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I keep thinking about where I should go with this true story. There are so many memories jumbled up in my mind. Some of them are fleeting, some are not. The memories, they come and go, sometimes in a dream. One memory that has popped into my mind a few times lately is a time back in probably 1997 or 1998. I so wish I would have kept a diary back then! But in this particular memory, one of my first cousins was graduating from high school. I was going to the graduation, and in the meantime, my husband went over to my best friend’s house to pick her up, and they were going to a local restaurant/bar to wait for me. I was to meet them there afterwards.
When I arrived, he was three sheets to the wind. He was acting really bizarre. My BFF tells me that he got into her muscle relaxers! She said he popped several of them! He was in her bathroom and found them and just helped himself. She was not happy about this, she said he never asked permission, he just told her he took them afterward. So he took them, and then he goes out and drinks! I was so mad at him. It was that night that I knew he could not be trusted around prescription medication. We had a huge fight about that, but that was nothing new. Nothing new at all. I am trying to recall these things in some semblance of order, to try to help you understand the sequence of events, or how things started. What were my first signs that there was a problem?
Understand that while I can look back now and clearly see that there was a problem, it was not that easy and black and white for me back then. These were a scattering of events and happenings that happened over the course of several years, so it was just not that obvious to me as it is now. Another time I vividly remember probably in those same years between 1997-1999 (maybe earlier than that), we went to a party. See my husband had made friends with a group of guys that were into motocross. For a few years we hung out with these people a lot. And I really liked these people too. But looking back, I think some of these people may have been involved with some drug usage with him. Now it is important to note that none of these guys have subsequently destroyed their lives the way my ex did. They all lead normal and productive lives. But that is the difference between a normal person and an addict. Some people can dabble and come out unscathed, some can’t. My ex husband could and did not.
So, we are at this party, and things went the way they usually went, the men and the women kind of separated and I was hanging with the women. Some of the guys starting drinking Wild Turkey, and of course my husband went right along with it. And then I remember having a bad feeling that something was going on that I didn’t know about that night. He kept disappearing upstairs. I kept going up there and once I found him in a dark room with several people. Things were not going well, not well at all. I kept trying to catch him because I thought they were being very secretive, but I never actually caught him that night. But I remember he was being particularly mean and nasty that night. I mean downright mean. Acting like he literally hated me.
We all left this house party and went to a local bar. At this bar he got really nasty towards me and was actually acting like he wanted to hurt me, he was coming at me, and I think he even might have shoved me down. I was actually afraid of him that night. Two of his friends had to step in and get him away from me. He decided he wanted to go home. I refused to go with him, he was wasted. So he left, and I stayed. I stayed with two of his guy friends, and we just kind of went somewhere and hung out and talked for a few hours, and then one of them drove me home. When I got there, he had broke the door in! And he was passed out cold. When he woke up, he had no memory of anything that had happened. He swore it was the Wild Turkey and that he would never drink that stuff again. And he never did, not that I am aware of. That was one of the only nights that I was afraid of him. Maybe it was the Wild Turkey, maybe it was something else, I will probably never know. But that was the first and only time he actually was downright mean in a physical way.
I didn’t want to dwell on this too much because it is what I wrote about last time, but my daughter turned 17 on Thursday. 17 years old. Since she was 4 years old, her father has been a drug addict. Before that, she was daddy’s little girl. She loved him and he loved her. He would get down on the floor and play and play with her. He changed diapers and he took care of her. They were super close. When all of this started happening, it was horrible for her. So horrible. She used to scream and cry, and blame me for making him go away. She used to have nightmares that she never saw her daddy again. That one kind of came true. She has not seen him since she was in the 6th grade. She is in the 11th grade right now. She missed him so much back then that it physically hurt her. It makes me sick just remembering what she went through. Those memories are so painful and so sickening, I can barely stand to write about it. And I don’t think words can actually express that pain that she went through when he disappeared from her life.
Going from being daddy’s little girl to not having her daddy at all definitely changed who my daughter was. It changed her permanently. She had to develop a thick outer shell. She stopped showing her emotions, and eventually just stopped talking about him. She became the kind of person who was very private with what was happening inside of her, she does not talk to people about things. She keeps it all in. My daughter is one of the sweetest and most beautiful girls in the world. She has never really given me any true problems. She did not deserve this. She did not deserve to be abandoned by the person she loved the most in this world. She deserved to be loved and cherished. What he did to her breaks my heart.
My daughter cheered for several years, and took gymnastics. She ran on the track team for several years. She sings. She is in theater. She has a beautiful voice. He has never heard it. How sad is that? She got her first car last weekend. He missed that too. My daughter is old enough to make her own decisions regarding her father. I feel that I can no longer control her when it comes to him. I have mentioned before that he has been sober 18 months. He is in a halfway house right now. I think he is due to be released soon. He contacted her back in December, through Facebook. She was upset by it. She immediately called me. She wanted me to go into her Facebook and make sure her pictures were private. I have told her that her relationship with him is up to her. She says she doesn’t want to see or talk to him. She asked me to write him back for her. So I did. I told him that she doesn’t want a relationship with him. But he hasn’t given up- yet. I am guessing that if he manages to stay sober once he is free, she might change her mind. And that is OK with me. I can’t protect her. I think she knows not to expect much. And she also knows that having a relationship with him is a risk. There is always that chance that he will relapse and disappear from her life.
These are decisions that she is going to have to make regarding her father for the rest of her life. Should she trust him? Should she want to see him? Should she take the risk of letting him break her heart again? It is such a shame. Such a damn shame. It makes me angry. It makes me hate him. How can I forgive someone who has hurt my children and changed the course of their lives the way that he has? I just don’t know how to do that. Sometimes, I feel like I can, but then I start thinking about the kind of things I am writing at this moment, and it makes me so angry and resentful. I do pray, for my children’s sake, that he stays sober and is able to have some kind of a relationship with them. Because that is what is truly best for them. I pray that every single day. If I could have one wish in this world it would be for him to be fully restored and that he could make amends to my children. Because I know that is what is truly best for them. I am going to stop here for today.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I don’t know why you are here, or how you found your way here. I don’t know whether you know me, or my children, or my ex husband, or his family. But I hope that regardless of your reason for reading this that you got something out of it, whatever it is you were looking for. I hope my words make you stop and think about addiction, and what it does to everyone involved. The addict is not only hurting him or herself. He is hurting every single person who loves him. He is destroying families and lives. If you are an addict yourself, please go and get help. Please know that what you are doing to yourself is killing those who love you. Please understand that one thing. Because a drug addict is never just hurting himself. He is hurting every single person who cares about him. Goodbye for now, I will be back with more the next time I have the time, and the stomach, for writing about my experiences of living with an addict.