Thursday, May 31, 2007

Reevaluation

(Please note that all things said in this post about my friends are how I feel about what is going on. They may not necessarily be what they feel or think or even how they would react.. it's mostly how I think they will react or why I think they reacted a certain way.)

When someone is in a situation like Jake is there comes a point in time when you have to reevaluate the company that you keep and decide if they are your friends because of the addiction or your friends no matter what. Unfortunately for Jake 99.9% of the "friends" that he had were only so because they used together. I have had his phone for the past 2 1/2 months. No one has called to check on him. Some of these people knew my number or the house number yet no one has called to see how he is.


The strange part is some of the people whom I thought I would put in that 0.1% of real friends have not called either. I'm not sure if they feel uncomfortable with the situation or if they just figure when he gets out and wants to talk to them he will call.


Oddly enough, on the outside, I find myself in a similar situation with some of my friends. Tracy Lawrence has a song out now called "You find out Who Your Friends Are." (Or something like that) and that song describes a lot of what I've found myself going through these last couple of months and even to a certain extent before Jake left.


I once heard that sometimes your friends are only your friends for a reason or for a season and I believe that is definitely true. In college I had a friend who was my friend for a season. We were in classes together and I was able to help her with her homework and we could hang out sometimes. However once college was over, or really just that semester, she sort of just drifted off into the wind. I still think about her sometimes but I'm sure I will probably never see her again.


At that point in my life I also had a friend for a reason. We were roommates. We talked and hung out because he was there. We knew everything about each others lives because we lived in such close quarters it was convenient to share everything. Then I graduated and he moved away. I still chat with him every once in a while but I couldn't tell you who he's dating now, if anyone, and he wouldn't be able to tell you how Jake is doing.


When Jake and I moved to our house he was really the only friend I had. Then slowly I acquired some friends and he acquired some "friends." I was never allowed to hang out with his "friends", for obvious reasons, and so we started doing some things with my friends. The more we hung out with these people the less I shared with them about Jake and I and our relationship.


With every new couple that we would hang out with I shared less and less until from the outside they would only see a normal couple with the occasional disagreement. Every aspect of our relationship was censored. These people knew all about me and my life but very little truth about Jake's and my life together. This was not their fault really. They believed the truth that I gave them.

If we got into an argument on the phone and they were there I told them the parts that I wanted them to know. I was very careful to change facts or circumstances so that they would know we weren't perfect but also not know the "extent" to which we weren't so. I did this because I wanted to be normal. For so long now that is all I have wanted.


Most people have goals for their relationships. Things they want from them. They want their husbands/wives to do x or they want to be able to get to a place in their relationship where y happens. For me I never really had those goals. All I ever wanted was to be normal to argue about the things that other people do and to never again have to have an argument because I found what looked like drug paraphernalia or because he would get mad and disappear for hours on end.


Then March 20, 2007 happened and this whole little world that I had created came crashing down. In some ways it was a relief. I could finally stop censoring everything and could just tell 100% of the truth. The same thing that I had always told Jake "Tell me the truth and let me decide how I deal with it" I could finally start doing myself.


I like not having to hide anything any more. I like being able to tell my friends everything. I don't like what it has done to some of my relationships.

I have one friend who has really stepped it up. Her and her husband have been there for anything I have needed during this last 2 1/2 months. They have devoted weekends, evenings, money, time, sweat and an occasional hand in something unmentionable while cleaning some part of my previously disgusting house that should really have been cleaned MONTHS sooner!! She always calls and asks if I need anything and she always asks me to go out and do things.

However, I can't help but feel like when Jake gets home, all of that will change. It feels very much to me like in her and her husbands eyes I am no longer normal. I feel like they know all of the things that I hid from them and they are not able to forgive Jake for those nor are they willing to hang out with him. This makes me more sad than you can imagine. I have loved hanging out with them but when Jake gets home I can't just leave him home and go hang out with them. As much as I love these people I can't help but feel like our relationship is going to change a lot when he get back. Like I could come hang out with them when I'm alone but not with him and I won't be alone forever.

I have another friend who has also been a great help to me and my son. She also calls and asks how things are going and is consistently checking on me and wanting to make sure I'm ok. I do not see her and her husband a lot because of distance but they have made me feel as if they would be willing to over look Jake's past and move forward with us as friends. I appreciate this more than she will ever know and I hope that we are still able to be as close as we have become these last few months once Jake comes home.

Then there is the friend whom I used to be closer to than all of the others. She is hurt by my "charade" and our friendship as sort of fallen apart because of it. She feels as if I "lied" to her in a way by not telling her of the troubles that I was having when I told another friend of mine. I can't say that I blame her. Some people do not fully understand how important it is to appear normal. I hope one day that I can fully convey to her that I did not keep everything from her because I didn't trust her, I kept it from her because I didn't want her to see me as different.

The friend that I told happened to catch me on a bad day about a month before everything fell apart and it all just sort of pored out. She asked what was wrong and I needed an ear to babble to so I babbled away. I knew at the time she was not incredibly fond of Jake so telling her was not going to destroy any image that she had of him nor was it really going to tarnish her opinion of him. (Which wasn't that great at the time.)

