Laying in bed, wide awake, starving, not tired, getting annoyed by the sensor light outside that keeps going off and lighting up my bedroom (damn cats!)… somehow, a combination of those things has brought me back to my blog for the first time in a while. I’ve been doing a lot of writing on forums as of late, but haven’t been drawn back to my blog until tonight (well, this morning, whatever).
This past few months have been a shitshow. Starting off with the holidays, which I absolutely hate with a passion. Always have, always will. If we go back to November, Thanksgiving weekend, my 29th birthday was the day before Thanksgiving. Let’s start there. My parents got a brand new puppy, Sam, who is the new love of my life, except for all the biting. That needs to stop like, now. Ouch. My parents and sister took me out to dinner for my birthday in the midst of a snowstorm, and I stuffed myself to the brink of explosion. My parents took it upon themselves to order humongous fancy alcoholic beverages, completely ignorant(?) to the fact or just the typical “we don’t acknowledge that bad things exist in our family” attitude that I am a raging alcoholic in recovery and yes, people drinking in front of me is quite triggering, 2.5 years into my journey of recovery. So yeah, I was kinda pissed, but I got over it, except the drinking continued into the next day, and all of Thanksgiving dinner, and the next 2 days until I finally packed up and left back home. It is always nice to return to my parents house (as it is the house I grew up in) but as I am growing up and living on my own, I am no longer seeing their house as “home”, although I do still say “I’m coming home” to them, but my 56-year old mother still says that to her mom, guess it’s a family thing. Had a wonderful birthday dinner with my best friend and we went shopping at Barnes and Noble and I spent some of my birthday money on books that I have in a pile next to my bed that I still need to read, along with 5 books I got for Christmas… geez I am going to be busy!
Christmas was very stressful for me. Did my shopping online in the beginning of December so I didn’t have to deal with going out and shopping, because things like traffic, large crowds, and malls are huge anxiety-triggers for me. Everything got shipped to my apartment within a week or two, wrapped everything in super awesome Spiderman wrapping paper and was all set to go. Got Sam a ton of new toys and treats because I love shopping for dogs. Went to my parents and this time both my brother and sister were visiting from Florida, which was great, but that meant I didn’t get a bed and got to sleep on the floor in the computer room, which sucks, especially since the air mattress had a hole in it and I basically just slept on the hardwood floor. Ugh my back was killing me!! I just tried to project myself back into my own queen sized bed with the foam mattress cover that I have… no wonder I sleep so much at home! My family’s drinking was non-stop. My parents will never admit they have a problem, and while they certainly don’t have a problem like I do, they do drink wine every day, have 2-3 bottles open at a time, and another 9-10 bottles in the basement refrigerator. I arrived at their house on the 23rd, so the next day being Christmas Eve, we were going to my grandparents house in the afternoon, my dad was drinking wine by 11 am.
I was dreading going to my grandparents mainly because of the drinking, and also the incessant racism and bigotry that surrounds my entire family except for the kids (only one of my cousins was there, the other had to work and he lives in Boston). I brought my Playstation with me so my brother and I could ignore the family and play Madden, and that’s exactly what we did. However, we were social at the same time, and it’s amazing when you’re not drinking and you watch everyone else drink, just how much they drink. They went through 4-5 bottles of champagne first, and those were expensive bottles. Next came the beer/wine with dinner, followed by the variety of scotch and brandy with dessert. It was about 8 straight hours of watching my family binge drink. Since I was the only sober one I had the joy of being able to leave for a bit since the dog needed to be walked so I left with my brother for about half an hour and decompressed. The only plus out of seeing this side of my family is that they are all super rich and gave me lots of cash, which for someone living off of SSI, I greatly appreciate!
Christmas morning was just with my immediate family and that was nice. Sam enjoyed participating in gift opening and playing with his new toys. I got some books I asked for and now need to read, a few video games, and a new Yankees jersey. Nothing big, nothing special, but just exactly what I wanted from Santa Claus. I definitely felt better this Christmas as compared to last year when I had no income and was unable to provide gifts for my family. This year being on SSI I was able to budget and shop online around Black Friday to find great gifts for everyone, and that made me feel really good. My dad made a roast for dinner and the drinking (which had continued throughout the day – champagne first thing in the morning etc) continued. I was trying really hard to not focus on it, but when it’s in your face, it’s there.
