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Published in Daring Woman magazine March 2018
He's woken me. Again. He needs another drink.
I'm tired and I'm angry but I make him one anyway. A pint of vodka and vimto. He drinks it in seconds. Tells me it's not strong enough before falling back asleep.
This is a blog about my mum.
I don't write about her very often. Our relationship is complex and mostly non-existent. Which I hate... but that's how it's always been so now I just get on with it.
As a child, living with my mum was like trying to balance a handgrenade.
On a see-saw.
With no hands.
My little brother perched on one end, me on the other, and my mum the un-exploded bomb in the middle, in all of her unpredicable, chaotic glory rolling around between us, the pin constantly working loose but never quite coming out completely.
The fear of that pin coming out caused me to live my life in a constant state of high alert and high anxiety, which now I mostly manage, but back then was horrendous.
There are two ways to sofa surf.
The first way is generally pre-arranged - A place to stay with friends after a night out or as an overnight guest at a house party. Usually involving copious amounts of alcohol and random conversations until the early hours of the morning before someone finally crashes and burns, indicating to all that now is probably a really good time to try and get some sleep. Especially if one or all of you have a job that needs attending to at some point later that day.
If you, or any one you know has ever had a relationship with an addict, you will know that being around one is bloody hard work. It's the emotional equivalent of letting a hungry, muddy rottweiler loose in a show-home. It's carnage.
Even when you are prepared for the tantrums, the lies, the plea-bargains and the often empty promises, it's a mammoth task and one that shouldn't be underestimated. Because getting emotionally involved on any level means that like it or not, you become an "Enabler". And according to pretty much every professional ever, thats "naughty"....so don't do it.
An "Enabler" basically does what it says on the tin. Because, by providing practical support like providing hot meals, cooking, cleaning, buying food, toiletries, clothes or whatever, you are basically "enabling" the person you care about to continue blithely on feeding their habit while you run around after them getting the shit end of the stick....
I used to be a substance-misuse support worker. I know all of this. I know that certain things are frowned upon. I "enable" my boyfriend anyway. Because I love him and I know that at present he struggles to do these things for himself.
I'm not prepared to let him lie around under a filthy duvet because I'm not supposed to do the laundry. Or watch him go hungry because he's too sick or weak to make himself a sandwich. I don't want the flat where he lives and where I spend my spare time to be a shit-tip. So I make sure that when I am around that these things get done. Am I enabling him? Yes. Am I happy about that? Not really.....no. But I know that at present and for as long as I stay with him, then I'm just going to roll with that.
I get angry with him. Frustrated. Upset....because I want him to be well and he isn't. I wish things were different. Because he was sober when I met him the second time around. He seemed to be doing ok. But then he went to the shop and bought vodka and now he is anything but. That was two months ago.
I went to see him on Tuesday. He said he was low. But what he actually meant was that he was drunk. He had been for days. Since I walked out on him Thursday in fact. He denied it of course....even though he could barely stand. I didn't bat an eyelid. It's becoming the norm. The place was a pig sty. Thats becoming the norm too. Broken glass on the floor....food everywhere. Sandwhich crusts mainly. He can't make much else.
I cooked us a roast. "Enabled" him again. He didn't want to eat it in front of me.....which in alcohol speak interpretes into "I can't pick up my knife and fork". I left him to it and went and sat in the kitchen where I ate mine. His went in the bin. Minus the gravy. That was all over the duvet. Which bought a whole new meaning to the term "damp patch" when we had to sleep under it later.
I couldn't be arsed to tell him about it. He wouldn't care anyway. I'll wash it in the morning.....with everything else that I picked up off the floor earlier.
Because that's what us "Enablers" do. Well.....I did. Because actually I'm not doing this anymore. See, when I scraped his plate into the bin earlier, I saw our relationship in there...right there at the bottom. Hidden under the scraps. Which deep down is all that he's offering me....and that's on a good day. On nights like tonight, you don't want to know.
I'm worth more than scraps. Plus I've decided that I don't like cleaning up sick.
So I'm leaving him. In fact I left him on Wednesday. I packed all my things and I caught the train back. I just don't think he's noticed yet.
Which is in itself "enabling". It enables me for a change. It enables me to move on from this and to not look back. Because even I am not that stupid....
#flogging a dead horse
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