Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Helping Someone Who Can't Help Themselves

As with most of the time this blog goes quiet I am either really busy at work or really deep in thought thinking about something I want to write. This week it is a little of both.

Before I post this I just want to give you a brief disclaimer. I do not claim to speak for all women in my situation. Sometimes when I write I refer to us as a group but I can only give you reasoning for my actions and my thoughts and feelings and no one else's. So please, if you have been in this situation and your experience was different from mine feel free to leave me a comment.

Moving on, a week ago my friend Jess wrote a post on Gift of Gab about staying in a marriage. Well, the point of her post was more about using your vows as an excuse not to get out of a marriage but it got a little off that topic in the comments.

As anyone who has known me a while or been reading here a while knows this is a hot button issue for me. I am one of the women who stayed. One of the ones who has been close to hell and back a few times and still said the I Love You's and played the part of the happy wife.

During the commenting stage of the posting an anonymous commenter asked me:

Is there anything someone could've said to you that would've opened your eyes sooner to the situation you were in to try to handle it sooner than you did?

I told that person that I would think about it and write a post here. (Or rather I posted a comment to that affect since I don't know who they are I'm just hoping they stop back by) And think about it I have. For one solid week I have thought about it and dreamed about it and cried about it.

What no one tells you right away is that when you are in a situation like this you do not necessarily process all of your feelings and emotions at that time. In fact it takes people asking questions like this and me really taking a hard look at things for me to really feel a lot of the things I should have felt back then. Even today with all I have told people and all I have written here I am not sure that there is anyone besides me who really knows my whole story. This makes it hard to truly answer this question without giving a little bit of background detail so excuse me if this post rambles a bit.

As for the question, I have come to one and only one conclusion.

No. Not if I didn't want out.

Every scenario that I came up with had me, playing the role in an opposite scenario. I was away from Jake at one point for four months. I left, he left, but we never stayed gone. There was something in my brain that just didn't "get it" so to speak. People told me he's doing drugs, I made excuses. People told me he's cheating, I made excuses. I found out for sure he was cheating and we broke up but he always said how sorry he was and I always believed him.

I can't put into words eloquently enough the way it feels to need someone. Or think that you need them but for me this is what it was for us. Something inside of me felt like he was a good person and that he needed me to help him and I needed him to make me whole. Somewhere, some how my thinking became so distorted that I didn't see the relationship for what it was, instead I saw it for what I thought it could be.

So, short of duck taping my hands and feet, throwing me in a car truck and locking me away for 6 months, I'm not sure there was anything anyone could have done. It is a lot like what was done with Jake. He was addicted to drugs and we had to put him in handcuffs and lock him up for six months. I was addicted to him and the only way I would have really been able to escape the relationship was to be away from it and start to find myself.

However, it is really hard to get away from it when it is all you know. I had locked myself in my own prison where no one knew what was going on in our lives so I didn't have anyone I could turn to for help. When I tried to mention little things to people around me they blew me off. I was over reacting, I needed to lighten up. They said these things because they didn't know the whole story. They didn't know the whole story because if they had they may have just locked me in that car trunk.

Which dives us head on into the real question: why? Why would someone stay? Unfortunately that one is much harder to answer.

Another Anonymous poster suggested that it was fear:

If you've never been there, it's hard to discribe. For some women, they're afraid to leave. Flat out. Some women are afraid they'll be killed.

This, is a very real reason why some women stay but for me, the fear was not necessarily of him injuring ME so much as it was that if I called 911 he would be arrested. If he was arrested someone would have to bail him out of jail and most likely that someone would be me. I knew myself well enough to know that I might be really mad at him at the moment, even a little scared of him, but in the end, I would forgive him. In spite of myself and then I would be mad that I had to pay court costs and lawyer fees so I just didn't go there. (I told you... distorted thinking.)

Intuitively I know that he could hurt me, I'm not stupid. I even started a journal that I kept on my computer. I would write down all of the things that happened, all of the things I couldn't tell anyone else. In the back of my mind I was thinking that if he killed me perhaps someone like my mom or my boss would find it and read it and realize that whatever happened might in some way be his fault.

