Summer 2011…I was grasping at straws. You know the game Jenga, where you carefully try to pull a piece out and not have everything fall down around you? And the other pieces are carrying more of the weight and balance? But, eventually, everything does come tumbling down?
That. That is where I was that summer. I had balanced and carried and shifted so much and for so long…I look back now and think how irrational my decisions were…How did I make the choices I made?
As promised, in a previous post (https://lifewithgreeneyes.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/im-that-mom/)…
Our finances were a mess. We were late on our mortgage and I had put myself under so much pressure that I listened to people I probably shouldn’t have listened to. The house I had bought, on my own, was no longer a refuge. I felt trapped. I made stupid, in-my-own-will decisions. I needed an escape and, I can’t say this enough, I made a stupid decision.
We decided to move. We were hoping for a short sale, but we weren’t having any luck. Regardless, we decided to move our family in to a 3 bedroom apartment.
It was stupid. God put obstacles in our way that it took some serious maneuvering on my part to get around. I knew it was the wrong thing to do. But I was stubborn and nothing was going to stop me.
We had to cash out my 401k to pay off bills from hubby’s years out on his own. There were deposits, we had to sell all of our furniture, mostly for the money, but also because we had house furniture, not apartment sized furniture. We sold my wedding dress…gave away our daughters less than year old beautiful wooden Barbie house…the one, when we had bought it, that I had dreamed of our granddaughters someday playing with. I didn’t care about any of that in those moments. I was desperate. Desperate for a change, desperate for a way out…
Despite God’s road blocks, we eventually moved out. Apartment life is not for everyone. And it was not for us. If you think it’s miserable living in a four bedroom house with an alcoholic, double that when you are stuck in a 900 square foot apartment. With no privacy. Neighbors, literally, on your doorstep. Extremely thin walls. Oh, did I mention the neighbors on the doorstep—the ones who sat outside drinking every night? Yeah, it was a brilliant decision to move.
But. Hang on just a minute. It wasn’t my fault. I wasn’t thinking straight. I was so overwhelmed with Rob’s drinking. He was missing work, going through a gallon of vodka every other day…every day sometimes. And he was not a kind drunk. So for me to make any kind of rational decision at that point in my life was almost impossible. I was just trying to keep my head above water, both financially and emotionally.
My husband had no problem leaving the house. He had no emotional tie to it. I had bought it on my own. I had gotten to know the neighbors…Our girls had made friends…It was my refuge…
But, it was no longer a refuge. It had become full of bad memories, bad feelings, hurts, heartbreaking moments…it was a place I needed to get away from.
I know, it makes no sense. And looking back, there was no sense. To that decision, to any of my decisions. I was not thinking rationally. I could not. My mind, my heart, my soul…I was completely consumed by the pain in my life.
Things went from bad to worse. Life didn’t magically get better because we moved. And I was mad about that. So I blamed Rob. I blamed him for convincing me to move…for our financial problems…for the anger our girls had over moving…for the embarrassment…for the small rooms…the lack of furniture…Everything was his fault.
He still drank. The girls and I still stayed gone as much as possible on the weekends. I was still miserable. And now, we were all of this in a tiny apartment.
It didn’t last long. Two months in, he had stopped going to work. He would leave in the morning like he was going, then go somewhere and drink until it was time to be home. He parked on the other side of the apartment complex and walked in to the woods. And drank. And the girls saw our car walking home from the bus stop.
I didn’t believe them. I didn’t want to believe them. But I walked over to the car, with the spare keys…it was our car. I took the car and the girls and we left for a few hours, until we had to get home for them to get to bed. Then, at 10:30, he walked in the door. Walked/stumbled…whatever. I was so angry. He didn’t want to hear it. He was in his “I know you’re mad and I don’t want to hear it” mood. I knew it very well.
The next morning, I went to work. He pretended to go to work. I left early and came home. I was done.
I wasn’t angry anymore, I was just done. I made sure to be home before the girls got home. He was in the living room, drunk…I don’t know if he was surprised to see me. I do know that he was surprised I wasn’t angry.
I calmly told him that I was done. The girls and I were moving back to our house. Back to our home. He could stay in the apartment, or leave…I didn’t care. I told him I was only taking the girls stuff, he could have everything else. I told him we would not bother him. He would not hear from us. He was free to live his life however he wanted. He just couldn’t live it with us anymore. I didn’t care anymore. I didn’t want anything. I just wanted to be done. I walked back to our bedroom and started to pack my clothes. I didn’t feel anything. I didn’t feel bad about what I’d said and I didn’t feel angry towards him. I was just done.
