Before Recovery: Part 6 – Balancing Act
This is the story of my terribly traumatic childhood, the teenage years of self-discovery and chaos, the onset of alcohol abuse in college, my life as a soldier, the years of drug use, the disintegration of my family, and the dark descent that landed me in jail. I wrote this portion of my story as part of a recovery exercise while I was in treatment. What it lacks in detail, it makes up for in the sheer volume of chaos that alcohol wreaked upon my life.
|Part 1: Trauma Legacy||Part 2: Wandering Lost||Part 3: Worlds Colliding|
|Part 4: Heavy Burdens||Part 5: Constant Chaos|
I carried the new burden of child support payments that were large and the pressure of having to be financially successful was a convenient excuse to drink and drug my way through whatever money I had left after paying my support. My partying got so bad that I was again fired from my job in 2000. The only job I could find was nearly an hour to the south. I had to take that job and moved there in the summer of 2000. I obtained an excellent position as a Finance & Insurance Manager at a large dealership in southern Mass.
Problem was “wherever you go, there you are” struck again. This time, however, I moved to crack cocaine because my nose no longer functioned because of all the drugs I had put into it. It was nearly fatal. I nearly destroyed myself for 6 months while making an insane amount of money. I will say though, I never—not once in all my years–drank or drugged while I had my visitation with my boys. I made every visitation schedule I ever had and was a better father to them away from the home than I ever was in it. It was I appearing in court over and over and over again, trying to get my ex to adhere to the visitation plan we had forged in court.
I am still proud of that to this day. I did my kids right. I loved my boys like nobody’s business, and nobody can take that away from me. In February of 2001, quite by accident, I met a woman who would help stabilize me (for the most part) for the better part of nearly 9 years. I spent 2001 to 2010 with her and I know why I was mostly stable: we both had kids the same age so I didn’t drink when they were present, I wasn’t a nightly drinker anymore, she didn’t drink, and she was the mother I never had. I’m not meaning that in any bad way, but she was truly a mother figure and I think it was somewhat stabilizing to me.
It surely helped that this woman did not drink, smoke, or do drugs whatsoever. I also had the added responsibility of helping her out with her own kids, and it seemed that this helped me with the nightmares somewhat. Being a father seemed to take the sharp edges off of my mental health symptoms.
I didn’t think this at the time, of course, but looking back on how I managed to stay stable for so long, I have come to this conclusion about why. That is not to say I did not have my difficulties. Oh no, I continued with my inability to maintain a regular job and, I had learned the truth that she had lied to me about losing my baby, I drank that sorrow away on the weekends.
Also, once the ex-wife found out about Maria, and once she had been questioned by me about our pregnancy, she escalated our divorce to outright hatred from where she stood. It had been fairly civil up to that point. She tormented our children about what we were up to, where did they get this, what have we been doing, endlessly to the point that it was tearing them apart as the years wore on.
She used the children against me whenever I would fall behind on child support. She laid into me whenever she could about how I had abandoned them, what a loser I was. I resented her tremendously for doing that in the presence of our children.
I am convinced today that she did that INTENTIONALLY, for the children began to loathe coming with me for our visitations. Sometime in late 2006 I made the horribly difficult decision to stop seeing my children so they could be raised in one household; so they would not continue to be pulled apart from living with two sets of circumstances.
They were being torn apart being raised in two. I stand behind my decision, to this day I know I did it in their best interest even though it took me from their lives and it crushed me in a way I haven’t the words for. My children have never spoken to me in 11 years.
I try not to think too hard on it, but now and again I catch myself tight roping a nightmare on the subject. And, without the children to raise, without the stability of our family unit, the woman and I eventually grew apart. I was coming unglued again, I couldn’t take another collapse. I finally had insurance through work, so I sought professional help.