I Love My Addict.

Something New.

My fiancé has now been in rehab for 41 days.
41 days. It seems like a blip on the radar.
(Which just goes to show how precious time truly is.)

When I dropped my fiancé off at the airport so that he could fly literally across the country to go to rehab…I asked myself, outloud: “What am I going to do?”

My life had, somehow, without me realizing it, become completely centered on my fiancé and his addiction. Even though I was completely unaware of my fiancé’s drinking and drug abuse until it all came crashing down…my life had still managed to revolve around his addiction. I stopped allowing myself to have my own life. My fiancé’s codependency really did demand 100% of my time and attention, and I didn’t even recognize it for what it was. Before he went to rehab, I would dedicate all of my time spent not at my desk, to my fiancé. I’m talking…I quit working out, I quit having “alone” time with books or Netflix, I quit hanging out with friends, I quit taking my dog on walks by myself…I was afraid to leave my guy alone, because (and this is stupid, in hindsight) I was afraid if I left him alone he would get lonely, which would lead him to start drinking again, or using, or whatever.

Obviously, my fiancé was way ahead of me and was managing to satisfy his craving even with my constant supervision, so that’s awesome.

I lost a big part of myself.
And I didn’t realize it until my fiancé was very suddenly, temporarily removed from my life. Having 45 days to yourself, when you’re used to not having even a second for yourself, may seem overwhelming to some.

But my, oh my. It was liberating.

I’m realizing now all the things I’ve been missing out on whilst nervously/anxiously/psychotically forcing myself to stay awake in bed alone at night while my fiancé pulls an all-nighter for work, because I’m afraid he’s going to do something sketchy and dishonest if I close my eyes for even just a second.

Crazy, right?

I decided I would seize the opportunity to try something new while my fiancé was away, focusing on sobriety. I was going to do something for me. And hot damn, did I do Something New!

Some things I’ve done in the last 6 weeks…

  • Met new girlfriends and gone out for fancy dinners, treating myself to a meal I probably wouldn’t have ever had the opportunity to have before.
  • Worked out religiously; I’ve dropped a dress size and I’ve toned up like no other. Hooray for looking and feeling awesome!
  • Ate clean. I prepped my meals, bought myself veggies and whole grains and organic meat and cooked for myself, every day. This probably assisted with me shedding 8 pounds.
  • Volunteered! I worked at a homeless teen shelter a few times. Again, not something I would have done previously.
  • Attended Al-Anon meetings. I was always afraid to go before and felt that if my fiancé wasn’t attending AA, why should I waste my time going to Al-Anon? That method of thinking is clearly…wrong.
  • RAN A 5k!!!! Y’all. I’m not a runner like…at all. But I told myself I was going to set a lofty goal and Praise Jesus Hallelujah, I said I was going to run a 5k, and I did it this morning. I feel amazing.
  • Reconnected with old friends. Most of my friends are now spread out across the country; some are in Texas, one in Arizona, one in DC, one in Chicago…so I made it a point to reach out to these girls and reconnect. It was great.
  • Went to after-work social events. I actually networked. I’m part of a very, very large company where networking can help you climb the corporate ladder faster. I attended social events at work and foof–I have a lot more connections now.
  • Bought myself new clothing. I hadn’t bought myself any new clothing since…two years ago? So I took myself on a small shopping spree and bought myself things that made me feel sexy, made me feel awesome, made me feel trendy, made me feel 27 and not 18 like most of my tshirts/jeans would suggest. I actually have style now. I feel more confident, because I took time to treat myself.
  • Read books. Watched Netflix. Cuddled my dog in bed. All things that are so incredible, yet I rarely did when my fiancé was around.
  • Took myself for a massage, a wax, and a facial. All on separate days! Booyah.

The point being…I’m so happy right now. I’ve had a good amount of time to focus on my needs and my desires and myself. Sure, I’m anxious about my fiancé coming home on Tuesday and, yes, I’m nervous about him staying sober and not overloading himself at work, and staying healthy, and not putting too much responsibility on himself…

But.