A few minutes later, our lives changed. He walked back to the bedroom, crying. He asked me if I would find him some place to go. Some place to get help. He admitted, I can’t do this on my own. I need help. I spoke out of impulse…but not really. I think God put the words in my mouth. Yes. I will find you a place to get help. I will do that much for you. I can do that.
(Editor’s note: I would find out later that this was his (first) bottom. He would later tell me that when he heard me speak with no anger, no feeling, so emotionless, he knew I was serious. And he finally realized that he didn’t want to lose us…again…)
So, I started making phone calls. Phone calls that hurt my pride. I had to call someone I work closely with to find out if we had any rehab places that were in network and how all that worked. And I had to admit, to someone I would have to work with the next day, that my husband is an alcoholic. That was not an easy call for me to make. Then I had to call the rehab facility. I was numb. And scared. And so overwhelmed by my lack of knowledge on how the whole rehab thing worked. I had no idea what to expect.
An amazing aunt came out and picked up the girls for church (it was a Wednesday night) and we packed a bag and headed to rehab.
We sat in the waiting room. I was horrified. I couldn’t believe I was actually in a place like that. With people like that. (You get that right? People like that? Because I was so much better than “they” were…Yeah, you get that.) We went through admissions, they let me go with him to the unit. Told me what he could have, when I could visit (and, me, being the dutiful wife, promised to be there). He looked so sad…so alone…and it was so hard to leave him in THAT place, with THOSE people…knowing I would have to come back…t0 THAT place…where THOSE people were…
I was new to the whole rehab thing. And completely ignorant. He wasn’t in a rehab, he was in a detox facility. Out of the 15 or so people on his unit, he was one of 3 there not by court order. No one wanted to be there. They were there to get through however many days they had to be there and then get out of there…and probably go back to whatever they were doing that had landed them in there.
My heart was starting to soften. I felt bad that he was in THAT place. And the girls…their emotions were all over the place. Tori was…happy?…he was gone…getting help…Alex was in shut down mode and Savannah was in tears…a lot. They all wanted to go see him, but there was no way my kids were going to THAT place. It was bad enough I had to go.
But, go I did. Every night. Even when it wasn’t visitation time. The nurses were awesome, so kind and understanding. Rob would tell me how no one else was there because they wanted to be there…just him and one older guy…Everyone else was just doing their time. I didn’t understand.
Until Saturday morning group. For the patients and the family. And I went. I was terrified. But I went. And I saw…and I heard…the men and women who had nothing but disdain and disgust for anyone who was actually trying to figure out how to get sober…get clean…Rob told me not to speak in group…he wouldn’t speak…apparently one of the family members didn’t get that memo. The biting remarks from other patients that followed this family member’s honesty were brutal. I wanted to reach out…speak up…but I said nothing. I did nothing. I kept my eyes…my voice…my story…to myself. I was not where I am now. I did not have the voice I have now.
Then on Monday, he told me they were releasing him. On Tuesday. I had no words. Well…I had words. But they were all “no”. You can’t come home yet. You aren’t ready. The girls aren’t ready. I’m not ready.
And then, more calls to that person at work…pleading now…what do you mean we don’t cover inpatient rehab? We only cover detox? That does me no good. He needs rehab. Inpatient. A 30 day…45 day…60 day program. Something. We had nothing.
I spent all day Monday and Tuesday morning trying to find a rehab, based on the 12 step program, preferably Christian based, that would take him. If you have never tried to do this, I cannot tell you the frustration and heart ache and disillusion this process brings.
Every place was either full…not in the right county…would only accept him if he needed medical care…or wanted between $5 and $10,000 just to get him in the door. I was now down to googling rehab in Texas and Missouri…no luck…now on to Louisiana…
Enter the Gloria Kerns Center. Yes, they would take him. No, he didn’t have to come by ambulance. No, there was no upfront outrageous fee that I didn’t have. Yes, they would take him.
We drove the 14 hours. We got there at some awful middle of the night hour. If I thought the detox place was bad, it was nothing compared to this. It was not in a good part of town. It was not what I had imagined. Where was the beautiful building and grounds you see in movies? Um, not there. Because rehabs aren’t usually welcomed in to the “nice” neighborhoods. Would you want a house full of recovering addicts living in your neighborhood?
With a heavy heart, I left him there. Drove the 14 hours back home…got home and slept…and cried…and slept…This was real. This was my life.
I was sad…and angry…and finally beginning to understand that it was not his fault. That his addiction was a sickness…One that he could not overcome on his own.
But I was still mad. Not at him anymore…but at the situation…that he created…