I Loved an Alcoholic

So, I figured I would give you guys the rundown on what prompted this blog.  This posting won’t be funny, like you probably expected; then again, breaking up with your boyfriend because he’s an alcoholic who took you for granted for 3 ½ years, is no fun. Despite the timing, the break-up itself isn’t the reason for this blog, it’s the fact that now I find myself with free time because I only have to take care of myself and nobody else.  For those of you in similar situations, I hope this particular posting makes you feel understood.

From the beginning, my relationship with Nash was about trying to position a round peg into a square hole (no sexual pun intended).  We were polar opposites.  I was 27 and he was 23.  He struggled to finish high school; I was college educated.  He had a small and uncomplicated list of interests composed of surfing, skateboarding and watching TV.  Period.  My interests were in politics, art, history, medicine, music and languages.  We only had surfing in common and that was it.  Still, in my post-divorce frame of mind, I figured that simple was good because, at my age, smart guys were going places and I wasn’t much of a follower.  I had my own trail to bushwhack and I didn’t want to risk falling for someone who could muddle or confuse me with his own demanding, and ambitious, goals, which is what had happened in my marriage.  Nash and I didn’t talk much.  We cuddled a lot and had sex and that was good enough.  In the meantime I got my intellectual stimulation from books and friends.  In retrospect, I probably was gullible, but I truly believed his ostensibly uncomplicated demeanor would make having a relationship easier.  But it turns out I’m the type of person who can love a house plant if I give it a proper name and personify it.  I am that naïve.

What made me fall for Nash was that he was emotionally transparent and affectionate.  After he finally seduced me (took him a whole month) he told me plainly:  “I want you to be my woman.”  You see, I have relationship Asperger’s, a very accurate, albeit fictitious disorder, where I am blunt and unafraid to express my true feelings – be they platonic or otherwise.  I expect reciprocation of my penchant for direct communication because I am impatient and I don’t like assuming or guessing what the other person is thinking, which I find to be a general waste of time.  As long as we both lay our cards on the table in a reasonably civil manner, I feel, in my naiveté, that I can safely proceed according to the established rules we have both agreed upon.  Now, some men are understandably terrified of this intensity of honesty, which is ironic considering they all resoundingly agree — at some secret man convention, or wherever they commune and bang on drums — that women have trouble communicating their feelings.  But I find that when presented with honestly-expressed emotions, some men leave me watching a trail of dust and others are bewitched, as if struck dumb by a curare-tipped dart.  I don’t care for the wimps.  My motto is:  Take me as I am or fuck you.  Nash came across as someone who knew what he wanted and it seemed like a relationship founded on open communication might not be a problem for his philistine aesthetic.

Three months after we met, we moved together from Los Angeles to San Diego to surf better waves and to wrest our souls from the gridlocked traffic and barbarous commutes to our respective jobs.  I didn’t say I was a genius.  I am a right-brained gut-thinker.  My gut was satisfied with tacos that day and that was the day we decided to move, all right?!

Once I found a new job in San Diego, I retreated into my all-work, no-play bubble, but the red flags soon started popping up like prairie dogs in a drought.  It started out small.  I would wake up at 3 a.m. to the muffled hiss of a beer can being opened in the kitchen, or I would find beer cans in the bathtub.  Any time of day, there was always a cold beer in his hand.  Having taken a leisurely approach to finding work, Nash, being unemployed, had more time to watch TV and guzzle beer.  He paced himself for a while, but then he started binging, disappearing for entire nights and not answering my phone calls, only to materialize in the mornings drunk on his ass as I was heading off to work.  Soon, the physical toll of his drinking started manifesting itself.  Drinking to excess, he would black out and couldn’t recall conversations or events.  He was sickly all the time with bowel irritations and vomiting.  Then, he started asking for rent money, at which point I became so annoyed I started tracking his consumption.  He was averaging 15 beers a day; and, with the increased drinking, he became more irritable and moody.  On a nightly basis I came home to a pig-sty of a house, a refrigerator empty of food, and, eventually, inevitably, to an affectionless boyfriend because he had already passed out by 8:00 pm.

