We were married on August 6, 1990. It was a civil ceremony in a park. We were surrounded by our AA group. It was a nice wedding. I don't know if I was ever happier.
Within the first month, he slapped me across the face, but I thought it was just a strange fluke, certainly not in character for this man. We moved back to the United States... and he began the 3 year residency before he became a citizen... but I am getting ahead of myself.
One month and one day after we were married, his two teenage sons from Australia came to visit. We lived in a beautiful house on a lake. One thing I never thought about as we rented it was that the master bedroom was a loft - open to the living area downstairs. I didn't know his sons would be living with us. And I certainly could have never imagined two teenage boys would dislike me - hate me even. I had never met a kid previous to this who didn't just love me. I left my husband for the first time in October. But came back because I realized I had no where to go.
It got worse. It got a lot worse. On May 3, I wrote in my journal that as I was preparing dinner for these people, one of the kids said "64% of Americans are overweight, doesn't that make you feel better?" I don't remember this, thank God. I just wrote it in my journal. And just found it now and want to go kick some Aussie ass. The next day I wrote "I won't write that it can't get any worse than this, that's just tempting fate, isn't it?" oh dear. I knew.
I had been hit in the face with a metal thermos, I had two fingers broken. I can't even catalog the injuries, it is just ridiculous. And of all the things I lost, the belief that I could never be a battered woman was probably the most painful. I came to understand why they stay. It is impossible to understand until you have experienced it, you can speculate if you would care to, it is easy to, but believe me when I tell you that it is so much more complex than you could ever imagine if you have not had the experience.
Tonight in my journal I found a little piece of paper with a journal entry from May 29, 1991. I had walked away from the house on May 28. With nothing but the clothes on my back. We lived on a lake in a remote area, I had no idea how I would get out of there. He had disabled my car. I just walked up the hill and got on the road, and some young kid who had no idea what kind of dangerous situation he was inserting himself into picked me up. He drove me to the hospital. I had a broken wrist. I remember that. (I remembered that today when I had to come home at 9 a.m. to get my wrist brace which I have to wear from time to time because my wrist will just go all funky and hurt like hell... I thought it was ironic that it happened today when I knew I was going to be writing this. ) I had forgotten some of the details until I read this little slip of paper tonight part of which said "I have a footprint bruise on my butt. And a broken wrist. But as I was rolling across the living room floor it occurred to me that I was through, I'd had enough of B. That, of course, was mixed with the certainty that I was not going to get out of that house alive. But I did."
I stayed at one of those wonderful houses with 3 or 4 alcoholics living in it. They let me stay on the couch. I didn't want to go back to Denver with a cast on my arm, so I stayed until it was removed. I think I also needed the time to just be with nice people and decompress from a year that was largely hell. I also started smoking again the moment I hit the door of that house. That first Camel cigarette might have been the single best sensual experience I have ever had, all the cigarettes that followed were not so wonderful...
Yesterday I said I was going to write about this AA group in this small town in northern Washington. If not for that group, I think I would have died. My husband's sponsor used to say "if you haven't got a sponsor and you haven't got a home group, you might be in something, but it probably isn't AA." There was such structure and accountability there. As you came into a meeting, you signed in with your name, your sobriety date, and your home group. Which meant you really should have a sobriety date and a home group. Most everyone did.
I became the treasurer of my group. I got a service position with the PI committee which I really enjoyed. I was busy with AA stuff. It was good. It was hard to leave that group, but I knew I had to go back home to Denver.
On my 7th birthday I was on the road to Denver. I couldn't have been happier. I was going back home. I felt safe. The long nightmare was over... or so I thought.
From my journal July 24, 1991: "Thank you God, seven years of continuous sobriety. I'm closer by about 1300 miles to Denver. I'm at the Motel 6 in Casper, Wyoming. I went to a meeting in Sheridan tonight. I just couldn't not go to a meeting on my birthday. God, it appears I need a lot of help. Please give me the strength to get through this time. It's scary."