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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Picking up the Pieces

I am not sure if you have ever had anyone in your life that had an addiction or you, yourself had or have an addiction but it is NOT easy on anyone around you... nor is it easy on yourself.

First, to those of you reading this and you know my ex-husband and I, this is about him and stuff going on that I just need to talk about before I talk to my son... so fair warning. You all know I care about him, but this is my place to vent a bit about issues at hand.

OK. Now that I got that out (because GOD forbid I offend someone), I feel better.

For those of you who have been following my posts, in my very first post I wrote about the demise of my first marriage to Jeff. We had a beautiful marriage in the beginning. Once we lost weight, things started to go down the drain. Then, I became pregnant with our son. Gosh, it was an amazing time. Feeling the baby in my belly, buying clothes and bedroom furniture for this little boy that would make his entrance into our world and forever change it. I was getting excited, and so was Jeff...but he was more reserved. Matter of fact, he first hit me when I was 8 months pregnant with my son. I hid it. I went to my best friend’s house and sat in her kitchen. I didn't say anything, but she always knew (later, when I told her about everything, she said she knew... she knew from that very day). That is the day when my husband started changing.

When our son was born, we were overjoyed. He was simply the best miracle of my life. I had to have an emergency C-Section and within minutes, I heard his voice... his little cry. I knew my heart was stolen right there. My mom always said, you never know what love is until you see or hear your child for the first time... then it hits you like a ton of bricks... the overwhelming feeling of deep seeded love. More love for another person than you ever knew before. That day - November 13, 2003 - I found true, unconditional love when I heard that baby cry and when I held him, he just knew... he knew he was home. He knew I would always protect him. He could trust me.

Never did I ever think I would do anything to put him in harm’s way. I did though. I did by not leaving my marriage sooner. The wakeup call for me was when my ex raged at my three year old son over a small kick while watching TV in our bed and snuggling me. Mind you, this is after I had a miscarriage at 14 weeks, and he left me upstairs to wait for the ambulance, alone and I passed out... At that point, I knew my son and I had to get out.

I started saving money in a separate bank account. I wouldn't spend anything on my son or me. I was scraping everything so I could make an escape. If you have never been on this side of an abusive relationship, it is hard to describe the "role" you play to get through it. I felt like my life was on autopilot and I couldn't, WOULDN'T do anything to upset him before I had enough money saved up.

I don't talk about this part of my life often, because I have forgiven my ex-husband for the abuse, the lies, the hurt... I don't ever have to forget it, though. And I think that for so long, there were so many people who didn't see that he had a problem. I remember his step-father blaming me, and getting angry with me and I have to remember that he didn't know the whole story. He wasn't there when my ex would come home every night and I would be in the kitchen or the living room in fear for how his mood would be that night, because if he was in a bad mood he would take it out on me. Some nights, I would do a shot myself, just so I could go to sleep and be asleep before he came home. Which, was not the right solution, but there you have it. It is the God's honest truth....

The night I left... I was talking on the phone to a dear friend of mine, and we were having our own "happy hour" because we lived over 20 hours apart. We talked about our work, our kids, and I had a rum and diet friend had a gin and tonic and I talked and laughed, gosh... it had been a long time since I had laughed. I though Jeff would be out late, so this one drink would make me fall asleep and I would wait for a new day. As I was laughing, Jeff came through the door and he was upset. Long story short, he disconnected our home phone, and shattered my personal cell phone. He then proceeded to get upset with me. His mother had been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, and it was very hard on all of us. I asked my ex to get help... he said no, I said if you can't do it for yourself, then do it for your mother. That set him off. He pushed me to the floor and I don't know how many times my head struck the floor, but I know I was able to turn around and grab his wrists. It was as if I had super human strength to pull him off me. He then threw my purse and then me out of the house. My son was asleep upstairs. I couldn't leave. I called my mom (who knew I was being abused but didn't say anything, I found out afterwards). She called the cops. How did I call her? My work phone was in my purse... I called her from that. They questioned us all, and took him to jail. He got out of jail and I would not go to meet him at the house to get his things, I sent my mom. He then took off to be with his parents.

At that point, I had nightmares. While he was drinking heavily he would threaten to take my son in the middle of the night… I had anxiety. I went to counseling for over a year, and I healed. To this day, I still have “safety issues” and check the doors at least 3 times to make sure they are locked every night.

While going through the divorce, I kept an eye on his mom at a distance. She was one of the most amazing people I have ever had the privilege to know. When she passed away, Jeff and I were divorced, and I felt uncomfortable going to her funeral, so I just sent some of her favorite flowers. But I will never forget her. I will always make some of her special holiday recipes, and I will always think of her on her birthday. And I will always wear her fuzzy pajamas when I need comfort… She will always be a part of me.

After his mother passed, he started getting worse.. Then he started dating again. Now, I know it is not my business, but without getting help, I was worried about this woman I didn't know. I didn't want her to become another of his abused. After meeting her, I was instantly in love (and again, not in a bow chicka wow wow way, but an 'oh my goodness this woman is so kind and wonderful’ kind of way).

I hoped my ex could change. Could love someone else enough to change, because he couldn't do it for me, or Kennith.... Then last Friday my ex called me twice. And with slurred speech he told me the same story twice. He asked if Kennith could come to see him this summer, I said we would have to talk about it, and I called him out on his speech and that I thought he was drinking.  For some reason, I felt safe (he is in Texas, I am in Iowa) to call him out… felt protected sitting next to my husband.

Today, my every fear was brought before me when I received a text... "Hi, Melissa this is Jeff's girlfriend... can you talk?" It was a text from his phone... always worried about him; I took a deep breath and told her sure, anytime. And she called to tell me that Jeff has a serious drinking problem. That he is getting help after an argument they had. He will be "away" for 6 months... and the first 2 he cannot talk to anyone. He is finally going to rehab. But, is he going for himself? I am glad he is finally getting help.

I am angry. WHY? No one else can take the addiction away, and we can't make him want to change. I am angry because he loves booze more than any person in his life who loves him. I am angry because FINALLY someone else sees what I saw with his drinking and DIDN’T PROTECT HIM... I now have the validation I needed for 8 years, because I was not the problem… I am angry because I have to tell my 8 year old son.

Phillip and I have to find the right words so we can tell Kenninth and we have to pick up the pieces again. I have to tell my son about this evil disease that has got a tight hold on his father... and when I am done, I will pick up the piece.... but, it is my choice.

From the moment I heard that little baby boy cry, it was my choice to be there for him, unconditionally. I love him enough to tell him the truth, and to hold him, and to support him through my sadness, and my anger. I love him enough to always be there to pick up the pieces.

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