Busy Bee Busyness

The white screen of death, I call it.

It opens up like a vacuum inviting you to enter your mediocre prose with a sneer.

I’ve avoided it like the plague for the past month (plus a bit eek). That said, I have been extremely busy. It’s almost the end of March and I’m on my first holiday since April of last year. No, I’m not somewhere vacuous and sunny. I’m actually sitting at my desk dossier-ing up. I did preface this hermitude with a trip down to the beach with some friends. There’s never any drama with this group so while we ran around, had a few and literally split our sides with laughter – I actually felt really relaxed and recouped. It was lovely. Have some pictures.

 

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This four month old puppy lived next door. (Yes, that’s a pup.) She leapt up onto the fence when I was bringing beers back to the beach. The most joyful thing ever.
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The past two months have been pretty game-changing though. This year I’m now officially part of the  PRIA’s NEPG committee and attending all their new events including a recent lovely tour of Porter Novelli. The ‘tour’ was pretty funny as the lovely girl running it had interviewed me for Clemenger only a few months prior, K who was helping her I knew from PRINKS and Brad, the only employee left after hours, I had worked with at Undertow last November. Bit of a reunion, rather. PN has done some great work including their recent campaign City of Melbourne: Study Melbourne “My Story”. Interactivity and immersion are big new factors in engagement for campaigns. I certainly could not make something to this level for EFFM but given how they explained it, bar the web development of the app itself, it could easily have fit to a limited budget. I love a good campaign when I can tell it is easily a 1/10th of an advertising one and with double the reach and effect. (Think of Ogilvy’s ‘Share a Coke’ campaign?)  Regardless, it’s a fantastic idea and a lovely snapshot of Melbourne. As I remarked in the meeting, it’s totally the Melbourne I’d want to live in. (Although really, we’re lying about the weather.)

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At the same time,  the Environmental Film Festival Melbourne (EFFM) has started up again. Our team now comprises of twenty people. I’ve been promoted to Media Coordinator running a proper Engagement team. It’s exciting this year to not only be more focused in my work but to be overseeing others. We’re already pretty ahead of the other teams but as is always the same with PR – proactivity is key. We’ve got a shoot with Penny Brown, winner of last year’s award with “Farmland not Gaslands” on Saturday and Tish and I have really started building up a proper media list. The one thing I’ve been noticing is the drop-off since last year, not with us but with the journalists I was originally in contact with. It’s one thing to hear about the slowly crumbling world of journalism but it’s another to see for yourself only editors now listed on editorial teams Many contributors work for free and for multiple publications now in order to gain any sort of traction in a dying industry. It’s depressing all around. I’m also hounded by advertising sales. I truly wish they’d leave me alone. I literally can’t buy ANYTHING anyway till the program comes out.

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Otherwise, I’ve been working *the other other job* and dating and spending time with friends and just generally enjoying the industry of life. A lot of my time actually goes to working on a industry database that is collating information of each agency in order to tailor an application for them. I’ve finished my infographic resume and am starting on the long form while also taking a considerate amount of time on the database itself. I’ll make sure to post everything once I’ve laboriously ascertained a job including my strategy but well, we’ll see when that happens.

I feel terrible I haven’t even spent ten minutes on my novel this week but as it seems everything right now that’s happening in my life is circling around my work work and not my writing passion. And yet, somehow, that’s a good thing. Writing is an intensely emotional process. I relive my life’s happiness and sadness to push out the writing in my head and fingertips. It can be both emotionally draining and put your body into a place it doesn’t want to be. Being busy both socially and industriously in terms of my career has been the best thing for the past two months mentally and everything really seems to be going so well. I’m pretty happy and proud. It’s like a curse has been lifted and my body feels like a lecherous cancer has been cut out. I’m starting to feel healthy again.

I promise more posts more frequently. But as of now – exercise time! After that weekend away, it destroyed my diet!

xx

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Drunk in Love: Part Two: Hooked on a Feeling

I should thank my addict ex as the only reason I have the motivation to write this right now is because of him. It’s also ironic that he’s doing this in my birthday week when the rest of my exes/old flames have been in contact either wishing me Happy Birthdays and/or hoping to catch up.

Early this morning I received a few messages from him lambasting me about some tweet I had written that had nothing whatsoever to do with him. Perhaps it was done jovially but it’s hard to believe that when everything done by him is either very calculated or very cruel. We ended up going back and forth, though I was loathe to, and it’s dragged on. Strangely, I don’t feel much of anything about it bar boredom and frustration that he’s still trying to control my behaviour: “Stop writing about me.: As if what I’m doing slanders his very good name. Even if I wanted to, he already beats me to the punch – he defames himself quite easily. That said, the lack of feeling is a consequence of many years of this but it wasn’t always this way – he used to make me feel many things.

