Friday, December 16, 2016

"No" Is A Complete Sentence

Sometimes I wonder how much growth I truly exhibit. Sometimes it seems like I get stuck in the same areas, or about things regarding the same people, for time immemorial. One of the unexpected issues that has cropped up in the last few years has been the inability to completely cut the emotional cord with a few women I have been in relationships with. I just did a Fourth Step again, and I realize that I didn't used to be as decisive as I remembered being; there were a few women in the high school/college years that I did not emotionally let go of completely, even if I never resumed or had a second run any actual relationship. But in general, until the last two women I've been deeply involved with, I didn't do second chances, and I certainly did not remain emotionally tied to anyone I was with prior to 2012 in any significant way. In the case of Lauren, I'm not sorry I didn't let go, that I have persevered with her through repeated trials and separations; it's been hard and difficult, but there's also been a lot of progress. I feel good about having not given up on her and am warily eager, if that's possible, to see what the future brings, in large part because she has changed, quite a bit, to those few of us that know her well in the last three-plus years, even if the outward results haven't shown it. With her, it's been a worthwhile risk to walk the full mile, and I'm still walking it.
With the other, it wasn't. I knew what she was relatively quickly after meeting her, but I kept deluding myself that something substantial had changed, or more realistically, that true change was imminent, and I went back for more a few times, even though she had proven herself to be inveterately dishonest and incapable of anything other than sociopathic selfishness. I'm not sure I've ever bullshitted myself about someone more; this is the person that I told one of the poor bastards that came after my first couple of go-rounds with her, "When someone tells you they don't deserve you, you really should listen--" and I still went back for more. It was tempting to believe, even when she relapsed after completing Drug Court, that it wasn't possible to present a mask that was completely bullshit for the better part of two years, so there might be a chance that the "real" her would emerge--but since it's now been 2 1/2 years since the relapse, and she has completely abandoned everything that she claimed meant something to her, I think it's reasonable to assume that the mask went up simply because she did not want to do jail time. Even after it became clear she wasn't coming back, I allowed myself to get sucked into the drama on a few different occasions. I always answered the infrequent texts. I took her to the emergency room a couple of times when her abscesses went septic. I even took her at her word when she said she wanted to kick last winter, and let her stay at my house for a day or two before she snuck out without a word. Even this summer, when she moved into the neighborhood my job is located in, I bought into a promise that she was trying finally to ease off dope and ended up getting taken for a few dollars that allegedly was going for Suboxone that I am positive now went straight into her veins.
But something happened that last time. I discovered that she was shacked up with another refugee from recovery, which didn't bother me too much--except that it was someone she swore several times over the past few years that she had no interest in being with, even though he clearly wanted to be with her. And when I discovered that they were cohabitating, and that she had no intention of stopping, it was the one step too far, the one lie too many, the wafer-thin mint that caused the explosive vomiting. It was the instant freeze of the heart that I am prone to experience, where a part of my soul goes ice-cold to the point where there is nothing that will ever thaw it again. It's a point of no return; it's the point where the penciled line between hope and denial suddenly gets drawn in with a Sharpie. I realized, finally, that she truly is what she is, and at best, I am an enabler as far as she is concerned.
I heard from her for the first time in months today, getting a text message that claimed she wanted to get some Suboxone because she is "trying" to get into Conifer Park, and could I also come up with some $ so she could get her kids Christmas presents. I thought of a lot of possible responses in a few seconds, but ultimately, my heart wasn't even in the effort to write the text. I just texted "No."
And I left it at that. And wonder of wonders, I actually felt good, and feel good, about it. My long-time sponsor has said that a major part of getting spiritually healthy is not feeling as though we have to justify saying "no" to people. And although I have done so sporadically in other areas, this is the first time that I have been able to just simply refuse to get involved in this person's particular dramas and games. I think it's a reflection of a couple things. One is that I have truly committed to trying to make it work with Lauren, to a level I never have before, and part of that is not looking for a Plan B in case something goes wrong. I've said that before, but there was always a residual reservation there that didn't need a lot of prodding to emerge. For better or worse, I've made the commitment in my head that I am going to fully commit to making this work--and honestly, any interest in any other woman on that level has completely vanished. I might have talked the talk before, but I really feel differently this time.  I've been committed in deed more or less for three years, but it's the "completely" that's new.
But more than that, it is simply that I am happy with myself and my life and my relationship with God that I don't need to provide explanations, other than the basic information that "no" is the answer. I'm not negotiating, rather, I just don't want to get involved, and that's all there is to it. I have no desire to have this person in my life, whether she is using or not using. Do I hope that she's serious about wanting to quit and get help? Yeah, in the sense that one addict always hopes that another addict gets and stays clean. But there is no need for me to be directly involved.
And that' s all  there is to say. I feel fortunate that I am still capable of growth and learning at 53 and a half years of age, with eighteen years clean. And that my life gets more manageable by the day.

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