Category Archives: alcoholism

Alcohol Abuse – Alcoholism – Parenting.com

Sam’s alcoholism is such a huge part of…. the problem, the relationship, him (?)…. that I have a hard time separating it from the abuse that he subjected me, and Max, to. Support group friends that I talk to about this – regardless of which support group it is, Alanon or the group for DV survivors – usually respond with “Does it matter if his abusive behavior was because of his drinking or if it’s just the way he is?” They tend to lean towards the it-doesn’t-matter side.

I’m torn. Part of me believes that it doesn’t matter. He was abusive. That’s all that matters and all I need to know. I don’t know why, but there is another part of me that really wants to know: would he have started treating his family the way he did if he didn’t drink? Are they two completely separate issues or two closely entwined issues or part of the same one? I don’t know. I don’t know why I feel I need to understand.

I came across this article today. I’m still amazed how reading accounts like those in the article can bring me right back to those dark little apartments, hiding in the back room, trying to keep Max safe. I have to remind myself as I read: we’re gone from that last apartment; we live in a cozy little home of our own; we are safe from Sam.

Alcohol Abuse – Alcoholism – Parenting.com.

The things we forget for “love”

Oh        My        God .  This morning, I took a look at a copy of my transcript from the local university, where I studied for a couple years before transferring out of state.

Not only did my life with Sam erase nearly every bit of self-worth and self-confidence that I’d had, but I’d actually forgotten which classes I’d taken.  I’d forgotten that I had taken THREE college level math classes in high school that transferred over to credit at the university.  I’d forgotten that I was on the Dean’s List or Chancellor’s List EVERY semester while there. I mean, I remembered that I’d made the lists, but that I’d done it more than once – every semester.  No.  I didn’t remember that.  I was STUNNED when I saw my transcript.

I’d let him convince me that I wasn’t smart, that I was nothing.  I knew that I’d let him tell me that.  I’m recovering from believing him.

What I’m running into now is the idea of just how much I’ve actually forgotten.  Stuff that doesn’t pertain directly to Sam.  And it’s not just which classes I took, my grades.  Friends will reminisce about high school or college, about stuff we did, weekend trips we took.  There are, maybe not many, but a few (so far) that I don’t remember.  I do remember some when they tell the story – I think that’s normal.  Others are just blank.  Completely gone.  Not even an inkling of “oh, yeah, I vaguely remember…”

They’re not joking; they’re not lying; they’re not relaying drunken party stories.  I can understand forgetting some things.  Different events carry more weight for some than others.

For example: Jane may have been thrilled when I offered to drive her up to Portland to go shopping when she was having a terrible week.  It may have been a big deal to a freshman far from home for the first time, having a new friend from the dorm borrowing a truck from another friend to make the drive in an effort to cheer her up.  While for me… meh, it’s just a short trip, an excuse to not study for a few hours.  I didn’t remember it until she brought it up.  But when she brought it up, I did remember it.  “Oh, yeah!  It took me a few minutes to figure out how to put the truck into reverse the first time, because the shift pattern was worn off the gearshift.”

There are stories that sound like they should have made some sort of impression on me; like skipping studying to go to the beach, a car I was riding in nearly crashing during an ice storm, of which I have not even the dimmest glimmer of having experienced.

And the grades, man!  Don’t you think I should remember that I was getting straight A’s or A’s and B’s?  It’s not THAT long ago.  I can recall taking the classes, but I’m still wondering if maybe they sent me the wrong set of grades with my name on the top.

I’m curious.  Does living with an abusive alcoholic do that?  Is it some intense-weird survival mechanism?  Does it happen to quite a few survivors?

Like an unconscious thought process: He says you’re stupid, you know you’re not, but if you’re not, then he’s lying, and he’ll be mad at you for thinking he’s lying or (and) for you being smart, so remember that you’re stupid so he doesn’t get mad, so he doesn’t take it out on you…

So how to explain losing the other stuff?  Overwriting it with “How to Survive Your Alcoholic Abusive Boyfriend / Husband”  ?

