It is all so familiar; the cottony soft floral sheets between my fingertips, the baby-blue walls, the creaky yet barely worn hardwood floors. This is the third time I have come here running from my problems, hoping with all my might I will dust off the debris, regain my self-esteem and walk out of this place a new woman. Unfortunately, with my prior attempts I fall immediately back on to the same old worn pathway, full of deceptive hopes and dreams. My heart and soul always knew the truth, but my piss poor self-worth pushed the facts aside and hurled my body forward.
It’s been 7 years, long and tumultuous, where I dug my nails in so hard to hold on they are bloodied. Time and time again the cosmos sent me signs; signs that I was not in the right place, I was not with the right partner, my children were not surrounded by an environment they should be. I could feel my guardian angels sighing with their faces in their palms each and every time I would stay or go back or let him back. Physically, I could feel the heavy weight of defeat dragging down my soul; it took my breath away, I was literally drowning while my feet stood on bone dry ground.
It was a Tuesday evening, I was working, when I finally listened to my higher power screaming from the heavens. A call from my child, “Mom, I don’t know where Dad is”. I attempted to sound calm and unfazed as I ripped the scrubs from my body and fled the hospital, sandals half on. It was the longest ride home and every traffic light laughed in my face, turning red as soon as my car came into view. I prayed to my Dad through tears. I prayed the kids were okay, I prayed I get home in one piece as I flew down the roads at unsafe speeds, I prayed he did not return home high and angry that a child is interrogating him as he walks through the door. Horrible things flew through my already ADD-clogged brain- “fire, robbers, kidnappers, drug dealers….”
I pulled into the driveway at 1045pm to see a completely dark home. His two cars parked in their usual fashion. My shaky hand found an unlocked front door and I was quickly jolted out of my head by our two barking dogs. Deep breath, and another. I climbed the 5 stairs with deliberate foot placement like I was scaling a mountain. TV on, shades drawn, him in the recliner wide-eyed and glistening with sweat as the AC shot a chill over my skin. He was not alone on that recliner- his longtime friend, cocaine, raced through his system. “Where are the kids?” I asked attempting to disguise my anxiety as best as I could. He looked in my direction, replied “in bed” and quickly looked away. The dilated pupils were unmistakable after 7 years of studying his behaviors both sober and not. “Our son called me at work and said you were gone”, I could feel the anger rising up my throat, hot and volatile. “I ran to the store for 15 minutes”, this time he did not turn to face me and his voice trembled. Like a cold gentle wave cooling the sand on a scorching summer day, a calm came over me and I exhaled away the hate I wanted to spew. I walked down the hall, verified that both of my precious children were still breathing safe in their beds and I went back to the couch to sleep in my clothes and makeup. There was no need to lay awake and review today’s events or continue to ponder how I was going to play my hand.
0530am came quick. The front door that my anxious right hand opened so nervously the night before slammed shut as he ran out to work. Why in such a hurry? He wasn’t late, just very guilty and like he had so many times before, he was avoiding me like a deadly contagious disease. I got up, made a cup of coffee, let the dogs out and plopped down on the couch with my phone in hand. Confidently, I dialed the phone number I have been dialing for 22 years and a familiar voice cautiously answered. “Mom, I need to leave with the kids today. Can I please come home?”
And here I am again…. I am at my Mother’s house; a home I moved into with my family at 12 years old and have tried to leave several times only to boomerang back. The baby blue walls I painted when I moved back in at 23, pregnant and fresh out of an abusive relationship. The wood floors were put in during my failing engagement; a relationship that started out as an extra marital affair and ended with him cheating on me. The floral sheets, those were new when I returned in 2014 sick and tired of dealing with drug relapses. What’s new this time? Hopefully some self esteem.
I am The Chronic Codependent, and this is The Story of a Doormat’s Road to Recovery.