However to my other friend, I didn't want to be the wife of a drug addict I just wanted to be Heather. Or at times HeatherJake. I was afraid that if she knew his history (she knew the past she didn't know the recent past) or what I had fears that he was still doing she would not want him around her or her children. Again, I can't say that I would blame her if that was the case.

Now don't put words in my mouth here when I say this. I have NEVER gotten any indication from her that this would be the case. Everything I did was solely based on the fears that I had of how things would go.

Now all the cards are on the table. For the most part I think she has moved on from the initial hurt of me not telling her what was going on. However I'm unsure if our friendship will ever be the same. Her and her husband don't call me any more. I wonder if it isn't somewhat like Jake's "friends" that I mentioned up above. Maybe she thinks that I will call her if I want something or want to do something.

That is where she doesn't fully understand the mind set I am in. I don't want to be the 3rd wheel if I'm not wanted and I don't want to make her and her husband uncomfortable. When I have seen them sometimes they ask about Jake sometimes the conversation seems to make them uncomfortable (more so her husband than her). Sometimes I feel like they would rather just gloss over it and go back to things being normal.

So I don't call. I figure they will call me if they want me to "tag along" when they go somewhere. And since they are not calling me and I am not calling them you can only imagine what a cluster f*** our relationship has become.


From the outside to a lot of my other friends it seems as if she is being insensitive, not calling me to see how things are going. However, I see the other side of things. Perhaps she is just giving me some space and waiting for me to call her. Well dear friend, that is probably not going to happen any time soon. I can barely keep track of where I left my son let alone a social calendar. If you want to see me please call. If I'm busy... call again, and again, and again.


And really that goes for all of my friends. I am sorry that I have not been the best friend that I can be lately. I'm sorry if I forgot your birthday or if I have arrived 20 minutes late to something or spaced it off entirely. I never planned on being a single mother with a husband in rehab and adjusting to it has not gone as smoothly as I would have hoped.


Right now my life is about taking care of my son and preparing myself and him for the eventual return of my husband. I hope when that happens that my friends turn out to be real friends and not just friends for a reason or a season. I hope that they can eventually see past the things that Jake has done and understand that addiction makes people do things that do not always have a logical explanation.

I keep coming back to that song about finding out who my friends are. Friends that I thought were friends who have gone away and friends that I wasn't so sure about who have really stepped it up and become big parts of my life. I really hope that they can understand that someday I would love to be normal and I would love them to continue to be a part of my life as I strive to get there.

6 comments:

Kbreints said...

That was a beautiful post. I think that you articulated very well what you are feeling. No need to worry about us though... We have been friends through a lot. single-dom- marriage- kids... births and deaths. We have been friends through thick and thin and I cannot imagine not talking to you every day-- I can honestly say that we come very close to it! You are my Friend.. Actually if we were in second grade, I would have to call you my "best friend". You and Jake and Zack are a package deal- as is my family... and therefore we will be here for you and Jake and Zack. We will back your decisions -whatever they may be) our relationship is not conditional. (Am I gushing yet?) anyway... I will talk to you soon ;)

Shane and Jessica Olson said...

I never saw myself as being someone who would be mentioned on your blog in need of a defense. I have thought of the many ways I could write my comment and defense but don't feel as though I can do so without airing all the unmentioned extra's that just don't need hashed or re-hashed.

I consider myself as anything but a conditional friend - sorry you feel differently. Shane and I have done everything we possibily could for you AND Jake but mostly Spike. We have spent nights and weekends and money and sweat, to help out. I have done so wondering if all of our efforts would flop back to the way they were before (I think there are not before pictures for a reason). I have done so realizing in the end that maybe I did to much. Maybe I made it easier for you, and had I not maybe it would have driven you further in your pursuit for "normalcy"
There are many reasons why Shane and I made the desicion to exclude Jake from our lives. The breaking factor being Jake verbally attacking me, swearing at me and yelling at me in a manner in which I was humiliated. Shane - as my best friend and protector does not see that as being safe or healthy. All these reasons and many more are partially why I think Shane has taken shelter to you and Spike.
If havening you from Jake and putting Spike first makes Shane a conditional friend than the best conditional friend he is.

This is my opinion...whether right or wrong...should be said or unsaid....here it goes.....

You have made mention to being able to see better from the outside looking in and all that has enlightened you to. While I think you have shown bravery and have come so far I still think the denial lingers. I still catch the excuses and mode to cover up. When really all I want to do is hault time and say..."Come on, who are we kidding, there are NO excuses any more, not that there ever should have been".

I can't say what Shane and I will do when Jake comes home. I know it doesn't have to be the end of our friendship; you and I were friends before without Jake. I think forgiveness and trust is something a person earns.
The manner in which Jake comes back into your life as your husband and friend, as a father to Spike, the level of "get-it" to all that he has cost you and his and your family and friends, the gratitude he shows to those who held the place he should have been standing...all things one could consider.
Who are we to judge? Maybe not, but if Shane and I don't for you and Spike who will? Hopefully you will...hopefully Jake will!