I'm sure at this moment you are thinking if you knew this why didn't you just leave? I don't know. Even now, I don't. Somehow when you are in that situation you don't tend to feel the fear. It has been almost 18 months since Jake got clean and I am just NOW starting to really feel it. I have been up for the past week with nightmares of being chased and running from something. The fear that I feel in those dreams is greater than anything that I ever felt in all the times that my life was truly in danger. Sometimes when you are in it so far your emotions sort of shut down.

I think in a lot of ways fear is a reaction to something that you think might happen. You're afraid of heights because you know you could fall, you're afraid of spiders because you know they could bite you. With me, in that moment, I didn't feel any fear because I didn't REALLY know what could have happened. Now, when I think about it, especially the parts about Zack I am overcome with fear and emotion. Now I KNOW what could have happened and it scares me to death. But when you are in it, you are just as sick as they are and you tend to feel nothing, just numbness.

That same Anonymous person also suggested that perhaps people stayed for love:

Some, and this is the hard one, seriously no matter what love their husbands. You'll never believe what you're about to hear-- I too have a cousin who literally gets beaten constantly. [......] When I was young, he was arrested 6 times in one year for abuse. She always dropped the charges the next day because she missed him, loved him, and wanted her home. [....]

I think this is a REALLY common misunderstanding between those of us who are in this situation and those of you who are not. It is not love, it is a distorted type of loyalty. When you are in the situation it is easy to say, but I love him. But deep down inside we know it is not love. At least not what we see as love on TV. Perhaps, if the woman was abused as a child this is the only type of "love" she knows. But it is still not love. As I was flying across the room or being tackled on the front lawn or staring down the barrel of a shotgun I knew it was not what love was supposed to be.

Yet, I stayed. And if anyone were to ask me, I probably would have told them that I loved him. Really, I just didn't know anything BUT him. Some men take control of women and some women just give the control to the men but either way it is a need I seemed to have for him. Something inside me that just wouldn't let me let go. Something that kept convincing me that he loved me, that he would get better, that things would be different this time because he promised that they would be.

All of this and more are the reasons that women stay. For me, my thinking became distorted. I did CRAZY things and got sucked so far into his disease that I became just as sick as he was. In a way I was addicted to that life and to him and I needed help, even though at the time I would have told you just the opposite.

It is very had to know what to tell people when they want to help someone in this situation because the truth is that unless they want your help offering it to them over and over will just cause them to shut you out. Really the best thing you can do is listen and DON'T be judgemental. I would have defended Jake to the moon and back and come up with a million and one excuses for him. I didn't tell people about what was going on because I knew that they would try to tell me how to handle it and I didn't want that. I just wanted someone to listen.

I wanted to be able to tell them this is how it is in my house and it really sucks and NOT have to listen to them tell me than get out. Why don't you leave him? Here's a pamphlet for whatever they can help you... etc.

I was also afraid that if I told them the truth that they would be mad at him. If they were mad at him then they wouldn't want to do anything with us and then I would REALLY be stuck alone in my own little prison. I think that is a HUGE mistake that people make. They stop talking to the woman or the man because of what is going on. In affect that cuts her off even more and gives her an even less chance of getting out because she has no one to call for help and no where to go.

So after all of that rambling I guess perhaps I have come to my answer.

What could someone have said or done for me that would have opened my eyes sooner? Listened and not given advice and not judged. Shown up, even though they were not happy with the choices in my life. Never given up on me because I stayed.

In the end, I didn't give the people in my life the choice to do these things because I didn't tell them what was going on. I was afraid of how they would react and so I just shut them out. But if you know someone in a situation like this and they let you in to their life, please know that they stay because they are sick and someday they might feel like getting better and when that day comes they will need you more than you can ever imagine. So as hard as it is, just listen and be there for them.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Seeing the Other Side...

As most of you know I attend Al-anon meetings twice a week. I have learned a lot at these meetings and enjoy them immensely. Recently there has been a woman who has attended my Friday night meeting who has really gotten me thinking.

For a couple of years now I have read a great blog about an adoptive/foster parent. She has adopted one child from foster care and also has anywhere from 1 - 5 other foster children at any given time. I love her blog and try to read it every day.