Or is it just me?  Is it normal and I’m making mountains out of mole-hills?  (Pfffah. *waves hand dismissively*  You’re just getting old.  You’re not in your twenties any more, you know…)

I’m really curious if it happens to others.  I’ve got an appointment with my counselor tonight and will discuss this with her.  Maybe she can explain it.

It’s been a while…

It’s been a long while, over a month.  I’d like to say that I haven’t written because everything has been smooth sailing.  But it hasn’t.  It hasn’t been horrendous, but it hasn’t been exactly easy.

I’ve struggled through the self-defense class that I wrote about in my last post and it was incredibly rewarding.  However, I didn’t participate in the final scenarios as a student.  I couldn’t.  I knew I won’t be able to without freaking out.  I told one of the instructors a very general “I just got out of a very bad relationship, and I do not know how long I’ll be able to stay in class today.”  And he let me volunteer to hold a camera to video the scenarios for the other students so they could see where they did very well; he hoped I’d be able to see that I could handle it and should participate.  That was almost too much.  Because of the structure of the class, students are welcome to repeat the class as often as they like.  I will be doing the class again.

There have been incidents with Sam and Ingrid.  I hesitate to even post most of them here, because they should feel trivial.  Would they BE trivial if they didn’t involve an abusive alcoholic and his enabler?  I don’t know.  Would they be trivial if I were in better control of managing triggers that slide me right back to feeling stuck in the dark, threatening life that Sam kept us in?  I don’t know.  Would they be trivial if it wasn’t a constant barrage?  Most likely.  But they are – or I should say “were” now, more on that later – constant.  Never ending accusations of being a manipulative, b-tchy ex-wife who is taking all of Sam’s money.  Accusations of lying in court, of only wanting Sam back because he is such a good man and father…  I can laugh at them now, but at the time they were flying, not so much.  And the court wouldn’t do anything about it because the cr-p was coming from Ingrid, not Sam, and therefore not a continuation of his verbal assaults.

How does one explain to the court that the words may be coming out of the girlfriend’s mouth, but she was wound up and the words given to her by Sam?  You don’t.  It wouldn’t do any good.  This is the person who was supposed to be the unbiased 3rd party making sure Max is safe while with his father.  This is the ‘unbiased’ 3rd party who was supposed to report to the court if he was drinking or using, or being angry – not just in front of Max, but at all.  Maybe I misunderstood, though, I don’t know.  I don’t see how the court could honestly expect that of her when she has / had a very vested interest in Sam NOT being an alcoholic or abusive rapist or abusive father.  (After all, what would that say about the self-styled “overprotective mama” who let him move in with her the month they met?)

Any way, I think I handled my responses back to Ingrid well, without devolving into the childish name calling that she resorted to.  But am I really a good judge of that? Hmmm…

The night of Saturday, October 29, 2011, Ingrid and Sam both showed up to pick up Max.  (I can’t even remember the last time Sam got off his bottom to help pick up his son.)  I head out to spend the evening with a friend and his son; try to call Max to say good night.  No answer, but at least the phone was on – which wasn’t the case the previous weekend.  Max called back about an hour later and all is cool.

Except that it wasn’t.  Ingrid called my phone twice, left no messages, at least none that came through that night.  Then she called using Max’s phone.  She had left her home and was at a friend’s house because Sam “was in a mood.”  She took Max with her, thank god.  After hanging up the phone, I was shaking, because I know what Sam’s “moods” are like.  My friend was able to calm my panic enough so I could make the long drive back into town; I called my sister and I picked her up before we went to pick up Max.

To Ingrid’s credit, Max did not know why he was at Ingrid’s friend’s house and was asleep by the time we got there.  She kept him shielded from Sam.

On Halloween, after trick-or-treating, I get an e-mail from Sam saying he left Ingrid because of how she treated me (*riiiiiiiigght*).  In the following days, I get e-mails from Ingrid (to me, Francine and Sam Sr.) saying she kicked Sam out.  Had the final melt-down not started when Max was there, it would have been funny.  Ingrid’s e-mails pointed out that Sam is a liar, that she’s never known any one who can lie like Sam can.  That the reason she kicked him out had nothing to do with me, which is what she’s certain Sam is telling every one.  She laid it all out like it was a news flash.  Breaking news: Sam’s a liar! Don’t believe anything he says! Don’t be swayed!  (*insert warning beep noises here*)

Oh_my_goodness. Say it ain’t so! Never! Sam lie? Pfffft!  (I’m being completely facetious here.  Maybe hard to hear through text, so I thought I’d just be clear.)

