It was about a month ago that my world came crashing down around me.
The first time I seriously got sober was about a month before I found out I was pregnant with my first. My then-supportive-boyfriend helped me kick it and I vowed to stay away for good. I didn’t have a program, I barely had any support; about 6 months after our Nova was born I relapsed on a prescription. I struggled to piece together any clean time after that. And I tried it all.
Our relationship deteriorated pretty rapidly. He used to be the one person in the world who knew me better than anyone else. The one person I could talk to, tell anything to. The one person who supported me when it seemed like everyone else gave up on me.
Then he set me up for failure. When we bought our home he allowed his friend to move in knowing I would probably relapse (he was an addict, also) and then he could be rid of both of us. He later admitted that it was a plan.
He goaded me into a physical altercation, kicked me out, and then called the cops. It was the first time I was put in jail. It was the first time I had to be without my children for more than a day or night.
When I got out, I went back out hard. Almost killed myself. Nearly trying to kill myself. I was testing God and testing the Devil. Who wanted me? My soul was up for grabs.
But I got into detox and into a program and I fought like hell. I was bitter at first but I made it out with my life. I found out I was pregnant with my third. I was still in therapy, still in treatment still on probation. I did everything I had to and everything I could.
I knew things were different when I found a baggy on the ground at the park, with a powdery substance left inside. I don’t know if it was coke or meth or heroin–but I was never very picky. After some time and turmoil carrying it around with me wondering what it was–I flushed it. And I didn’t look back. The grip of my addiction around my neck loosened and for the first time in nearly 15 years, I could breathe. I could see clearly.
My cravings went away. My desire to use went away. No more burning desires. No more fevered dreams. Just peace. Relief.
But the damage was still done. My husband couldn’t forgive me for the mistakes I’d made and he’d turned into this hateful beast, a shell of the man I once knew and wanted to badly to spend the rest of my life with.
When I’d found that baggy at the park it was only a couple days after he’d kicked me out of the house–for the third or fifth time. This time it wasn’t even my fault. I didn’t do anything. He had a nervous breakdown. He let me come back shortly after we found out I was pregnant again.
Off and on things got better, and worse, and better, and worse. We fought, he kicked me out, I came back; we fought, he kicked me out, I came back. Over and over again.
Drug dealers coming by my house asking if I needed anything–nope, I’m good, thanks, sorry, yeah if I hear of anything I’ll let you know, no I don’t think I’ll change my mind, yup thanks anyway.
Those neighborhood kids I cared for trying to sell me drugs. I never saw them again.
Then it all blew up.
He decided I’d been using again. I disappeared to go check the mail and when I came back he was sending the kids to bed early and telling me to leave. This wasn’t the first time it’d happened like this. But the last time I’d consulted with a lawyer and I knew he didn’t have anything to hold over my head now. I challenged him. I bit back.
He always loved to say that he refused to let me walk all over him anymore. He refused to let me gaslight him. Well, I was done being walked on and I was done being manipulated and abused and lied to and threatened.
“Or what?” That’s all it took.
I was careful not to fight back because I remembered what happened last time. As he had his hands around my throat and I instinctively reached to stop him I hesitated, then let them drop to my side. The last time I fought back he had me arrested–the time before that fighting just made him tighten his grip. So I didn’t fight. I stayed limp. He didn’t press hard at first but his thumb and fingers landed right on the pressure points and I soon struggled to breathe. He told me he was going to kill me and I looked across the hall at the closed door where my children were sleeping. Would they wake up and find me dead? Would they walk out and see what their father was doing? See him for who he was? Who I’d pushed him to become?
I guess he had the same thoughts I did because he released me. He kept my laptop and my phone, my baby who had started crying as if he could sense what was happening from the living room, and watched me walked out the door. I’d lost my glasses in the struggle but I grabbed my house keys. I walked up to the gas station I work at and called the cops.
And they didn’t believe me. They told me I was lying. They told me if he had choked me I would have marks. They told me to go stay at my mom’s house. They asked if I was sure I wasn’t buying drugs. They asked if I was sure I didn’t misremember any details. They said I could go to jail for filing a false report. They asked, “he knocked you down three times?” “no, two. twice. Once he pushed me and again he held me against the wall and I slid.”
Then they drove away. They gave me the same victim report as they gave him. Apparently he did have marks on him. He said I attacked him and he defended himself. To this day that’s what he believes.
But, I’ll tell you one thing.
For the first time in my life, my mom believed me.
For the first time in my life my mom stood by my side and helped me fight.
My family rallied behind me to support me and guide me and hold me up. To show me that I don’t have to go back. To show me that my kids will be loved and cared for and happy with or without him, because we’re all the family that they need.
As a Christian who’s done a lot of sinning to atone for, the D word is a tough one to reconcile. I don’t know what I’m going to do.
But what I do know is that for the last month my children have been with me and they haven’t heard fighting. They haven’t lived in a gutted, messy, moldy house that we can’t seem to fix. They’ve had dinner every night. They’ve had three adults who love them more than anything to kiss their boo-boos and scare away ghosts and sing to them and tell them bedtime stories.
And what I do know is that I’m in the process of buying a house with my mom and stepdad, where my children will be cared for every day by the people who would sacrifice everything for them. The people who are always there for them, no matter what.
What I do know is that I didn’t use, I haven’t used, and I won’t use, because for the first time in my life I’m grateful to be sober and my family trusts me.
I don’t know what the future holds or what God’s plan is–and I don’t get to know. What I do know is that everything will be okay because He is in control. And I know that I can only get through this sober. I can only be there for my kids sober.
About a month ago my entire world was turned upside down. But I didn’t let it keep me down. I didn’t use. I stood back up and took on the challenge. And with the help of my family, my closest friends, and a loving God, I know it’ll all be okay.