Archive for the ‘Domestic violence’ Category

I’ve been called a lot of things over the course of my life, some good, some bad, some justified while others are not, but an insult that was thrown at me just last night really hit a nerve- coward. More accurately, I was told I exhibited cowardness, which is basically the same as calling me a coward. 

My reaction? I saw red and replied with….

I am NOT a coward. I have more courage and guts than you will ever find in another god damn woman in your life and if you knew me at all you would know that! 

Maybe I took for granted that this person didn’t know all there is to know about me. They probably don’t realize the things I have endured and survived, but they are aware of a great deal of it and when those words popped up on my computer screen, I didn’t care what they did or didn’t know, the anger coursed through me. 

A coward? Bitch please!  This chick is a survivor. 

I’ve survived childhood sexual abuse, and years and years of verbal abuse at the hands of people who I thought loved me. 

I made the decision, as a teenager, to take the long road and keep my baby who would shortly thereafter become the centre of my entire world, and after we were both rejected harshly by his father, together we survived! 

I’ve lived through more than 3 decades of an undiagnosed mental disorder that threatened my sanity time and time again, nearly took my life, and completely fucked with my head, my heart, and my self esteem and I survived! 

I survived a relationship filled with fear and control; being held hostage in my own home, spending days in a bed while pondering how in the hell I was going to escape, looking at the tiny windows in the basement apartment and wondering if I could squeeze through the small space to freedom and safety. I escaped, I survived, I learned to not live in fear anymore and put it behind me. 

I survived more than a decade of loving an addict who repeatedly hurt and betrayed me, destroyed our family and our life together, left me broke and alone over and over, not knowing how the bills would be paid or how I was putting food on the table! Yet, I made it through because that’s what survivors do! 

I’ve been knocked down, physically and emotionally, but got back up!  

I started over, alone and scared, damaged and confused, broken and bruised, and I recreated a life that had been shattered. 

I’ve raised two kids on my own, as I struggled with mental illness, after being raised in a broken home where insults were thrown like punches, yet I’ve raised them right. I’ve raised them to be strong and be their own person and every time I look at them I know I did a great job! 

A coward? I’ve never been, nor will I ever be. I’m strong and proud and brave. I’m a fighter! You can knock me down but you can’t keep me there. I always get back up, stronger and better than I was before, because I, my friend, am a fucking survivor and that is what we do! 

  
 

  

My story of loving an addict is a long one, one that is filled with sadness, hurt, loneliness, regret, and even some times of joy and happiness. I am telling it, slowly, sharing stories that, even as I recall them, hurt to my very core, but I am not the only one who has been affected by this addiction, who has been hurt and let down by the man whom they loved so much. Two young hearts, those of my boys, the true loves of my life, have also been broken, time and time again. These hurts are the hardest to bear, as I know I could have prevented them so many times. This is where I went wrong, my greatest regret in life. I could have spared them. If only I hadn’t married him, if I hadn’t stayed as long as I had, if I had just packed up and ran so many years ago. But I didn’t and I can’t change that or take back all the years that I wasted, years that weren’t just mine but also theirs. Addiction doesn’t just affect the addict. It affects everyone that loves them, their spouse, children, parents, siblings, friends. Addiction isn’t a solo problem, but a family matter. 

Big K, my oldest son, was just 18 months old when I welcomed Jay back into my life, and into that of my son. The two quickly became friends, soon after father and son, and Little K looked at Jay as any little boy should look at their Dad- with admiration, respect, and innocent love. They adored each other and just a few years later when Big K was 5, Little K was born. Now we were a family, the four of us, and our life was complete. 

Jay’s drinking was present from the very beginning but as the years passed, his addiction to alcohol grew, and the dissapointments and heart breaks began. In the early days the let downs were small- he would promise to be home at a certain time to play with the boys before bed, take them out in the yard, to the park, or for a drive to visit their grandparents but would end up having a few beers with his friends, his promises soon forgotten. The boys would be upset briefly, but quickly get over it, and the broken promises forgotten once their Dad arrived home, still smelling of booze, and gathered them both up into his arms. I often envied their ability to just forgive and forget, but as they grew up this ability slowly died, and they no longer were as quick to forgive, and remembered so much more than even I realized. 

Jay’s drinking would hurt them in so many ways over the years, and our family life was not the fairy tale I had been hoping for. Big K would be the most affected by Jay and his addiction, many a times having his little heart broken, being afraid, dissapointed, and angry. At the age of 9 the first of several incidents would occur that would leave a lasting mark, an irreversible scar, on the heart of my sweet boy. 

