Friday, January 17, 2014

Letting Go part 1

You know the old adage that "like attracts like?"  Or maybe, "trouble attracts trouble."

In 2011, I was putting a brave face on things, but was a wreck inside.  And how is that any different from my normal state of being, you ask?  Well, there are wrecks, and there are wrecks.  

I began a relationship with a gal I'll just call R.  I kept it quiet, because it wasn't the type of relationship one brags about.  We met at a meeting, both of us there for reasons that didn't include real recovery.  

I guess I was lonely.....desperate is probably a more accurate description.  Imagine two co-dependent addicts using each other as an excuse to use drugs.  Throw in lots of binges and sex, fights, and broken windows, and that pretty much sums things up.  Until we discovered that R was pregnant.

All my adult life, I've been meticulous in a very paranoid way about using protection in my casual encounters. Because of my own abused past, damned if I was going to allow a child of mine to be brought into the world and have the cycle continue.  But this time, I got careless.  When the pregnancy was confirmed by the doctor, both our worlds turned upside down.

We talked.  And talked.  We both had delusional pipe dreams about staying clean, getting our shit together, and raising a child.  Maybe get married and pretend to be normal. But deep down we both knew it wasn't going to happen.  

When she started talking about getting an abortion, I have to admit that my  liberal, pro-choice values were sorely put to the test.  I panicked.  Shit just got real.  For a few weeks, we both stayed clean and talked some more about what to do.  It seemed, for a while, that she was keen on keeping it.  I remember feeling baffled about how to feel, if that makes sense.  Part of me was angry, part of me was scared shitless, and yet another part of me was a tiny bit hopeful.  Maybe, this was what we both needed to get our lives back on track.  If we couldn't get our shit together for ourselves, maybe we could get our shit together for this little being.  

I made plans, looked for a second job to bring in more money.  I stayed clean.  I thought about how to rearrange stuff in my trailer to have R move in with me, and where we would put this little being when it was time.  We talked daily, and for a brief few weeks in 2011, I was almost a father.

R came over one day shortly after that and I could see that she was high.  She said she had made up her mind to go ahead with an abortion.  Stunned, I asked why.  She got angry and defiant, and I got angry and defiant back at her.  She left, and I broke shit.  The next day I went to her place and begged her to change her mind.  She was adamant, and in a moment that seemed to encompass eternity, I realized that she was right.  Even if I was willing to get my shit together.....she wasn't.  There wasn't going to be any happy ending to this, even if she kept it it would be born drug addicted and faced with a lifetime of health problems.  

The appointment was made, kept, and we parted ways shortly afterwards.  I knew she was hurting, but I was hurting too and wasn't feeling generous.  Sobriety was a joke after that.  I binged and went back to hiding from the world.

I told what happened to only a couple of people in my private life, and none of my online friends.  It was a kind of pain that I had never experienced before, and I didn't know what to do with it, couldn't explain it to anyone, so I didn't tell anyone.  The closest I came was quietly alluding to it in this post from August 2011:

One of those people in my private life that I told was Kelli.  For those of you who have read me longtime, you know that Kelli and I had an on again, off again, relationship for years.  She desperately wanted a family, and for years tried to 'fix me' so I could be that soulmate, perfect partner to provide her with one.  In 2005, when we were "on again" and living together, (and also during one of the longest clean and sober periods of my life), she underwent fertility treatments to try and get pregnant.  It was a time of anxiety and endless waiting, and of me feeling like nothing more than a stud bull.  At that time I didn't want to be a father, but how could I say no to a woman I loved?  I never admitted to anyone, not even myself really, but every pregnancy test that came back negative I breathed a sigh of relief.

When I told Kelli (even when off-again, we were still close) what had happened with R, her reaction was horrific.  The fact that I had fathered a child on a woman that wasn't her, after her endless attempts to get pregnant, was too much to bear.  It forever fragmented our friendship and while today we still call each other 'friend,' the closeness we shared is gone.  She is now married and she and her husband are looking to adopt.  I wish her nothing but happiness, but I regret that we no longer share that closeness.

I've kept this experience so close to me that it feels strange to share it now, but things we think are buried and dealt with have an unfortunate tendency to remind us that they have never been dealt with.  

Part 2 to follow.