The More I Change…

… the more things seem the same. Sort of. In my last blog, I talked about arriving in the Catskills area, and the feeling of arriving in a hometown setting. Being home, I wanted to revisit many things, see friends and see the guy that changed my life.

When I look at my life, I see it in these distinct chapters:

    Early childhood.
    The distressing teen years.
    My indulgent 20s.
    The Randouche spell.
    Life after divorce.
    Colorado days.
    The day I got the Van and took off… to now.

I spent almost the entire Life after divorce decade in and around the town of Woodstock. Affectionally, I’d joke, “I live in the subburbs of Woodstock.” Then, I’d flash a peace sign. This is part of my life story telling routine. There are so many transformative moments I had the privilidge to walk through in my years living in and around that part of the Catskills. I can remember nights walking in the woods under the light of the full moon, and the liberating feeling of being a self-aware woman who is growing in so many ways.

Divorce was an emotional bottom, and my opportunity to rise up liberated and free from a relationship that caused me so much pain. I didn’t date again and definitely didn’t let anyone into our lives again for almost eight years. The visceral fear of that trauma lingers still, and made me vulnerable.

Love found me again, romantic love that appeared in the form of something very new. I found a partner devoted to me, who loved me as I am. He was up for adventures, fun to laugh with and available for deep conversations about politics. He was an affectionate man, who relished intimacy and closeness that made me feel adored. We had sweet moments, holding each others’ hearts and looking into one and other’s eyes. He was my best friend, my confidante and willing to help me out with so many things. He was all I thought I wanted.

He still is that man. He is also an alcoholic.

Dating an alcoholic is like being an a very unsatisfying polyamourous relationship. There’s you, the other half of your relationship with that person and the drink, that captivates him or her in ways that you cannot seduce a person. While a grown up relationship demands work, commitment and attention, the alcoholic’s relationship with the drink is a release. Being with the booze means letting go, disappearing, not having to answer to a call or obligation. The alcoholic can cheat on beer with vodka, or have a three way with Fireball and Budweiser and neither will mind. They will get their way.

I dated that alcoholic. I still love him.

The addiction is a symptom of deeper rooted issues. I know, I did the work to learn about how self medication doesn’t serve me. Through exploration, sharing and determination, I shifted my mindset towards a craving of clarity. I assume that others can want to do the same.

He won’t. He refuses.

Our somewhat tattered bond brings us back to each other. I am an active participant. I am part of this equation. Every time we reunite, I believe it will be something else. It will be different. Last night, it was the same, but worse. At an outdoor table at a bar I didn’t want to go to, he drank until he threw up all over himself and the ground beside him. It wasn’t just puke, there was blood. It was all over his sleave, his face, and his hands. I felt obligated to get him napkins, and had to pay the bill for all of this mess including the shots he secretly took inside when I wasn’t looking, because he forgot his credit card. I was mortified, saddened and embarassed. It was heartbreaking to see the face of this person with an awesomely big heart and caring soul do this to himself. If this is him on his better behavior with me around, I can’t imagine what his nights look like when I’m not there. Worse, I am sure.

I stayed with him for years, because I wanted to separate the drinking from the person. I believed the disease was its own animal separate from him. I can’t do that anymore. Because I had a few beers, I knew I couldn’t drive. So I went home with him, hopeing we’d sleep it off and tomorrow would be a new day. He stayed up, drank more, played loud music, woke the neighbor repeatedly, and kept taking my dog out for walks. At 3:30am, I woke up to my dog whining and crying, he had gone out. If you are reading this, I bet you’re thinking what I was, to probably get more beer.

With the dog crying and the utter dispair of not being able to be around this kinds of behavior, I left. I grabbed my things and drove away in tears. I slept last night in a Dollar General parking lot, as it was empty and dark. I figured by the time I got up I could figure out where to go next. Covering the windows with reflectix and the magnetized window covers, I blacked out the rig and climbed into bed. The overwhelming feeling of defeat tired me out. After ignoring several calls, I answered to him yelling at me, “I went out to get you food, you’re so selfish!” A normal human being doesn’t go out at 3:30 am to go grocery shopping for a guest who just ate a big dinner earlier. I didn’t ask for anything. I wasn’t hungry. I was asleep. He continued that narrative in some texts and then unfriended me on social media. His self believed lie, he was out doing something for me. What I wanted was for him to come to bed and snuggle, hold me tight, and give me the one thing I miss, closeness with him.

He has deprived me of that time so many nights, almost every time I see him really.

Alcoholism is selfish, the alcoholic thinks only of themselves even when they wish they didn’t. I’m sure he brought me home my favorite goodies, Reese’s peanut butter cups and something cute that struck my sentimental heartstrings. That doesn’t negate the puking up blood and guts, and drinking more and more. It doesn’t change what really happened. This probably happens night after night.

So I made a turn down memory lane. I drove up to see my exboyfriend, believing we’d have this magical few days rekindling the sparks of love we cling to. As long as he’s with alcohol, I will never have a shot at authentic connection with him. It makes me so sad he’s so broken by life that he wastes so much time participating in this self-destruction.

My past is behind me. He needs to stay in the rearview.