***I wrote this on May 28, 2017, but was unsure whether to publish. I’ve decided to do so now, to clear my conscience and attempt to move forward in my life.***
One year ago today, May 28th, I chose I to separate from my husband. The decision had been building for a few months prior, but today marks d-day. There were several factors that influenced my decision, and I’ve hinted at or sugar coated a few of them over the last year (though sporadically). But today, I’d like to set the record straight in order to clear my conscience and start to move on.
I loved my husband dearly. I will always love him. I’ve stated numerous reasons why in past blogs, and those that know me personally have heard me speak highly of him over the years, and especially since his death in February. He was funny, kind, adventurous, creative, and loving. Not to mention, extremely intelligent and gorgeous.
But, with that being said, no one is perfect and he had his flaws. Early in our relationship, he suffered, as the result of an accident, chronic pain in his back. It took a while, but he finally found a combination of meditation that allowed him to get through the day, though the pain never left. He managed well for several years through his pain, as well as his diabetes and insomnia.
His downfall began in stages. First the insomnia started driving him a bit crazy. There were several nights he woke me up, because he had gotten to the point where if he wasn’t sleeping, no one else was either. He tried exercise and other forms of things to exhaust himself, even tried a few different sleep aids. Nothing really helped much. I strongly suspect that it was mostly mental, as he was never great at working through his issues, but I wasn’t in his head so I cannot say for sure. Eventually he turned to drinking before bed. Every. Night. He would drink and drink until, many times, I either had to carry him to bed or leave him wherever he passed out. As a recovering addict, I saw the warning signs that he was becoming dependent on the alcohol. I brought it up a few times, but the argument wasn’t worth it. I thought to myself, at least he’s drinking and not being a drug addict, laying in a gutter somewhere.
After years of unfortunate events in Indiana, where we lived, we decided to move to the Cincinnati, Ohio area. Once we moved, his downward spiral went further. Until this point, though he was drinking, he wasn’t abusing the medications he was taking. The first few months, things seem to carry on as usual. But then I started noticing that he was being twitchy at times. I asked, he said he had run out of his pills. There were a myriad of excuses, hard day’s at work, helped move this or that for a friend, must have slept in a weird position, etc. The list of reasons he “needed” to up his own dosage went on and on. But the fact he wasn’t taking them as prescribed was a giant red flag for me. I expressed my concern, often and loudly. But I loved him, and I believed his excuses. I was thankful he was not buying illegal drugs, thankful he was only having a few days of withdrawal rather than turning to substances that could kill him.
Then, the shadiness started. Missing money, periods he couldn’t give a reasonable explanation of his whereabouts, middle of the night calls or trips to “the gas station”, coming home from work and staying in the bathroom for an hour. I knew he was up to something, I just wasn’t sure what. I wasn’t sure if he had started doing something illegal, or if he was buying more of the pills he was prescribed, or what the issue was. By this time, I had argued with him enough. If I was going to confront this, I wanted definitive proof, so there was no possibility for excuses or lies. Every time he left the house, I would go through his things. I looked for pills, money hidden away, other drugs, any physical proof that he was an addict. Shy of the mountain of wine bottles and empty liquor bottles that made our trash clink.
I found nothing. Actually nothing. I couldn’t even find the pills he was supposed to be taking, let alone anything extra. I found nothing but bills he was hiding from me. We were further in debt than I had ever imagined. At that point, I had had enough. I began making plans to rectify the financial crisis he had got us in and if that lead to me leaving, so be it. He absolutely refused to admit he was doing anything, and the excuses about the money were piling up so high he couldn’t keep up with his own lies about it. I took all the bill paying rights away from him, I took care of it, though every time I asked for money to help pay them he never seemed to have any money. It was always a bad day at work, or he gave the wrong change, or what he made went to gas and food (he waited tables and made tip money daily). So I went without personally, until I could get us in a better place. I legitimately went to work, came home and read books I already owned, and rarely ate anything but the food he brought home for both of us. Any bonuses from work and my tax refund money went to playing catch up. He was suspicious, told all of his friends and family that I was preparing to leave him. I was in a way, but that decision really lay with him. If he had cleaned himself up, I would have stayed.
