On the futility of loving addicts


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An older, wiser friend asked me last week why I had stayed in a relationship with an addict.

Why? Because I love him. Just a simple universal truth. I know he had issues, but so do I. (I’m admittedly  far from perfect.) After 18 years apart, we still loved each other; that kind of love doesn’t  happen too often on this planet. Although he had problems, I believed in his love for me and in his fidelity. I thought that if I loved him hard enough, strong enough, then he’d eventually face his problems and enter a substance abuse program, for the sake of his family.

When he and I were together with our daughter, there was a feeling of wholeness. He and she and I were complete together. We complemented each other. She is part of him and part of me but uniquely herself as well. I could see no other future but one with him, in which we took long walks through the streets that had become our streets,  visiting our regular haunts, spying on crows and spotting buffleheads from ocean paths, growing old together.

I believed that in our lives we’d each come full circle back to the other and I envision no future life without him as my center. My faith in our story and in our love became my religion. I planned to sell my house in Vermont when my youngest child had graduated from high school and live in a duplex with him; so that I could be messy and have a dog on my side and he could be neat and live with cats on his.

Unfortunately, I placed all my eggs in his basket and lost.

Self Deception Meets the Deceiver…

Mt. Deception

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Self Deception Meets the Deceiver, Part One:

For those of you who are new to this blog- let me recap briefly. In 2007, I heard from my daughter‘s father, the ‘love of my life’ after a silence of eighteen years. We began dating in 2008. Although he lived a couple hours away, I would drive to spend a weekend with him about once a month, and would also take vacation time to be with him over the holidays and summer. In October, 2010, I discovered that he’d been cheating on me with another woman for eighteen months. My discovery ended our relationship, and I’ve been writing about it in this ever since in an attempt to find some peace.

After months of unraveling layers of my emotional response to his betrayal, I’ve gotten down to asking questions about myself, and why I was willing to put blinders on and not see his faults, and allow him to betray me.

I am not referring to his other girlfriend. He covered his tracks well enough with that situation so that it was only by intuition and a stroke of  luck that I figured it out. I am referring to his intentions of deliberately deceiving me about who he was and how he lived his life, back in 2008, and my wholehearted willingness to believe him.

I had left him and taken our daughter with me, back in 1989, because he was drinking heavily, smoking LOTS of dope, and hanging out with the wrong crowd. I can avoid going into details, but it was not a safe situation for my daughter, and I knew this to the point of never asking him for child support– as I figured we were just safer without him and his crowd/lifestyle.

When I left, I wrote him a letter, which he still has. At the end of the letter, I instructed him to contact me at my father’s address should he wish to stay in touch. In the first six months after I left, he wrote one letter threatening me about taking our daughter ‘across state lines’ to which I did not respond. He never wrote again, nor did he ever send money.

So why would I ever even speak to this person again? Because, after 18 years, he presented himself to me right away with phrases like, “I am not a druggie, yes I was messed up for awhile but I got my act together.” Then I asked him questions about drug and alcohol counseling and treatment and recovery. He didn’t seem to understand what I was talking about. He maintained that fishing had saved him, and that he’d been able to relax with fishing the way he’d formerly relaxed by getting high and drinking. He certainly presented himself well. He had a steady job and spoke eloquently. “Well, people do change, don’t they?”

And then he started saying things like, “I can’t believe I had my head up my ass and I failed you and our daughter.” That was the point where my rational reasoning shut off and my heart overflowed, pushing endorphins through my bloodstream. And, then he started sending money for her college tuition, cards, chocolates and to her, a pair of diamond earrings. We were both swept away. What woman wouldn’t have wanted to believe in this fairy tale story of long lost lovers being reunited and this young girl, 19, reuniting with the father who did actually love her and who felt terrible about not being there for her because he had ‘his head up his ass.’

All around me, my closest friends, the ones who’d met me when I fled, penniless and car less to Vermont to get away from this man, and keep my daughter safe from his lifestyle, were urging, “Caution, caution. This is too good to be true. This is going too fast. He screwed you over so badly when your daughter was a baby, how can you trust him so quickly now?”

The answer is that I trusted him because he was saying all the right things and I wanted to trust him. I wanted this to be all true. I was tired of being the person who never got what she wanted. I was tired of all the happy couples. I was tired of everyones’ dream come true lives.  I wanted my own happiness. I wanted to be back together with my darling lost artist boy, (as one of my friends who  had known him back then referred to him,) with the only mate whom I’d ever really loved because there had been this esp mental ‘click’ between us.

And so, throwing caution to the wind, I moved forward.

(to be continued…)