I went from being a virgin, raped, twice, to immersing myself in destructive anger and self-loathing, expressed in the form of sexual promiscuity.
Sitting here now, in my mid-40’s, it’s easy for me to recognize how angry and hurt I was. Back then, I hadn’t yet learned to recognize the driving emotion behind my actions. I also now, realize that I was a functioning drunk for most of my life.
Drinking started at a very young age. How many 5 year olds do you know who can un-cork a bottle of wine? That was a skill I learned very early on (obviously). My mother and step-father drank. A lot. As a kid, it was wine and gin & tonics. Beefeater G&T’s, with lime. Wines, were usually rich Rioja’s. I was never a fan of wine growing up, but I did develop a taste for whiskey and scotch, on the rocks of course. I don’t know too many 12 year old that drink Johnny Walker Black on the rocks. In tumblers. But I digress. Basically, I drank. A lot.
After what happened right after graduation, I ended up leaving home. My parents, and sister, had gone back to Spain for the summer. I’d stayed behind to watch the dog and the cat. Take a recent graduate, without direction, filled with anger, resentment and depressed, add a few measures of booze and a friendly rape and you don’t get a good outcome. I ended up having a small get-together at my parent-less house, that escalated into a full-fledged “Animal House”-like nightmare. The house got trashed, valuable items, jewelry, money, art…was stolen from my parents. It was not pretty. I was scared, petrified of my step-father and what he’d do to me. I did the only thing I could. I left home. I left home on the same day they returned. By the time they got back, I was on a train heading across the country.
I landed in Maine, with my paternal family.
The next 30 years were a blur of alcohol, sex and completely unacceptable behaviour. I hurt a lot of people along the way, including at the end, my children and probably most profoundly, myself.
I used sex as a way to lash out. I don’t remember ever having sex, sober, until my late 30’s, when I left my ex-husband. How sad is that?
For me, sex was a way to manipulate men? To punish them? To hurt them? There was never any relationships involved with any of my sexual encounters, and just a handful ever entailed more than a one-night-stand. Most of the guys I slept with were total assholes who were fine with coming home with me and getting kicked to the curb in middle of the night, but some weren’t. I really hurt some very nice guys along the way. I’m ashamed of that, and I wish I could go back and apologize to the ones that I hurt. It wasn’t their fault I was so broken.
I tried to commit suicide for the first time when I was 20. Landed in the ER after I was found by my roommate, had my stomach pumped. Since I didn’t have insurance, I didn’t receive any in-depth treatment and was released.
In my early 20’s, I met a guy that I hung around with for a month or so. He was cute and funny. We drank well together. After ‘dating’ for a few weeks I found out that he was a pretty heavy coke user. That, I had no tolerance for. I broke off the ‘relationship’. So seriously ironic! Shortly after, I realized I was pregnant. I had no desire to be pregnant at that time, and I certainly didn’t care about letting the father know I was pregnant. I made arrangements to have an abortion, and I went to the clinic at the appointed time with a pal of mine. (Amazingly, through all of my youth all of my ‘good’ friends were men. I had very few female friends). I sat in the clinic, waiting for my turn. I began to think of what lay inside my womb, the fact that a life had begun there, and that while it wasn’t anything but a bundle of cells attached to my uterus at this point, it was ‘life’. I suddenly was washed over with this wave of love and yearning. There was a LIFE inside me. I walked out of the clinic.
This isn’t the story of the joy my son brought to me, that’s for another day, but for now I’ll say that not a single drop of alcohol passed my lips while I was pregnant with my son. (Lest anyone think me in any way ‘good’ for having done this, you should know that I did continue to smoke through the pregnancy….).
After D was born, I went right back to my old ways. Alcohol, sex, despair, manic highs, manic lows….a vicious circle.
When D was about 7 months old, we moved across the country to live with my parents and brother. I wasn’t making it financially in Chicago as a single mother, and didn’t have any bright prospects of a decent future. Shortly after arriving here, I met my ex-husband. He was my first long-term relationship. He was everything I was not. We had nothing in common. Our strongest tie in the beginning was our love for alcohol, and sex. Even when we were dating , I fantasized about having sex with other men. It was hard for me to not think that there was something better in someone else. We married about a year after we met.
