Friday, September 4, 2015

My Story: Headed Towards Rock Bottom: How Did I Let This Happen?

I am going to try this again. I am going to go ahead and ask for forgiveness now - please be prepared that this may come to a sudden stop as it has done before. 

In preparing for a recent blog post (yes, I do spend some time in research before I write) I heard this:

God can take the most broken and destroyed situations and make beauty and life out of them. 

I think I am paraphrasing this, so I don’t have source. Actually, it took me a bit to decipher my scribbling in my journal. I knew I had to write it down because that is what I want you to learn from the process of me writing. 

As I continue with this there will be things that appear on your screen that will be uncomfortable, that will be ugly, that will be painful - know that I am through all of this, I am on the other side. God has taken my broken and destroyed and HE has turn it into beauty. I give HIM the all the credit because there is no way I could have gotten out of the mess I made of my life by myself. 

With that said, I know some are just sitting, waiting for every detail and really that’s okay. I am fully aware that my posts about the ugly stuff normally get about 200 views where my posts about my life today get less than half of that. I get it, I do hope that my story is read more as a source of inspiration than that car wreck you drive by slowly just to see the gory details. But hey, if you are here to rubberneck, then I still love you and thank you for taking the time to actually read what I write - I hope in the end that it does change your heart some. 

But in this section of my story, at this time I am leaving some of the gory details on the pages of my journal - really it’s things that do not really matter, leaving them out does not change the story and I believe does not make my point any less clear. And for the naysayers, because I know you are here right now, I have done this same process with every story I have written. I have left some of the dirty laundry in the basket. 

The last section of this story ended pretty much like this: I wrote hundreds of letters over a six month period, then he was released. Was this guy all he was cracked up to be or was he telling me what I wanted to hear? 

In July 2008, this guy was released and I was there to pick him up. He had served all his time and was released without parole. I was assured he was fine - he had left that life behind him and found God, again. 

Even though he had promised his life had changed, a little over a month later I woke in the middle of the night to him and my car gone. I had purchased him a cell phone (along with clothes and everything else he needed when he was released). So, I attempted to reach him on that - no response. Since he did not have a license, due to a past DWI, I thought maybe he had been pulled over and arrested, so I called the area jails - he wasn’t there. I called the hospitals - no luck. 

Around 4 am he showed up unharmed and thankfully my car was unharmed as well. I was told he left to meet a someone he knew from prison and  during this time together he was “forced” to take a pill. The pill hit him wrong and he didn’t want to drive. 

Warning sirens! Do you hear them? I did at the time, but not as loud as I do looking back on this story. I was still determined to “fix” him. Little did I realize the role I was stepping into. That night was the first step in a full blown meth addiction for this guy - an addiction larger than anything I had ever (or had experience to even) deal with. 

This would be the second time in my life I that would live with an addict. My first husband’s addiction to alcohol was small fries compared to what I was about to live through. One thing that I have noticed is that addicts are really really good at playing the victim - they are an addict because “something someone did” to them, they stole “because of their addiction”, they lied “because of their addiction”. Now, there is going to be an AA sponsor out there who is going to say, “well some of those are true” and yes, I know that when you are on mood altering drugs, you cannot control your behavior and you do things you may not do otherwise. Being in the role of someone who loves an addict, it is very hard not to believe the lies, not to believe the victim statements and to actually admit there is a problem. 

I always believed this guy was done - that he was clean when he was so far from clean. I was very aware of the appearance and the actions of teenage drug addicts because I was one, I was at one time surrounded by them, but I had not dealt with an adult drug addict. Also, I had very little experience with Methamphetamine. This guys method of using was intravenous (the injection of meth with a needle into a vein - incase you needed to know) and I’ve been told that is kind of like the worst level of addiction to meth - it packs the biggest punch and it’s also very dangerous. (but aren’t all illegal drugs dangerous?) 

They say hindsight is 20/20 and that my friends is a very true statement. I can sit here today and see every one of the warning signs that I was blind to then. 

First, the loss of money. I was the supporter in the this relationship. While not only being a single mother, I also purchased a house during this time and had a pretty hefty car payment for that car that kept going missing in the middle of the night. Trust me I noticed when money was missing from my banking account because I hardly had any to spare. When this guy was cutoff from access to my accounts he took other measures to get money. I believe his first step was returning items that were purchased for my house like drills and even smoke detectors. 

I don’t want to jump too far ahead, but have to tell you how I learned part of this. About a year after this guy was gone from my life I thought I had a carbon monoxide leak, but wondered why my smoke/carbon monoxide detector did not register it, I mean I paid extra for a really nice one because I had an old house and knew that a leak could happen. I go into the bedroom where the detector was and realized what was on my ceiling was not the detector I had bought. My very expensive detector was replace with a cheap smoke only detector and to make the realization sting even more there were not even batteries in it. 