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It’s classic behaviour of narcissists, sociopaths and domestic abusers to control their victims. “Don’t write about me.” “Don’t tell your sister what happened!” “Why would you tell your friends – you have me?” I don’t mean physically restrain, I mean emotionally and mentally constrict. I’ve had a girlfriend, whose boyfriend she’s STILL with, would call her up every hour while we were together to check on her and freak out if she didn’t get back to him which, let’s be real, is impossible behaviour if you’re doing a Lord of the Rings marathon. Then there are girlfriends with imposed curfews (“He likes to sleep with me!” reads as “He doesn’t trust me spending a night anywhere else,”) or mates with girlfriends who don’t like me hanging out with them because I’m “single”. Yeah, because now he’s with someone I’m just going to lust after a mate I consider a brother? No senso mako.

The addict didn’t do the above with me – funnily enough, he didn’t mind if I went out all night with a guy mate and I certainly didn’t have a curfew. He was at least great in those ways. BUT what he did control me with was his own abusive past plus the alcohol itself. I mentioned in the previous post that I had to stay in contact if he was drinking and an entire night could be upturned in an hour if he had decided to lose himself in the bottom of a bottle of Jamesons. That was the control. I never knew what was going to happen if he started to drink like playing a game of chess blindfolded. I could feel out my own pieces and where they were but I was blind as to where his were and where they were moving. He also hated me talking to anyone else about his behaviour – especially my first boyfriend Ben. He detested Ben and I observed, was jealous and still is in a way, of our incredible relationship. Obviously, he would be as it was the complete polar opposite to his first. He would shit all over Ben, try to turn me against him or ban him from my life, scream at me and guilt me if I left his apartment in tears and spoke to Ben on the phone to calm down. Perhaps Ben was the kind of guy that the addict wanted to be – they made the same amount of money and both had career success but Ben had an incredibly loving, supporting family, an enormous group of friends from high school and university, was generous and sweet and always kind and everyone who met him loved him.

I mean, even I’m jealous of Ben so…

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Being controlled like that makes one feel isolated, sad, devalued but most of all alone. I felt alone all the time which is strange to say when you’re in a relationship because, if you’re in a good one as I should know, you suddenly never feel alone because you always have someone on your hip now cheering you on and cuddling you at night. But in a way, that’s what the addict wants – the addict doesn’t want things to change and he wants to extract the same things he always has out of his victims whether it’s love, money or essentials. To do that, he has to make the victim feel alone – sometimes as if they’re the only one that can help the addict. I’ve seen this plenty on Intervention when an addict isolates a parent or sibling who it is hardest upon to finally stand up to the addict and say, “No more.”

There is a finite amount of energy you have – I realised this as I’m feeling crazy exhausted now that I don’t have to deal with this “drama” every week or so. It’s catching up to me; all these exhausted weekends and weekdays dealing with his depression, fetching him things, feeding his emotional turmoil with late nights and suicide watches and angry spats. Exhaustion is a by-product of the impact addicts have in the lives of their victims. You can see it in every face of a parent who has a child addicted to drugs – a kind of world-weariness they shouldn’t have at 40 as if they’ve just been through an internment camp and seen too much. Some of them have – dragging their child away from heroin needles, restraining them from drug inducing seizures or just plain angry screaming at each other. I’ll be clear, I saw it in the face of the addict’s mother and a part of me felt inexplicable sympathy for her. Though I’ve been dealing with this for a few years, his exes and prior friends for more; it was his mother who had been dealing with this for the longest time. Her exhaustion knows no end – I can walk away and so many other have but she cannot. It’s her child and I can’t imagine the guilt and self-blame you would have for yourself knowing that this is who your child is and no matter what have done – it’s likely you can’t stop it. That’s draining if not exhausting in itself.

The addict remarked to me when we were on shaky but good terms before he left that he felt like his mother had given up on him. No relationship between a child and parent is perfect simply because we must accept that both parent and child are human beings and each are capable of being flawed and though a mother cares, she is still her own person. Mine certainly is  but within hours of his mother arriving to help him move, as had been the plan for the whole weekend, they were soon screaming at each other, the addict was drinking into oblivion and she left without moving a box. They didn’t come back. I wasn’t there and so cannot say it was strictly the addict’s fault (I fault his mother for some truly terrible things she has done to me) but perhaps the entire relationship is at fault? As exhausted as she is, she cannot give up on her son but as trying as he is, he needs to make it easier on her. I mentioned it a few times on our discussion of the situation – she has her own problems and she’s been through a lot with you. If anyone needs a break, it’s her. But again, it comes down to the addict – if he had his shit together and wasn’t drinking himself stupid every night – it wouldn’t have been a stressful weekend, his mother wouldn’t be anxiety-ridden over him and that fight would likely have never happened. But, as is the case with addicts, it’s always the fault of others and their exhaustion over you is their own problem.