She ended the e-mail saying he’s a lost cause – she can’t help him.  Next e-mail was asking us to never mention her to Sam again, because she has enough fear in her life.

Which was weird.  I think.  Just saying.  Because if I was fortunate enough to NEVER have to deal with Sam again, I’d have no fear in my life.  Worries, yes.  Fear, no.  But whatever.

Short side of that long story is: Ingrid is gone – out of the picture – no longer spewing Sam’s hateful diatribes at me.

Sometimes I am so happy about that fact that I feel like dancing.  And other times, I’m crushed, because it means we’ll back to Sam no-showing and failures to comply with the schedules and Max will be crushed.

By the way, I think it’s just sick that I’m sad that Ingrid will no longer be around to make sure Sam sees his son and by extension, will no longer be around to manage / deflect some of Sam’s abuse.

Waiting for the call

Russell Brand put it so well. The entirety of his tribute to Amy Winehouse was incredibly moving, however the first part of it, quoted here, is what has stuck with me today and which has me inspecting what I’m waiting for:

When you love someone who suffers from the disease of addiction you await the phone call. There will be a phone call. The sincere hope is that the call will be from the addict themselves, telling you they’ve had enough, that they’re ready to stop, ready to try something new. Of course though, you fear the other call, the sad nocturnal chime from a friend or relative telling you it’s too late, she’s gone.

Frustratingly it’s not a call you can ever make it must be received. It is impossible to intervene.

(Read the full tribute here: For Amy – by Russell Brand)

So. What am I waiting for? I find that I am waiting for that call – either Sam calling to say he now sees that he has a problem and is ready to seriously stop and to seek help or a call from his sister, should she even remember to call me, to say that Sam’s drinking has caught up with him. Honestly – what I’m really waiting for in this scenario is the call from his family. Sam is still firmly entrenched in the belief that his drinking wasn’t a problem and hasn’t affected him or any one else. Oddly enough, or not too odd, I guess, is that he’s found a perfect enabler in Ingrid, who says only Sam can say if he has a problem and he doesn’t so… yet she believes he relapsed a year ago. Not sure how one can relapse if there’s no problem, but I’m getting off track here.

Spring, Fall and Winter I used to read the local paper every day, because there was always an article about yet one more death (or sometimes more than one) related to alcohol and the cold. I read the description of the victims looking for Sam. Of course this was all before I knew he was breaking his wedding vows and sucking a new enabler into his life. Any way, this was just another version of waiting for the phone call.

The other thing I’m waiting for, which I will NEVER get, I’m sure, is an admittance from Sam that he raped me, that he intimidated me, that he denied my SELF, that he inflicted domestic violence even if he “stopped short of hitting [me].” (As if the rapes weren’t violent. As if I have no reason to fear him just because he “never laid a hand on” me in anger, as if a 6’7″ rugby player towering over 5’4″ me – roughly grabbing my breasts or my… or pushing me back over a boiling pot and hot stove is loving and not violent…) I find I still want and am waiting for that admittance.

Without the blameshifting, the: “Well, she started cleaning during my games and I know she did it on purpose, so….” or the minimizing, the “I might have done it once, but that was before I realized how much it hurt her so I slept on the couch after that.”

IT WASN’T JUST ONCE!!!!! …… IT WASN’T JUST ONCE! Not just once. And it was when he was sleeping on the couch that he’d sneak back to the bedroom, stripping as he walked, to sneak into the bedroom and pin me to the bed. Telling me to be quiet our I’d wake up Max. Don’t wake up Max.

I want him to admit he raped me repeatedly our last few years together. I want him to admit that he used fear and intimidation to keep me in the back room. I want him to admit that he threatened to call the cops on me and I would never see our son again if I continued to push him away from me so I wouldn’t be bent back on top of the hot stove. I want him to admit that Max ran into the house from the front yard to find him doing that. I want him to admit he had no right to treat me that way. I want a sincere apology.

This will never come. Never.