Sassafras O'Malley has double-blind confirmation of a new superpower: the unmitigated ability to attract alcoholic men.
She's not especially thrilled to have this talent, though I suppose it's an equal and opposite reaction to her ability to dazzle small animals and children (and stupid people) into submission with her disco ballness.
All joking aside, it's shocking to my system, just how well I can not see the addiction sometimes, how I can have come so far toward self-awareness and integration and still be so willing to ignore the flashing red signs when my heart is on the line.
The thing about addicts is that they are selfish: self-centered, self-aggrandizing, self-deprecating, self-loathing, self-mutilating, and self-destructive. As Bounder said to me recently, quite ironically, it's not that they don't want good things in their lives—they aren't trying not to love or feel or be available to those that seem to matter most to them—it's that they can't; they are so selfish in their addiction that they are unable to see past themselves to the secondary and tertiary damage they inflict on those around them.
It's one of the hallmarks of addicts, to deny themselves the things and people who are truly good for them, to push out anyone and everyone who might be able to serve as a lifeline to reality and healthfulness. They will instinctively surround themselves with people who support and facilitate their patterns of addictive behavior, who tolerate and even sometimes encourage their excuses and their inconsideration and their lies—enablers.
My refusal to enable the addiction of men I loved was, in part, responsible for the demise of previous relationships. It's always more complicated than that, but addiction has played an important and sometimes torturous role in more than the last twenty years of my life. When I wrote at the end of the year about what I didn't want going forward in my life or a new relationship, addiction was part of that list—mine or anyone else's.
And yet, here I went again.
I don't get it, either. In my head I can understand how the addiction, especially alcoholism, works and impacts the addict's entire life, including the people closest to them. But deep in my soul, I cannot fathom how a person could be in such desperate need for something, or someone, and flatly refuse it when it's presented to them on a shiny, silver platter. When you most need it, you're given a gift from the universe of exactly what you both need and want, and you are openly thankful for that—until you realize it won't follow you to the bottom of a bottle. Then you turn your back on the good in exchange for the bad, like an ungrateful, petulant bastard?
I don't fucking get it.
What I do understand is the other side of it—the heartbreak and the rejection and the feelings of being worth less than a fucking bottle to that person who says they care about you. The dismissal and the isolation that come when they start drinking. And it's dramatically juxtaposed to the attention and the connection that's there when they're sober, when you let yourself think for just a moment that just maybe this time you will be enough, be special enough, to help them see the light and to give them the goal and the strength to break out of those patterns. But those moments become more and more fleeting as time goes on with the addict, until it's a constant daze of distance and excuses and emotional neglect that borders on malice.
Hot Pocket says it's not that I'm worth less than that bottle; it's that he feels he deserves the bottle more than he deserves me.
Growler says she understands why it feels like I will never find another person to love, who loves me back in a healthy way, but that it's just not true, no matter how hard that may be to see right now. (I'm not looking, but I wasn't looking this time, either.)
Queen Frostine listens patiently while I rage about how I'm done with men, about how I hate the catch-22 of being myself and attracting damaged men or going back into my own box just to make a man comfortable in the hopes he loves what is ultimately a shadow of Stephanie.
And I'm pretty positive I don't want a romantic relationship with a woman. Women are crazy.
Yet again I find myself spinning, trying desperately to touch solid ground and calm the nausea, to stop the sickness that is surrounding me and invading every fiber of my being. I'm trying again to catch my breath, the wind knocked out of me simultaneously by love and heartache. As much as I may want to fix this, to use my incredibly unrelenting resourcefulness to make this okay, I can't. This is not my battle, no matter how hard I fight.
Maybe it's not about me, but it sure as hell still feels like it's me that's taking the brunt of the damage.
So I'm pulling back again, shunning
men and shunning that sector of my heart.
I was pretty sure I was ready this time, pretty sure I was healthy, but
I feel like I missed something. My
trusting, naive, hopelessly-romantic nature let me, encouraged me, to believe
the unintentional whispers of another alcoholic. I can't do this again. I really would rather be alone that to go
through this another time.