I don’t work Fridays. Which meant that my Fourth of July weekend probably started earlier than others.
But my husband works Fridays, like normal folks with office jobs. We had worked it out with my MIL to take our son for the evening so we could spend some quality time together. When she offered to take him for the night, I was overjoyed. I thought, “What a relaxing time we could have! Just the two of us!” I looked forward to it all week!
I should have gotten the point when I tried to send him cute emails from work that went unanswered an mostly unread. It should have been pretty blunt when he started to go through all of the excuses that he could manage all week to get out of it. But I was trying. That was the point. I guess I thought that if I really made the effort to be nice and romantic that we could rekindle our marriage.
I have never been so wrong.
Our son wasn’t even gone 30 minutes before my husband went into how we didn’t have any money for a date. I said, “Remember when we were first together and very poor? We took the neighborhood tour, sat by the trestle with a bottle of Old Crow, frequented parks and cemeteries after dark.” It wasn’t enough. He went into the hundreds of reasons why he didn’t want our son staying with his mother. And I gave up. It was clear. He didn’t want to be alone with me. I wasn’t going to force it. I was done trying – I was met with too much opposition.
The Bender – Day 1
After the retrieval of our son, after dinner, after bedtime for toddlers, after dark, I took my journal and a drink out on the balcony. I hadn’t done this in over four years; not since I was in an abusive relationship with my ex-fiance and had succumbed to alcoholism. The plan was to get wasted. I didn’t want to feel anymore. My heart was broken, my illusions were shattered, and my hope was gone. I wanted to erase everything.
It went largely unnoticed. Not as if I was seeking the attention. Mostly, I wanted him to leave me alone. I wanted everyone to leave me alone. Because “If I must be lonely, I think I’d rather be alone.”
I took precautions not to be hungover the next day. As a previous alcoholic, I knew how to be a functional alcoholic. Two ibuprofen, two Gatorades, and a slice of pizza always does the trick. On the day of the second, I went about my business as usual. Except, there was a great deal of Ativan involved.
The Bender – Day 2
The plan for this evening wasn’t to get wasted. That wasn’t my intention. I just wanted enough alcohol to sleep. I couldn’t stand being conscious anymore. But the later it got, the more I thought I needed. Before I knew it, I was trashed. Again. I didn’t care. I didn’t feel anything. And I didn’t want to. Not anymore.
The Bender – Day 3
More Ativan throughout the day. More alcohol at night. I hadn’t had a bender in over 4 years. And I was losing control. For once, it felt good. No more control freak. No more worry about things I couldn’t control. I still cared for my son in the day. I could function just fine. I just didn’t care about the sham of a life I was living. I didn’t care that my marriage was falling apart. I stopped hating myself. I stopped blaming myself, and mostly, I just stopped thinking.
The Bender – Day 4
By this time, it was Monday, July 4th. More of the same. Only this time, it was a work night. I kept going. I couldn’t stand it. I couldn’t stand the idea of sobriety and finally having to face myself and what I had done and not done. I wanted to keep living my life in a haze. I wanted to keep the numbness going as long as I could. Because I knew that this was the end of it. In the morning, I’d have to return to my normal life. I was like Cinderella and the midnight clause. Except, it lasted until 2 am.
Returning to Normality?
Not quite. By this time, I was in such a haze that I was slow and sluggish. I wasn’t fatigued. I was in a fog. A blissful fog where I couldn’t see the problems. I couldn’t feel the weight on my back. And it was blissful, even if it was short lived. I had a five day vacation from reality.
By Tuesday night, I had returned to my now typical state. Hopeless, burdened, exhausted… depressed. I hate even using that word anymore because it’s just so empty for me. It can’t describe the depth of the sadness, mourning, soul-deadening emotion that I experienced.
At least I can escape at work. Children hug me. Adults treat me like I am valuable and human. Co-workers respect me. And no one even has a clue about anything underneath the surface.
They never will.