We had been living in our home at the time, but were experiencing financial problems, and Jay’s drinking was a large part of our financial strain. We had been arguing for days and things weren’t good in our home. On this particular night Little K was spending the night with my parents, while Big K and I went to a school event with a friend of mine and her son, who was also a friend of Big K’s. We had a fun night, which was much needed after the stress of the week. 

What I didn’t know was that while we were gone, Jay had returned home from a day of drinking, angry at the world, angry at me for reasons unknown. His parents had tried to contact me, to warn me not to go home, because Jay was on a rampage, but were unable to reach me. Big K and I returned home, oblivious, but the moment we entered the house I knew something was wrong. 

The kitchen stove and refrigerator was on it’s side, it’s corners having poked large holes into the drywall. Frames were knocked off the walls, everything on the kitchen table had been swiped off and as we neared Big K’s bedroom we both stopped in our tracks, Big K reaching up to take my hand. His bedroom door was ajar, but had a huge gaping hole in it, where a fist had went through, and on the floor was an orange survival suit, a pair of boots sticking out from the legs of it.  The way it lay there on the floor, still shaped as if someone was still inside it, looked at first like a body lying there on the floor rather than merely an empty suit. It actually took both of us a couple of moments to realize that’s all it was- an empty suit. But in those brief moments fear gripped both of us as we held on tight to each other’s hand. 

As we tiptoed closer to the room, just close enough to see inside, we realized that it had received the most damage. His wall had a couple holes in it, his dresser had been flipped over, the drawers hanging open, some of his clothes falling out, and the contents that rested on top of the furniture thrown around the room. Worst of all, his desk had been flipped over, and his computer, a prized possession of his, lay on the floor destroyed. Asleep on his bed lay Jay, dried blood on his nuckles, the stench of stale beer filling the room. 

I fought back the tears as I lead my son from the room, through the mess Jay had made of our home. Why that room? Why my son’s room? I could only imagine what was going through my sons young, innocent mind, how much hurt he was feeling, fear he had felt as he saw the suit lying on his floor. As we reached the living room a knock came on the door and when I answered it I found my friend standing there, the one I had been with earlier. 

“Do you have a can of milk I could borrow?” She asked. I gave her a puzzled look before realizing why she was actually there. 

“It’s okay.’ I whispered. ‘He’s asleep.” She came inside for a minute as I tried to gather my thoughts, and then we left, my holding on to my sons little hand, as we followed her to her car and she drove us to my mothers with nothing more than my sons book bag and the clothes we had on. 

I left him that night. I went back to our home the next day and packed up my kids clothes, toys and other personal belongings as well as my own and we moved back in with my parents. I left him and for the next couple of months I felt as if a weight had been lifted. I missed him, but I didn’t miss the stress of his drinking.  

The thing anyone who loves an addict wants to hear in the early days, when there is still some shred of hope, is I’ll change, I’ll quit, I’ll do better. In the early days you believe it. So when he came crawling back, pledging his love for me and the boys, telling me he would change, promising he would do better, be better, that he would give up his bad habits, I believed every word of it and welcomed him back into my life with open arms. We moved back into our home with him shortly thereafter. In the beginning, the honeymoon phase, everything was wonderful and myself and my sons quickly fell back into our family life, only for things to return to the norm, Jay returning to his old ways, just a few weeks later. 

One of my greatest regrets in life was going back then, and the many times I would do the very same thing over the years. Eventually I would leave for good, but not for a very long time and not before irreparable damage had been done. If I could change it I would, if I could go back and do it all over again, I would have done so many things differently. That’s the thing with mistakes and bad decisions, we often don’t see them until it’s too late. 

I may not be able to erase the permanent scars my children carry as a result of living with an alcoholic for most of their young lives, but what I can do is assure them that those days are over, that life behind us. There is no more going back. 

The story of my life with, and love of, a man who life was consumed with an alcohol addiction is a long and complex one. It can’t simply be told in one story. It is a hard story for me to tell, as the scars of this relationship have yet to heal and I am not sure they ever will. Our story began in a previous post Loving an Addict: In the Beginning and will span over many posts in a Loving an Addict series. Not all of these stories are pretty, as addiction never is. But if one person reads them and realizes they are not alone, and that there is a way out, then all the hurt that is recalled in these stories have been worth it. 

When Jay returned home, shortly after that first night, he came to meet my son at my moms house where we were living. I’ll never forget the feeling that swept over me as I watched him approach my toddler who was trotting out of the hallway from his room with a baby bottle caught between his teeth, a huge grin across his face. 

