Tuesday, March 18, 2014

In life and death you've always stole my heart...

On the Saturday evening before your release from treatment, the center where I stayed held a "candle lighting" ceremony.  The "Mayor" of the current group of addicts and alcoholics, stands at the podium, introduces you, and if you are so inclined, you are given a few minutes to address the group, and you have an opportunity to light three different shaped candles: a square, a circle and a heart.  Each client on the evening of their "candle lighting" is encouraged to assign something meaningful from their personal journey that brought us to treatment;or our feelings about our recovery at the moment to each of the shaped candles, and to share their thoughts.  The following were my thoughts as I lit my candles:

Earnest Hemingway, my favorite author, and fellow alcoholic, was well known in literature for his use of symbolism.  In his literary novella, "The Old Man and the Sea", the battle between the ocean and the old man is symbolic in that a man can be destroyed, but not defeated.  I am lighting the square candle as a symbol of the strength I have witnessed here at Happy Turtle Treatment Center*, and from all of the knowledge I have gained from all of the incredible people I have spent the last 20-something days with.  Drugs and Alcohol may have tried to break and destroy us, but it does not HAVE to defeat us. We are all strong enough to beat this disease. 
My youngest son, my little prince, also struggles with addiction.  When I called him and told him my plans to check myself into rehab for my drinking, he asked me, in all seriousness, "On your own??".  He truly could not fathom the concept of seeking treatment with out being court mandated, or it not being conditional of anything else. So, that being said, in his honor, I am opting NOT to light the circle candle, in hopes of breaking the cycle of addiction in my world by embracing sobriety,  As I begin my journey into recovery by finally setting the right example.  No longer expecting him to "Do as I say, and not as I do".  
Most, if not all of you may already know this, but for those who don't, four years ago, my 20 year old son died from a heroin overdose.  Or, as the certified certificate of death states, "Acute accidental opiate intoxication" as his cause of death.  Burying my son, my firstborn, was without a doubt, the single most sad, difficult, miserable, painful and surreal day of my life.  A close second was possibly choosing the words to put on his stone.  These words would be my final tribute to him, and will also someday mark my final resting place as well.  I was barely functioning at the time, rarely, if ever, taking a sober breath, let alone being capable of forming a cohesive thought.  Yet for reasons I still can not explain, this was profoundly important to me. I wanted his grave to be marked and I wanted, I needed it to reflect the love in my heart for him.  Ultimately, I chose, "All my Love, All my Life", and I light this heart candle in memory of my beautiful Prince, my baby boy, who has held my heart for all of my life. May he and all of the others lost to this Beast, may he rest peacefully.  

(you can click on the picture to enlarge)
*The Happy Turtle Treatment Center is not the real name of the treatment center.

Friday, March 14, 2014

That that's not the way I want my story to end...

Ron, from "An Addict in our Sons Bedroom" had recently graciously opened up his furiously popular blog to Guest Posts.  If you knew me in person, I am actually a bit on the shy side, however, I loved the idea of being able to contribute something to his little piece of cyberspace, so I requested a writing assignment.  Ron, having read of my recent experience with sobriety requested that I share a little bit of my perspective on what it was like to be the one going through the treatment center doors.  So, please, if you care to read it, head on over to Ron's Place, and feel free to share your thoughts, and give a great big shout out to Ron for all of the fantastic work he is doing over there helping to fight this Beast.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Keep on dreaming, fight those demons...

During my days in treatment last fall, so much emphasis was placed on loving myself.  Last night I was relaying my current situation with the man with a good friend.  She was aghast at his meanness towards me, and by my cowardliness in accepting this behavior.  I read her the text messages that the man and I exchanged that morning, specifically the one where he told me, and I quote, "I have to figure out what I want... but I don't want this..."  She couldn't understand why I would continue to want to still pursue a future with him, when he clearly doesn't want one with me.  When I arrived home after work last night, he did not even lift his head to acknowledge my presence, and didn't even bother to say hello.  

She asked me if I wanted to be a doormat, or do I want to be Kel.  I responded that I wasn't even sure who Kel was anymore.  The Kel I used to know is lost deep somewhere in the throws of being a parent to an addict, an adult child of an alcoholic, the mother of an Angel. A motherless daughter. An orphan of sorts.  I have lost both of my parents and my oldest son in under four years.  I no longer have a relationship with my only sibling. I have spent the last number of years in a drunken stupor. The Kel I used to be was a fighter, a woman of strength, who has morphed into a needy, broken shell of a woman who doesn't know who she is or how she got here.  And she has no idea how to find her way back. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

I'm Blown, to the maxim

When I awoke this morning, I realized the man did not wake me up when he left for work as per our normal ritual.  Red Flag No. 1.  As I made my way to the kitchen, I discovered the deliberate lack of coffee in the peculator, and the morning paper purposefully absent. Flags No. 2 and 3.  Silent treatment in full effect.