Man, I’m just exhausted writing this article. Dealing with the addict in any capacity makes me yawn.

In general, I’m fairly sensitive. I reminisced in another post that I hate rejection. I mean, nobody does which is why even when I’m out and a guy hits on me, I generally always try to put them down nicely. Or even if I’m telling them off – I do it nicely. That’s mostly to avoid the potential physical drama that might happen from very drunk guys which is a WHOLE OTHER SEXIST ISSUE but let’s refocus. I’m a sensitive gal – that doesn’t mean I cry at the drop of a hat but I’m more emotionally attune to the feelings in a room, I’m hyperaware of them than others are. It doesn’t make for the easiest time but my close friends always find me super empathetic and easy to talk to.

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It’s not fabulous when you’re in a relationship with an addict who likes to prey on your sensitivities via their need for things OR what they want when you refuse to get it for them. Luckily, my ex has worn me down with his insensitivity that has led me to become very desensitised. I’ll use today’s messages in fact:

“Lul. Okay! Bye. Read your article by the way. Classy. Maybe don’t drunk text people when you’re calling others out on being addicts.”

(I should clarify, I DID drunk text him but it wasn’t the usual “I’m drunk, let’s hook up” or “I still love you, slag.” It was simply: “Such a waste,” which to be fair I still stick by. It was such a waste of a friendship and relationship. No qualms with me sending that. Also, I sent this on Saturday morning which is now three mornings ago.) 

Generally, I guess I’d be upset. I’d be upset that he’s laughing at me (lul), his general sarcastic condescending tone, insulting me by saying that my article explicating my feelings on his horrific behaviour to me was “Classy,” and then reprimanding me. Pushing a lot of buttons.

I felt nothing when I read it. This is why:

“Lul. Okay! Bye.”  He sent the whole thing back so fast. All I took for the whole tone and “lul”, which he uses wayyyy too often especially when he’s really offended, is an exaggerated effort to pretend it didn’t hurt when it does. I learned this over time but when he writes a certain way, as he does in this, I know I’ve really hurt him but he tries to pretend like it hasn’t even touched him a little bit because he’s always got to be in control and cool.

– Read your article by the way. Classy.” Typical. Stalks me even though I’ve blocked him and I know he would have. I’m not dumb, I’m well aware that the kind of abusive addict he is – he would have kept tabs on me. There’s nothing anywhere on my social media etc to link us since I wiped him clean knowing what he’s like. But of course, I realise the only reason he’s insulting my work which isn’t written terribly or anything, is to dissuade me from writing more. Fat chance, bro. It’s my life and I’ll write about the terrible woman-beater who existed in it for three years.

– Also, “Classy” is a terrible insult. I never try to act classy ever – I’m inelegant, crude and silly. Exactly how I enjoy writing. Something like “Provincial,” would have hurt far worse.

– Maybe don’t drunk text people when you’re calling others out on being addicts.” I was the least offended by this because I fully accept what I did and realised it was stupid of me which I had admitted to in the previous message. (“Clearly a mistake.”) However, the hilarious hypocrisy in this was that I had recieved a messaged from him at 5 am in the morning, which he said had been a “reply” to my message three mornings earlier. The message? A link to an emo Eminem video.

Perhaps don’t text people back if they’ve offended you so…especially with lame-ass Eminem videos? I know he was drunk at that point because he used to get drunk-emo-wasted, cry about his ex-girlfriend, play Eminem videos especially:

Yeah….yeah…

This would be a nice segue onto my next subsequent feeling A – N – G – E – R!!

But the way I became desensitised was to know what lay behind the manipulations and to analyse it rationally. As soon as I realised that everything he said was exemplary of his own inner anger, depression and insecurities – his insults and accusations were dust. Almost like as a child realising why a bully is torturing you is probably because their parents are beating and verbally abusing them at home. Things my ex would accuse me: being unclean, stupid, a drunk, a drug addict, disgusting, not funny, wrong all the time etc. Thinking about it though – I was NONE of those things and he was ALL of those things. It’s weirdly textbook and I’m mad at myself for not realising it earlier. But that’s the point, addicts try to normalise their behaviour (if you accuse me of it, I’ll accuse you of it and then you can’t argue that the behaviour is norm/out of bounds) through insults and distraction. I still find it funny that a guy who kept a box of vomit in his cupboard for over a year called me unclean for leaving some strands of hair in the bathroom.