“Hey little buddy.” Jay said as he reached out his arms and my son willingly climbed into them. Little buddy. He would call him that for years to come, and still does on the rare occasion that they talk. 

From that day on we slowly became a family and it seemed that finally the stars were aligning. Jay and I were together again, he wanted to be with me and be a father to my son. We were going to be a family. 

Things started out okay. We got our own place, a small, 2 bedroom basement apartment, and we were going through the motions of a normal, functional family. We cooked together, Jay spent time with Big K, taking him for walks in the yard and playing with him, we visited family and friends, Big K becoming a welcomed addition to Jay’s family, his parents quickly becoming grandparents. Everyone doted on my son. He was cheerful, loveable, and simply adorable. Jay, Big K, and I were falling comfortably into a routine. 

During those early days Jay’s drinking was under control for the most part. He did drink too much from time to time, usually when he was with his friends, but he would always come home to us at the end of the night, crawl into bed next to me, and wake with a hangover the next day. Many years later I would miss those hangover days where him and I would cuddle together with Big K and eat junk food and spend the entire day relaxing. But it wasn’t just those lazy days together that made me miss the hangovers. What I missed the most was these hangovers kept him sober for at least a couple of days. 

We had been in our own place for a few months when things began to change. Jay began drinking more often and hiding it from me with lies. So many lies. I didn’t drive at the time and  Jay was my means of transportation. Our apartment was a fair distance away from town and too long of a walk in the hot summer months. Big K and I began spending day after day at home alone in that little apartment while Jay was running off and drinking with his friends. After 3-4 days he would wander home, smelly and sick, having not showered the entire time he was gone, and barely eaten. Most times he would tell me where he had been, other times he wouldn’t. The worst was not knowing, spending days at home having no idea where he was, what he was doing, who he was with, or more important, if he was okay. It was during this particular period in our lives, in that very same apartment, when violence was born from Jay’s addition. 

It was a hot July day and there was a festival happening in town. Jay and I had planned to take Big K to the kids day activities during the day and then go to the outdoor dance together that night. Jay bailed on Big K and I at the last minute to go drink with some of his buddies. Big K and I got ready to go anyways, and a mutual male friend of ours tagged along too. I spent the day at the festival with my son and got a pretty sizeable sunburn on my chest, and cleavage. That evening Jay arrived home, already pretty intoxicated but wanting to go to the dance together that night and I agreed. I didn’t get upset because he had let us down that day. I never got upset with him. I was just thankful for the time he did spend with us. 

That night we went to the dance as planned, both drinking, and walked home together at around 2 am. I dressed in a satin shorts and tank top sleep set and climbed into bed, moving inside for Jay to sleep outside, while he was in the bathroom. I was settled comfortably in bed when he came back into the room…

And hell broke loose. 

Suddenly he began yelling at me, furious that our friend had hung out with me that day, that I had worn a tank top (despite the more than 30 degrees of heat). Apparently I had been flaunting my breasts in the top for our friend, and every man at the festival to see. In one swift movement he was gripping my hair in his hand and pulling me from the bed, then ripped the straps off of my top, before throwing me to the floor, where I landed against the wall, shocked and terrified, and knocked senseless when, seconds later, he was once again gripping my hair as he pounded my head into the wall, going through the drywall. He screamed at me as I lay there, crumpled like a paper doll, dazed and shaking, the tears falling without my even realizing. The sound of our landlord pounding on the door ended the screaming. Jay told him everything was fine, and then, without a word he ran, out of the room and out of the apartment. 

Head throbbing and the tears coming in broken sobs and heart wrenching cries, I climbed back into bed, praying for the first time that he wouldn’t return. But he did, an hour or so later, but he didn’t come back into the bedroom. He spent the night on the sofa and the next morning nothing was said as we prepared to go to his parents home for dinner. The entire day was silent for both of us. Later that night, when all 3 of us were at home and Big K was settled into bed for the night, I lay on the sofa watching television. After a few minutes Jay lay on the floor in front of me, fixated on the tv at first, but eventually reaching up for my hand as he broke down into tears, apologizing again and again. My heart, the very one that he had broken just hours before, ached for him. 

I forgave him. I always forgave him. Years would be pass and although the abuse and violence was not a regular part of our lives, it did surface several more times. Always when he was drunk, usually after drinking the harder booze, and always in a jealous rage. Alcohol and his addiction to it had already become, in those early days, the monster in our home.