I know that even if that happens, even if my fiancé slips back into his old ways…it’s not my fault, and I can’t do anything to change it. Even if I sacrifice everything for him, I will have zero impact on his behavior.

So I will continue going to dinner with friends, and working out. I’ve already looked at a 5k on May 26th and sent the information to the girls. I’m going to an Al-Anon meeting tomorrow morning. I have a new book lined up and ready to go.

I’m doing me, y’all.
I got this.

And now the big question:

What is your Something New?

Chaos: Or, My Synonym for “Comfort”

I went to my third Al-Anon meeting yesterday.

At the beginning of the meeting, when the leaders were debating on what topic to pick and what direction to take the conversation for the next 60 minutes, I started to wonder why I even bothered attending. If the leaders…and I say leaders, because it seemed this group didn’t really have a designated Leader…if the leaders couldn’t even trouble themselves enough to find a topic and prep for the meeting, why should I take an hour out of my precious day to attend it? Did these people not realize how uncomfortable it made me to literally force myself to sit in a room with strangers and publicly work through feelings and thoughts I had shoved deep down for months and months and months…? I took personal offense to the lack of preparation on the group’s part. How dare them.

It took a lot to not just get up and walk out. I didn’t because:

  1. I didn’t want to look like an asshole and
  2. I didn’t want to look like an asshole.

But something—a faint, quiet whisper, a tiny tug at my mind—also told me to just…hold on, be patient, just give them a few minutes.

And then someone suggested reading an excerpt from the monthly Al-Anon newsletter (you’re kidding right?), and another person rose up from their seat and dug out a January 2014 pamphlet from a pile of boxes in the corner of the old church room, and another one of the members tossed said newsletter on the table and it fell open to…An article about chaos. And he began reading.

And, let me tell you…I need to stop being shocked by how God works. I won’t ever stop being shocked, or amazed, or impressed, but logically speaking I shouldn’t be surprised that God knows what the heck He’s doing. It should be clear as day; He’s God. Of course He knows what He’s doing. But somehow, part of me still wants to believe that I know better.

I’m 100% certain that I was meant to be sitting in that room yesterday, listening to that article be read aloud. I wanted to leave; I wanted to quit four minutes in. But something—which I fully believe was the influence of God—told me to stay. And so I did.

The article (Learning to Accept Myself without Chaos) discussed the alien feeling of having a life sans the madness. I realized, about 30 seconds in to the article, that I wholly identified with the author: My life has been chaos. I am used to chaos. Part of me—a very large part of me—freaking loves. Chaos.

It’s masochistic. I hate chaos—I hate the anxiety it brings, the panic, the overwhelming feeling of drowning, its ability to prevent me from looking after my own needs and very often self-sabotage having those needs fulfilled—yet…I feel so unlike myself without it. So I love it. It gives me purpose. I have a battle to fight every single day against chaos.

Chaos is my addiction. Or one of them.

As the group leader read, I began letting my mind dwell to all the chaos I have experienced in my life. I will share some of that with you, because this is my blog, and I can do what I want J I grew up in a very tumultuous and chaotic household—my parents were always screaming at one another, fighting, spitting angry. I have soooo many sharp memories of hiding under our kitchen table as a child, clinging to a chair’s twisted wooden legs, crying for my parents to stop fighting. I always felt so helpless; I had no impact on the decibel at which they carried out their arguments. I remember the urge I had to take off through our screened back door and just run—run forever. But, the guilt I felt for thinking of abandoning my parents—the loyalty I had for my family—it kept me under the table, waiting for the day my parents would treat each other with love. My parents eventually did stop fighting—once I graduated from college and they learned to communicate with one another. But, the impact is still lingering. I’m getting better…I think.

My mind also dwelled to other instances of chaos in my life…my own binge drinking and dependence on alcohol in college to alleviate stressful and self-loathing days (thankfully, I am not an alcoholic, though I did heavily abuse the stuff), the quick turnover rate of my friendships in my late teens and early twenties because of my drinking. The eating disorder I developed as a teenager that I actively maintained until about three years ago…an emotionally and sexually abusive relationship I had during that time.