I wasn’t an angry person before I met the addict, I had a quick temper that would spark but I think by that point I had come to grips with it with very painstaking patience learned in customer service. Unfortunately that all unravelled thanks to constant devaluation, ebbed patience with his behaviour and a hate for him that grew and grew in parallel to the love and care. Anger is a horrible feeling and I see a lot of it everyday in people whether it’s just a customer taking it out on hospitality staff, a mother to a slightly misbehaving child or a drunk boyfriend to his confused, hurt girlfriend. It always comes from a dark place of mistreatment and conditioning and it passes like a disease. Some people have a better capacity for handling than others but for the most part, it’s a hard thing to handle.

I won’t go into too much detail but I’ve spent a lot of time trying to heal the wounds that my anger and frustration at him have made. Mother’s often get the same wounds as their frustration at their child blisters and boils despite the bandages that they apply. The wounds begin with the behaviour but even after the the behaviour stops – they stay infected. This is, I suppose, because it’s now ingrained in you to mistrust, hate and be wary of anyone else who enters into your life and possibly at the unfairness of others – in my case, couples – who have it together and seem extraordinarily happy while you worked your butt off to have come away with nothing but a bitterness and grudge against the very existence of love and faith.

Time is one of those magical things that heals it and new good love is another but both are hard as one takes well, time and the other can be even harder to find than waiting for Father Time to smooth his gravelled hands over the gangrenous limb. Other than that, it’s just mindfulness and an awareness that at least you’re aware. The addict isn’t and their sadness and anger that they’re medicating with their drug-of-choice will last for a much longer time and get worse with every passing day that they don’t face up to it like you are. I try everyday to do better and everyday it gets subdued and I heal. Despite my anger and sadness, I cannot imagine the kind that lives in the addict. I think of my anger like The Babadook – a shadow behind me always like a coat on a hook of the wall but the addict’s is gigantic, enormous, a slovenly Tesuo at the end of Akira. Or Cthulhu.

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I just had fun trying to say that word like ten times. I still prefer how I enunciate. KATH-THUL-HU.

It does get unleashed sometimes and this brings me to the last potential meeting between us before he left forever…let’s hope.

After the disastrous Monday, he texted me denying he had been drunk then finally coming around to admitting he was and apologising. I let it go and wished him well. He asked if we could meet, I said fine but there wasn’t much time. On Wed night, he texted saying he was close by to where I lived and would like to meet up EVEN offering to come by my way if that would make it easier. I said, no it’s fine, I can drive to him but would need to meet up later as I finished work late on Thursdays. He said it was fine, HE HAD NO PLANS.

Thursday morning, I get a call but I’m at work so don’t answer. I reply back asking what’s up but don’t hear back till 4.30 pm.

“Nothing serious. I should be back in ____ around 8:30 – 9 if you wanted to catch up then?”

“I’ll be at work till 10. You going out?”

“Nope.”

“Staying back late at work?”

No reply.

“Ok well I’ll be at yours around 10.30?”

“Ok.”

“You ok?”

“Yeah, I’m fine – just catching up with some old friends.”

Cool. Well if you’re not up for it later, all good. Let me know.”

~

I finish work, go home, change, text him that I’m on way. Arrive. Call. Phone is off. Go to door. Knock, speak to his mate and his mate’s friend. They have no idea where the addict is but they do know that he was meeting me tonight. We all try to call him. Nothing.

I lost it. Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me for the fucking hundreth thousandth time.

“So, I’m here. You’re not, you’re phone’s off. ___ and his mate have no idea where you are and no one can contact you. This is absolutely ridiculous.

You’re out and drunk and this is the last chance you get to see me before you go and you fucked it up. AGAIN. You cannot be trusted to be respectful, reliable and not an absolute fuck up to others.”

At about 12.43 am:

“Why did you go there? My phone ran out of battery.”

Why did I go there? Please peruse the messages above, did I not clarify that we were meeting, did you not ask if we were meeting, did you not give me a time when you’d be back. I knew then he was wasted because only when he’s wasted does he completely forget plans made only a few hours previous. Just like on Monday.

Two days later:

“I have nothing to be sorry for, nothing was confirmed and I didn’t even knew you were coming over because my phone ran out of battery. Wasn’t any intention to cause you a problem.”

The insanity of this is well…insane. Again, he asked if we were meeting, I said distinctly “10.30?” and he OKAYED it. I then texted him STRAIGHT AFTER telling him to TEXT ME if he wasn’t able to. And then to say he had NOTHING to be sorry for. Like inconveniencing someone, not letting them know if you’re going to be late let alone not even going to show up… My blood still boils. The absolutely delusion and inept accountability of the addict when he screws with others is sick.