Finally, in early 2016, I had us in a decent place financially. I had gotten a raise, a few bonuses, and had gone without any luxuries of my own, but I did it. I think it was in January that I gave him “THE” ultimatum. Sober up, or I’m gone. I will give him an A for appearance, he rarely drank in front of me, he didn’t seem strung out, I noticed no calls or trips during odd hours. While I was sure he hadn’t just stopped all of the sudden, he was at least putting forth an effort I could live with. Our tenth anniversary was in February, and it was a fun day. He kept up appearances for most of the month. By mid March, however, he was starting to slip again. I noticed his money wasn’t adding up, or he’d bring home dollar menu stuff even though he’d been at work all day. He’d come home and immediately go to the bathroom for a half hour or more, he was very secretive about his shoulder bag (where he kept his insulin and other medications) and his car. He admitted to being in a pill swap with a lady he worked with, just because they were on the same thing and ran out at different times.
I could see the problem. As a recovering addict, I know that no one is going to get help unless they want help. He didn’t feel he had a problem. I spent the remainder of March and April deciding what I should do. I loved him, I wanted the old him back, but was I prepared to stick to my word and leave? Every conversation I had with him about a possible dependency issue turned into an argument. I didn’t know his pain, I didn’t know what it was like, etc. But sadly, I did. I had beaten my demons long ago, I did understand the struggle, I did understand the fear of dealing with the issues. I reached out to his family and friends….help me with him, or I will leave. I didn’t want to make it about me, his issues had nothing to do with me other than I ignored them so long long that they had become bigger issues. I used the argument that if I left, he couldn’t make it on his own and they’d be dealing with the same issues that I had been for years. In hindsight, I probably should have used a different tact in my argument. I became the bad guy. Those closest to him hadn’t dealt with him on a day in, day out basis like I had and it was easier for him to hide his vices. It was easier for him to deceive them into believing his stories.
On May 28, 2016 we got into a fight. I don’t even remember what about, but I told him I was done. I could not and would not watch him kill himself anymore. I loved him, but I couldn’t do it anymore. We were in a lease, but I was willing to finish it out without him, I was already paying all the bills anyway. He was free to go and do whatever he chose. He refused to leave, I wasn’t kicking him out of his own home. I said fine, you can’t afford to live here alone, so I guess we’ll be very uncomfortable roommates until August, when our lease was up.
And uncomfortable is an understatement. I slept on the couch, he stayed in the bedroom 90% of the time. During those awkward months, he made me out to be the worst guy possible. That I left him because of our lack of a sex life, that I was just an asshole and not thinking of anyone but myself, and that I was being selfish. I was in a way, I didn’t want to watch him die due to drugs, the way many of my friends had. I guess I was selfish for not wanting to lose the man I loved to an addiction problem. I let him vilify me, I made no effort to stop it. If he wanted people to know that I was an asshole, so be it, whatever made him feel better while trying to cope. I didn’t expect to see any change in his addiction while we still lived together, and I didn’t. Though it may have gotten worse as I was no longer keeping tabs on him. I actually expected it to get worse, as it always does before it gets better.
I got another apartment, in our complex. I wanted to stay in the area, and he liked it here. I really thought that living apart after ten years would be the shock he needed to say hey, I have a problem. I didn’t tell him, or anyone for that matter, why I was staying in the area. I didn’t want him holding on and having false hope that I was going to somehow be magically okay with his drug addiction. I wanted him clean and sober. So I moved two buildings away in late July. For about ten days or so, he lived in our apartment alone. While I was moving, we had several heated discussions about who got what. I fought him for nothing. The few things I had prior to meeting him, I kept. I made it clear that we had two tvs, and I was taking one, but I let him choose which. I took nothing he wanted, except the couch. He only conceded that because he couldn’t get it in his storage unit. He kept the bed, the bigger tv, most of the furniture, all but a few items of the cookware, the curtains, the wall decor, mostly everything. I didn’t fight for it because I assumed eventually, he’d be coming back.
