Two years ago today, at 2:00 am, I made a nighttime journey to the bathroom. As I took care of business my husband’s charging phone lights up. Small bathroom, I could see what it was plain as day. He was sent a text. It was a picture of a lovely red head. The carpet didn't match the drapes as there was no "carpet".
What happened after that was a pretty decent argument. Him downplaying that and all the other pictures that were being generously supplied by a gentlemen (I use that term loosely) in recovery. He said it was nothing. I said they were younger than our daughters. I asked who the hell he was because he was no longer anyone I knew. He showed a sadness and desperation but I did not understand YET. It got uglier. At 5 am, as I sat there on the bed perusing his phone for more answers to this crazy life we had, he got a text a from "Joe the plumber" asking where he was and if he was coming. Who was Joe??? A good friend he's be meeting regularly from one of his meetings that he forgot to tell me about??? Friend, what friend....he had no friends. He left quickly and never showed up for work. What ensued that weekend was discovery of a dark, hidden life. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of texts to "Joe the plumber" who turned out to be his dealer, Lauren. Hundreds of texts to Laura who turned out to be an "escort" and dealer. That weekend included phone calls and texts from him filled with misery, lying, manipulation and horror as he realized we had figured out a smidgen of what had been going on in his life and why it had spiraled out of control the previous 18 months. Eventually the addict, who had once been a man I knew and loved, ended up on a roof with the SWAT team pointing guns at him while he screamed and yelled at me and them.
Was that our lives or a really bad television show? We were an older than middle aged couple, church going, upper middle income, well adjusted kids in college, 4 bedroom house in the foothills with 6 (yes 6) cars out front. Does this happen to people like me? You betcha it does! Because that was just the outside....inside the house was chaotic and crazy.
Things have changed drastically since that day but the scars remain. There was a reason I lived that way so long without realizing it. Those reasons don't go away just because the addict is no longer in my daily life. As is write this, I am feeling that same old anxiety. I'm going back to the place where fear controls or guides my actions and words. I was not afraid of him. In his deep love for me and his kids, he tried hard to hold things together for far longer than many could. I was afraid of life, of being alone, of fucking failure, of looking stupid. God, how can an ego become so damaged that fear becomes king? Well, that's another story.
Now-a-days, I have to work hard at recognizing what is fear and what is common sense. They blur and mingle as the old ways try to keep me from moving forward. I'll put a bad day behind. Today is fresh and new and my ego, while still bruised, is on the mend. I'll keep trying to be "normal" and to find what I am grateful for and to find a new way to think.