One of my biggest regrets was the complete loss of my sexual drive.  It’s hard to feel sexy and want to get naked with your live-in boyfriend when, 10 minutes prior to demanding sex, he calls me a cunt and describes my vagina as “nasty.”  Of course, I suppose to some men a vagina can look like a gaping sore if he’s in the throes of the blue Johnnies from over-imbibition.  I’ve also met men who covet vaginas, attending to them, and worshipping them, as if they were rare orchids.  Furthermore, as someone who considers men as potential progenitors of a new generation that I would mother, the idea of being impregnated with a sickly baby that might turn out to have macrocephaly or retardation was also doing a number on my already freighted psyche.  Ultimately, my biological need to be with a healthy mate suitable for reproductive purposes made Nash a poor genetic selection.  Not that I wanted a baby, but I’m programmed to look for a healthy mate who could keep up with my active lifestyle.

Why did I wait so long before leaving him?  Simple!  I thought I could change him, heal him, nurse him back to health, and one day he would appear, reborn, the young man I had fallen in love with.  Ah, the delusions of a woman!  Truth be told, his lifestyle wasn’t sustainable and I couldn’t fathom how he could rationally continue to live like a pustule.  It also irked me that I had invested so much in the relationship and had lowered my bar pitifully low for how I expected to be treated, that I felt that surely he would see the writing on the beer-stained walls and stop bumping his head on it!  I’m educated, I cook, and I take care of the people who matter to me, and yet I was in a constant state of incomprehension how callously I was being treated.  Surely he knew how special I was?  He eventually did … after I left.

Leaving wasn’t the hard part.  I came home after a particularly exhausting day to the usual — a house of slacked-jawed surfer dudes in a tribal-like semi-circle around a totemistic pyramid of beer cans.  I became “Argentinean bat shit angry,” as my friend characterizes it.  Picture me muttering obscenities under my breath while cleaning up beer cans.  It’s actually very dishearteningly un-Argentinean.  The contradictory voices that had kept me too confused to make a move sooner finally violently collided in agreement that it was time to move on.  I had a new job, new goals, and no time for drama.  A good friend offered me refuge, in exchange for taking care of her insane cat while she gallivanted around the country.  I left Nash and was out of the house within a week of the kind offer.

Our break up did both of us good.  Gone were the daily shouting matches — and that alone was a blessing!  The stressed induced psoriasis break-out that I developed on my tongue disappeared.  Without me to pay his rent and provide him with false encouragement, Nash drank more, smoked more, and consumed more cocaine than ever before, which was exactly what I feared he would do.  I tried to prepare myself for his imminent suicide, but, thankfully, two weeks later he checked himself into rehab.  He admitted to me afterward:  “Whenever you were upset, I would think if what I could say to get you to calm down knowing that I had no intention of following through on my promise.”  The entire time I thought I was helping him be more responsible by providing emotional support to help him treat his addiction, but the reality was I was preventing him from hitting rock-bottom and getting treatment sooner.  That is what an enabler unwittingly does.

I moved to my own place and enjoyed the opportunity for solitude and reflection.  My goal was to try to spend a year alone discovering myself … whatever that means.  Anyway, being alone became quickly boring.  I’m an introvert and I like my space, but I enjoy the open exchange of ideas with people.  I wanted to meet new people, explore new hobbies, and see if I could remove the cobwebs from my vagina and remind her that it’s not just there for peeing or bleeding. I promised myself to compromise no longer; my next relationship has to be intellectually stimulating, physically engaging, and imbued in honesty.

So, I joined Tinder.

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One thought on “I Loved an Alcoholic

  1. Pingback: Better be eatin’ than lonesome. | [my] lessons in reality

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