Life Has Crinkles
It has been a challenging week for me, and I have started this post several times and I am still not able to articulate exactly what I am feeling. I felt like I have been thrown in the middle of someone else’s life and my head and my heart have been arguing none stop!
Last Wednesday night my ex had a bad fall. He has several medical issues and has been taking a large regiment of different medications and it didn’t look like was was getting better, but he was maintaining. So, I get a text from my daughter (who was spending the week with him) that he has fallen and she thinks that he is hurt badly. I rushed over and called 911. Come to find out that he has been drinking and basically due to the medications and the added alcohol, had sort of passed out. The exact words that the ER nurse used was that he “temporarily blacked-out” and they were detoxing him before they do another round of blood work, and are able to establish a diagnosis.
He is still in the hospital.
My daughter’s father was my drinking buddy. We drank day and night and all the time. Our relationship was quite rocky as expected. To me, and in the midst of my alcoholic spiral downwards, he drank way more than I ever could, yet he rarely got obliterated. How do I know this? Well, because on numerous occasions I tried to drink like him and in the end he was caring me home! When we went through the insanely painful custody battle over our daughter, I admitted to having an issue with alcohol but he denied that he did. We were both evaluated and the therapists could not clearly establish if he had a problem or not. But in the last year there was an increased number of times that he appeared drunk. Of course he denied it every time.
So, over the last several days I have all of a sudden become the contact person for my ex as calls came in from every direction. In my head I was just doing the right thing, and in my heart I was screaming out why the hell am I doing this… just to be told by my head, that oh, yeah, because it’s the right thing to do.
Just don’t forget to keep the boundary.
Well, things were happening so fast that I couldn’t quite place my boundary — that fine line of how much to tell whom, and/or even tell them anything. I tried my best to just relay the information– just the facts– as I was asked a billion questions to which I did not have any answers! I was struggling to process this thing myself! The boundary line was just flying all over — and then back around to telling me that I am just doing what is right and since I was the one that called 911 and he has no one else here, I guess I need to help all I can. Well. Not really. Actually, I DON’T.
This is not my journey! I am on this path right now but this is not my path to travel!
Nevertheless, I was quickly getting sucked in; call this person, run this errand, check on the house, bring his glasses, get updates from the doctors, call back this person and than the other, then get that other thing from the house… and OMG… on and on. My boundary went completely astray!
And then to deal with our daughter. In my head I wanted to be honest with her and also just relay the information. In my heart I wanted to protect her from all of it and make sure that this never happens again. In my heart I felt like have failed her, she should have never been there, I knew that he wasn’t doing too well, I should have not let her stay with him. In my head I tried to rationalize that I really didn’t know how bad it was and I sure didn’t know that this would happen.
Of course to add to it all, he wanted me to bring our daughter by to see him. He is in intensive care, so my head said, no that wouldn’t be good for him her see him like his. Then my heart said, he misses her and it would make him happy and what if he dies or something and she’ll never see him again. Ugh. Then I asked her. She says, I don’t know. Well, that was no help, so I went with my heart! Still not sure if that was a good decision, she was very nervous, and uncomfortable, but did thank me for taking her, and he seemed happy.
Then, his sister called to proudly announce that she, the registered nurse, had the doctors take that statement “temporarily blacked-out…” taken out of the medical chart data, because it was misleading. And to add she said, “We sure don’t want that on his medical record.”
Of course I couldn’t help but respond to that, because somehow as a registered nurse I really thought she knew better, and that she understood, that she knew this disease — who in their right mind drinks while on pain killers, steroids and antidepressants because it makes him feel better!?
That conversation did not go well.
In my head I know that stigma still associated with alcoholism/addiction is still very much alive. I know that may people still think that addiction and alcoholism are moral deficiencies and are degrading. I understand that no one wants a diagnosis that is incorrect on their medical record. And I totally understand that many people that have not been affected themselves do not understand this disease. BUT, these are the exact reasons that people don’t get help, and can’t get help, and no one even knows that they need help!
In my heart, I was outraged – oh no, she was embarrassed. She didn’t want that on his record!? Because that would make him what? Oh, I know for a fact that this is not a moral disease, I didn’t dream of being an alcoholic, shit, I spent all of my teenage years and early adulthood making sure that I was not going to be an alcoholic because it runs in my family genetics — just to find out by my late 20’s that, guess what??? After working sooo freaken hard to not be, I AM AN ALCOHOLIC anyway!! Holy crap! Trust me no one was more upset about this then ME!
That incident alone made me realize that I have gotten in too deep. This is not my place to say anything about anything. I have said too much. I got suck in the middle. My boundary got moved too far. I had taken on too much. Oh I needed help! I started making phone calls to my support network. The more I talked and listened the more things were becoming clear. Once I was able to get a different perspective, my head and my heart started agreeing.
This is not my journey.
Today, my head and my heart are in agreement. My number one concern is my sobriety and safety for my daughter. He is not my responsibility. Convincing his family that he needs more medical assistance and that his drinking is an issue, is not my job.
And after all I am still sober. In fact once again I am super grateful that I was, because even thought this has been quite challenging, I was able to provide help when needed, take care of my daughter, and even argue with my head and heart! This has all been a huge learning experience that I wouldn’t give up for anything. Today, because I am sober, I have the ability to stand by my decision and actions, and know that I am doing the best I can.
If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with alcohol addiction, please click the Find Support link for an extensive list of support groups. Also please check out the links to many useful resources in the sidebar, and always feel free to contact me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may also find some great inspiration and support from all the awesome sober bloggers listed in the side bar under POSTS I LIKE and RECOVERY BLOGGERS, as well as Sober Courage page on Facebook and Sober Courage on Twitter.