My boyfriend was violent and angry and his family couldn’t stand him. Despite obvious signs that he was cheating on me, including women’s phone numbers in the pockets of his jeans, folded up flyers to strip clubs and the monthly solo road trips he took to San Francisco to “clear his mind,” I simply refused to act on my suspicions. My mind—or the “danger zone” as I liked to call it—was simply not a safe place for me to be without the distraction of a man. I joke that I can find a room filled with 100 people and instantly be drawn to the ones who have a drinking problem.
He was the first alcoholic man, in a string of men and women, who would fill my dating diary. For better or for worse, there is a comfort and familiarity in the inner workings of an alcoholic that doesn’t exist with others. • Alcoholics feel constantly criticized and fear being controlled.• Don’t try to boss around an alcoholic.• You can’t make somebody stop drinking. (Read that several times if you need to.)• Your phone calls/texts/emails will go unanswered, unreturned and ignored if an alcoholic is overwhelmed, overworked or feels unappreciated.• If an alcoholic cannot handle the topic of conversation, they will ignore it (and you).• Alcoholics tend to be self-centered and self-obsessed and immature.• Their egos are strong.
An alcoholic doesn’t always look like a gutter rat.• In fact, in my dating mind, they tend to be attractive, outgoing, charismatic and rebellious in a sexy way (in Los Angeles, anyway.
He convinced me I was special and different and I was so desperate to get out of my house, that I shacked up with him and his mother in a two-bedroom apartment in Canoga Park.
I was a drug addict and I had recently lost my virginity with him.
Then there’s the inevitable fact that they are emotionally incapable of demonstrating their love in a way that will seep into your bones the way kids need it to.
There’s a merry-go-round quality about the systems and functions and habits that occur in an alcoholic home.
I know that while dating them, losing fights with them, and being heartbroken by them, and in the midst of that hole dug so deep and so dark and filled with so much sorrow I would say “no.” But, once the light shines in, our memories cloud.
My gift is not in knowing how to understand or even “drive” an alcoholic.I realized over the years I had become less of myself. When someone doesn’t fit into the perceived notion of what an addict is, it’s hard for people to know what to say. There is nobody that tries harder at being “normal” than an alcoholic and his/her family.I was worried about his anger, or that he would relapse, or be too stressed out or my actions would cause something bad to happen. It was his turn to learn to deal with the reality of our existence instead of us having to shrink because of the reality of .” His mother had been an alcoholic and it had stunted his life. “Run” was the best advice I received and it’s the advice I would give my daughter if she ever got involved with an addict. When I finally left my husband, I was only able to do so after taking weeks to compose a list of facts.This unique program uses music to help patients articulate their emotions and overcome psychological obstacles.In addition, they incorporate full psychiatric assessment and treatment of medical conditions related to substance use.They’ve taught me about transformation, meditation, prayer and about the tenacity of the human spirit, and ferocious devotion to getting better and staying alive. XOXODarrah Le Montre is a writer and journalist and devoted mom.