Man. I really, really, really must like chaos. Or, if I don’t like it, I’ve accepted it as part of my life.

What is it about chaos that I so clearly enjoy? Is it that chaos prevents me from having time to turn my attention to myself? Am I afraid of what may come to light in myself when I have too many quiet minutes on my plate? Is it that I feel uneasy, like something certainly must be wrong, if it’s quiet…too quiet?

I think I have Calm-Before-The-Storm Syndrome (I just made that up). CBTS Syndrome’s number one symptom is constant paranoia that something really bad is about to happen if everything feels like it’s going too smoothly. If there isn’t at least one area of my life that is just full of chaos, clearly, I have something awful headed my way.

Clearly. (Insert blank stare followed by a scoff…here).

What the heck is with that? In my head, rationally thinking, I know that if everything is calm, I SHOULD BE HAPPY. But I can’t make myself feel happy. I start getting paranoid—if I’m dating someone, or with someone (even a friendship!), I start looking for evidence they’ve cheated, or that they don’t want to be around me anymore. If I’m doing well in my career, or when I was doing well at school as a student, I find more projects or activities to get involved with until it feels like I’m about two feet under water. I find something critical about myself to totally rip on—my face is fat, my legs are jiggly, oh my gosh I can’t get in a swimsuit because love handles—I manifest this self-hate from nothing.

I love chaos.

There. I’ve admitted it to myself. I pretend like I want this happy-go-lucky, kumbaya life where all I do is yoga on the beach and volunteer to save the children but holy cow Batman. Clearly, that is not the case.

I very, very clearly love chaos.

So.

Here’s to facing that weird addiction head-on and getting to a place where I’m fine with being “bored”. Here’s to me being “comfortable” and “okay”. Even if that means sitting in a meeting for four minutes without anything dramatic happening. Even if that means not storming out and trying to be in control of everything like always. Even if that means putting the chaos behind me and being happy.

All Aboard the Struggle Bus

“Wait for the faintest tremor of fear and stop all work, everything, and rest before God until you are strong again.”
Twenty Four Hours a Day (Hazelden Meditations)

Woof.

Today has been a tough day. Like. Really, really tough.

I don’t know if the distracted worrying I’ve been experiencing all day is because in exactly 1 week and 4 hours from now, my fiancé will be landing at the local airport…or if it’s because my job has begun to slow down enough for me to periodically sit and process everything, just long enough to start marinating in anxiety.

And in my Fear.

Dangit. There’s that Fear again.

Today has been a bad day, because I’ve gotten up in my own head. I’m going to be very honest—it took me until I started writing this blog to ask God to help me, to calm me. That’s totally on me for not putting Him in the driver’s seat, earlier. I’m still being stubborn; I’m still stuck in the habit of doing things “on my own”.

I think I am experiencing a delayed, consuming response to the heavy emotional episodes my fiancé went through on Friday and Saturday. I think I’m feeling some deferred sentiments in regards to being a witness to his sobbing, his expression of self-hate, his overwhelming shame. It really hurts to see someone you care about feel that amount of emotional pain. The space between my shoulder blades and neck is killing me, and I think it’s because I’ve been cramming my shoulders up to my ears all day. Very, very tense, very, very anxious.

How do you deal with these moments?
What’s worked for you? What hasn’t?

I’m finding it harder to step away while I’m at work and just…relax…for a moment. I’m hoping this gets easier with time, letting go of the worrying and anxiety and Fear surrounding my fiancé’s sobriety.

I purchased Twenty Four Hours a Day  (a Hazelden publication) this afternoon; it will be delivered by Thursday according to Amazon. I’ll let y’all know my thoughts on the book. I’ve found visiting Hazelden’s website and reading through their Thought for the Day seems to alleviate some stress and gets me back in the right mindset. My fiancé’s residential therapist suggested I browse through it when I need something to read, to ground me. Maybe you should give it a try, as well.

