Monday, November 12, 2007

Lack of.......

I owe you a post. I've been mulling it over in my head now for about a week trying to come up with the exact right way to express the feelings that I had and what it is like to live where I lived.

Then on Friday I went to a meeting and one of the women read about having a lack of feelings when you get so far into the dark place that is living with an active addict. I spent this weekend thinking about that phrase, "lack of feelings." Was that where I was?

Then this morning it was confirmed for me. I was dropping Zack off at daycare and there was a little girl who was just starting. Her mom and her dad were there to drop her off and her mom immediately burst into tears when she handed her over.

I didn't do that.

I dropped him off and went to work and never called to check to see how he was doing. It wasn't that I didn't love Zack but I guarantee you that I didn't love him in the way I love him now. As of right now he has not gone through the phase where he cries when I leave him there. I guarantee you if you want to see a mommy blubbering like a fool catch me once he starts that phase. THEN I will cry...

The strange part is when I was in it I didn't realize how much I had really shut down but now looking back I am overwhelmed by my lack of anything...

When you live with an active addict you draw lines in the sand. If he does this I will... and at first he would just lightly tiptoe over the line and then immediately draw back. Eventually that line was blown clear apart by a violent surf and I had to choose to leave or draw another line.

I always drew another line. This process repeated its self over and over again. And every time I sank further and further into the hopeless desperation. If you've ever known an abused or abandoned child it is much of the same thing. Eventually you just start to shut down and stop feeling because it is too hard to deal with.

I can not tell you the number of times I searched through his car praying to G_D that I wouldn't find anything and ALWAYS finding something. The first time this happened I was SO hurt. Then eventually I just started expecting to find something. It was more of a bother than a hurt, I just sort of shut it down.

Then one night we got in a fight and he peeled out of the driveway. I remember being SO upset that he would leave me. He came back a couple of hours later but then as the months passed he left more and more often and the time until he would come back got later and later. The first time it almost killed me that he would leave and I remember pacing the house until he returned. By the 20th time it just seemed like old hat. He would return eventually, it was almost a relief to have a break for a few hours.

Then one night he didn't come home. And I remember the hurt of that night. I stayed up all night trying to call him. I would call every 15 minutes then every 30 minutes then every hour. I would drift off to sleep for an hour or so and then awake with a start and dial the phone hoping he would answer.

I can remember vividly the desperation as I dialed over and over again. I remember praying for him to just answer just let me know he was okay and then I remember when he would answer and not say a word. Just press send and then end hanging up on me. The first time that happened it tore me apart. I cried and cried and cussed the phone but slowly over months and years of this I just got used to it. I became numb to the feelings.

And for a couple of years this was the way we lived. He would pick a fight with me, find an excuse to leave and then call me at 6:00 the next morning telling me how sorry he was and come home. I slowly just became numb to all of it. The name calling, the fighting, the rage, the disappointment, the anger... it all just sort of melted into a giant blob of nothingness.

There was so much desperation and anger there but there was no way for me to express it. I would drive around for hours looking for him, take his keys, chase him out of the driveway ANYTHING to get him to stay home so I didn't have to feel that void of hopelessness and sorrow.

Then Zack was born and one night he didn't come home. And the next day he didn't call and that night he didn't come home and instead of anger there was just a void. I was trying desperately to bond with this little boy and all my mind was focusing on was Jake and where he was and why he wasn't there.

I was so deep into the hole that all I could feel was empty when I should have been overflowing with love and joy at just having given birth to the most beautiful, perfect child* in the universe. And instead of being happy and in love with my child I just felt empty. I didn't have that intense over protective thing that most parents do. I left him with my mom at 2 or 3 days old to go to W*l-mart and never thought twice about it.

At the time I justified it that I was just not wanting to take him there during cold and flu season and that I knew that he was safe at her house. Now, looking back, I know it was because I wasn't bonding with him the way I should have been. I was just one giant hole of emptiness.

And that, in a nut shell was how I got to where I was and why I stayed. You get SO far down into the hole of hopelessness and despair that you can't really see your way out. Being with the addict and living day to day, moment to moment in their addiction with them becomes a way of life.

I was used to hiding my purse in my car to keep him from stealing from us. I was used to locking up my checks to keep him from stealing them. I was used to juggling funds because his paycheck didn't come home or came home not whole because he had missed work or taken money and I didn't know about it. I was used to sleeping with my keys and his keys under my pillow or hidden somewhere throughout the house.

It is the here and now that I am not used to. It is all new to me to have all of these strong feelings and if you remember right on more than one occasion I have mental attacks of OMG my LIFE!! on this blog... those are because the rush of feelings can be very overwhelming.

I am now so in love with my son that I squish him every moment he will sit still long enough for me to do it. I can't get enough of him and it just pains me for other people to hold him or play with him. All of that stuff that was lost is slowly coming back and I'm realizing that while relapse might be a part of some people's recovery I'm not sure I could ever go back to that place I came from. I just think I've come too far forward and seen to much of the other side of the "mountain" to ever go back.

*no I'm not bias, why ever would you ask that??


electriclady said...

Heather, every day I am amazed and impressed by your honesty. You should be proud of having come through everything you've been through with your heart and soul intact.

OldMotherHubbardSharesAll said...

Wow - your wording of how the "dispair" feels or doesn't feel was eye opening.

Not that it is my wish to mentally "judge" - for lack of better word - you, but many times while reading you I have thought, wow I wonder why she reacted to that when she didn't seem to react at all the other day when ....... happened. thanks for opening up and giving me an insight into how you have to SHUT DOWN for survival. Please forgive me for the times I have offended you or judged you wrongfully!

Thanks for sharing!

Bear Bits said...

"I just think I've come too far forward and seen to much of the other side of the "mountain" to ever go back."
You have and this overwhelming maternal urge will keep you and him safe from ever going back.
Why I am ThisBearBites- never going back.

Krista said...

Goodness Heather, that is a compelling read. Thank you for opening up about something that must be really hard to talk about. I am so glad that things have gotten so much better and you are determined to keep them that way.

Allison said...


Thank you for this post...I know you don't know me, but I came across your blog a few months ago, but have never commented. My husband is bipolar and has drug addiction issues (alcohol, crack/cocaine) and so much of what you write I can identify with. We have two children - a 3 year old and a 5 year old :) Also, my husband's name is JAKE (and my son's)!!! Keep up the writing :)