I left my now-weekly Al-Anon meeting, hands shaking and mind racing as I drove toward his house around 9 PM. I tried to get out of my head by blasting music and singing along, but it didn’t work. I was a ball of nerves as I texted him to say I would be there soon… And even though my mind told me that he wasn’t going to check the message, that I’d be left sitting alone outside his house (which has happened before), my heart told me to go. Just go. See what happens. Take another chance. He’s worth the chance. I’d told him earlier that evening I was coming over after the meeting, but I’m not the type to just show up, so I wasn’t sure he even took me seriously. But I was, and am, serious.
I don’t know why I am still going to the Al-Anon group, but I am. I started going there about 14 weeks ago, and have surprisingly only missed one week. I made a few connections there that make me feel accountable to go back, so I have been. I am not totally sold on the steps or everything the program says, but parts of it do make sense. And the biggest aspect isn’t the actual step or literature, for me it’s just the sense of not being alone. It’s hearing other people talk about what they’re going through, or have been through, and realizing that SO many people have gone through the same thing. (not just in the situation with him, but a lot regarding my mom). Either way, it’s comforting.
I really started going so I’d have one day a week, for one hour, that I could sit in silence in a confined space that wasn’t my cave of an apartment, and think about him. And me. And us. I send him good vibes. Think about what I want to say. What I want to do. I sit there and listen to it all, hoping that one of these times, someone will say something that will give me a lightbulb moment, where I know exactly what to do or say. I haven’t had that moment yet, but there have been little moments of wisdom or comfort I’ve tucked into my pocket… Other times I sit there and have this moment of dread, this moment of panic, because there are just so many people who have someone that died from their addiction, and it’s so hard to listen to, and know there’s nothing anyone could have done. You always wish you could, but you can’t. I keep my butt planted in that seat every week because I’m scared. I feel helpless, and hopeless, and worried that something bad will happen… and I will have no one. If I at least had the group, a group of people who have been through it.. then maybe somehow I’d be able to cope. I doubt it, but maybe. Is this a good enough reason as to why I keep going back? Because I don’t know what the fuck else to do?
I never told him I was going. Until tonight. I don’t even know why I said it. I didn’t even want him to know. He didn’t have a good experience with AA himself this time last year, and I don’t know if he’s in the space where he’d want to get help, and I didn’t want him to think I was going to try and pull some kind of intervention or spring AA talk on him. I just am not going for that reason, and though I am not hiding it from him, I don’t talk to him enough for it to ever have come up… Until today.
He’s still been messaging me randomly every other day or so… sometimes earlier than other times (like 6 or 7 pm, versus midnight or later), but it’s only been one or two messages, and then he disappears. He will ask what I’m up to, which he usually asks before inviting me over… but then never responded after I replied. Other times he will just say hey, or ask how I’m doing, and then go silent. I don’t understand it, but my thought was that he may have sent me those messages from bed and fell asleep or passed out shortly after… or perhaps just got distracted (which isn’t as good an excuse, because he could at least say goodnight or something). But it just keeps happening.
Last night I was pretty sure we were going to hang out, but after a fairly lengthy chat, he fell silent again, and didn’t read my messages. Before bed, I’d sent him a message that said we needed to hang out soon, and to let me know when was good for him… I received a reply from him this evening around 7 PM, just as I was getting ready for my regular Al-Anon meeting. His reply? “We really shouldn’t.”
And there it is. The reason I don’t ask him to hang out. The reason I am scared to initiate contact. Why I leave it to whenever he initiates… Because there’s a 50% chance that the response will be “we shouldn’t see each other anymore”, rather than “yeah, tuesday at 8 works great for me.” (let’s be real, that last response has never been uttered. We don’t plan things in advance like that. But I digress. I’ll either get a “come over, I can’t wait to see you” or “we should stop talking”. There is no in-between.)
So every time I send him a message, my fingers go a little numb and my hands shake a bit and my pulse quickens… Because I don’t know which it will be. It’s like standing at the roulette table with the last of your savings at stake, and praying for black but fearing it’ll land on red. If it lands on red, my life will be over. If it lands on black, the dream is alive for one more day.
I’m only living my life one day at a time now. Days that go by where we don’t speak, or days where he only says hello and nothing else, are the best I can expect… because at least he’s still here, and he hasn’t completely forgotten about me yet… it’s not over. There’s still time for me to get it right. To find the perfect thing to say. For the medication to kick in so I’m not so scared to send him messages or go to his house or be more assertive. For me to go to another meeting and wait for that ah-hah moment. (I’m an atheist, and although it’s not a religious group, I would still take a fucking RELIGIOUS AWAKENING over what I have now, which is nearly nothing. A frightened and fragile hope. I’m so desperate I’m in the back row praying for a fucking stigmata, anything that will give me a sign and some direction and some ability to make this right.)