Until tomorrow ❤

 

Letting Go of Fear

Fear
/fir/
noun
   1. False Evidence Appearing Real

 

The hardest thing I’m struggling with right now, by far, is Fear.

There’s this tight little ball living beneath the innermost bottom edge of my right set of ribs. Every time I let my mind drift to my fiancé stepping out of rehab in 10 days, that little ball makes a dash to my throat, giving my heart a squeeze on its way. My mind becomes flooded with questions, panicking:

  • What if he relapses? What if he relapses within days of coming home?
  • How will I know if he’s relapsed? Clearly, I can’t tell a sober man from a high or drunk one.
  • What if he lies to me again?
  • What if I have to leave him?
  • Will I leave him if I have to?
  • What if the first month, two months, six months of his homecoming are pink cloud happy and blissful…and then everything slowly transitions back to “normal”?
  • What the heck is normal?! My normal is crazy. Will I adjust to my new normal of having an honest relationship?
  • What if I stop going to Al-Anon meetings? What if I get complacent?
  • What if he stops going to AA meetings? What if he gets complacent?
  • What if–

Stop.
Just.
Stop.

I literally just worked myself up into a mental panic just now, and I’m laughing to myself. Even writing about the anxieties I’m having, triggers the Fear once again.

Fear is my disease.

Are you feeling afraid? Do you have Fear, yourself?

Please. Do something with me.

Close your eyes and just….stop. Clear your mind. Focus on a single sensation…maybe the sound of your dryer methodically whirring. Maybe the sound of a coworker typing on a keyboard. Maybe you’re focusing on your heartbeat, how it feels in your chest. Perhaps you’re choosing to focus on the slackness of your jaw, your cheeks lazily relaxed as you unclench all those tight muscles that you keep so fearfully and angrily clenched during the day.

Maybe you’re just focusing on your breathing. The rise and fall of your chest, the movement of cool air in…and damp, warm air out…of your nose.

Do you feel it?
Do you feel the calmness coming over you?

Now think, or say, or feel…God: please remove my Fear. Please give me peace. Please help me to let go of control; please help me to let go of my Fear of letting go.

There is no magic pill to letting go of Fear. But it can be done.
I’m definitely an amateur at it. Shoot, I’ve been practicing my letting-go-of-Fear-ness for…three days?

How far have I come?
About this |    | far.

But that’s further than I ever got four days ago.

Living With an Addict: The Lying, the Manipulation, the Heartache

It’s 6:09 am; I’m sitting in the Ft. Lauderdale International Airport, mentally prepping myself to board the plane back to home. This has been an emotionally exhausting trip filled with crying, uncomfortable conversations, and happy moments as well. Part of me is like…Yes! You get to go back to a routine filled with no surprises and no fear. The other (louder) part of me is clinging on to my uncomfortable JetBlue chair for dear life, screaming to not make her go. She wants to stay; she wants to see her fiancé again.

But, it’s back to the world I go. Back to my job, back to my dog, back to my apartment and cooking and cleaning and doing all the things I have to do to survive. My fiancé will be fine; he’s in a rehab center full of people (residents and employees alike) that so clearly love him. He will be fine; I need to take the next couple of weeks and focus on myself.

By far the hardest part of this trip was experiencing and speaking with an honest fiancé, for the first time in my relationship with him.

Weird, right?
It makes no sense.
Why would interacting with an honest person be hard?

Because, Reader. When you’ve been lied to repeatedly–when you’ve accepted certain falsities as absolute truths, finally surrendering to the idea that you know…maybe he’s telling the truth this time, maybe you should allow yourself to finally believe him–and that false reality gets swept away in a dimly lit room in a rehab center with a sobbing, remorseful, painful confession to the truth, it reminds you how deep in your loved one’s life addiction has its creepy tentacles.