Recently she has been having some issues with the bio mom of two of her foster children. They have been to court a couple of times to try to get to the point of terminating parental rights because the bio mom is not doing what she is supposed to be doing. As I have read her side of the story I have found myself rooting for her, in a sense. I know how much she cares for these kids and I know nothing about the bio mom so I was almost hoping that they would terminate rights so that she could possibly adopt them.

Then I met this woman in my Al-anon meeting. Let's call her A. A has four children who are in foster care. A loves her children very much and becomes very emotional when she talks about them. She has made some mistakes but she is trying to turn her life around and regain custody of her children.

On Monday there was to be a hearing to possibly terminate A's parental rights. Suddenly things are looking a whole lot different to me. I don't know A well enough to know exactly what she has or has not done to regain custody of her children. I know her story, as she has told it to me and a part of me aches for her.

I know she has made mistakes but from where I sit it looks like she is trying. Shouldn't she at least get the chance to be in her children's lives? It breaks my heart to think that there is a possibility that they could terminate her rights and she might never be able to see her children again.

It is amazing to me how your perspective on a situation can be so different when you only hear it from one side. Perhaps in all we do we should take the time to consider that there could always be another side to every story.

Friday, March 21, 2008

One Year of Sobriety

One year ago today I wrote this post... (the most comments I have ever gotten on a single post might I add!! :-) For the first time in five years I woke up alone in our house and was not concerned in the slightest about where Jake was. I knew he was safe, I knew he was alive, and I knew that he was sober. (Or at least getting there)

That day, one year ago, was the first day of the rest of our lives. Since then things have not always been easy. There have been moments of anger, frustration and pain but NOTHING... and I do mean NOTHING trumps the feeling I get when I see my little boy get SOO excited to see Jake. Without this experience I have no doubt that to Zack, Jake would be just a fleeting memory.

Before Jake was committed he missed 90% of Zack's days. He went to work, he went out and partied, there was a week in there where he didn't come home at all. I remember quite vividly when he was firt committed and he said to me I don't want to be gone a long time because I don't want to miss Zack. All I could think was, "You weren't here to see him anyway." But what ended up coming out of my mouth was if you don't get your act together you will miss much more than just a couple of months.

In the end, we all know what happened. He went away to treatment, and then back to the hospital (the same one, coincidentally that thinks we owe them $5,000.. OUCH... but worth every penny in the end), and then away to a different treatment center. Jake was gone for a total of five months and when he got back he set about doing his 90 in 90. (Where they go to 90 meetings in 90 days). He succeeded, only missing a couple of meetings, and now has a sponsor and regularly goes to at least 3 meetings a week.

Him and I will be in the program for the rest of our lives but it is a small, small price to pay for what we have gained. Moments like last night when I called him and he was trying so hard not to laugh as Zack was taking his hammer (thank you Aunt Kimmy for the hammer) and smashing his Apple Jacks on the coffee table. All I could hear was giggle, No.. Zackary... don't do that... giggle. (Jake was laughing... not Zack... Zack was just beating away)

And at that moment, all I could think about was if we had never done this, if we had never gone through all of this he would have missed that moment. He wouldn't have been there to wipe cake off his face at his first birthday party, or to kiss his owie when he took a header into the coffee table last month. He wouldn't have been there to see the huge smile on his face when he walks through the door at daycare. All of that, we owe to this process and to his continued strength and drive to stay sober.

Jake, I love you more today than I ever thought possible. I love the man you are and the father you have become. I wish you nothing but success in your continued sobriety. We will be here for you, rooting you on, now and forever.

Heather & Zackary

P.S. At lunch today I must venture out and procure myself a purple pony. Because when one promises someone a purple pony if they make it to one year of sobriety, a purple pony they must produce. Imagine how excited he will be when I get him something really cool... like a fishing trip!! :-)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

One Year Ago - Day 3

**These are not getting any easier to write. Sorry it has taken me so long to get this one up today but this was by far the hardest day**

One year ago I woke up with what felt like a huge rock in the pit of my stomach. I had already talked to Molly on the phone the night before and she had agreed to meet me at the courthouse at 9:00. At 8:30 I called the phone number and someone answered. As it turns out they opened at 8:00 and he said the earlier we could come in the better.