Of course the day I found that out I was filled with anger because I had already dealt with process of trying to track down pieces of jewelry that he had pawned for money as well. About three months after he was released from jail I did find him using and kicked him out of my house. At that time I found at least a dozen pawn receipts for items that were gifts or that I had worked hard to buy (like my wedding set from my first marriage and a birth stone ring I bought after closing my first real estate deal). He was allowed back into my house and life about three weeks later, but only after he had been arrested (I guess I will have to get into that eventually - since I was the one to post his bail). 

One of the top signs of a meth addiction is sleeping pattern - you will notice the inability to sleep, the jitters, fast talking, fast movements and really just non-stop actions like cleaning or making things, etc. Then, they crash which brings long hours of sleep, even days of sleeping and the inability to fully wake-up. 

One day Shelby had to stay late for tutoring at school, so I was driven to work and then this guy was going to pick Shelby up and come get me at work about 30 minutes away from where I lived. I got a phone call from Shelby’s school close to 5 pm, she had not been picked up. This guy wasn’t answering the phone, so I had my ex-husband pick up Shelby (which added to our relationship stress because he knew what was up) and I had a co-worker take me home. I expected for my car to be gone, that he had run off again, but my car was there. I walked into the house to find him passed out, we are not talking sleeping, but full on not able to wake-up passed out. He had run out of stash and was coming off his high - in the process he left Shelby standing at school. As a mother, that story stings - it’s one of those that I hate to tell you because I don’t know what I was thinking - I don’t know why I didn’t have him leave then. 

You will also see a person attempting to be very secretive. This guy used to hang out in the work room off of my garage and he even put a lock on the door so he could lock himself in - this was so he could use. He added a locking system to the bathroom door that was not there otherwise, so he could use. 

Shelby was the one who found out he was using drugs inside our house. As she was brushing her teeth one night a needle along with other drug paraphernalia fell from where it had been lodged under the sink in the hall bathroom. That was the beginning of the end. 

Things feel like they blew up very quickly, but really it was already January when this incident happened. I had just been through a horrible Christmas where I could hardly provide for Shelby. My parents mailed me gift cards to help buy gifts, but they became missing - meaning they were stolen from me. My parents had no idea that he came back to my house after I had removed him in October, so they just thought I was having trouble managing my money - I was having trouble managing my life. At one time I contemplated taking my own life believing life would be better for Shelby if I wasn’t in it because I was so stuck in the mess I had made. I attempted to get him to leave, but since he had lived in my house for so long the authorities said that he was a room mate and I would pretty much have to evict him. I would work all day, pickup Shelby from after school care and then would lock Shelby and I (along with my car keys and wallet) in my room at night. I would have to lock us in my master bedroom along with our dog, Beau,  because I was so scared of what might happen if I didn’t. 

How did it get this far? How did I let this happen? 

I still remember the afternoon that my phone rang at work and a woman’s voice said, “I am with Child Protective Services. We have opened a case (of may be file - I don’t remember) and need you to come in as soon as possible.” 

At that moment I understood the fear that leads a mother to run away with her children. As pure fear ran through my body all I wanted to do was run and hide with Shelby. My ex-husband was making good on his threats and I wasn’t going to lose my girl. 

Sanity did come back to me and I went to face my ultimate fear. 

I am not sure if it was just the circumstances of my case, but I have to say it was not as bad as I thought it would be. I think they were very pro-mom and they did not handle themselves in a threatening manor. An officer had already been to Shelby’s school that day and felt there was no immediate danger towards her. 

Child Protective Services keeps the information about who filed the report against me private, but once it was read to me there was no doubt in my mind that my ex-husband and the consoler Shelby had been seeing after my divorce were behind this. Looking back I get it - I did not have things under control and I needed this awakening. With all honesty I was pissed at the time. I was mad at my ex-husband, but I was even more angry with the counselor. She did a great job of including information I gave her during a private session where I was seeing her alone - just for me, not Shelby. It was things like “bad decisions in men” (well duh) and codependency. I felt so violated. I think that’s how you are supposed to feel when someone questions your ability to safely care for your child. 

One thing was perfectly clear as I sat in that office, I had to tell my mother what I’d been keeping from her - worst phone call ever. I know she was disappointed maybe angry with me, but most of all she was scared - scared for me and scared for Shelby. I was trapped and with her states away we had no clue how I would get out of this. 

We didn’t have to deliberate for too long because that night my life changed forever. 

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