He did eventually send this: “Either way, I didn’t want any bad blood between us and I am sorry for not seeing you. It was honestly not what I planned and if I had any battery I would have called to tell you I was going to be back later.”

At this point, I don’t care. If this had been any of my friends, let’s say Ben, I wouldn’t care. There’s no track record of this nor would there be a roundabout to getting an apology. Ben would have straight up apologised, tried to make it up by seeing me the next day (because seeing me before he leaves forever would be a big deal to your so-called “best friend”) but also he never would have missed the date in the first place WITHOUT LETTING ME KNOW three hours before it.

But this is the addict and he will continually do this to everyone and not care. And he especially did this to me either as some kind of trumped up pay-back for Monday night or just because he’s an A-grade asshole who literally doesn’t care about shanking anyone because friendships and relationships don’t matter until he needs money or cuddling.

Altogether, accumulated in all their complexities and densities of feeling leads to sadness…this is the utmost common feeling that comes of abusive relationships with addicts who manipulate, try you and basically erase any goodwill and belief you have in other human beings. The world is sad enough but it is my belief that addicts just want to immerse you in their own so they themselves don’t feel so alone about being so down.

What’s terrible that I have often observed that it is the most loving, most vulnerable and people with most potential to do good and be good that get sucked into the black hole of emotional death.

More of that in the next post…

xx

 

 

Why It’s Okay to Be Single, Fat and Alone this Valentine’s Day

We’re all strong, confident women who do not need to smoke…

There is a common religious belief in certain Pan-Asian tribes that a female without babies, perky breasts or a hulking brute of a husband by her thirtieth living year is completely useless waste of ether. Alright, alright – I’m kidding and attempting a terrible bid to make you laugh and look, oh how your mouth quirks in disgust!

Why is it okay to be dreadfully single, not quite as thin as you wanted and desperately alone and vulnerable? It’s not, it can’t be, why why why??

Because you’re completely ignoring the other factors. Valentine’s Day isn’t, as ads everywhere are trying to sell, about the one-on-one romantic love – it can just be about love. I might be super unattractive, unloved by the one and eating chocolate in my bed come this Saturday night while whispering sweet nothings to my Moose. (No, I don’t still sleep with a stuffed animal – that would be childish and I am, if anything, a perfect exemplar of adulthood.)

It doesn’t mean I’m not loved and loved right.

Valentine’s Day for the past two years has been hellish. It doesn’t help that in the month of February I’m reminded that I’m turning one year older inching closer and closer to death’s door but I’ve also had to deal with V-day. V-day – kinda good if you’re with someone, satan’s backside if you’re not. I’ve had some interesting ones – guy I was seeing showed up to my door and serenaded me for an hour, I showed up to a former close friend’s door as she was single at the time and serenaded her with a chocolate rose on her porch etc. My first boyfriend and I were never in the same state at the time but we always did something special. But yes, the last two years made me hate it. I was with my second “boyfriend” for the first and while I had prepared a beautiful picnic feast and dressed up, my ex literally did and got me nothing. And then, of course, last year I was recoiling from him breaking my poor wretched black as coal heart. The only two Valentines we ever spent with each other and well, they were trash.

Being with someone isn’t the be-all and end-all and I can imagine that not all couples who are romantically linked will be enjoying or even celebrating it. It’s also a celebration for singles too in the potential collaboration of love. I wrote an article for Everguide year before last on Valentines events around Melbourne and honestly, there’s many more for singles to do than couples. I kid you not. Also, you’re going to save a chunk of cashola too.

There’s too much pressure for V-day – getting a present, organising a celebration, looking your best. And, oh god, the money. Sometimes I think I’m richest when I’m single because all my $$$ gets spent/loaned to the only person I should care about – moi. I’m already stressed out for preparations for my birthday so god, please, I’m glad I’m doing what I’m doing this weekend but that doesn’t mean I’m not celebrating it on my own or recognising the love that I do have.

Yesterday, let’s count it, I counselled one of my exes about his depression, advised a close guy mate on where to take his ex-now-again-girlfriend on V-day (Supergraph, archery, gun range), watched the latest #FreshOffTheBoat with my first boyfriend, Ben and advised another close mate on whether or not he should break up with his girlfriend. “Mel, do you know you’re really smart?” PAUSE. LONGER PAUSE. THIS PAUSE IS NOW IMPREGNATED.”Yes, I know that.”

Not to mention made an actual date for today so…

Look, for being a fat, single, lonely girl – I’m not doing too bad. There is something quite accomplished and singular about ascertaining the enormous love and trust of your mates . If you have, trust that you’re on the right path. Not to mention that people trust my judgement even with my past of okay, ONCE, dating a complete a-hole. Assess yourself correctly, not by how you look, or your job, or by how many girls/guys want to jump on it. Think about it – how many people do you know would totally tell you genuinely “You’re the best, dude. I love you,”?

