Saturday, May 25, 2013

Living With An Addict- Part 6

This is part 5 of my true story, if this is your first time reading my story, you might want to start at the beginning.  Thank you for visiting my blog today.  It has been a few weeks since I have written anything else about this story.  When I think about what I want to write next, my mind starts spinning in circles.  There are so many things I want to write about, and the memories are becoming jumbled up in my mind.  Oh, how I wish I would have kept a journal when I was going through all of this at the time.   

Last time, I wrote about the day my son was born, and how my husband seemed like he wasn't even there.  I thought I would pick up there for today.  And I will also tell you about the worst fight we ever had.  In case you are reading for the first time, and did not go back and read from the beginning, I was married to a drug addict.  We had two children together.  I believe he started using drugs on a regular basis, and became addicted, when I was pregnant with my son, who is now 13 years old.  I was pregnant during the winter of 1999.  During that time, things progressively went downhill.  I remember him going out many many nights, and not returning home until the next day.  I would be livid by the time he arrived home.  There would be huge fights.  I would threaten him that if he didn't stop doing that, he was going to have to move out.

During a lot of our marriage it went like this:  He would do something wrong that hurt me, he would realize he had gone too far, I would be ready to leave him, and he would beg and plead for me to stay.  He would persuade me that things were going to be different, I would stay, and there would be a brief honeymoon period when he would be on his best behavior.  It was a nasty cycle of the same behavior over and over.  The thought of leaving him was overwhelming to me.  We had a comfortable house, a nice big piece of property to build our dream house on, one child and another on the way, and he made a lot of money.  I could not fathom how my lifestyle would have to change if I chose to leave.  So I stayed.

During my second pregnancy, he spent a lot of time either going out and not coming home, or sleeping.  He slept more than he had ever slept since I had known him.  I started to feel like I was sleeping with my enemy.  I started to realize that my love for him was running thin.  I remember trying to talk to him about this, and telling him that once he drove me to the point that I no longer loved him, there would be nothing he could ever do to change that.  And I was right.  I could feel my love for him slipping away.  I knew something was very wrong with him.  I would try to look through his belongings for clues, and he had a briefcase that he always took with him, and he kept it locked at all times.  I tried so many times to open that thing.  I think that is where he was keeping it.  I started seeing these little things lying around in different places.  I didn't know what they were or where they came from.  They looked like little tiny brillo pads.  I thought they were odd.  It turns out they were drug paraphernalia.  To this day I don't know what he did with those little things, but I do know that he used them, because he told me.

He was changing, and I felt like I didn't even know him any more.  It was like he could have not cared less about me or the baby I was carrying.  I told you in part five of my story about my son's birth.  Two weeks after he was born, I threw him out.  I had told him that if he ever stayed out all night long again, that I would, and he did.  He left one evening, early in the evening, with his race car on a trailer on the back of his truck, and he never came home until mid afternoon the next day.  In all those hours I could not reach him.  I took black garbage bags and packed all of his clothing in them and sat them on the porch.  When he got home, I told him to leave, that it was over.  Now, I had asked him to leave so many times before and he refused, so I was surprised that this time, he left.  He went to his parents house to stay.  BTW, he has very good parents who are good people, who never deserved what they have had to go through.  Trust me, this is not the end of the story.  It is really just the beginning.

So here I was with a two week old infant and a 4 year old little girl.  Alone.  And he was gone.  I will tell you what happened next soon, but for now, I wanted to tell you about the worst fight we ever had.  He was not a physically abusive man.  Emotionally abusive, definitely, but he never hurt me.  I have tried to remember when this fight happened  so many times, and I just can't seem to pinpoint exactly when it happened.  But I do know that it was during the time that he was holed up in the garage almost 24 hours a day.  He had covered the windows with newspaper, and changed the lock on the door.  He would not let me in.  There were several inches of snow on the ground.  We were fighting about something, I can't remember what, and our daughter was at his mom's house, due to be coming home any minute.  I do not remember whether my son was born yet, but I do know I was not pregnant at the time, so he must have been.

He went outside and I followed him.  For some reason he threw me into the snow, hard.  I remember my head banging off of the snow, and it knocked the wind out of me.  You need to keep in mind that he had never done anything like that to me before, which looking back, was another sign that something was drastically wrong with him.  I was so livid when he did that that I jumped up and grabbed a broom and swung it at him, meaning to hit him across the shins.  Somehow my aim was way off and I hit him upside the head!  I knocked him out!  He dropped like dead weight, right in the driveway.  I panicked, I thought I had killed him, and all I could think was that my daughter and his mom should be pulling into the driveway soon.  I ran inside and called her to tell her not to come.  I don't even remember if I  reached her, but I don't think I did.  I ran back out there and he was still laying there, out cold.  I was crying hysterically and I went over to him, and I realized that he was not dead, that I had just knocked him out.