It’s hard. Because it reminds you that no matter how much your addict loves you, no matter how much your alcoholic would never intentionally hurt you–he did. My fiancé didn’t lie to me because he knew it would hurt me, and was being vengeful or sadistic. My fiancé didn’t spin tale after tale after tale and go to great lengths to cover up his drug use, his binge drinking, because he wanted to get me. My fiancé lied because that’s what addicts do: they lie. Addiction pulls a curtain over the eyes; it shuts off empathy. It severs all ties with emotionally connecting with people, because if you connect emotionally and you feel the hurt you’re inflicting and you feel the sadness and self-hate you’re trying so desperately hard to cover up with all the pills and the booze…your addiction begins to lose.

And so…my fiancé’s addiction told him “lie”. Because lying prevents you from feeling, and telling the truth endangers your disease.

Don’t tell your future wife you’re intoxicated, a whole bottle of vodka poured down the hatch, as she gets in the car with you in the driver’s seat to ride out on one of the most dangerous freeways in the southern US; she will get angry with you for drinking. She doesn’t need to know. You’ll be fine.
Don’t tell your soon-to-be-fiancé you’ve been drinking this morning, and that you snuck off to drink this afternoon when she was getting ready for you to take her out to the dinner during which you’re going to propose and ask for her to dedicate the rest of her life to being with you. If she knows you’ve been drinking, if she knows what we have going on…she’s going to throw the ring back in your face. Don’t tell her. You’ll be alone for the rest of your life. Do you really want to be alone? Then don’t tell her.
Don’t tell your fiancé the reason why you refuse to engage in intimacy with her–the reason you leave her alone for 5, 6, 7, 8 nights in a row to hug a pillow and wonder what she’s doing wrong–don’t tell her it’s because you’re popping six adderall and going off to watch pornography instead.  You resent her, your fiancé; she’s repulsive to you, someone who is too good for you when you’re with me. Someone who doesn’t understand. Someone you’ve put on a pedestal, someone so far out of your reach now you have no connection with her. Just keep her at fingertips length–close enough for when you need her, far enough to have no clue what’s going on. Far enough to hurt her self-esteem, to have her question what she’s doing wrong; when she’s criticizing herself she can’t criticzie you…Don’t tell her about us. Don’t tell her you’ve lost all connection with her, because of me. She doesn’t need to know. She will take me away. And you can’t lose me.
Don’t tell anyone about us.

For the last two days my fiancé did, what I will now call, a “Lie Dump”, where he tried his hardest to remember every lie he’s told me (ha) since I’ve known him, and he just…dumped them all one me. In the most sincere move to be “reborn” as an honest person, my fiancé–with the encouragement and supervision of his residential therapist–wrote down every lie he could recall, and through the unintelligible sobs and the snot all over his deep red face and the cupped hands over his eyes and the convulsing shoulders and ribcage, he laid them out for me.

It really, really, really sucked.

But I just listened. I cried, because the emotion in the room was overwhelming, and because it hurt to have truths I had known deep down in my heart unveiled for the first time, finally aired out. I cried, but my fiancé grieved. I’ve never seen my fiancé sob like that before: not when he cut his mother out of his life, not when he was turned down for a “dream” job or when he found out his grandfather’s heart was giving out, not when he admitted out loud he was an addict and alcoholic–I’ve never seen that kind of pain, that kind of suffering in him before. It was horrible. But it was cleansing–for him, and for me–because he was feeling. Later that day, my fiancé told me he was positive I would walk out the door and never look back after his confession. But, he knew he had to be honest, not just for me, but more for his recovery. Addiction thrives on lying; addiction cannot actively live in an honest human being.

Most people would look at the lies my fiancé confessed–almost all revolving around drinking or drugs, in some degree–and would say…What the hell are you doing, why wouldn’t you just leave him? Because. I have to believe–and I do believe–that my fiancé showing courage and bravery for the first time in his life by being honest when he risked losing everything…that means recovery. It means he’s on the right path, and I have to stick through until he proves otherwise.

I feel like yesterday was the first time in a year and a half that I’ve seen my fiancé. The stranger that I’ve been living with–the sometimes unfeeling, manipulative, hot-and-cold stranger–has looked/spoke/talked/kissed/hugged/fought like my fiance, but his spirit, his personality, he had been replaced with The Active Addict.