I’m sure, lots. If you’ve assessed none, then you’re my a-hole ex likely.

I’m not desperate for a “date” on Valentines nor am I being extra hard on myself for not being perfectly sorted out at this venture. (Next year tho…yikes) It’s been well over a year since I had a super serious boyfriend and though I am always harshly judged for it (by girls, guys always hi-five me) being those three things come Valentines Day isn’t so bad when you really look at it. In the end, despite them, I’m super, totally still loved and that’s awesome.

My plans, anyway, are to go to Supergraph with a girlfriend and buy some art – Pimms in hand. I couldn’t imagine a better way to spend it than enjoying the fun of a new friendship. Vive le friend-romance!

What’s yours?

xx

PS: My plans were originally to go see Fifty Shades of Abuse but had to be postponed – till next week and a daunting recap/review!

 

Drunk In Love: Part One: The Signs Your Loved One’s An Addict

Coming out of a relationship with an addict was like breaking out of a nightmare when you lucidly realise you’re inside one. This experience happened so much to me as a child I still remember it despite the easy evaporation of that Land of Nod reverie. It wouldn’t be a nightmare immediately but I would sense the change in tone and atmosphere of the dream and then it would feel like something was coming, slowly stalking me in the dark shadows encroaching upon the misty landscape. Panic would set in and I would will myself, pinch myself, try to break the walls and facade, ala The Labyrinth, of wherever I was. You feel like you’re pulling yourself up and through something like heavily weighted water and since I can’t swim – it would almost be impossible sometimes as that “thing” got closer and closer.

I’d make it out but the terrifying feelings would remain, persisting well into the morning of the real world.

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This isn’t a post about giving advice but recognising the familiarity with which co-dependents share in the experience. If only addicts would realise what they put their loved ones through whether they are past or current. Watching a relapse on a recent episode of #RHOBH and having the most recent episodes happen to me sparked a motivation in me to make a post. There’s a lot of talk regarding how addiction can be overcome and addicts can make it out alive but what about all the people they affect? There are many in my addict’s arsenal whose lives will be changed negatively forever because of him – it’s not just me. More often as I lose any care I once had for the addict, I wonder more about the consequences and state of these people. Are they okay? How did they survive?

PART ONE – SIGNS

I haven’t dealt with much addiction in my life. My parents were not addicts, up to a few years ago none of my friends had been addicts although I remember accusing my first boyfriend Ben of being an alcoholic because he could drink an entire bottle of vodka and still be relatively sober. I used the term because obviously I had no true experience of it much like you would over-exaggeratedly call someone psycho when they act bizarre the one time. Ben wasn’t an addict though – he drank like most Australians on the weekend but maintained many friends, a well-paying job, fantastic reputation as a wonderful and reliable friend and still does to me to this day.

An alcoholic, however, if we’re going to be technical is someone who suffers from alcoholism which is the compulsive and uncontrolled abuse of ethanol usually to the “detriment of the drinker’s health, personal relationships and social standing” not to mention career and psychological health. It’s strange to type that but also have first-hand experience of the disintegration of someone’s entire being with alcohol.

When the addict drank, at first I didn’t notice because living in Australia – drinking, unfortunately, is a big part of the culture. People will buy beer and wine most nights even during the week and because I’m not a heavy drinker myself and never will be; I always knew that people could drink and consume far more than me without it being a problem. A drinking culture is not a good thing but it’s pretty status quo here. But unlike most of my other friends who drink or drink to have fun/get drunk – the addict would drink all the time, any time in extremely copious amounts (an entire bottle plus beer, several bottles of wine etc)  to cope, to deal with boredom but the more noticeable factor would be the way he would change. 

(Full episode – start at 25:52)

“What is wrong with her? We were fine on the car road over. Clearly, she’s had a few drinks and she’s going to the dark side.” – Kyle, referring to Brandi as she gets drunk, RHOBH

The change I would always refer to Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde-ism and the addict’s split personality disorder that would only show face once a lot of alcohol had been consumed. The manner would change almost immediately from loving and thoughtful to belligerent, cruel, crude, ugly and utterly bizarre. Words would slur, thoughts would jump from one area to another without logic or follow-through and most importantly there was an extreme loss of short term memory. For example one night I would borrow keys to go to the toilet and within five minutes, the addict would be calling me angrily demanding to know why I had stolen his keys and blocked him from going inside his house. He had no memory of the conversation, had apparently engaged in bizarre lewd behaviour within those few moments and was suddenly so furiously angry at me that he physically assaulted me on the street when I attempted to leave in peace. Earlier that night he had come to collect and surprise me at my house because I had been upset which had been a sweet move but was completely destroyed by his descent into buying too many drinks, insulting the really nice bartender, ignoring me when I had asked him repeatedly and coaxingly to stop – all of which cumulated into the above behaviour when I tried to take him home to sleep.

