In 2010, Chris and I had been married for 8 years and together for 9. I had graduated college in 2005 and was happily settled into a great career and had been employed with the same company for almost 5 years.
I mentioned in a previous post about my manager at my job, who had become my father figure. In August of 2009, he was fired from his position with our company. The company had found a candidate, who was well-known in the industry, that was moving to our area and they pushed my friend out of the door to make room for this new person. He was distraught, hurt and angry: and rightfully so. The absence of him in my daily work life was extreme, more than anyone can realize. Not having a father in my life for 35 years had taken its toll on my heart and until our friendship formed, I had never realized the benefits of having a patriarch role model. Our friendship continued, but was limited to a few phone calls a week to check in and catch up.
I was more lonely than ever, my daughter just turned 16 and was giving us large amounts of grief. She was sneaking out at night, cutting the screen in her window: had made several attempts to run away, was having unprotected sex, and was a not so typical boy crazy teen-aged girl. Her grades began to drop and her school activities were no longer a part of her life. There was building a distance between she and I, no longer able to be her friend, I was pushed into being the parental hard ass in her life. Chris had no desire in helping me with disciplining her. He was full of negativity and would insult her and I with put downs and criticism. His belief was she was too old to change and would just be worthless her whole life.
2010 came in quiet and sad, I was drunk and passed out and my husband sat in the living room reading his bible.
The isolation in my heart became overwhelming around this time. In January of 2010, we had booked a “family” cruise to Mexico for he, myself and my kids. I can honestly say, this cruise was the true beginning of the end. The kids and I went on adventures together, he sat at the pool, reading his bible and ignoring my requests at us doing things together. There is no need to venture into details, but the last night of the cruise, a huge fight ensued between he and I. I had limited my drinking around my kids, I always did, but I was in full blow out mode that evening and had partaken in quiet a bit of bubbly when my hubby felt the need to call me out on my drinking in front of my kids and a group of random strangers. The night ended with him telling me the 9 years we had been together had been the worst of his life and his biggest regret was marrying trash like myself. I fell asleep, sobbing like a baby, unable to stop the tears or catch my breath, while he lay coldly, isolated beside me on the opposite side of the bed. It was after that trip, that I became numb to his presence and began to live on auto pilot. I no longer was concerned to have his house spotless, his dinner on the table, or making any attempt at being his wife. My heart broke that evening, more than I can ever explain, and his coldness had left me chilled to the bone.
My auto pilot life consisted of barracading any emotions from entering my heart, whether they were for my marriage, my children, friends, etc. My work was my distraction, alcohol my best friend and other than the twice weekly phone calls from my former manager, my life was void of any interaction with others.
In May of 2010, the company that I worked for hired a new manager. The man they choose was bi-polar, manic depressive and suffered from severe mental issues. (of course, they learned this AFTER they hired him.) For whatever reason, from the moment of introduction, he decided he did not like me and was going to find a way to terminate my position. This man harassed me verbally, physically and mentally. He would attempt everyday to find something I was doing wrong and when he could find no wrong he began to force situations in an attempt to make others believe I had committed some horrendous act so he could terminate me. The only person I spoke to about this situation was my former manager. (to refer to him by name, I will call my former manager John) He was livid and without my approval began to make phone calls to attempt to stop this situation from happening in my life. I never spoke to my husband about what was happening in my work, he would only come to the managers defense and tell me I must have done something to deserve that treatment. At the end of May, it all came to a head and human resources was phoned in. Their hands were tied, they had no proof of wrong doing on either of our parts, thought they knew there was something not right about the new manager, and they offered me a demotion or to resign. I submitted my official resignation, with a rehireable status, and a promise from human resources if the manager was relocated or left our company I would have my position back immediately. On the drive home, I phoned John and gave him the news. I was terrified of having to go home and tell my husband of what happened. John was encouraging and supportive and as I pulled in the drive, I knew the words he said were true and everything would be ok.
I sat my husband down at the dining room table and told him what had been happening over the few weeks and what the final outcome was. He was as I thought he would be. Non supportive, critical, demeaning and was in no way supportive. I was a piece of trash that had left my family financially strapped with only one income, there had to be more to the story since I had hidden it from him, and when he learned that I had been talking with John about the situation he was livid. He accused me of having an affair with John and informed me that he was to be out of my life immediately. On this one, I stood my ground. John was 64 and I was 38, he was happily married and I was married. He was a huge support in my life and a role model that I was not going to give up for anyone. My husband did not speak to me for weeks: but he was talking to everyone else. We worked in the same industry and not a week after I resigned my husband attended a trade show in Raleigh. Imagine my horror when I began to receive phone calls from former vendors or sales reps offering their condolences for my being fired from my position. Yes, my beloved, sweet, perfect husband was telling EVERYONE he saw that I had been fired. (remember that this is the same man who did not tell a soul when I was attending school because it was our private business. When I called him out it, he simply responded that they had forced my resignation, that was the same as being fired.
