Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What it was like: Year Nine

Do you know that when I talk to people today, I call this last marriage a "brief marriage?"  I have a convenient memory.  I have mostly forgotten the details of how awful it was.  And I thank God for that, because I do not need to carry this stuff around with me.  It is a heavy load.  One which, thanks be to God, I have largely gotten rid of long ago.  I don't walk around with the anger that would maybe be understandable - if you wanted to live in understandable misery.

On August 5, 1992, I left Washington AGAIN.  I took the train.  I had my journal with me, so I wrote in my journal.  There is one memory so crystal clear to me, it is wonderful to read what I wrote in that moment and see that it is exactly the same as my memory.  I was on the train, I had salted away money for a month or more so that I had a little stash of my own money.  And with that I paid my train fare from Seattle to Denver.  I was unable to get a sleeper car on such short notice, so I was just sitting in a seat, all day and all night long.  

Here's what I wrote in my journal:  "I woke up at about 3 a.m. and felt that wonderful feeling of safeness.  There are people all around me and I am safe.  My neighbors on the train are four strange men and one strange woman, but I feel safe because there are people around me.  I actually slept more than I have for months."  By the last days in Washington, I was sleeping with my purse under the mattress, partially for quick escape, and partially because I didn't want him to steal from me.  

I got back home to Denver AGAIN.  My friends welcomed me AGAIN.  My kids were glad to have me back AGAIN.  I was back at my home group and with my sponsor.  My group elected me to be treasurer (that's a whole other story), and I was volunteering at Central Office.  I was heartbroken over the marriage AGAIN.  I had found a letter to his son he had left where I could find it that said that he should have left me years ago, but he needed me for immigration purposes... but I already knew that.  It hurt just the same.  

By October, I was getting back on my feet, and then had a set back when I needed to have a hysterectomy.  I can't believe I agreed to this, but B. said he would come and "help" me while I was recovering.  I told him he could come and stay with me for a week.  No more.  When I got home from the hospital, I saw that he had moved all of his belongings from Washington into my one bedroom apartment.  He just moved in while I was in the hospital.  It was the most sinking feeling to realize that I was so vulnerable, having just had major surgery, and here I was stuck with him AGAIN. 

And I was so stubbornly insisting that he move out.  For months.  And months.  And months.  Of misery.  And those AA people who were our neighbors started calling the police when he would start up with me.    

Some time in the spring, I decided I really needed to do something with my life, so I went to some university to take some test to see what I wanted to be when I grew up.  It came up with Medical Records as a good career choice for me.  I went immediately to scout the community college that offered an associate's degree in health information and then to the university that I had always wanted to attend... they had a bachelor's program in health information.  I wanted the bachelor's, but knew I couldn't afford it.  So I signed up with Kelly to be a temp, as a way to get back to work.  

The first job I got was at a major area hospital, in the Medical Records Department.  I couldn't believe it!  I loved it and they loved me.   It was a real major positive in my life and gave me some hope.  I stayed on that job for just short of a year.

I started going to mass regularly.  I started to see that I could be an actual real Catholic in good standing.  I went even though I wasn't considered in good standing, because I was living with a man I was not married to in the eyes of the church.  I realized that something told to me in early sobriety was true inversely as well...

"If you want to save your soul, go to church.  If you want to save your ass, go to AA."  I was sober almost 9 years, my ass was saved.  My soul needed some serious work.  I felt that the church I belonged to was my real home.  It was an incredible blessing to me.

On my 9th birthday, I wrote about a funeral I attended that day for an AA friend who had killed himself.  "I looked around and saw all these people standing around this church at my friend's funeral.  I felt surrounded by my family.  People who know me and love me.  I know them and love them  Oh, please dear God, let this not be wasted on me.  Not to let people slide right by me.  To do my best to love and care.  To tell people or show people I care about how very much I do care."  

Some other stuff that was going on during all of this... I quit smoking in November, 1991 (and amazingly enough I still have never smoked another cigarette).  I was sponsoring one young woman who was very dear to me.  

Only one more "bad" year...

11 comments:

Steve E. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve E. said...

Not at all a "bad" year. Things started to look up, but who would know, who could guess what was to come.?

Well, life on life's terms-- that's the way you've been living these days (Yr 24-5) Mary.

I hope others are beginning to breath easier about your 'years' like I am--but I'll wait for what's to come. Patience, that's a virtue? Or is it a Penance?

Thank you for your life!
S

garden-variety drunk said...

I'm not exactly sure what to write, except this is such an interesting journey to read. I feel like I'm rooting you on, even though I already know how the story ends (sort of like watching a good movie or reading a good book for a second time).

Lou said...

Really interesting!

I wish I had kept journals, the time frames are what escapes me. For instance, I can't remember if events lasted 3 months or 6 months. At least with my blog I have a record of the last year.

My "career" in the hospital started with file clerk. I can relate to you starting to find your niche.

Pam said...

Wonderful to peek inside Mary, I can feel those old feelings.

Gin said...

I am still amazed at your strength and ambition. Through it all you kept pressing forward.

Scott W said...

Glad you kept on truckin'.

Syd said...

The brief marriage sounds like it went on for a long time emotionally. I'm glad that I keep a daily journal. Maybe one day I'll be writing my story on line with as much meaning as you have written yours.

Kathy Lynne said...

It's encouraging to see "and this too shall pass..." in action....

Cat said...

The thing I like most about your journey is that it is a series of forward and back motions but always you seem to have your face heading in the right direction...This year seemed like a good one!

Ed G. said...

I had 2 "brief marriages" before sobriety - one for 6 and another for 9 years. Each seemed like an eternity (because it was) at the time...

I can't imagine the hell this must have been (in, out, confusion, mixed messages, lies, deceit) - thank God you survived it...

Blessings and aloha...