A week on, slightly shocky but keeping calm

Those of you who’ve been, been with, or treated addicts won’t be surprised to know that J’s story changed 3 times in a week, but I didn’t fall for it. He has not tried to come back, did not go to the deadly place, and is taking care of himself rather better than might be expected.

The fact that he’s not imminently in danger is a huge relief, actually. I can handle breakups — I just can’t handle mortality.

I looked back at my previous post and got a huge laugh out of the fact that I opened with one sentence regarding a life-shattering event and went straight into the nerdiest possible fugue about meds, care, and therapies that are affected by it. I’m not sure of the distinction between nerd, dork, and geek, but I’m pretty sure I’m all three, and that’s okay with me. The doc I sent that letter to is the brainiest of those, whichever that may be.

The feelings washing through me are as varied as you might expect. There are some ways I feel freed up — I finally got to rearrange the living room furniture, and it’s a vast improvement. Nobody to get all tense and cranky about moving his sofa location. I look back no the ways I’d just stopped making room for myself because it was easier than arguing. The last year and a half was a downward trend, the last year pretty bumpy, the last few months really rough, and the last few weeks we were together were frankly awful.

That, I don’t miss.

What I miss is that where he was, was home. I’m homeless in one sense, because he’s homeless in the literal sense. (He sure enjoys the camping, though.) I rarely had to scold him for anything because he could hear me yelling at him in my head; he’d give me the same pissy look my cat used to give me when he was scolded, and make the adjustment I wished he’d make, with no more than 5 soft words exchanged. He literally read my freaking mind.

I don’t know what he’ll do when the weather changes. Not my circus now. He’s facing the consequences of his own decisions, and one is that he has fewer, and at this point less attractive, options.

I found a person who knows how to get me signed up for things like help with the dishes and laundry and vacuuming, rides to my medical appointments, and other logisstical needs. The shuddering absence of J has left me with arms so overused and attention so wrung out that I had trouble driving safely home today. I actually missed a turn on a road I’ve taken uncountable times. Not reassuring, that. Fortunately, it was easy to correct.

As I explained to my passenger: I can pay attention to the road and obstacles around me, and I can control the vehcile I’m driving, and do both confidently; the rest, like where to turn, is a bit iffy.

The physical consequences crash on, no matter how calm I can keep my mind most of the time. The tearing, strengthless feelings in my hand tendons is pretty scary. My ashtma is acting up, a consstant background pull. I guess I’d better raise my antihistamine dosage, and make an appointment with my rheumatologist to look into that.

The emotions ebb and flow: bouts of anger, so seductive but I refuse to cling to them … I let them roll through and roll away; irritation; lovely memories; wry humor; noticing things he’d like; gaping wounds of loss; grief; the endless wordless cry of a mature heart that’s broken, like a descant that never stops. I let them roll through. I’m an old hand at loss. The trick is not to hide from them, and not to cling to them. Look at them, one by one or five by five as they come, and see them for what they are. Then let them go. Not easy, but so worth it.

Task focused is good. I have things on my schedule and things I have to do. I pay attention to the next task. It really helps. It’s okay to stay out of emotional space, something I didn’t used to know. It’s absolutely okay not to go prodding that open wound. I can work around it.

I was cooking up a frozen Indian dinner on the stove, anything further being beyond me and microwave dinners being disgusting to me (except rice-pasta mac and cheese, for some reason.) I sat there, stirring it gently, and taking a step back to look at the whole picture.

Aspects of my life are better. There’s no arguing, for one thing. I’m seeing my friends more.

Aspects of my life are harder. I have more creative impulses but less ability to do anything with them. The logistics of getting through the week are awful.

On the whole, my life is definitely worse without J in it. His jobs can be done by others, but the whole blooming warmth and joy and peace that he brought with him, until he gave into the “stinkin’ thinkin'” of addictive-mind, is gone, except in memory.

Having said that — having looked squarely at that — I let it go.

I remember the time I decided to give up on repeating my mistakes. It was at my first nursing job, on the HIV unit. I realized, imperfect person in a tough high-stakes job that I was, that I was probably going to make mistakes. I made an agreement with myself not to repeat them, but to pay attention and learn, and when I screwed up, to figure out how to avoid doing that particular thing again.

I waited too long for him to do what he needed to do to get better. He’s not going to do that unless and until he decides, and — here’s the not repeating mistakes part — he has no place here unless and until he has well begun that arduous journey.

Whether he takes it or not is not up to me.

Not my circus any more.

Time to have that dinner and watch a silly movie.

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One Reply to “A week on, slightly shocky but keeping calm”

  1. I love reading your stories your life. I don’t have the ability nor the desire to write like you do.

    But please even if he seeks treatment or goes back to Alcoholics Anonymous do not let this happen again for your own sake. Cuz the next time will crush you leave and more and the cycle will repeat itself. I know alcoholics I’ve been surrounded by them raised by them and love with them I don’t know why this is what I attract.

    I’ve been alone for 12 years. I’m 60 years old and at this point and going through a series of surgeries that hopefully will resolve my CRPS. I have tunnel vision that I will paraglide again. That is what has kept me alive. Is it a dream? No it’s not. If I did not improve one bit that I would take off for Peru take my medications so I was physically capable and go fly. But for now I am concentrating on the peripheral nerve surgery or surgeries I should say that I am going through but I believe he’s going to either reduce my pain drastically or remove it completely. I am one of the lucky people to be under to care of doctor Tim TOLLESTRUP a pioneer and peripheral nerve surgery who is dedicated his surgical skills to stopping pain. So for now I will go on to my next surgery October 9th which will disconnect my scn and my PFC nerves and continue with the process.

    Am I open to love again? I don’t know but I was never one to chase it. It had to happen on its own. And the condition I’ve been in for the last 10 years I really don’t want to put on anybody else at this point in my life. But if I improve wait I am improving but if I get as healthy as healthy cuz I hope to then yes love rolls around into my life again I will let it happen

    I understand completely where are you are coming from. But as winter sets in don’t let a month or two of sobriety fool you. And I know this is unsolicited advice. So please feel free to totally ignore.

    You can and will get through this. Ironically one of the funniest things I heard in life was and an AA meaning

    Somebody once said

    Life is nothing but a series of pole vaulting over rat turds.

    And how true it is. You have made the landing safely a little bruised up maybe a little jaded who knows what’s going on in your mind. But I think that little thought that you put in your head and many many years ago about not repeating the same mistake is something you need remind yourself of everyday. Put it on a Post-It note and stick it on your mirror and your bathroom.

    Peace and love, your fellow Warrior

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