This Mr Hyde-ism was a terrifying state to live in. We would make plans to catch up but if I turned up an hour later due to an emergency or because I had missed a train – the addict would have drank a bottle of whatever and turned into a furious monster with no conception that we had made plans and demand I leave. I learned quickly to always stay in contact with them to either adjust my behaviour, prepare myself or keep them “sober” with reminders that I would be there soon. I also had to adapt to the fact that plans could be cancelled at any moment and any frustrated feeling I attempted to express would result in him screaming at me, insulting me till I cried, telling me to get the fuck out or embarrassing me horrifyingly in public while refusing to return my personal things. I also learned to be quiet or cajolingly persuasive as if I were speaking to a small child in an attempt to get them to pick a carrot over a lollipop. (“How about we have some water and go home? Let’s not get another drink, okaay”) Looking back on it now as well as other over-zealous protective behaviours, it’s ridiculous for anyone let alone the addict’s parents to be forced to monitor and worry like that. Despite his constant admittances that he recognised his problem and wanted to change it, the addict refused to follow through and see a therapist (he believed he was better than them and knew better – classic narcissist behaviour patterns), go back on medication or consider rehab as an option (“I’m not an alcoholic! You’re insane.”) Worse still, despite many professions to do better and ascertain forgiveness from me, the behaviour continued again and again as if his behaviour had never been wrong in the first place. I soon began to realise there was a strong inner block of denial that could not be scaled despite his delusory words to the opposite.

It’s a common thing to be in denial and not necessarily a bad thing. I’m in denial about how good I look tonight, she’s in denial about her progress towards weight loss, he’s in denial about his potential career advancements. Denial can help us through the day when things are lost and our confidence is down. But true insistent denial can be as terrible and stupid as irrational thinking or illogical falsifications to prove a point – I’ve heard too many stories about parents being in denial about what’s happening to their child in front of them (bullying, sexual assault by their partner, suicide and depression) and it’s the same thing here. The denial isn’t just coming from the addict themselves but all their loved ones. It’s easier to live in the fantasy than realise that someone you love and care about is in serious trouble because a part of you hopes maybe that they’re not part of the statistic or that things aren’t really that bad? They really are, though, I realised specifically when a friend of mine met him who worked nearby and actually said she remembered him out of her hundreds of customers because he would come in frequently very drunk and make disgusting remarks to the waitstaff on hand. Of course, I never mentioned it to him nor would he remember but if that’s the unknowing reputation you’re developing, that’s horrific.

The addict’s family and friends seem to be in serious denial about his state or enjoy enabling his addictions by urging him on to drink or engage in other illegal activities. It’s truly miserable that those who attempt to really press forward with getting him help have been shut out. I suppose it’s easier to deny it and believe otherwise when someone seems to have it together with a rented house and seemingly impressive career. But there are always cracks and at that point, you’re choosing to ignore the situation and not get them help when they need it. But why rock the boat? No good deed goes unpunished. When I have attempted to do it, I’ve been dealt with a number of severe consequences like as I’ve said above – being told to leave, being screamed at and insulted as “punishment” or being railed at for “abusing” him because I’ve “instantiated” (read: reminded) him of people who have come before who have been hurt by the same problems and issues that are now hurting me because of his denial and his compulsive need to drink.

It’s a line few people are willing to cross – where’s the border between becoming too overly investigated in someone where it’s to the detriment of yourself and the relationship? It’s a line you deal with in every friendship and relationship. You dislike a friend’s boyfriend – do you talk about it with them and risk the possibility of them ditching you for the boyfriend or do you play along? I’ll admit I shy away from becoming involved now because I have learned that people like the addict for cannot be trusted with any tangent from their own thinking but real friends should do and in response, friends shouldn’t punish someone for expressing how they feel. I personally never have – one time a friend of me told me she felt like we were growing apart and felt stupid telling me and I immediately told her I didn’t feel that way but would make more effort and did. I can’t say that was reciprocated a few years later.