The next two months were horrible. Unemployed, my daughter at her dads for the summer, dealing with an unhappy marriage and no longer having distractions in my life took their toll. I drank everyday, not from dawn to dusk, but around 2 p.m. I would open the bottle and drown my sorrows. The only mainstay I had in my life was John. He and his wife would drive the hour drive to my home to take me to lunch or to bring me smiles. He would phone daily to check on me and made no bones about calling me out on my marriage and my drinking.
In July of 2010, unable to find a job, the manager at my former work still employed, and savings dwindling, the hubby made the decision for us to place our home for rent and return to his hometown, where we had moved from 5 years before. There was no happiness in this news, it was his home where his family lived and his friends were, that meant that I would be even more isolated in everyone would be near and watching my every move. I was helpless and distraught and simply prayed to God for something to happen to change our circumstances. On July 18, we packed two U-hauls trucks full of our belongings and began the two hour journey back to his hometown. On July 17, I had made a four hour road trip to pick up my nieces from the airport. That four hour trip had been spent on the phone with John, crying uncontrollably and contemplating suicide. In his usual fatherly way, John brought his zany sense of humor into the conversation, along with his supportive words and brought me back from the edge. In route to our new home, on July 18, I received one of the most horrifying phone calls of my life, John had suffered a sudden brain aneurism, was being life flighted to another state and was non-reponsive. My mental walls crashed and I lost control of everything. John was on life support and in a coma for two weeks after they aneurism. I waited daily for that phone call that never came. Those two weeks are a blur of half heartedly attempting to put our new home together and sleeping 18 hours a day. I wasn’t drinking, I wanted to be completely sober when he called to tell me things were ok.
On August 4 , 2010, at 6:48 p.m., John died. A close friend of mine phoned to give me the news, I dropped the phone, began screaming, and turned to punch the kitchen cabinet before fainting onto the kitchen floor. When I came to, my husband was standing over me, phone in hand hearing the news himself, examining the kitchen cabinet. He thanked my friend for calling, looked at me on the floor crying uncontrollably and cursed me for damaging “our new home” (it was actually the same townhouse he had lived in when we met) and walked out, leaving me in a heap on the floor. How could God have done this to me? On the very day we were moving, the very day that I was so stressed over, God took the only support I had. I was hurt, in grief, alone, destroyed devastated and hated everyone and everything around me. At 7 a.m. on August 5, I opened a fifth of vodka and never stopped. I would awake from one drunken stupor to begin on the next. I don’t remember much over the next couple of weeks other than having quiet a bit of hangovers. Just before my 38th birthday in August, I decided to drink myself to death. I opened a gallon of vodka at 7 a.m. and by 2 p.m. had drank over half. The next thing I remember, my husband was home at 6 p.m., dragging me down the stairs by my shirt. In a black out, I had ripped the refrigerator door off the hinges, smashed the duck decoys his dad had made, broke any and all pictures that his family were present in and had passed out in my vomit on the bathroom floor. He was livid, I was still drunk and only wanted to sleep. He threw me into the parking lot of our town home, locked the door and left me with no keys, money, and only half dressed. I somehow crawled to the backyard and passed out again. A few hours later, he awoke me again, dragged me to his car, and informed me he was driving me to a rehab center to get help. This was not stated in a supportive I am worried about you manner. It was more like “You have humiliated me and disgusted me beyond belief, I am taking you where they can fix you, don’t call me or come back until you are sober, if I am even here waiting for you then”. By this time it was 2 a.m., I am vomiting everywhere, fighting a horrid headache and wondering why I didn’t die. We live in a small community where there is no rehabilitation facilities located, after several phone calls and failed attempts to find someone to “Fix me”, he goes in the house locks the door, this time he does leave me in the car. The next morning, I awake to the horrific memory of the day before. The house is unlocked and I stumble in to find he has packed his items, taken my car, and left a note that he was moving to his mothers house. I ventured up stairs, looked at the damage I had created the night before, walked into the bathroom and looked at myself in the mirror. Since our marriage, I had gained almost 70 pounds, the sight looking back at me was half dressed, covered in her own vomit, eyes swollen, hair everywhere….she was a sad sad sight.
Maybe my husband was right, I was a piece of shit after all. Why had I left myself get to this extreme? Was I willing to die a tragic death and leave my kids with that memory? Was it worth it to try to be the person I knew I was in my heart? At that moment, I decided I was worth it, not the piece of trash he said I was and I made a commitment to prove him wrong. I walked to the phone, called our local AA hotline and within an hour I had a sponsor sitting in my home, holding me tight, while I cried my eyes out.