Our marriage from the beginning was horrible. He drank much more than me, and as I found out after we’d been married for a few weeks, he too was a fan of coke and he began spending many a night away from home, partying. I can still remember those long nights, of staying awake waiting for him to come home. This was before cell phones…there wasn’t any sure-fire way to get a hold of anyone if they didn’t want to be gotten a hold of. I knew I’d made a horrible mistake marrying him, but at this point, I was stuck. I had nowhere to go, I had begun distancing myself from my family, and I didn’t have any friends.
Around this time, early 1990’s, the internet had begun to be very popular, and I had an AOL account. Adult chat rooms opened up a whole new world. Men seeking women, women seeking men, married men cheating on their wives, married women seeking married men….it was a smorgasbord of possibility, and I partook. At first, it was nothing more than talk, flirtations and more talk. Always on the computer, never by phone or in person.
In 1993, I got pregnant with my youngest son. What a different pregnancy this way. I descended into a deep depression. It was dark every day. I also lost all interest in sex. All of it. My husband unfortunately did not lose interest. He wanted and expected sexual relations any time he saw fit. Whether I wanted to or not. If I refused penetration, he’d settle for forcing me to provide a blow-job or a hand-job. I hated it, I hated him. I was so angry, disgusted.
After J was born, that’s when things really began devolving. I went back into AOL, and now my online meetings progressed into physical ones. I also had a job that afforded me occasion and opportunity to go back to ‘punishing’ men in the only way I knew how. For years I cheated on my husband, on numerous occasions. He knew at some level, I’m sure, and I imagine that this knowledge fueled his increased sexual aggressive behaviour. He began to have sex with me, whenever he wished. No longer was there a way out with oral gratification. He wanted penetration, and he got it.
One night I refused. He was drunk, more than usual, and he tried to kill me. I managed at one point to pretend I’d passed out. When he stepped away from me, I jumped up and ran as fast as I could. I was lucky, an we had a police station a block away. I made it there, and a contingency of police officers went to the house. He was arrested, and a few weeks later, I was given a protective order that was to keep him away.
I was alone, scared, mother of two, with major mental/emotional problems and a sense that I was completely alone. It never occurred to me to leave and go back home; to my father or to my mother. Instead, I chose to reconcile with my ex, and let him and the comfort of a roof over my head be the choice to make. So, I got back together with my husband, and for the next many years continued to act out my self*-destructive behaviour any chance I got. *-the behaviour was not only self-destructive, it was family-destructive. It had devastating effects to the two lives that I loved the most. The only two lives that ever mattered to me.
Over the years, I saw psychologists, I was on meds, I was off of meds….It was always dark, and alcohol continued to be my preferred method of coping. I didn’t think at the time that there was any problem. Whether it was 2 or 3 beers after work, or a bottle of wine, or a ton of shots, or a 1/2 dozen mixed drinks….didn’t matter. There weren’t too many times when I didn’t drink. My ex did the same. His consumption went up to a 12pk of beer or more every day. I rationalized that I wasn’t as bad, because I didn’t drink every day. Gah! The idiocy!!
Everything came to a head the summer of 2006. That’s another whole story, but the short version is I left the ex when he began to physically abuse D. J, his natural son, stayed with him. D and I left.
This, began my journey with D, that has now left him having turned his back on me completely.
So there it is. My great shame. In black and white.
There’s some measure of relief of getting this out there. My husband, the man I’ve been with for the last 8 years knows all of this. I met P online, of all places, and shortly after we met, I found the need to expose my dark truths. He listened to me as I talked for hours, on the phone; broken, sobbing, crazy….When I was finished, he simply told me that he knew that I was a good person, and that he wanted to get to know me better. I think that’s the moment I fell in love. Truly, deeply and completely, in love. I’m still in love. In the 8 years we’ve been together, the thought of being with another man has never entered my mind. I love him so completely, and he, loves me without reservation. We’ve had our challenges, and we’ve gone through some tough times; but no matter how bad it’s gotten, I could never imagine him not being in my life.
I’ve learned over the past almost decade what it means to trust, to love, and to be loved.