What I’ve Learned About Addiction from My Soulmate


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Part of me still believes that this man is my soul mate. OK, another part says, so maybe he is, but first and foremost, he’s an addict.

I thought I knew all about addicts. After all, I was the one who took the baby and left back in 1989. 22 years old, with no money, no car and nowhere to go ,  I knew that we’d be better off living under a bridge than staying with him because  of the dealers he kept bringing  to the apartment.

In 2008, he presented himself as clean and sober. Well, he admitted to having a few beers on the weekend with his friends, but insisted that he’d quit getting high. “I’m not a druggie,” he wrote to me in his first letter to me in nearly twenty years.  ( I had not heard from  him since 1990.)

He had tracked me down and sent me a heart wrenching anniversary card on what would have been our 20th wedding anniversary.

This is exactly what I’d told my daughter would happen when he got his act together. This is the  story she’d grown up with. Her father was the love of my life, but was messed up on drugs and would contact us when and if he got his act together.

He presented himself as clean-cut, introduced me to his one friend with a family and started helping out at his Mom’s house  to impress me. (I later learned that she’d seen little of him in the years since I’d left although he lived ten minutes away.) He sent us his photography. He sent friendly emails to my father. He seemed delighted to have a second chance at a life with us.

I asked him specific, direct questions about his drug use and dealing. He told me complex stories about it all being in the past and how he’d stopped getting high years before through meditation while fishing. All the while I drifted closer and closer to him and within a few months, we were intimately involved.

I know now that he was lying. I know now that all addicts lie. I guess that he was drawn towards me, our daughter, our past, towards being a better person, having a better life, but that, in the end, he did not know how to change. He may have had intentions in his heart and mind to change but I don’t even know that. All the evidence points to his intentions to deceive us.

When I first began figuring out that he wasn’t quite sober, that he was, in fact, still dealing with his friends, I brought up the terms detox, rehab, treatment. He seemed to not know what these words meant. In my absence, he had surrounded himself with a group of people for whom dealing, getting drunk and  high were regular daily activities which had extended past the ‘partying’ age many of us went through in our early or mid twenties all the way through his thirties and into his forties. It simply was his lifestyle. How he thought he could fit me into his lifestyle, I have no idea. Did he really want to change at the beginning? Or was it all just an idea that he could hide his use from me? Oh, there is such an urge to want to give him the benefit of the doubt without there being any evidence that he deserves it.

Around the time I was realizing that he was not sober, and that he was dealing, we were about one year into the relationship. My therapist says that at this point, he began ‘leaking.’  At this time, I also realized that he was drinking far more frequently than he had admitted previously. It seemed that every time I spoke to him on the phone  in the evening, he was slurring his words and laughing too loud. Pretty soon, it was every single night that he was like that on the phone. I would wince when I heard his jumbled words- his stumbling voice.

“What have I gotten myself back into?” I pondered. “This was NOT what I signed up for.”

So, I confronted him. We had a fight over it. I again used words like AA Meeting, NA Meeting, Counseling, Treatment, Detox. I had left him before, and I wouldn’t leave him again. I believed that God, that the Universe, had sent this man back to me and through my love he would be healed. He would ‘hit bottom’ and have to go through rehab for his family.

WRONG.

First, he had no idea what meetings or detox meant, or that they might refer to him in some way. He’d spent his life ‘normalizing’ his drinking and drug use to the point where he really seemed to think that there was nothing wrong with him. He held himself up to compare against his buddies. If they were doing it, then it was ok. And they were all doing what he did. (Not surprisingly, I found out later that they also lied to their wives, girlfriends and potential girlfriends about how much ‘partying’ they did.)

I think his whole ruse might have been to hide his addictions from me long enough so that when I found out, I’d accept them because I loved him. Or something like that.

Well, all the while I was struggling with finding myself in a relationship with a liar and an addict who did not seem to understand that people with addiction problems could get help, especially if they had great health insurance like he did (He lives a double life. He is a public employee during the day & a low-level dealer who gets fucked up every single night), there was an entirely different story line going on.

The second story line was that at the same time that I was figuring out how much he was still using, he had found himself a woman who would drink with him. In addition, this woman had worked with him and knew only his public self. She did not know his history of use and dealing, and so I’m sure part of her appeal is that she would not question him about anything as he could keep it completely hidden from her. (This is a man who goes to great lengths to conceal his being high during the day- eye drops, cologne, you name it.)

So while we had our fight- ie, I confronted him about his addictions and he stopped talking to me for a few days. I thought that he was going to ‘hit bottom’ and ‘get help’. But what actually was happening is that he started sleeping with this other woman. And it took me another year and a half to figure out that he was sleeping with her.

I guess what I’ve learned from all this is that it was not a personal thing. It felt personal, but the reality about addicts is that they lie. Addicts will lie, hide, conceal. Anything to cover up the reality that what is first and foremost in their lives is getting high/drunk, etc. That is the true relationship of their soul. I don’t know if his true lover is alcohol, weed, those pills I caught him popping, or a combination of all of the above.

I spent so long covered in his lies and now I know the truth. He was an addict when our daughter was a baby and he was selling drugs and all his friends were drug dealers and he was constantly lying to me about it back then and he’s spent all the years in between doing the same thing. He really tricked me well. He wanted back into our lives and he knew the ticket was to be clean and sober and so that’s the ticket he presented along with lies.  I don’t know how much, if any, he intended to change, or if it was all an act.

I was stunned last fall to find out about his betrayal with this other woman. Today, I am not stunned. It is just more of an addict’s natural behavior.

He is so deep into his addictions now that I see no chance of him breaking free. The perfect time to get help and start a new life would have been when we let him into our lives.

To be honest, I saw how bad he was by the time I left. He is getting high first thing in the morning and staying high all day. He goes home from work to get high. He hides his substance use at work, from his family and his new girlfriend. He gets drunk every single night. He is now popping pills. He is still dealing, on a much larger scale than twenty years ago. He is still even friends with at least one of the creeps from way back when.

He himself, through his  soulless addiction, which puts his own immediate gratification before everything and everyone else in his life, first and foremost, has become a creep.

Addicts lie.

Namaste,

E.

2 thoughts on “What I’ve Learned About Addiction from My Soulmate

  1. Pingback: The Damage Done « Phoenix Rising

  2. Pingback: The ‘Liar’ of My Life « Phoenix Rising

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