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Facing My Fears

As of late, I have felt that I have very little control over my own life. In part, I understand that is because that is how JoDee’s addiction affects my life, but it’s hard to take the steps to stop that. I have to stop running to her rescue, or giving her money, or in general, waiting for her addiction to rule my life. In theory, that is so easy to say or even to recognize, but putting theory into action is really difficult. Not doing something sometimes is an action all of its own. And let me tell you, it is effing depressing. To understand that I can’t help her, when I want nothing more than for her to be better, sucks. It’s debilitating. I have done a lot of sleeping when I should be awake, awake when I should be sleeping. I have not been the most productive employee and to say that my quality of work has been subpar is an understatement. I can’t keep up this way. I’m not an addict and yet my life has become unmanageable by addiction…. Yes. I hear you. Co-dependent, enabling… got it. I have to make a conscious effort to change.

Clearly, obviously, undoubtedly, my worst fear is that JoDee will die from her addiction. Or anything related to her addiction. Addiction has a way of taking lives indirectly in the form of suicide, car accidents, I’m sure you can figure out all the ways. I remember when Daddy-O and I first were divorced my worst fear was that I would die before my kids were old enough to care for themselves. Or at least old enough for them to remember our life together, with me in it.  I had always read about children whom had grown up motherless suffer so much that I was terrified of that. I always made sure I had life insurance so if I did die that Daddy-O would be able to care for them without as much of a struggle and I was conscientious of decisions that most twenty something’s don’t think about. I never drove drunk (I also had a close family lose a child to drunk driving when I was in high school), I tried not to put myself in unsafe situations, but I mean, who can really protect themselves all the time. As the kids got older, and got driver’s licenses, my fears changed subtly, to losing them. I think as a parent I always feared something tragic would happen to them. That goes without saying. SIDS when they were younger, kidnapped or harmed or killed in some random accident. Every parent has those fears. I’m sure my parents still fear that they will bury one of their children before them. I don’t want anyone to think I only worried about myself but it was more of an added worry. Any divorced mother will be able to relate. The idea of your kids being raised by their Dad, no matter how competent he is, without you, is terrifying.

When I was first diagnosed with MS I remember thinking I will follow all the rules, and every recommendation so I don’t get sick and leave them. Actually, funny story about Ms. JoDee around that diagnosis. I told the kids each individually and I told them in an age appropriate way, but sometimes your kid is just an idiot regardless of their age. When JoDee and I were done talking about the diagnosis, and what it meant, and how it would affect us, I was showing her the MS Society web page that she could go to if she wanted more information. There was an article, we had noticed when we googles MS, about how some men suffer reverse ejaculation which meant that instead of coming out (ha ha pun intended!) it would reverse direction into the bladder. I asked her if she knew what that meant and she said “Ya, they get pregnant.” Wow. How she was an honor student sometimes really confuses me.

Anywho, at this point I feel like one of those kids on the spinning wheel at the playground. You know the ones. The father puts the kid on and tells h/her to sit down while he grabs a bar and runs in a circle so it will spin real fast. You just know when the kid steps off that thing they are going to puke their guts up, probably on the Dad and you can’t help but think he deserves it because it’s a rookie mistake. I’m that kid. The spinner stopped and I am stumbling around wanting to puke. I have this feeling like I want to face my fears. I think this is in part because I feel like something tragic happening to JoDee is a real possibility at this point. I am not someone who handles anticipation very well. I have this terrible burning feeling of anxiety that is always there no matter what I do or where I am. So, I clearly can’t face that fear. I have to just wait and see. Pray that she finds recovery. In the meantime, I decided I could face some of my other fears. Anyone who knows me will know I hate spiders, rats, germs, haircuts, the dentist, and needles (the irony that my kid is an addict is not lost on me there).  Curtesy of DJ I recently discovered that rats can borrow in the engine of your car and possible get in your car. That was enough to make me decide never to leave my house again, so I put on my big girl panties and popped my hood. No rats. Phew. I am not going to come anywhere near a spider. Nope. That is a fear I will take with me to the grave. F-THAT. I watched a Fear Factor show once that had a woman get in a clear coffin filled with tarantulas. I’m pretty sure I fainted. In a world where people are sneezing and coughing and leaving traces of feces on the grocery store carriage handles, I’m doing all I can to fight the fear of germs. I mean, that is a war I can’t fight on my own.  I’m not going to try. I will just continue to Keep Calm and Lysol.