It was 8:50 when we walked into that tiny little room off of a dark hallway in the courthouse. That was the first time I met Danny. Danny is the man who believed in me and Molly enough to go to bat for us with the judge.

When you look into committing someone what they tell you is that you need two people, the wife/husband (if there is one) and another relative. You go to the courthouse, you sign some papers, and they pick up this person and haul them away. If only it were that easy.

The real process involves filling out lots and lots of paperwork. You have to explain why you think this person is a danger to themselves or to others. You have to write out specific incidents when you saw them using or when they talked about using to you. No second hand knowledge is allowed. As a side note, I imagine for someone who's spouse only drinks at home this would be very hard to accomplish as addicts are usually pretty good at hiding their addiction from people on the outside.

Anyway, after we filled out all of the paperwork Danny came down and talked with Molly and me. He asked me some of the most difficult questions I've ever had to answer. Such as, how do I know that you are not really a drug addict yourself and are you going to divorce your husband? I didn't know at that point. I was so mad and so scared so I just told him the only thing I knew. Not at this moment, I just want to get him help before he dies.

"Before he dies..." even now that phrase makes me tear up as I type this. Because that was what I was SURE was going to happen to Jake. I didn't see it ending any other way. The addiciton had him so tightly in its grip that it was never letting go. Without some serious intervention I just knew that the only way he was getting out of it was in a coffin.

Apparently Danny was satisfied with my answers because he had us wait in the hallway while he went and talked to the judge. That 15 minutes in the hallway was what seemed like the longest 15 minutes of my life. While I was there waiting I called people. It was on this day, at this hour that I realized that I have the most amazing friends and family a person could ever ask for and that they were there all along if I only would have reached out to them. Everyone I called was so supportive and offered to help me in any way possible. No one judged me or looked down upon me. They just offered out a helping hand.

15 minutes later and 2 1/2 hours after we entered the court house we had the signed documents of committal and our instructions on what to do when we found him. I had given them two houses that he was known to hang out at but as it turns out when they are looking for someone on a committal order they can only knock on the door of a private residence and ask if they are inside. They can not go in without permission and obviously the people he was with would not give permission.

So we had to wait and try to get him out into the open. I went back to work that day and tried desperately to get him to answer the phone with no luck. The only word I got from him all day was a text message that will FOREVER be burned into my brain. "I love you, I'm going to make things better, I will call you later."

Looking back, knowing where he was and who he was with, that message hurts me. All I can think is how deep he must have been in his addiction to write something like that and then go right back into the thick of things.

That afternoon Molly and her friends drove around looking for him, as did our friends Shane and Jess. No one had any luck. Shane and Jess had just gone home when we got the tip that "broke the case wide open" as Shane aka Big Dog Bounty Hunter refers to it. A friend of a friend told Jake's mom that he was staying in a hotel with the word Red in the name. There are only two in our area.

So, Shane and Jess jumped back in their vehicle and headed out again. No luck. I was on my way home when I got "the call." They had found his vehicle out side the second hotel. He was not alone. My heart sank. It still sinks today when I think about it. I went through all of this time, energy, worry, heart ache to save a man who wasn't even worried about me and his child, who was instead holed up in a hotel room with a prostitute doing GOD knows what!!

At that point I just wanted to march down the hallway and kick the door in myself. We wouldn't need the police to escort him out of there, we would need them to keep me from KILLING him. However, in the end, I realized that he was sick. He was not in his right mind and that even if we didn't stay together he deserved a shot at a normal life. So I waited at the end of the frontage road with my friends for the police to arrive.

Since it was not private property they could go in and get him whether he invited them in or not. First problem solved. I showed them a picture and they headed out to get him. I stayed behind. I couldn't watch them pull him out. I couldn't stand there and watch the shell of a man that I loved get hauled a way. A man who was just an illusion of his former self.

As it turns out, it was a good thing I wasn't there. Those who saw him said he was a messed up wreck. The police who pulled him out said he was as high as they have ever seen anyone. My husband was not in that room that night and I didn't need to see them pull his body out.