At that moment in time, everything changed.  It was all turned around onto me.  I felt like the most horrible person in the entire world and that every single thing that was wrong in our marriage was all my fault.  I got him to come around, and when he did he immediately got up and ran into the garage and locked me out.  I was hysterical, and remorseful, and felt like the worst human being on the face of the earth.  I begged and begged him to open the door.  I finally got him to open up, and to my horror he was sitting there with a gun!  He said that he was going to shoot himself in the head, but he decided not to.  At that moment right there, I did not know yet that he was already addicted to drugs.  I did not realize that there was a much bigger problem than I thought there was.  I was so confused, and sorry that I had hurt him, and the fact that he had thrown me so hard that my head bounced and that I acted in self defense left my mind completely.  I felt that I was the only one in the wrong.

I begged and pleaded for him to forgive me, and I swore to him and myself that I would be a better wife, and that whatever was wrong, I would fix it.  I was no longer the victim, I was the perpetrator.  I owed it to him to be better.  I needed to be a better wife to him and these horrible things would no longer happen.  It was so sick and so twisted.  and this is the most embarrassing story I have to tell.  It is the skeleton in my closet.  I have told this to only one, maybe two people, ever.  I was so ashamed of the whole entire thing.

So, that is the worst fight I have ever been in with anyone.  But we did somehow make up, and for a very long time I felt indebted to him.  Like I owed him.  And I vowed to be the best wife.  If I could just be the best wife then this would all go away, and he would love me again, and he would stop doing whatever he was doing.  Little did I know that he was already gone.  He was no longer my husband.  And the reason he was holding a gun really had nothing at all to do with me.  It was about the fact that he was hopelessly addicted to crack cocaine.  He had tried several times to stop on his own, and he could not do it.  He hated himself.  He could not even look in the mirror.  He was slowly ceasing to care about anything in the world other than his addiction.  It was not humanly possible for me to be a good enough wife to fix that problem.

As I am sitting here today, my ex husband is clean and sober for almost 2 years now.  He is trying to rebuild his life.  He is hoping to be a part of his children's lives again.  I have not talked to this man in over 5 years.  I have not seen him in even longer than that.  I have hated this man for more years than I was married to him.  I have harbored so much anger and resentment towards him.  I have held on to my hatred for so long now.  How do you  not?  But you might be surprised to find out that I am changing.  Something in my heart is changing.  The good Lord is working on me.  Ever since I started writing this story, something in my heart is starting to soften.  It started to come in little flashes.  I can't even describe them.  But last Sunday, as I sat in church listening to my pastor's sermon, something happened to me.  The tears started flowing, and I could not stop them.  I felt an overwhelming need to have forgiveness for this man.  More than that, I felt that God was telling me to forgive him.   This man who changed everything about my life and the lives of my children.  I felt Jesus come into my heart and tell me that it is time.  Time to start the healing process.  Time to teach my children about the power of forgiveness.  After all, If their mother cannot forgive, why should they?

I asked my pastor if I could talk to him after the service, and I cried some more and told him a little about the situation.  And he prayed with me and for us all.  And I made a decision that I never thought I would make.  I decided to start the process of forgiving him.  This is not something that I can do over night.  Maybe it is the fact that I am finally writing about what I went through.  I have pushed it to the back for far too long.  And now I am dealing with the pain of the past.  I worry about writing my story because I worry about offending his family.  But if any of his family are reading this, please know that this is something that I need to do.  Not everyone will understand that I need to do this, but that is OK.  I just know that for me, I need to write about what I went through.  And I am going to keep writing about it until I have written every last word that I have inside of me about what I went through.  And you know what I am going to do after that?  I am going to lay it down.  I am going to give it all to God, and then I am going to find a way to forgive this man.  And I am going to teach my children the importance of forgiveness.  Forgiveness is not about the person who hurt you.  It is about you.  It is about letting go of anger and resentment.  Holding on to these things is not good for me.  I do not want to be a person who holds a grudge for the rest of my life.  I do not want my children to be people who cannot forgive.  What he did to us will never be OK.  It will never be right.  It will never go away.  That is not what forgiving him is about.  It is about making myself a better person and a better mother.  And learning to let go of the past.

I texted him last Sunday, and told him that I would like to talk to him.  He has requested to speak with me more than once and I have not been able to bring myself to.  I am trying to prepare myself to talk to him.  I told him that I was going to try to forgive him eventually.  I told him I had many questions that I needed honest answers to.  When I feel ready, then I will talk to him.  Forgiving him is not going to happen over night.  It is going to be a process.  Please pray for me to have the strength to be able to do this.  And pray for him that he will have the strength to remain sober and rebuild his life.  Pray that my children will learn from  me that they also need to forgive.  Does this mean that we are all eventually going to be one big happy family?  No.  It means that hopefully we will be able to heal.  And that is what I want for my children.  Are they ever going to have a good relationship with their father?  I pray they will, because they need to.  That depends on the choices he makes every single day.  If he can stay sober, I believe he has a chance to be a part of their lives.  If he doesn't stay sober, he doesn't.  It is that simple.

The next time, I will tell you what happened after that day that he took his garbage bags of stuff and went to his parent's house to stay.  I hope you will come back to read what happens.