Heather said...

I didn't want to make you feel like you needed a defense. You have been wonderful to us. I think I mentioned that. You have given up weekends and evenings and my house is a MUCH better place because of it. In fact I think the only way it would be this good is because you have helped me with it.

I was just comparing and contrasting what I feel about certian friendships. I hope you and I never stop being friends. I also hope that when Jake gets back he is able to show you the gratitude that I have tried to show you. And I also hope that at some point he is able to earn his way back into your good graces again.

So much for anonymous this friend and that friend... :-)

Anonymous said...

Here's the kicker. All the friends who you put on the happy couple face for are doing the same thing on at least some level. It's too hard to admit to ourselves that our lives/relationships are not as perfect as we would like them to be and no one wants to dump on a friend so much they don't want to hear from you.

I speak from experience on this one.

BUT...I hope you can understand how your friends would have a hard time being involved in your life when you are not taking care of yourself. Think about the anger you have felt at Jake for his behavior and how he doesn't take care of himself.

Your friends are allowed to feel angry at you for your behavior (letting your husband continue to manipulate you, etc). They may still be your friends but find it too painful to watch you making detrimental decisions. They are there for you if you are doing your darnedest to help yourself and your son but they are not there to help you rescue someone who has proven themselves to be trustworthy - a person who loves getting messed up more than his family.

I'm not saying I don't have empathy for Jake and his addiction. It's not like he can just make a decision - okay, I'm not going to do this anymore and make it happen. If it were that easy than everyone would do it.

Forgive your friends for their continued fear for you and your son. Rehab, especially when initiated by the family, has dismal success rates and Jake has shown a history of putting his loved ones in danger - physical, financially, emotionally, etc.

It probably makes you angry that people can be so skeptical of your future with Jake but it merely an effort to protect you for the pain to come.

I hope that the honesty of the people around you does not cause you to go back into your happy face. I'm still trying to get rid of mine. You are a good writer and your willingness to share your true feelings is admirable.

Danette said...

Heather,

I feel I should comment. Where to start I don't know. I am & will always be a friend to you, Jake & Zack. I feel as if you are family & I'm sorry things have gotten on the rocky side. Yes, it hurt when Shit hit the fan not to be confided in, when I knew Jake's history from before you where a couple. That is in the past & it has been addressed.

I have always looked at you as Heather, my best friend, my "sister". As for what I have been doing for the last 2 1/2 months. Well not much...my mother-in-law has been living here for the past 2 months so I have been having my own issues to deal with. I also have been very busy with the end of the school year things.

I have called many times, but before I have a chance to invite you to something you already mention what you have planned. Which is great I glad things are going great for you. I would love to talk to you in more detail about this issue, so hopefully we can get together or chat via the phone.

Matt doesn't have a problem with Jake either & you both are always welcomed in our house & I hope we hang out like we have in the past.

I hope to talk with you soon, Don't forget that I or Matt are willing to help out in anyway too. We have yet to be asked. Yes I know I could stop by unasked to help out, but what needs worked on, whats needed to be done. We are not mind readers & so we wait.

Heather, I am sorry for what has happened. I support you & your family. Please know that we Love you as if you were family & our life would not be whole if you were missing from it.

Anonymous said...

I have been reading this blog now for awhile and I found that I felt bad for you and the situation you were in. I was also heartbroken for an innocent little boy who was born into a horrible situation. But the more I read, the more I find myself not feeling sorry for you at all. You pretended your relationship and life was something it wasn’t because you were embarrassed by it and didn’t feel comfortable leaning on your friends for help, and then when your world crashed down, only then did you trust them enough to be honest with them. You say you didn’t want them to think you were different, if they had; they weren’t your friend in the first place. If we can’t be ourselves in front of our closest friends, who can we be ourselves around? The fact that you settled for what you had and put on a front only because you wanted to be “normal” (whatever the hell that is anyways) saddens me. Nobody’s life is perfect, including mine but I deal with it and survive things because of my friends and family.

As I read how you feel about your “upcoming” relationships with your friends, I find myself shaking my head and laughing. I’m laughing because it amazes me that you expect your friends to forgive and forget what they have watched you and your son go through for the past 2 ½ months. All of your friends have watched Jake, a husband and a father, destroy the life you were living, not to mention put you and Zack in harms way.

It seems to me that you identify yourself through Jake and his addiction rather than being a person yourself. You are Heather, You are Zack’s mother, and you seem to be a lot stronger than you give yourself credit for, and for that I blame Jake. As I read it is obvious you are ready to jump in and continue life with Jake when he gets out, as if this all didn’t happen. You are quick to forgive him and that could be the downfall of his recovery. He deserves to go through hell when he gets home, because that is exactly what he put you through. Yes, he is an addict and probably wouldn’t have done most of the things he did if he wasn’t on drugs. BUT there is a time when he needs to take responsibility for his actions or that shows a great lack in character. I’m really not trying to be harsh or rude and I’m sorry if it came across that way.