From there it all sort of blurs together. I remember the emotion as vividly as I did then but the events are all mushed together. Somehow Jake's jeep got to our house, I'm pretty sure Jess got a contact high from driving it there. Somehow I made it to my parents to pickup and hug my son and cry as I held him. Somehow the two of us made it home to our completely empty house to sit in a rocking chair and rock for hours as I promised him that I would make everything alright. That I did the only thing I knew how to do to keep him safe and that no matter what I would ALWAYS be there for him to keep him safe.


**This song REALLY spoke to me. It makes me think of how dark Jake's life was and the place he was in and angels really did come and take him from his dark, cold hotel room to his new life. They were just angels without wings**

Spend all your time waiting for that second chance
For the break that will make it ok
There's always some reason to feel not good enough
And it's hard at the end of the day

I need some distraction, oh beautiful release
Memories seep from my veins
They may be empty and weightless and maybe I'll find some peace tonight

In the arms of an Angel
fly away from here
From this dark, cold hotel room,
and the endlessness that you fear

You are pulled from the wreckage
of your silent reverie
You're in the arms of an Angel;
may you find some comfort here

So tired of the straight line, and everywhere you turn
There's vultures and thieves at your back
The storm keeps on twisting, you keep on building the lies
That you make up for all that you lack

It don't make no difference, escaping one last time
It's easier to believe
In this sweet madness, oh this glorious sadness
That brings me to my knees

In the arms of an Angel far away from here
From this dark, cold hotel room, and the endlessness that you fear
You are pulled from the wreckage of your silent reverie
In the arms of an Angel; may you find some comfort here

You're in the arms of an Angel; may you find some comfort here

-Sarah McLachlan

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

One Year Ago - Day 2

One year ago I got up early: Ok... who are we kidding here? I'm pretty sure that at this point I was not sleeping at all. What with the fact that I had a small child who was up at least once a night and the fact that I had just called the police on my husband. Nope... not much time for sleeping.

Honestly, I do not remember whether we spent the night at our house or at my Father-In-Laws house. I know during all of this I was there one night, maybe two... but they all sort of blur together. Either way at this point my main focus was on Zack. He had a doctors appointment to get his shots so I had the morning (or at least a couple hours of it) off.

I remember waiting in the doctors office thinking to myself do I ask them about a blood test? In the end I didn't. I don't know if it would have changed anything or not. After his shots I was too terrified to take him to daycare. There was some part of me that just knew if Jake found out about the police he would come and take him. (He told me later that was the furthest thing from his mind and he never would have taken him but at the time I couldn't take that chance.)

In the end, I called him in to daycare and ended up taking him back to my FIL's house for the day. I remember them telling me they would lock the doors and that he would be fine. They would call me if Jake showed up and not to worry. They would not let him take him. Yet still, I sat on the edge of my seat all day waiting for the phone to ring.

Deep breaths. In and out... just writing this makes it feel like there is a 50 lb weight on my chest. I have never in my life been so afraid. I just wanted to go to him and hold him close but I knew that I was now his sole source of income and support so I had to be at work.

Finally 5:00 came and I ran for the door. The first person I spoke to on my way home was the lawyer. I wanted to know how to protect my son. She told me the only way to do that was to get a protective order, which would be for me and Zack or I would need to call child protective services. Neither option seemed good for me at the time. The protective order, while it would protect Zack, would also keep me from speaking to Jake and if I couldn't speak to him then it would me MUCH harder to have him committed. And child protective services, well... I'm sure you can guess why I didn't want to call them.

After I got off the phone with the lawyer I talked to Jake. I don't know if he called me or I called him but I remember exactly what intersection I was sitting at Euclid and Hubbell when I told him that if he didn't check himself in before the next day that decision could be taken away from him.

He told me he was with a friend. A friend I didn't know. He told me that he would check himself in, he just needed a little time. A little more time to come down some. I told him I wasn't sure how much more time I could give him. I remember like it was yesterday telling him that it wouldn't take much to find him. If he was using his phone, no matter where he was, I could find him.

That was it. That was the last time I ever spoke to him high. I tried to call him a few more times but he turned his phone off. I ended up going home and getting clothes for Zack and then staying at my father-in-law's. Sometime in the middle of the night when neither one of us was sleeping I packed up my child and went home.

