Out Of The Frying Pan And Into The Fire (Part III of III)
Photos courtesy of Miami-Fever.com. All rights reserved by copyright holder.
Continued from Fear and Loathing in South Florida.
Home appeared an oasis of creature comforts. The night I arrived, the pool was sparkling blue, the house was immaculate, clean cotton-scented candles burned in every room. The refrigerator was stocked with prepared foods and Dr. Brown’s soda from Fresh Market. A large bud of purple haze lay drying under a light. A bottle of pinot noir was decanting on the kitchen counter. The flat screen was waiting, the DVR still programmed to record my favorite shows. My dog scampered off to rejoin his brother and sister. My husband smiled and kissed me, started to unpack my things, wash my clothes. I went into the bathroom to shower to find it, too, was a waiting bribe, full of overpriced products from Lush. It was a mirage.
I kept the job at the burger and beer joint for a few days, commuting to Boca, thrilled to have access to a vehicle again. Mine had been repossessed while I was in rehab. Every day and night we both smoked pot, and I drank. I came home on a Tuesday. By Saturday we looked at each other and - I don’t know who said it first- asked, should we? Our addictions answered.
So it recommenced. He hadn’t paid his car payment, or the cable, or the electric in months in order to perpetuate the fraud of doing so well to me in order to get me to move home. The only time anything was paid was after it was shut off. The car got repossessed a week after I moved home, his Iphone left inside. The dinner at Tryst, the night at Boca Town Center Mall, the perfect mirage I walked into my first night back? It was a house of cards. And it fell apart in record time, exacerbated to the heavens (or gates of hell) by the fact that we were using again. Honestly, I am not sure if he ever stopped using, because that night, and the next three or four in a row, every time we ran out of whatever we had either purchased or had fronted to us, there was some magical place in his office he disappeared to and produced more from. It always belonged to “someone else.” I realized he had been playing the middle man in my absence, something I refused to allow to continue no matter how badly I wanted to get high. I heard enough jail stories in rehab.
A Very Unmerry Birthday
My birthday came and nobody knew where I was. I had told one friend I was moving back in with him. Her reply- “Are you insane?” That was the last time we spoke for months. My family wasn’t sure I was alive. I was barely human at this point, an empty shell, slave to almighty chemical relief. My mother joined Facebook just to make sure that I was, in fact, still breathing.
Within four weeks my phone was shut off for non payment. He began walking to 7-11 to call our dealer. I would walk to 7-11 for wine. It was a 12 block walk, each way. Sometimes, the dealer stopped by to see if we needed anything. Often we had coke and no cigarettes. Sometimes we had coke and no potty pads for the dogs, no food in the house. Sometimes we had no cable, sometimes we had no electricity. The air conditioning unit went. No money to fix it. Only for coke, which we were getting fronted constantly so that any time money did come into the house, it went directly to our dealer. He showed up at our house every day. It was nearly the only contact I had with the outside world. I started going into work with my husband, if you can call daily hustling for jobs he would have laughed at in our previous existence work.
I remember the first time the electricity was out so clearly. We sat there in the house sweating. It was a Friday night. The air was dense, the pool again filthy. My bank account was overdrawn. He no longer had one. We had no money, cigarettes were running low. So we did the only thing that made sense to a person caught in the whirlpool of active addiction. We got cocaine fronted to us, and cigarettes. That’s what good customers we were. It came, and now we were hotter than ever, but cared much less. I played solitaire on my phone, since my laptop got a virus back in Del Ray and needed a new hard drive. $80 to fix it? Out of the question. We spent more than that in an hour on coke and xanax. I now took xanax throughout the night to ward off paranoia. I have heard it a million times, and I will say it again: I shouldn’t be alive.
All That I Know Is I’m Breathing
The only joy I got out of life in these months was walking to the library, checking Facebook, and taking out books and DVD’s, though it wasn’t long before our DVD player broke as well. It would almost be laughable, if it wasn’t so painful to recall. I had a few friends left. It wouldn’t be long before I alienated them as well.
Thanksgiving was upon us and the cupboards were nearly bare. I remember fearing that we would starve. I wasn’t being over-dramatic. My anxiety had reached a new zenith. Just writing this is excruciating. I am reliving this from a place of relative ease and comfort, disgusted to the point of nausea that this ever was my life. My mother emailed me telling me there were better options. I ignored the email for months, but it lingered in the back of my mind.
A business associate of his promised everything would change. His girlfriend and he brought us groceries ( and coke) two nights before thanksgiving. I sat there in my overpriced house, ( we were squatting, having not paid the mortgage in over a year) my designer purse on the table, wearing my designer sweatpants, holding my hybrid dog, watching them unload food onto the counter. It was mortifying. We began traveling to Cutler Ridge every day to his custom bike shop. This is when we began doing coke all day every day. Again.
We stopped sleeping in the same room. We stopped talking. The only communication between us was hostile abuse or cold manipulation. I was so far removed from my emotions that the only ones I felt were fear and rage. I started to realize one thing. This was absolutely, positively, never going to work.
