I was going to in the East End.  (Not really, I just didn’t want to be alone.)  I had a key to his place so I would go there or I’d convince him to pick me up.  He would let me sleep over, but he would continually tell me that I wasn’t his girlfriend.  I would shush him and say, “Yes, I am”.  I knew it was a band-aid.  I knew I should have cut ties with him.

I was insane – off the rails.  Apparently, I’m a very good password decoder/guesser because I always seemed to know his.  I would snoop.  I would search through his things and his computer. I was always looking for lies, betrayals and misbehavior - even before we broke up.  I never trusted him.  Eventually, I found what I was looking for – steamy text messages to another girl and condoms beside his bed.  He said I deserved it.

I cried and I screamed at him, “How could you?!?!”    He screamed back he had enough of my egregious behaviors and asked me what did I expect was going to happen.  He couldn’t take it any more.   

I used to always throw the line at him, “You knew what you were getting into!”

He quickly responded repeating me, “You knew what you were getting into!!!!  I love that line!  Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t, but I sure know what the fuck I’m getting out of!!!”

I have to say, in present tense that remains one of my favorite lines that ever came out of his talking head!  I certainly didn’t find it amusing at the time, though.  I was all like, “How dare you?!?!”  lol  “Shut your mouth!!  I know what you are!!”  That moment always reminds me of Peter Gabriel’s Digging in the Dirt.

It was really over then.  I had to face my real pain – Madi and Ethan.  I think I would hold on to the illusion of a relationship with PKN so I didn’t have to face my reality. He was a good guy on paper – just not in person.  I liked the idea of him, but like I said it was an illusion – way too toxic.  He was no saint.  I was no angel.  I was ill. 

I was not being a good mom.  I loved them so much, but my heart just ached for Rich.  My thoughts would always go to how much they lost by not getting to know him.  I had to numb.  Not only did they lose their dad, they lost their mom.  I was not there emotionally for them.

When I went to visit, it was so hard to leave them.  Madi would beg me to take her home with me with tears streaming down her face.  Ethan was angry.  He’d tell me to, “just go”.  I would try so hard to not cry in front of them.  I’d assure them this was temporary and they’d be home soon. 

It was Easter 2011 and the kids went to stay the holiday with my sister in Greensburg.  I was able to go as well, but I wasn’t actually allowed to sleep in the same house as them or be alone with them.  It was sickening.  The three of us sat together and hugged and played games.  The confusion on their little faces broke my heart.

The three of us were in the game room with pillows and blankets.  Madi would not fall asleep.  I think she was fearful that I would be gone when she woke up.  She kept saying, “Mommy, talk to me, keep talking to me.”  I held her tight thinking about the beer in the refrigerator.  I thought to myself, “She’ll fall asleep and this will be the last time I take a drink.  I’ll be okay after just one more time.”  Addicts will typically believe it really will be only one more time.

I watched them sleep.  I touched their faces and moved their hair.  I cried.  I prayed. I pleaded with myself and God. 

I did NOT take a drink that night.

April 9, 2011 – My first day of sobriety - for Madi and Ethan.  (See what I did there?)

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Foxhole Prayers

February 2011

Gateway Rehab!  “Hope has a home”.  This was my 3rd visit to inpatient rehab, but the first time that I didn’t have to medically detox.  I had about 10 sober days upon arrival.  This was important to me because my 14 days there would count immediately. Time doesn’t count until you are out of detox and participating with other clients. (My mind was only on getting out.) 

I liked this one better than the others because we could use the phones when there was a break in the schedule.  I could call the bf everyday and the kids every night.  Plus, there was a gift shop.  Yes, a gift shop.  I still have a Gateway Rehab mug and hoodie.

I was there out of fear – fear of losing Madi and Ethan.  So, I sat through all the lectures.  I participated in all the groups.  Again, I wrote out my chemical history.  I wrote a good-bye letter to alcohol.  I wrote my own obituary.  I thought I was getting honest with myself, but I still couldn’t breathe.  There was a cold, throbbing hole inside of me.

On the schedule a couple times a week was a group session with a pastor, Pastor Rich.  I liked him.  There was something about him that made me want to believe things could get better.  He spoke of a God that I had never been introduced to, but not in an off-putting, preachy way.

I made an appointment to meet with Pastor Rich privately.  I told him my sad story and I cried for my Rich Rust.  I told him I didn’t understand why all of this was happening.  Rich and I didn’t do anything wrong. Why did this happen?   

He told me to imagine a beautiful tapestry.  Turn it over and look at the underside.  That’s what we see in our lives sometimes.  We see a mess of random and frayed strings going every which way and not leading anywhere – senseless.  But, God sees the other side.  He sees the beauty and perfection that every single stitch came together to create.  It’s His work and it’s a masterpiece. One day, we will see it, too.

Again, I completed the program successfully.

The bf picked me up when I was discharged.  He seemed happy to see me.  I was relieved.  My emotional dependence on him was greater than ever.  It wasn’t love.  It was fear and dependence.  We went out to dinner on our way home.  He had two martinis and told me he hoped my drinking was behind me.  I just told myself it was ok.  I had a problem - he didn’t. He could drink and I could accept it and handle it. I could do this.

My cats and I stayed with him for the next few days.  I tagged along to his office and we would go to the JCC to work out.  I complied with CYS rules until my next court date for the kids.  I was randomly drug tested and breathalyzed.  I reported every time they asked me to.

When I would get the call to go in for the testing, I would have a few hours to actually go do it.  One morning the bf wanted me to go with him to visit an incarcerated client in Ohio.  I had to report for testing by 5 o’clock.  He assured me we would be back on time. 

The time was getting late.  It took way longer to get in and out of the jail.  On the way back he realized he forgot his id.  We had to turn around to get it.  I was going to be late!!  I was panicked!  The bf was so flippant and said “call to see if you can do it tomorrow.”  Are you kidding me?!?!  We are talking about what I’m ordered to do to get my kids back home!  He did not care.  Not one bit - not one bit...

I ended up making it to the court just in time.  I was horrified and flustered.  I was irate with the bf.  Apparently, I still did not have enough recovery in me to deal with my feelings rationally.  I took a bus from downtown to Sq. Hill.  I went to Murray Ave. CafĂ©.  I ordered a glass of wine - then another and another. I didn’t even make it to 30 days sober.

I woke up at the bf’s filled with dread.  I really, really screwed up.  He was screaming. He told me we were done.  He never wanted to see me again.  He was finished helping me.  He said, “Good luck getting your kids back”.  Obviously, I was not surprised by his reaction, but I was terrified because he was acting as my attorney to regain custody of the kids.  Now what?

I felt completely alone.  How can this situation keep getting worse?  I started to think about Pastor Rich.  He said God was a gentleman.  He said God would knock on my door, but I had to invite him in.  He would not intrude or force himself on me.  

On my knees in my living room, “Please!!  God, help me!!”