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The number of times the addict has come to me whether in the depressive state of his alcoholism or in a sobering moment and told me: “I’m so sorry for my shit,” or “I know things have to change,” would go into the thousands but like a moment of clarity that today’s the day I’m going to change my life and diet forever; it’s always only temporary before out comes the chocolate and sneaky cheeseburger. There is no true acceptance of the problem if the addict’s behaviour is continual and becomes worse and worse and the denial becomes stronger and stronger. Recently, after being let down by the addict again due to drinking, I sent him this as an explanation as to why I was not coming over to help him move his belongings:

“I’ve already stated this above which you can read again when you’re sober. We agreed originally for me to help you out on Friday – but you got wasted, called me completely off your head and as you said the next day it was good I didn’t come. Your choice. I’m deciding NOT to come again because you’ve done the same thing. I’m not exerting myself to help someone out who can’t stick to plans or act like an adult. I’m not discussing this further. You are a child and you need to learn the proper behaviour towards your friends and to those who you want help from. Have a good night and good luck with moving.”

His replies:

“I’ll find my way out of this place. I love you but we’re different people.” – WTF?

“Thanks for the insults.”

It’s funny cause you’re like omgs he’s wasted when you’ve spent countless hours with me drunk and drunk yourself.”

It’s extremely amazing to me that along with the general crazy and denial of addicts comes a lot of “buck passing”. This was completely relevant to this conversation but had happened many times before. Let me detail this specifically:

Friday:  Addict asked me to come over and help take some of his stuff as he was moving. I agreed and changed my plans so that I could come over – I had originally said 7 which addict agreed to. He texted me around 5 to ask if I was still coming over, I texted back saying it would have to be later as I had some stuff to do. Around 8 – 9, he called me and I realised immediately he was wasted. There was no point talking to him as he was speaking in tongues and couldn’t focus coherently on anything I was saying. I decided not to go. I was peeved that he had done this again but I let it go.

Sat – Sun: Checked in on him, he asked me now to come on Monday night. I agreed half-heartedly as I would be busy that day with work, driving a friend to the airport after a big weekend and it was Australia Day.

Monday: He checked in with me to see if I was still coming. I said I wasn’t feeling well but he kept pushing it so I kowtowed. He sent me a few nice messages telling me to buck up, that it would be okay. I told him I’d be there after work. I was at work at the time and came back to my phone an hour later to find a multitude of messages, missed calls etc. I answered another missed call of his despite texting him earlier that I was busy at work and couldn’t speak. I answered and again he was extremely wasted. He was barely coherent and couldn’t remember anything that had passed between us (like I was busy at work and couldn’t talk) and didn’t realise I was at work. I hung up, texted him that I wasn’t coming as he had done the same thing again. After I left work – the missed calls and messages continued well into the early morning of the next day with the same basic bullshit.

I need your help. You said you were going to take this art.”

Why are you doing this to me? I’m fucked up as, just stop!” (I hadn’t replied, this was just trying to get me to reply)

“I need you to take this shit you said you would, either tomorrow or else it’s going in the tip.”

“I’m not [sic]drink and I can’t sleep because I have to get up at 5am tomorrow to move out, now with a bunch of stuff I have to move because I relied on someone that bailed on me?”

There’s lots more but it’s quite obvious how manipulative he is trying by guilting and passing the blame buck to me. Nothing is his fault – it’s everyone else’s that he couldn’t get his shit organised, it’s my fault I didn’t live up to my promise to do him a favor (but he can do and act however he pleases to me) and now it’s my fault he has to suffer. It’s not his for CHOOSING to get drunk or CHOOSING to insult me or CHOOSING to act like a child instead of apologising (as he should have) and rearranging to make plans when he was sober the next day (which could have happened as I had the day off). This doesn’t occur to the addict as they will wheedle and cajole and use any manipulative technique necessary to get what they when they want it. No, it didn’t work and I didn’t show up because the simple truth is if you expect someone to do you a favor (drive you somewhere, help you move, check something) – don’t be disrespectful full stop but also don’t be a dick to them by engaging in behaviour you know destroyed your relationship. But that doesn’t occur to him because he’s in the throes of the drug and like a child expects to get his own way because like most addicts – he’s an expert manipulator of people and need to help.


I guess what happened a few days later then is my fault, really but more of that in the next post…

There’s lots of signs as well as abuse of substances although that can often be hidden but these were the most prevalent in any relationship with the addict. I noticed them in the relationships I saw of other addicts – it was strong in Kim in the #RHOBH episodes – Kim denies, passes the buck and the distinct rude change in personality as evidenced by Lisa R’s ride with her to Malibu was exactly what I dealt with and how I felt every time the addict warped into Mr Hyde. It feels good to know I’m not alone in the experience but I’m also horrified that so many others must experience this of their dearest ones.

Post Two will be on what I wanted to focus on which is the subsequent effect, which I’ve touched on briefly here, dealing with their addiction does to the co-dependents. More soon…

xx