Upheaval and Sadness.

April 10, 2011

Today I had a handful of my family on hand to help move me out of my home. The home that, up until about a week ago, I shared with my wife and kids. In order for me to begin detox and, eventually, a drug rehabilitation program, we had to leave our home. It was our second move this year, but this was different, for obvious reasons (for one thing, we were, ahem, asked to leave). There will be no house-warming party at the end of this move, no first barbecue, no breathless trips to Bed Bath and Beyond, no greetings from new neighbors. It was a low point in what has been a year of low points. I am once again a ward of my father.

My marriage is a wreck. It was probably doomed with or without the events of the past year, but there was an air of finality today that made me feel as if nothing will ever be the same again. My family will never again be configured like it has been to this point. So as I placed framed photos of that family into boxes it felt like a wake. My relationship with my wife will come up often over the next few months, because, as it relates to my sobriety, that issue is public enemy number one. The relationship, not the person. The person is no more sick than I am, and maybe less so, but the relationship – at least as we practice it – is the enemy of my sobriety. I had a pretty strong feeling today as I walked out of my home that I would never walk back in, at least under the husband-father banner. We’ve been married for 11 years this June. We have children together, we went to school together, we’ve buried her father, mourned her mother,*who’s not really dead but may as well be. We laugh at the same things, have the same appetite for self-destruction, and have a codependent-counterdependent dynamic that would be unhealthy if we were teetotalers. We aren’t, as you’ve probably guessed. We’re drug buddies. As sad as it makes me, the relationship is destroying us both, and it needs to end.

We spent the day scouring the detritus of a life lived poorly. No one else thought about it that way, probably, but I did. Everything I saw was a lie. Photos of a happy, smiling family? Lie. The “important documents” file holder? Lie – we have no important documents!  The charcoal (or the pinstripe, or the navy) Brooks Brothers suit, paired with the blue broadcloth Oxford shirt and repp tie? Lie. Sexy, but a lie. Maybe the most insidious of the lies, in fact, because Brooks Brothers made me look like the consummate professional for almost ten years. My capacity for faking it is nonpareil. But I’m tired of faking it.

I’m not going to write much about one aspect of today because it frankly will take too much out of me, but I would be remiss to skip it altogether. My children are everything to me. I adore them, they adore me. And I have let them down. The sadness I felt today, as I looked at a box of toys, one that had not even been completely  unpacked from our last move, is one thing I’m not going to try to describe because I can’t. The people those toys belong to don’t deserve this. I wish I could say they’re oblivious to what’s going on, but they’re not. I am making a series of decisions to mitigate the damage. But there is damage. I will forgive myself for doing this to them – because I have to – but just barely. In case I haven’t made this clear, the stakes are high. There are people who are completely innocent of all wrongdoing with their lives in the balance.   

 I will be hopeful again, and I’m optimistic about the overall future health of my family – at least my relationship with my kids. But today I’m just sad. 

*upon hearing the news we were separating and I was going to rehab, the Mother said to her youngest child: “well make sure I get your new address,” and not a whole hell of a lot else.

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