The fear I faced were the last three in the line. Dentist, haircuts and needles. The needles I deal with all the time because I am constantly having my blood drawn, so really, scratch that shit off, too. Let’s start with the dentist. I hate the dentist. Hate it. I can’t stand the smell of the office, the sound of their tools or the blinding white smile that is cloaked in judgement by all the office staff’s smiles. I haven’t been to the dentist in, well, hmmm, a while? A long time. Long enough to be embarrassed about it. I was convinced that when I finally broke down and went in they would tell me I needed all my teeth pulled and dentures for me. When I called to make an appointment, the receptionist was shocked when I wasn’t calling for one of the kids, but for myself. The night before my appointment I told AC I wasn’t going. He gave me all these statistics that he probably got off WebMD, aka digital death-sentence because if you have ever googled symptoms to anything the response is always You Are Dead, which were even harder to take serious in his sexy Colombian accent. Finally he said you want to have bad breath? Eh. Fine. I went. And guess what, it sucked! However, it sucked less than I thought it would and I have NO CAVITIES!!!! Boorah mothertrucker!

Since I was on a dentist high having nailed that (#nailedit) I went to the hair salon. I went to the salon my mom frequents because she is sort of a hair guru so if it passes for her, it will pass for me. I brought SC with me for moral support. I had no idea it would take 2 freaking hours to color, wash, cut and blow dry my little ol’head but the results are fantastic!! I felt like one of those chicks on the Pantene commercial shaking my head from side to side letting my luscious locks bounce around! And, I cut my hair pretty short. Now, before those skeptics that know me start saying that means I took off a half of an inch, I implore you to check this shit out:

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That shit is short! And look at Mickey in the background drinking from his water bowl. I know, you didn’t notice it because you were too taken aback by my awesome hair cut! Also, sadly, I resemble the recently deceased Professor Snape. If that doesn’t make you feel great, ain’t nothing ever will.   Well, hopefully this is the start of me being able to start living some sort of life other than swaddled in my own self-loathing. I will admit, while I was at the dentist I heard someone say “Do you know where JoDee is?” and I literally jumped up in a panic, but it turns out there is a hygienist that works there with the same name. #embarrassing. And while I was at the hair salon, I loved having SC with me, but I wished JoDee was with us, too. So even good moments are marred by some sadness. I guess this will just be my new normal. My reaction to anything that I would have done with JoDee and any one or all of the kids is that I don’t want to do it. But I can’t keep doing that. I have to plan, and participate, and begin to go through the motions of life. I won’t say that I will love life, because in a place where my daughter feels like the walking dead and is slowing closing all the doors of those who were willing to help her, I can’t love it. But I’m willing to comprise to the extent of at least participating. And for now, that has to be good enough.

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2 thoughts on “Facing My Fears

  1. Dear Melanie:

    I have been following your blog for some time now and it always amazes me how you are able to verbalize the feelings and fears of the parent of an addict. That visceral fear that is always with you and glazes your every day life with a deep sense of dread.

    I was happily married to a woman that I loved six years ago with two wonderful twin boy and girl. They were not my biological children but I raised them as such since age 8.

    Upon graduating high school and sending them to college, they both came back addicted to heroin after the first semester. These were kids that had always been terrified of doctors and needles. When the truth sank in of their addiction, we were understandably devastated. However, the difference between them and Jodee is that they kept getting arrested and put into court mandated rehab programs. Every time they came out, there was hope, but relapses soon followed. Just imagine. Not one, but two addicts.

    Unfortunately, our marriage collapsed during all of this. Seeing my wife aging one day at a time and suffering took a toll on me and put me in a deep depression. I felt that she was enabling them and we argued about that. This went on for 7 years. Overdoses, stints in jail, rehab, psychiatrists, lies, and a total disappearance of their previous selves.

    Once, when hanging out with friends, she shot up one of her drug buddies and killed him with an over dose. Her answer to that horrible event was that it was not a big deal since he would have ended up dying anyway.

    I regret divorcing my wife to this day. This was 4 years ago. I was going thru my own crisis, part of which was that I had lost total respect for them and could not hide it anymore.

    So you may be wondering. Are they still alive alive? Yes, they are. I check them out periodically on Facebook and they are both up in Michigan. I believe that they are both drug free and live in permanent housing geared for addicts. Yes, they are alive but I don’t think either of them will ever live up to their former potential.

    I regret that I cannot offer you much reassurance. I could tell you to hang in there and that everything will be fine. That is true up to certain point. Rather than think in extremes of life or death, it may be more comforting for you to think of a midway point. But then again, I would not ever dare tell you to do anything.

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    1. Hello Miguel,
      The idea of two addicted children is things nightmares are mad of. I don’t know how either of you survived. I’m happy to hear that they are drug-free but you are 100% right. Once addiction get’s a hold of them, they are never the same. There is such an integral part of who they were that is stripped away and they can never live up to what they once were capable of. JoDee was a gymnast, honor student, and worked 30 hours a week. Now she can barely manage to do much else besides binge watch Netflix. It’s so sad to see so much talent get wasted in a remote and an e-cigarette. I can only imagine how stressful that would be on your marriage. I’m so sorry your family went through this. And still is. M.

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