But nothing ever really comes. No awakenings. no ah-hah’s. The medication makes me sick but otherwise doesn’t seem to be working. In fact, it may be making things worse, I’m quite sure I’m more depressed now than I was when I started them a couple months ago, but that could just be circumstantial… I’m not giving up on them yet, because I am literally that desperate for help. I’d be fine if they completely changed my personality. Anything to make me someone else.
…After he says we shouldn’t hang out, he says “hey” and then tries to call me on facebook messenger. I panic. Sheer panic. I didn’t answer the call because I was on my laptop in the bathroom getting ready and couldn’t figure it out and got way too nervous. This isn’t because it was him, it’s just the reaction I’d give if anyone tried to call me without notice - I’m not kidding when I say I’m an anxious little shit.
Anyway, so I apologize for not answering and ask if he needs to talk, to which he replies “nevermind” “ignore me”.
I tell him I will never ignore him.
I tell him that I want to talk to him, and would like to come over to chat. I say that I am just on my way out the door to a meeting, but will stop by his place on my way back, in one hour, at 8:30 PM. I tell him that if he wants, I could leave and just skip the meeting and come to his place now.
He disregards the rest and just asks about the kind of meeting.
I decide to just tell him, because there’s no reason not to. There was just never any reason TO tell him before. If he followed my social media, he would know about it anyway… So I tell him Al-Anon. It’s kinda like AA.
He says “good. You do you.”
He doesn’t say anything else.
I send him another message on my way out the door telling him if he wanted to meet up now just send me a message and I’ll meet him, otherwise I’d be there after the meeting was out at 8:30. He checked the message and didn’t reply.
I got to the meeting a few minutes late, and was so nervous to go in there late… but I did it anyway and it was fine. But I sat there wondering if he was messaging me, if he was upset about me saying I was going to a meeting, if he wanted to see me now and thought better of it because I said I was going to the meeting.... a thousand thoughts were swirling through my head, but around 15 minutes in, I felt a little calmer. The leader this week wanted to go around the room to talk, instead of just waiting for people to speak. As soon as it was my turn, I introduced myself and immediately felt tears spring up in my eyes and I could barely talk because of the lump in my throat. I’ve been going to this meeting for almost 4 months, and have only ever cried once, and it wasn’t when I was talking, it was when listening to someone else. But I guess today it was just a little too fresh. I’ve never talked to him that close to a meeting and everything just was too much. I ended up saying some stuff. I got something out. A few people cried and someone brought me tissues. I felt myself shaking the entire meeting. The actual step and readings didn’t speak to me at all, but hearing others talk and getting support from other people who have been through it was calming and made me feel a little better.
At least, better enough to follow through with my message to him about stopping by after the meeting.
So I drive there. I message him to tell him I’m there, and that I want to talk. He doesn’t read it or respond, and I tell him I will wait a while outside and smoke, and I’d really like it if he’d come outside, or let me know and I’d come in. No response. He didn’t read it.
I’ve said it a million times, I’m not a door-knocker. Especially if it’s night time. It was past 9 at this point, and while I’m sure others wouldn’t care at all and would just knock unannounced, I can’t do that. If it was JUST his house, I would. But I think he should know that’s my boundary by now. Not that it matters much, because the times I have actually gone to his door or window, he hasn’t answered and I’ve had to let myself in. But those were times he had INVITED me, this time I had just announced I was coming, and didn’t get a confirmation, so I couldn’t make myself try and knock down his door.
Confession… I waited almost an hour. I told him in my message i’d wait “like 10 minutes”, but I waited a lot longer. I was down the street from his house, so I couldn’t see his house from where I sat from inside my car… but I smoked a joint and didn’t feel in my right mind to drive, so I closed my eyes and listened to music for a bit while I waited and my mind cleared. But when he didn’t ever check the message, I knew he had to be asleep or intentionally ignoring me. If he had been otherwise occupied he would have seen in that amount of time… so, I sent him one last message saying I was heading home and if he wanted to see me, let me know and I’d come back because I miss him terribly. Something like that.
And I went home. And here I sit. I haven’t even undressed or done anything, just sat down and started typing this… I have been putting off writing here, but when I was sitting outside his house I decided I am going to give him the URL to this journal. I don’t know what else to do, so I just want to write out the final things I haven’t written lately, and just get it over with. I am at a complete loss because I don’t know how to get him to talk to me, so maybe if he can read what’s been on my mind, it will kind of be like talking to him. Except a hell of a lot more eloquent (and rambly). I never know what to say in person.
I don’t know what the hell to do. I’ve been trying and just failing and failing and I wish I was good enough. Don’t tell me that I am, because I know I’m not in many ways… but I’m trying. I swear I’m trying.
“So, you head for home. What else? But still, you can’t forget that you’re alone. An outsider.”
Last updated September 19, 2019