I knew that I couldn't wait any longer and that the next day I would have to make one of the hardest decisions of my life. I wanted to be home, in familiar surroundings for one last night before everything in my world turned upside down.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

One Year Ago

**I'm going to write this in a series of four days so from now through Friday there should be something new for you to read every day. However, I can't guarantee that if you are close to this story you won't need Kleenex.**

One year ago today I woke up early.

I had to work on Sunday and Jake was supposed to watch Zack. Never before has he ever taken him anywhere or done anything with him to make me think that Zack would EVER be in any danger.

For Jake drugs have always been a night time thing and so I have never really worried about him during the day. Sunday he decided to break that streak.

Sunday morning before I left Jake and I had the standard conversation. Do not even THINK about taking your son anywhere where he could be in danger. Stay home, call me if you need anything, I'll be back by noon.

To which all of it was answered, "You know I would NEVER do anything to put Zack in danger. I love my son."Sometime around 8:00 on Sunday morning Jake stopped answering his phone and my heart SANK!! Panic ensued but I tried to stay calm. Finally about 8:45 he answered again and he was at home because I could hear the dogs in the background. He told me he had just run up to Wal-mart and he was back.

I asked how Zack was doing and he told me that he had changed him into a cute outfit (which he NEVER does) and that he was doing just fine.By 11:00 I just had a feeling I needed to go home and so off I went.

I knew something was wrong immediately. I opened the door and heard a rumbling upstairs. Then Jake came running down the stairs and immediately went to the couch and grabbed something up and put it in his pocket. I could tell right away that he had done some drug. I could see it in his eyes and the way he talked to me.I immediately told him he needed to leave and he did.

For the rest of my life I will NEVER forget the way he looked that day or the way I felt that day. I will never forget the feeling when I opened that door and for a split second there was no noise and I thought for sure my baby was dead.

After Zack was born I never really bonded with him the way I should have. I was so caught up in all of the things that addiction does to you that I couldn't really see who he was or what a gift he was. In that split second that it was quiet before Jake came running down the stairs I knew that I had fallen head over heals in love with my child and I would never forgive myself if something happened to him.

I was lucky. Jake left when I asked him to and he didn't come back two hours later when I begged him to. (I told you the family members of addicts are very sick people) After Jake left Zack began to scream. He did that for two hours during which time I called Jake to ask him to come back and help me. He did not. I will forever be grateful that he stayed away.

As I later learned from DHS when and addict does drugs they seep out of their skin. When they hold babies the drugs go into the babies system and the essentially give the baby a "contact high." When babies get contact highs they scream. A LOT. Without knowing it I had let someone expose my precious child to something harmful.

The last step for me was when I called his dad after he didn't come home. While on the phone his dad mentioned that Jake had wanted him to buy something from him. I don't remember what right now but what I do remember is where. Jake was on the East Side that Sunday morning. On the East Side With. My. Baby....

It was at that point that the final light bulb went off and I called the police and then his family to talk about signing commitment papers. One year ago I was scared and alone and starting on a journey that would forever change all of our lives.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Courageous or Cowardly

Almost every Friday when I attend my Al-anon meeting there is inevitably someone in there who's husband/wife/son/daughter has relapsed. And I will admit, usually the first thing that comes into my mind is thank GOD it wasn't Jake.

Followed quickly by what the hell would I do??

And the short answer is I have no clue.

Before I was with Jake and even when I was going through everything I thought that women stayed with abusive men because they were weak. Then Jake left and I was alone and suddenly I realized that I wasn't weak. I was a strong woman but I was also a scared woman. I had convinced myself that I couldn't keep my life the way it was without him. And you know what... I was right. I wouldn't be able to. But I also know now that it doesn't matter. In fact I can say to you without much hesitation that if I EVER find myself flying through the air or on the wrong end of a loaded shot gun again I will run. I will pack up my son and I will run to Canada or South America if I have to just to make sure that the two of us are safe.

However, a relapse is an entirely different story. A relapse is not necessarily a danger to myself or my son. A relapse can be a growing or a learning experience depending on the severity of the relapse. At the moment I am reading a phenomenal book called the Dilemma of the Alcoholic Marriage. I have learned more about myself and the life I find myself in right now in the first 30 pages of this book than I have learned in the entire rest of my 27 years.