I went back home to PA and my best friend and I got together for dinner and to exchange gifts and also do a little shopping. As always we had a great time. However things were about to take a turn for the worst *cue music* That was the Saturday after Christmas that we got together. We talk everyday, but when I woke up that next Tuesday, something was wrong. Her husband of 15 years is very abusive. He has been physically abusive in the past and even hospitalized her, although that has stopped. He is verbally, emotionally, and mentally abusive towards her and their 2 kids every single day. She was cleaning the house, the kids were at their grandparents, and he started picking a fight with her over god knows what. Her therapist had told her when he gets like that to walk away and say “We will discuss this when we’re calm” only he wouldn’t accept that and he kept following her, blocking her from leaving, and had her pinned in the corner screaming at her. As he turned around to walk away she threw the can of Pledge she was using at him and hit him in the head, causing a small cut. He immediately started freaking out how she had “cut his skull open” and you could “see his brains”. Head injuries tend to bleed a lot, but this was not a serious injury. He decided however, to take himself to the ER (even though he had been telling her since December 1 that they didn’t have insurance, but we’re all pretty sure he was lying about that). While he was at the ER and they determined that it wasn’t self-inflicted, he ratted her out and said he wanted her arrested for assault.
The police showed up at her house, gathering “evidence” and actually handcuffed her and put her in a squad car. They booked her etc whatever happens at the precinct and she was placed in a jail cell for 3 hours, sobbing, rocking back and forth, completely out of control, terrified, you name it. For her one phone call she called her best friend from high school who is an ADA and knows the law and has been with her from day one with the abuse. The ADA got things to start running smoothly very fast and even got the cops to give her her cell phone so she could get in touch with me. At this point, knowing how volatile he is, and the situation that had happened, I hadn’t heard from her in 3 hours and was getting scared. He has 3 guns in the house and has even pointed one at me. I honestly thought he had hurt or killed her. I was literally putting my shoes on to drive the 45 minutes that we live apart to go to her house and find her and if she wasn’t there I was going to call the cops when she texted me saying “I’m in jail”. We were able to continue texting back and forth throughout the night and she decided to commit herself to the psych ward. She didn’t get transferred there until nearly 5 am, but at least she was finally in a safe place, and he didn’t know where she was.
I talked to her on the phone the next morning and she was a wreck. It just killed me inside to hear her in pain. I went with the ADA to see her for visiting hours each night for the whole week she was there. I could see a vast improvement in her behavior and self as each day wore on. When she was discharged, she wasn’t allowed direct or indirect contact with her husband for the next week until the court hearing, so she stayed with me since he doesn’t know where I live. We changed all her passwords and disconnected the tracking devices he had placed on her phone, which made him freak out. We ended up having a good time because I wouldn’t let her think about the situation at hand except for what has happening right then at that moment. Like the good old AA saying goes, “One day at a time”. She was sentenced to 5 weeks of ‘anger management” therapy (which isn’t actually that, and she loves the group, which is great!) and her fucking husband requested marriage counseling, while neglecting to tell the courts that he had filed a petition for sole custody of the kids because she is an “unfit mother” since she was arrested and in a psych ward (because of him, no less). He has since revoked it, which shows he is just playing games with the court system and sooner or later he is going to fuck up and lose.
She has since been home with him, and he spent the first weekend she was home a living nightmare for her. He is convinced that she and I have been having an affair for years (even though he knows I’m gay and therefore NOT into women….sigh) and he flipped out on her because while she was in the hospital, he had to “take care of the kids, feed them, do laundry, grocery shopping, etc” … You know, everything that *she* does while working full-time and he’s playing video games. He doesn’t really want the kids, but he knows she does, so that is why he filed that petition. Things have quieted down somewhat since though, although she is justifiably living in fear that he can pretend she hurt him again (even if she doesn’t do anything) and she will be arrested on the spot.
What’s been really hard for me throughout all of this is the fact that I cannot fix the situation for her, and I want to. It kills me to see someone I love in such pain and agony, going through all of these experiences she is struggling with. Right now all I can do is listen, and I feel that it is not enough, even though she says it is. For the past few years when I was in and out of the hospital, she was the one who took care of me. Now it is my turn to take care of her, and I am doing my best. I have never been the caretaker before – I have always been the one needing to be taken care of. However, I have been neglecting my own self care because I have been so concerned for hers. I know the last thing I need is to end up back in the hospital myself over this situation because it will only make things worse and she will feel guilty for something that is not her fault but mine. I want to be able to make her see that she needs to leave this guy for her own safety and health, but I know that is not my place and it can only be her decision. She is scared and I understand that, because it will bring about a huge change in her life. But as I have been trying to explain to her, it will be a positive change. I know though… just one day at a time.