He moved in with an “old friend” (that I hadn’t heard of in the ten years I’d lived with him), and I had hoped he would move in with his family. I wanted them to see how bad he had gotten. I had told them of course, but it’s wholly different to see it for oneself. He only lasted at this friends house for a few months. He lost his job and started working in a bar. He was getting worse from the few reports I was getting from his best friend, Stacee. By the end of the year, he was living with her. She had secretly reached out to me to ask how to deal with him. The concerns I had, she now had. She was finally seeing first hand what I had been trying to say for a very long time. She was concerned he was doing more and more illegal drugs than he was admitting to. She reported to me instances of blackouts, missing money, and several other things I had been experiencing while I still lived with him. I feared for him. My “plan” to shock him sober wasn’t working. Though he and I had spoken a few times, nicely at that, he wanted no part of me. I was just the dickhead that broke his heart.
On new year’s eve, Stacee called me. She was having a party at her house, and Tim was supposed to be working. He had called her and said his car was stuck in a ditch and he couldn’t get out, could she come get him, he was close to home (her house). Her and her brother went to get him. He was utterly fucked up. He had somehow nosedived his car into a ravine, didn’t know where he was, had lost his teeth (he had dentures), and couldn’t even make a coherent sentence. Stacee reached her breaking point and kicked him out. She called his dad to come get him and she left all his stuff on the porch, telling him to stay in her car, since it was cold. She went to check on things a bit later and he was in someone else’s car, not hers, and he didn’t even know it. He said he was looking for a cigarette. When his dad showed up to get him, he was laying on the cold concrete of her porch. She helped get him, his stuff, and the cat in the car with his dad and brother. I thought FINALLY, he’s going to be in an environment where he can get some help. Surely his dad will get him the help he needs.
His car had been towed out of the ravine, his dad got that back and his teeth were found in the ravine. I don’t know much about his time at his parent’s house, but apparently he had turned a new leaf. He had started a job he liked, was cooking and cleaning up after himself, and was seeming to be ok. But his parents are over the road truck drivers and they left him alone to go on a run. They weren’t gone all that long when they had a little accident of their own and had to come home on February 1st to find him dead in the bathroom.
The worst thing in the world had happened. The man I loved was dead. There were heroin packets near his body. He had gotten into very lethal drugs. This is exactly what I was so afraid of. I can’t even imagine what his dad went through that night, or will go through forever. I felt like a coward. This is exactly what I was running from. I didn’t want to be the one who found him. That’s why I tried pushing him away, to jolt him into realizing he had a problem. But he lost his battle with his demons.
I’ve posted several blogs about Tim, both good memories and of how I feel about his death, so I won’t go into that here. But this day will always be sad for me, as it is the day I gave up. Would the circumstances be different had I chose not to leave? I don’t know, I think he was spiraling out of control and this may have happened anyway. I’ll never know if my decision had any effect on his life, but the guilt of not knowing may forever haunt me. I have a blog from a long time ago stating I had no regrets about my life, that the decisions I’ve made made me who I am today. But now, I have one. I regret not doing more to save my love. I honestly don’t know what, if anything, I could have done, but I do know that I could have tried harder. The decision to do drugs was his alone, but the decision to let it go for so long lies with me.
My guilt over my decision may never go away. The anger I have at him for getting that bad may never go away. The loneliness I feel from his family that were so comforting in the wake of his death, but are just quiet people I once knew may never go away. The emptiness I have by not having him or his things here with me may never be filled. The love I once shared may never be obtained again. But these are all things I have to deal with and adjust to. My life goes on, though be it guiltier, angrier, lonelier, and emptier. I will find a way back to myself.
Hold your loved ones tight, and help them fight their battles. Do not let them get swept under the rug. Fight hard to keep them in your life, for you never know when they will lose theirs.