In this book it talks about accepting that alcoholism is a disease. A compulsion to drink/use over which the addict has no control. If my husband had a disease and he thought he was better but then he relapsed (I'm not sure what the term is for got the disease back again) and had to go back for more treatments no one would condemn me for sticking by him. In fact I would be looked down upon if I left him because he had to go through treatments again.

This part of the journey has been the hardest for me. In my book it talks about never speaking your mind until you are sure that you know what you are saying is true. For this reason I have been hesitant to blow every little incident out of proportion. I don't want to have to answer to anyone until I know in my mind what I'm going to do. Two weeks ago I drug tested my husband. There was an incident with some money and then another incident where I caught him in a lie and I got scared. The test was negative, obviously, but I didn't really jump to point out to everyone that I had even made him take it in the first place.

The reason being, I didn't know how to answer the inevitable next question. What would you have done if it was positive? Every day on my way home I pass a sign at a local church. It always has catchy phrases on it and last weeks phrase was "Failure is not falling down, it is staying down."

That REALLY hit home with me. If Jake falls is he a failure and I must immediately leave him? For so long I had convinced myself that I was weak if I didn't but reading this book I'm starting to wonder if the people who run aren't really the weak ones.

How much strength it must take to stand by someone as they stumble along their recovery path. Never judging them for a disease that they can not control. All the while treating them with the love and respect that any human being deserves.

Last Friday as yet another woman was crying about her husband I found myself tearing up. What strength she was showing to know that he had fallen and to be brave enough to stand by him. To come to our group and admit this knowing that we would not judge her for a decision that we would never understand unless we were in her position.

After 6 months in Al-anon I'm starting to see the strength these people have and I'm not sure if I were in their position I would have the same strength. If Jake were to realpse I don't know if I would stand by him or if I would run away. Would I be a coward if I stayed or if I ran? I suppose only God knows the answer to that.

I think I'm finally beginning to understand that perhaps the most courageous people are found in the places we least expect to find them.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


You know how sometimes you think you have left something behind you only to hear that song on the radio or smell that familiar smell and it is all right back there in your face? That has been my life lately.

It was about this time last year that the world started caving in around me. I started labor on January 8th. I was in L&D triage on the 8th, the 10th and the 12th. (To celebrate this momentous occasion my body has decided to greet this morning with cramps. I guess we all celebrate in our own way.)

What should have been one of the happiest moments of my life was instead clouded over by Jake's drug usage. He left me in the hospital the night Zack was born to go get high. He was gone most of the next day and showed up on Sunday long enough to take me home and then leave again.

It is hard for me to think of the joy of Zack's birth without also thinking about the other events that went on in my life at that time.

Right now it is tax season. I'm working long hours and driving home in the dark I sometimes get those old familiar feelings I had when I never knew what would greet me when I got home. For everything I know about, I'm sure there is a lot more that I don't.

Which I suppose brings me to my point. I was talking with a friend about when Jake does his 8th and 9th step which is making his list and making his amends. I have thought about it long and hard and come to the conclusion that I don't want to know.

Already I can not (Mother cover your eyes... on second thought skip down to the next paragraph. Really you will thank me later) be intimate with my husband without thinking about the girl in the hotel room. Every time we do something my mind races with did he do this with her, did he say that to her. It's maddening. I know he was high, I know he doesn't remember most of it, but it haunts me.

(Mom... you can start reading here again.....) In my opinion I am haunted enough by the things that I already know. Knowing more is only going to serve to hurt me further and make it harder to get past things.

Jake has made several steps towards making up for the lost time. He spends TONS of time with Zack (and me when I'm home... which is less and less right now). He is a WONDERFUL dad and a pretty great husband. (When he's not attempting to torture me with his noxious gases.....)

He is doing what he needs to do to show us that he is a better man and telling me things that I do not know is only going to make things worse. Not better. We both deserve better than that. We deserve to be able to move forward and stop dwelling on the past. I am trying really hard to get past all of the things I already know. I don't need anymore to dig through.

I just hope that some day, when it's dark outside, I will just think of driving home to the two people I love most instead of driving around looking for one of them in the dark.