I never want to see that person again.
I had forgotten what my fiancé looked like. What being with my fiancé felt like.
And now that I know, now that I remember–I will force myself to always remember–I will not allow the Other Person to creep back in my life again. I cannot control his appearance, I cannot prevent that from happening. However, I have to believe that my fiancé’s  fight to be an honest, God-loving, strong human being will be all the armor he needs to protect himself from that Other Person ever coming back. I can pray, and pray, and pray more for God to give me the strength to recognize that Other Person when he starts snaking his way back in my life, and the clarity of mind to not take it personally if it does happen. I also can pray many times over that God continues working these miracles in my fiancé’s life–my fiancé, being honest, pulling the dark entangled web of lies out from the depths of his being and laying the shame and the selfishness out for me to see and understand–that is a miracle.

Addicts are liars.
The addicts we love–the person you’re thinking about as you read this blog–they are not their addiction. They are not the lies and the hurts and the pain they have inflicted. That is not them. You cannot take it personally. It has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the inner torment they are dealing with on a daily basis.

Pray, pray, and pray again.

Today is a new day. Today is a new battle.
We are going to be ok.

My Loving, Caring, Funny, Handsome Addict.

I wanted to give you some background on my fiancé and myself, to give you some context. My next post will be about the lying and manipulation we all experience as family and friends to addicts and alcoholics; it’s something I’m very much struggling with at the moment.

But I digress…

If you ever meet my fiancé, you will immediately impressed by how sweet the guy is–there’s something in his disposition, something lingering in the backs of his eyes, that lets you know he’s a good guy. You will trust him. You will value his opinions. He will strike you as sincere

Which is why it’s incredibly confusing and infuriating to constantly be lied to by the guy.

The Back Story

When I first met my fiancé, as I said in my previous post, he quickly made it clear that he was an alcoholic, sober for just under a year, and that he was attending AA meetings. I spent the duration of the next year fully believing the guy was sober, attending his meetings, and doing what it took to stay the course.

I was wrong.
Within the first year of dating, my fiancé and I got engaged and moved out of Texas and to the Northeast to pursue our careers. It was right after our move, a few months after our engagement, that I discovered I had been duped.

The wondrous thing about credit card statements, Dear Reader, is that they do not lie. There’s a transaction date, a company or individual who received the funds, and the amount paid. So, when you are creating a household budget on a bright and cheery day, and you’re going through you and your partner’s statements and find over 50 liquor store purchases on your lovely fiancé’s transaction list over the course of two and a half months, you kind of can’t deny what’s going on.

Even if you want to.
Even if every cell in your body is absolutely refusing to accept the lines and lines of KING LIQUORS and WINE & SPIRITS purchases.
Even if it feels like someone has just round-house kicked you in the chest and knocked the air and life out of you…

You can’t deny the truth.

I won’t bore you with the details, but I left. I packed up my suitcase, I packed up our dog (MY dog), and I left. I drove halfway across the country; I barely remember it, I was so. Angry.

I was never taking him back. How could he do this? How could he lie for so long? I hadn’t even bothered looking at bank statements from even earlier in the year; I knew what I would see. How could my sweet, caring, loving, gentle fiance be so selfish? Why would he do this to me. We were going to have a family. We were going to have it all.
Did this mean he had been wasted around me and I never knew? Oh my gosh. The guy had been tanked around me at least three days a week for the last few months and I had no idea. I was an idiot. I was such an idiot.
I was done.
I wasn’t going back.
To hell with him.

Then the begging, pleading, crying, I-Promise-It-Will-Never-Happen-Again-I-Was-Just-So-Weak-And-Stressed mess hooked me, and I drove the 18 hours back to my fiancé. I let him bawl on my shoulder and beat himself up and tell me how much he hated himself. I let him “teach” me about alcoholism and I let him fill my head with excuses for why he had stopped going to AA meetings, why he hadn’t prioritized addressing his addiction over everything else. I let him apologize as many times as he felt necessary. We made a pact to be honest with one another, to communicate with one another. Fiancé agreed to start seeing a therapist and go to daily AA meetings; I considered going to Al-Anon meetings, but I didn’t.

