Tuesday, February 10, 2015

I Believed an Addict

When Ex and I first met we were just 16 and 17 (did you hear that song from Sound of Music?  I did) we both started working at Chuck E. Cheese, it was my first regular job.  A few months in, I was working with him in the dining room and as we did our rounds we'd talk.  He admitted that he'd had a drug problem but that had all changed after he went on a ski trip with his sister's church.  He said he saw Jesus standing there on the stage next to the person talking.  After that he decided to give up drugs forever.   I believed him.

Well forever didn't last very long.  He went ice skating with his brother and while trying to execute a spin he fell and knocked out his two front teeth.  He went to the dentist and his teeth were cemented back in.  The pain got to be too much for him so he went back to smoking pot to combat the pain.  In the early years of dating I was very VERY naive.  I had no idea what pot smelled like.  I didn't recognize that when he kept saying his eyes were red from being in the sun, he was lying.  I believed him.

He eventually was afraid that someone would tell me that he was using again (duh, he'd chased one of my friends down and asked if she knew where he could get some mushrooms) so he told me that he'd smoked for a little while because of the pain in his teeth, but that he'd stopped.  I believed him.

We went ahead and got married and various friends kept asking me if I thought he was using again and I denied them all.  I denied them, and forgot the interactions entirely.  It is amazing how flexible your brain can be when you don't want to see the truth.  For our fifth anniversary we went to Las Vegas and I walked in on him in our room, hanging out the window, waving away the smoke.  He told me it was just a cigarette.  I let myself believe him.

I let myself believe until he got paranoid.  I remember sitting in bed when he shushed me.  I asked why?  He pointed to several places on the ceiling and said "They might be listening."  I asked who?  He just shook his head and looked at me knowingly.

I'd had enough.  He was only working maybe 20 hours a week and using the rest of the time to skateboard and smoke.  I was working full time and I wanted to go back to college.  I finally decided I'd had enough and I moved out.  I was a chicken, moved my stuff out of the apartment when he wasn't home and left him a note.  He came home and called me at my parent's house (he knew I'd be there) he hadn't even seen the note but he thought we'd been robbed.

I told him I left him and why.  Over the next month he threw away all of his paraphernalia and swore he'd stop and he'd go to marriage counseling with me.  I believed him.

By the time an opening came up for an evening appointment for marriage counseling...he decided we didn't really need it.  I should've refused to move back to our apartment until he went to counseling...hindsight.

Many years passed, I graduated from college, I had three babies, he worked full time, things seemed pretty good.  Our house was too small and in the housing boom of the early 2000s there was no possibility of us affording a place that would fit our family in the bay area of California.  We decided to look elsewhere and I fell in love with the Eugene area of Oregon.  We bought a house and the kids and I moved.  He swore he'd join us once he found a job in the area.  I believed him.

It took ten years and a threat to get him to move here.

I'm reasonably certain that during those ten years he was using drugs at least occasionally.  I KNOW he used alcohol to excess.  Like finish a bottle of tequila in just one or two days, heavy use.  He swore it was just to help him sleep.  The guy insisted he had a sleeping problem.  Once I was trying to go back to sleep after his snoring woke me.  He suddenly stopped snoring, got up and went to the bathroom to take a sleeping pill because he "hadn't slept a wink all night."  I asked him if he was using a chain saw in our bed.  He didn't find it funny.  I didn't believe him.

He also abused prescription drugs.  I often found prescription bottles with names I didn't recognize.  He'd get mad at me if I threw any of them away, even if they were long expired or something like three antibiotics left of a prescription which wouldn't do anyone any good.  Every time I took a pill, be it an aspirin, a decongestant or a Midol, he'd put his hand out for one.  Sometimes he'd say "just in case."  I'd get mad at what I saw as wasteful without ever recognizing it as addictive behavior.  I'd stopped believing him.

Now his emails to me are disjointed and hard to follow.  He insists his family is "having meetings to put me in prison."  That was because I told him that since his mom hadn't heard from him since November she wanted to file a missing persons report on him.  He is paranoid again.  I'm sure he is on drugs again, if he ever stopped.  I'm worried that he is self destructive and without me sees no reason to stay away from the drugs.  I don't feel that I'm responsible for his actions, he is an adult and he does whatever he does by his own choice.  However, his choices effect our children.  They haven't seen him since early December.  Now I'm afraid to let them see him.  I don't know what kind of shape he is in.

I can't believe that I'm one of "those" ex-wives.  The ex-wife of an addict.  I'll never be able to believe him again.

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