I remember looking at him on the couch and thinking, “ I hate you. I hate you so much.” I wished he were dead. In that instant, I realized how pathetic it was to wish someone dead. I wasn’t captive in that house. I was captive in my mind.
I met someone at the bike shop. Another anti-social narcissist, but I didn’t realize it at the time. I started spending time with him behind husbands back, drinking and blowing lines and taking tons of xanax. As much of an asshole as in-between guy was, he did one important thing for me. He helped me to do the most important thing I ever did. Kick my husband, and subsequently cocaine, out of my life for good.
I had come home the night before with at least 12 shots of rum and four xanax bars in me ( a quarter of one would probably knock a ‘normal’ person on their ass). Husband had called and pretended to not be home from work yet, even though he already was. I said I was home. He called back, and said, “Really? I am in the living room.” We were sharing a Metro PCS phone at this point and I had it. He used whoever had driven him home from his job of the day’s phone.
I had gone skinny dipping on north beach with in-between guy. My hair was matted and wet and I was coated in sand. I stunk, an intoxifying combination of seawater, booze, sweat, and sex. He called some of my friends over, not knowing what to do with me. I was belligerent; cursing him to hell and practically foaming at the mouth. My friend put me in the shower and extracted a promise that I wouldn’t leave the house again. I fell into the bushes promising. The minute they left, I slipped out the door to walk to a friends that lived 8 blocks away to call in-between guy. I fell every step of the way. The world seemed sideways. I walked into traffic numerous times. I clung to a bush for dear life, trying to will my legs to take just one step forward. I showed up at my friends doorstep bleeding from the chin, knee, and elbow, and bruised all over. I used his phone, demanded Taco Bell, and he returned me home. I mercifully passed out for about 14 hours.
“Hit The Road, Jack, And Don’t You Come Back No More”
Two days later I kicked him out for the final time. I didn’t expect him to believe me, but I didn’t expect him not to, either. We had fought all morning about the same things we always fought about. It doesn’t bear repeating, here or anywhere. The last thing I said to him was this; “ I don’t know where my life is going, but I don’t want you or cocaine to be a part of it.” He packed a bag, like he had done so many times before. Only I knew this time was different. He said he would come home at lunch to retrieve it and go to a hotel. I spent the day with a friend, downing shots of rum, never quite drowning the panic. Or the exhilaration. I stopped by the house at four and his bag was still there. I put it on the porch. I checked again at nine. Still there. I asked my friend to wait in the driveway, and promptly started shaking and vomiting all over the lawn. I walked into the house. He had gotten a haircut, and bought me cigarettes. The note he had written in the morning telling me he didn’t want me for the 897th time was still on the counter. He opened his mouth.
I informed him of a little secret I had been keeping. I never dropped the restraining order from the year before. I gave him half an hour to get out before I called the police. I finally exhaled. I knew it all was coming to a close.
I called my mother the next day. We arranged for me to fly home. I spent the next ten days mooching off in-between guy and packing my stuff up. Then it was time to say adios to Miami. In -between guy, of course, thought I was coming back to live with him. I knew I wasn’t, but I clung to it as a reservation to use. I flew home December 23, 2009.
Who Says You Can Never Come Home Again?
I spent Christmas Eve sober, with 18 of my relatives. It was the best Christmas I have had in 9 years. I went to a few AA meetings up here before I decided it wasn’t for me. I don’t want to sit around telling war stories after proclaiming myself to be an addict or alcoholic. I find it slightly degrading. I began to create my own program, to build my own team of experts. I now have an acupuncturist, a therapist, a psychiatrist, and a great primary care physician. I read a lot. I started a new blog. I began working out. I cook dinner for my family often. I quit smoking cigarettes. I reconnected with old friends, both via social media and in real life. One remarked “Is that @JaneDoe tweeting? Miami hath frozen over.” I signed up for a writing workshop. I got myself a little part time job about a mile away from my mothers house. I started taking care of my dog in a way that I hadn’t since I moved back to Miami from Del Ray. I began to open up emotionally. It is now safe to do so. I began to forgive myself, to become a living amend to myself, my family, and the people who love me. I got my divorce rolling again. After about a month of stone cold sobriety I began to drink, cautiously, and minimally. I have rules about my drinking. If I can’t handle it, well, I know where to go.
The end of the story is this: I am happier than I have been since I was a small child. I am in therapy two times a week. I am currently not on any medications, but am open to the possibility. New writing opportunities present themselves every day. I am trying to make it as a writer. More importantly, I am trying to make it as a human being. Today, I have people in my life that care about me. Today, I care about other people. Most importantly, I care about myself. Sometimes my life is a little boring. But I have had enough drama to last at least this lifetime. Where to from here? The possibilities are endless. Nothing can hold me back.
(Photos courtesy of Miami Fever. All rights reserved by copyright holder.)
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"Out Of The Frying Pan And Into The Fire (Part III of III)"