I was afraid.

And then life moved on.

His AA attendance dwindled from daily, to three times a week, to once a week, to never. I became a nag, an over-controlling nuisance who almost robotically asked “…Aren’t you going to a meeting tonight?” “Are you drinking again?” “Don’t you think you’re prioritizing work over helping yourself…?” “Why are you taking $150 out of the ATM every week?”

Flash forward seven months (a month and a half ago from today), and I’m getting a phone call from one of my good friends, someone who works in pharmacy. “Hey, have you talked to (Fiancé)? He just texted me…wanted to buy Vivance from me. Is he ok? Is he abusing prescription meds?”

Yes, he was abusing prescription drugs. It turns out my fiancé–my amazing, sweet, gentle fiance–was taking 120mg of Amphetamine Salts on the reg, popping them like they were candy. He was being prescribed adderall (which baffles me), and would run out of his pills within a week. And, to top that off, he was now reaching out to my friends to illegally purchase prescription stimulants because they “worked better”.

The guy’s blood pressure was 170/80. He’s an athlete; he’s in shape. You would think I would have known, or at least been partially aware of, the fact that my fiance was walking around higher than a kite 24/7. The anxiety attacks he was having, his disinterest in sex, the dappled purple coloration on his forearms from his capillaries reacting to the overload of amphetamines…his blue fingernails, his icy fingertips. His depression, his mood swings, his disinterest in anything but work and staying up two or three nights in a row without a lick of sleep…

I should have known.
Deep down, I did know. I just didn’t want to admit it.

I had seen the empty prescription bottles laying around after they had been retrieved from the pharmacy not even two weeks prior. I had seen the empty pill casings tossed to the floor, the powdered contents they once held…what? Snorted? Tossed back like a shot? I’ll never know. I just silently picked them up and threw them away. I confronted him one time, back in November, about his dependence and abuse of adderall.

“Don’t you think you take too much? Don’t you think you’re starting to get addicted to them?”
It led to a fight.
I was verbally put through the shredder. I was controlling, I didn’t trust him, I was pissing him off…he made me feel awful for even suggesting there was an issue with his prescription. “I need them.”
I got a quick glimpse of the monster living inside my fiancé. I wasn’t completely aware of it then, but I am now…I was having a conversation with his Addiction.
After he cooled down, my fiancé returned to being the gentle guy he is. His Addiction had won; I shut my mouth and never brought it up again. I gave in.

I’m afraid to ask him…and I need to, so I will…but over the past few months I’d noticed my post-surgeries emergency stash of pain killers (former athlete, my knees are shot) and muscle relaxers start to dwindle. Again, I didn’t want to see it. But I know in my heart what was going on. I knew it then. You can believe after I got done talking with my friend about my fiancé’s attempted drug deal, I tossed that mess of prescription drugs down the toilet so fast, your head would spin.

Addiction is awful.
I am fully aware that I am powerless over his addiction.
But how is that supposed to make me feel any better?

I’m leaving to go see him at his facility in twenty minutes. I’m scared.

A Greeting.

Hello Reader,

I am writing to you from an empty coffee table within an even emptier AirBNB rental in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. I am here because I choose to be; I am here because I need answers. I am here because I am at the “end of my rope”, as some say, and I don’t know where else to go or what else to do at this point. I have felt my life spiral out of control; I am barely holding it together. I need you, and this laptop, and this blog right now. I need to stay grounded.

Like many others in this city and South Florida in general, my fiance is a resident at a substance abuse rehabilitation facility. Today marks the 30-day anniversary of his admission.