I have not written much about the man here in my blog.  Choosing instead over the years to use this as my outlet for venting my sadness and frustration with my Prince while he was alive and active in his addiction.  I have posted only a handful of posts since his passing. There is a combination of so much and not very much to say.  Almost like a long neglected friendship where there is so much to talk about and catch up when you finally get back to it, that it is so very difficult to start.

So I will start with the man.  We have been together on and off for I guess about 7 years or so. We have been living together since last June, when I sold my house after my mothers passing.  He gave up his apartment and we are renting a house that is way too big for us, but it is in a great location, it has a built in pool which I am used to having, and we figured the extra space would help ease the transition of living together for the first time, giving us each a place to go when we needed some "me" time.

Our personalities are very different. I am very outspoken, talkative, and hate to be alone.  He is quite shy, does not like to be around people, and suffers from a bit of social anxiety.  He has never been married and does not have children.  You all know my story on that topic.  He is very health conscious for the most part, he eats healthy most of the time and his gym time is high on his priority list.  Me? My diet isn't great, and it definitely includes too much caffeine, sugar and nicotine; and the gym is a place where I have "donated" plenty of money over the years and it is likely there is a dusty treadmill there with my name adorned in gold showing their appreciation.

Early in our relationship, we saw each other mostly on the weekends, and we often went for dinners, to wineries, outdoor concerts, etc.  Alcohol was often a common denominator with us.  For me, well, cause I liked to drink, and for him, well, it helped him with his shyness and lowered his inhibitions.  The years went by and the drinking continued, him much more able to control it, not drinking to excess, never during the week,  and me, well we all know how that worked out for me.  My drinking was often a bone of contention, and we broke up briefly quite a few times over it.  Until finally last fall, when my drinking was consuming my mind, my body and my life, I checked myself into a rehab and got clean.  As a matter of a fact, today I am 115 days sober.

Prior to my treatment, he often insisted that all of our problems were a direct result of my alcoholism.  I foolishly believed him.  It is important for me to point out I sought treatment for myself. The hopes that my relationship with the man would improve and be more secure were just one of the many cherries on the top of my decision.

I have never rented a house or an apartment, I have always owned my own home, the rental for the year, was to be a test run, to assure our compatibility.  The bigger plan was to rent for a year, and then move forward and purchase a house. In spite of a few blowouts since my return home from treatment, in January we found the perfect house, made an offer that was accepted, and we began the arduous process of buying a house in New York.  

When the man is upset with or angry with me, his way of showing it is to basically sulk and give me the silent treatment. A method of communication that I find childish, punitive, and unacceptable.  It is a subject we have discussed at length, a personality flaw that is extremely destructive to our relationship, not too mention my self-esteem, and he had promised to work on.

Well, it turns out that now that I am working on my recovery and embracing sobriety, my other flaws are suddenly deal breakers.  This is where this mornings red flags and latest edition of the silent treatment come in to play.  According to his text messages this morning, I do not eat properly.  I don't exersize, I consume too much sugar, high fructose and flour.  I smoke. I am unhealthy.  I am entering middle age and it will not work out well for me.  He is not confident about our future.  He doesn't know what he wants, he will have to figure it out in time, but he doesn't want this.

Yes, these are flaws that I am guilty of. I will not deny a single one, but I am doing my very best to conquer one demon at a time.  My sobriety is still so very new and fragile.

So now we have signed a contract with a young family who is relocating to another state for a career change to purchase their house.  We have put down a significant amount of money as a down payment, have already receive a mortgage commitment, we have a scheduled closing date of April 30th. and will be liable for many additional, expensive costs if we back out of this contract, not to mention the disruption and inconvenience caused to the young family.

However, I think this time, enough is enough.  I am simply exhausted by his passive aggressive behavior, being made to feel like a naughty child who has misbehaved every time he is upset about something. I love this man, I wanted a future with him, I am crazy about the house we were supposed to buy, and am not in a position financially to loose the money I am going to loose.  But I am finally understanding what it means when my therapist tells me: "Love is necessary, but it is not sufficient."