You might be asking, “What happened???”. It seemed like I was going to get my happy ending, right?!? I mean, if you followed my last blog series, on January 1, 2015 I was happily preparing to wed Mr. Universe on the beach in Hawaii (Day 281: Dear Mr. Universe). Sooooo….???
Well, that’s the thing about telling a story. It’s easy to share the parts that make the story good and just as easy to leave out the parts that don’t. Said another way, it’s my lie and I’ll tell it how I want.
What I didn’t share (with a lot of people in my life) was that Mr. Universe struggled with substances and I struggled to understand the depth of his struggle…sadly, I think he did/does too.
In the beginning, I thought he was a social drinker…who just happened to spend a LOT of time socializing. I made this assumption because that’s how/why/when I drank. It was a social thing. I never drank alone, only with friends. So I naively thought that’s what he was doing too. Then I started to notice the intensity of his drinking.
As we both settled into the relationship, that disguise of “having to be on your best behavior” started to crack. It just so happens that this coincided with Mr. Universe sharing how much he hated his job. Made total sense! Of course you’d drink more if you hated your job, right?
And what do you do when you hate your job and live with your girlfriend? You fucking quit your job…out of the blue…and spend all day getting high. Errrrt! What!?!?
I know what you’re thinking….this behavior was going on before you were married. WTF!!! And you’re right. It was. And like most addicts, he had excuses for all of it. He was drinking and smoking because of his job, his ex, his family, moving to a new city, not feeling loved, being bored, afraid of the future, etc., etc., etc.
Those were all valid reasons to feel uneasy…unsettled…unsafe…mad…sad…pain. Having spent my fair share of time in therapy, I got it. This was how he coped. So, I figured I could help. I could help him create new, healthier coping mechanisms. And that’s what I spent my time doing right up until and after we said “I do”. Trying to help him learn how to cope…with everything.
What I didn’t understand, was how deeply he was wounded. And how much of that pain had been shoved done and for how long. It was intense….and heartbreaking.
I came to realize that I had married a 13 year old boy. Deeply wounded by his family. Left with the belief that he was unworthy of love and unwanted. A pain that hurt so profoundly he spent his entire life numbing himself with drugs and alcohol. Distracting himself with women and video games. Defining himself by his job(s), money and material things. Building muscles and a demeanor to ward off potential threats.
Despite all that, I saw a man that wanted to be loved and to give love. A man that wanted to be better but didn’t know how. A man who despite the shitty hand he was dealt, continued to rack in the pot. I saw the potential…and I wanted to help.
Being no stranger to self help, therapies and alternative healing modalities, I thought surely I could help him find the right mix of strategies to heal. And so we tried…a lot of things…yoga, personal therapy, couples therapy, a shaman, meditation, books, videos, abstinence. Some things would help for a little bit but nothing ever stuck.
I have mad respect for anyone dealing with an addict or addiction of any sort. It’s like being in a relationship with three people: (1) the real person, (2) their pain, and (3) the addiction. And you never really know what/who is going to be the trigger for them to shift between those aspects. It’s an unnerving and ungrounded way to live, but it’s still a choice. Which is why I eventually realized that I had to start making better choices too.