About Me

I am a 27-year old Texan-turned-North-Eastener. I hold a very demanding position in the healthcare industry; I graduated top of my class at one of the most prestigious schools in the south. I travel 3 hours a day by train to get to and from work; I’m out of the house by 5:30 am, and I get home around 7:00 pm on a good day. I come from a small family with big Texan values–I must have recited the Golden Rule a million times as a child. I grew up going to Sunday School every week and was raised with the slogan “Honesty is the Best Policy” stamped across my brain. I pride myself on being independent; I love others deeply and I try to see the best in (most) people. I have an affinity towards anything furry and adorable; I also have a weird obsession with chocolate

I’ve also freshly discovered that I possess many other qualities and characteristics: I suffer from some sort of martyr complex. I’m a control freak. I can forgive and forget only so many times before I go off the deep end and pull an Amy from Gone Girl (ie, go full sociopath). I harbor a lot of self-resentment and a side dish of self-pity. I have a low self esteem.

I’m a lot of things.

I’m also engaged to the most kind, gentle-spirited man on the face of this planet. My fiance is, to the world, perfect. He’s exactly one year, one month, and one day younger than me (so, 26 for those of you who are stuck on anything past 2nd grade level math like myself), yet he’s accomplished so much: graduated from an Ivy League school, climbed the corporate ladder faster than anyone, ever, at his Fortune’s Top # company. To an outsider looking in, my fiance has it all: the job, the girl, the dog, the apartment, the life…

My Fiance

What people don’t know is that my fiance is fighting a daily battle with alcohol and pills. What people don’t know is that my fiance is struggling with honesty, and addressing his self-loathing. What no one knows, outside of family and close friends, is that my fiance has a disease that has its claws in him so deep, he will spend the rest of his life fighting it.

What no one knows is that my fiance is still the amazing human being he appears to be to the world…he just also happens to be an addict and an alcoholic.

Then

All this to say, if you had asked me three years ago, four years ago, five years ago if I wanted to marry an addict and an alcoholic, I would have looked at you sideways and asked if you were crazy. Addicts and alcoholics, I thought, were “not my type”. They just weren’t. They were selfish, they were lazy. Addicts and alcoholics were wreckless and stupid; they were hell-bent on destroying themselves and taking down with them anyone who stood in their way. Addicts and alcoholics weren’t normal. How could I ever love someone who loved a cheap bottle of vodka or a script for stimulants more than they loved themself? How would I even give myself the opportunity to begin to love someone like that?

I have seen what addiction and alcoholism does to people, to families. My own family has not been allowed to exist without feeling the pain of the disease. Growing up, I saw a lot, though I’m finally comprehending and feeling it now. I saw the consequences of my uncle (drug of choice: crack) stealing from my ill grandparents to get his next fix. I saw the heartbreak. I saw my uncle leaving his daughter, so young, behind for months while he went on binges and lived on the streets. I saw that same cousin pleading with him to be present; I listened to her grieving when he wasn’t. I saw my uncle finally change when it was too late, 20 years later. His daughter has disowned him, the greiving has turned into hatred.

I saw my great-uncle showing up to family gatherings with a bottle of wine already opened and in-hand, reeking of alcohol. I had to endure the drunken lectures about life and regret. The same great-uncle later died from damange caused by the disease; no one was surprised, but his children were devastated.

Now

And yet…here I am. Sitting at a coffee table, alone in Ft. Lauderdale, because I am absolutely, positively, 100% in love with an alcoholic and addict. He told me the third week after we started dating he was an alcoholic. I’ll never forget. My fiance took out his Blue Book and explained to me what AA was, what alcoholism was, and asked if I was “ok” with dating “someone like him”.

I would be a liar if I said I haven’t thought about what my life would be like now if I had just said…”No.”

But I didn’t. My heart swelled, I looked at the brave man in front of me who wasn’t scared to reveal to me his demons, and I told him I was fine with it.  He was going to AA…he had it all under control…everything was going to be fine.

But it wasn’t. And it isn’t fine.

Tomorrow, I’m going to write a post about my fiance’s struggle with alcohol and drugs. It’ll be a hefty post, and you may even relate to some of it. The lies, the heartbreak, the shame, the rebuilding of trust only to have it shattered once again…it’s a vicious cycle.

It’s an exhausting cycle.

But, at the end of the day, I have chosen to be here.