Saturday, July 31, 2004

Answer to dsreneau...Surprise! I was in your shoes!

Dear Dsreneau,

  I was going to write something else in my journal tonight, but after reading your comment, I knew that answering  you, is exactly what you need.  I hope that I can somewhat help you, in what I say, and maybe can help others, too.

  First , I would like to thank-you for reading my journal, and in sharing your thoughts, feelings and emotions with us.  It is a brave woman to do that.  It is not always easy to devulge our inner thoughts and life.

  What you talk about, is what I lived with....Crack...No, not Jimmy, but before I ever knew Jimmy, I lived with a man who was not only an alcoholic, but also a crack addict.....Let me explain....

 Despite everything,  he was a very good man..I lived with him for 28 years. Why?  Simply because he refused to marry me...He was a professor and taught in some of the best universities in our country. He was not a "street person," but he was a refined man.  He had a doctorate from Columbia University, and taught International Business....he was a highly intelligent may say a scholar.  In our better years, we traveled round the world...vacation after after country...28 countries in lived for many years in Manhattan........You name it, we did it all.  I was 20 years old and naive when we first were together...He was 35, and to me, a "man of the world!"  After all, he drank scotch on the rocks...Johnny Walker Black and Chevas Regal, and smoked Dunhill Cigarettes! ....something I was never exposed to in my disiplined Italian household, where I was not even allowed to go out with a girlfriend, no less a  "man"...Heaven forbid!.....And at the age of 19, I had already gone to college, and was a Registered Nurse, and had a full-time job and career.

  And so, he was an alcoholic. He re-habilatated in the late 1980's , and I was there by his side , every step of the way...I went to AA meetings, and did the whole program with him.  However, I was shocked when around 8 years later, when we lived in Las Vegas, I stumbled upon him drinking again...and this time, it was secretive drinking at home...and it was vodka, so I didn't smell it.   And now, I will fastforward, and go to the 1990's....Yes, I will devulge to you, and everyone...the biggest secret I ever held within me.....He was a crack addict..........No one knew....not his family or friends...and of course not his students....And as for me, I lived in a the biggest hell-hole that no one could ever imagine....He became violent...lost weight..he looked so "gaunt," people thought he had aids.....he was uncontrollable. ..violent....I didn't know what to do or where to go.  In the beginning, I begged him not to do this to himself and me...I pleaded, "you are too old to take drugs."  I was paying all the bills and rent.  And then, I bought a house, and had the mortgage to pay.  I had my nursing license to worry about. At that time, I was so stupid and naive, I didn't even know exactly what it was he was smoking...He would never tell me, and he kept me as far away from his "drug-life" as he could...I never saw him when he bought the stuff...I only knew when the phone calls came in, that the "stuff" was ready.  When I threatened the people on the phone, that I was going to report them to the cops, I was told to be quiet, or else I would have my brains shot out.  He said,  "stop it Fran, these people have guns and have been to prison many times.  For them to kill you is nothing for them .....And so, I remained quite.....And so the years passed and it got worse and worse........he looked different...he was wild...he threw heavy objects at my head, and one night threw a snowglobe at my face, that knocked out 2 teeth.  He would set fires continuosly....I was forever putting out fires.  I could not sleep with this maniac in the house....He just didn't know anymore what he was doing....and he still guzzled entire bottles of vodka, secretively.  His "secretive escapades" would start around 6pm , and last until he was laying on the floor knocked out.  He'd be downstairs in the kitchen, cooking....I was upstairs, resting....I would hear a big "boom." I'd run downstairs, and find him stone cold, laid out on the floor, in a stupor....I never saw the bottle, but later found lots of bottles empty....and the fire alarms in my house would go off continuosly, with me always putting out fires....And then, other nights, he would lock himself in the spare bedroom for 12 or 13 hours at a time...He would emerge at 8am....looking gaunt...twitching....He told me, "this is recreational,...all the guys do it."......and he never even told me what it was he was smoking.  And then, one day, a glass pipe, broken, rolled out from under the seat when I was driving.  I confronted him, angerly, but, like always, he had  a way of denying things...And as the years passed, I found broken glass pipes all over the house, with hundreds of lighters.......And I never told anybody, until I told Jimmy...and now I tell the world, right here...........right now..

  I lived an actual living hell...I was afraid for my life..I still remember the terrible, distinctive sweet smell of that stuff he smoked.

  I lived in fear, and told no one.  I went to work with a smile...No one knew....It reached a peak, in January 2001.  I wanted him to leave...I had the help of his friend, to convince him to leave....he did, in a confused state of mind, and went to California, to his family, who put him in Betty Ford Treatment Center....and I heard he rehabilated and is doing well. ...And so, he lost me ....I am happy he is doing well and rehabilatated.  I do not hate him, but I have a special place in my heart for him , for all the years we spent together, for the things we did, and the things I learned from him, depite his addictions.......

  He left Feb. 1, 2001, and I was blessed from above, to meet my husband, Jimmy, exactly 1 month later,  March 1, 2001....and then we married April 29, 2001............I have never been so happy in my life, being married to Jimmy, despite the fact that he had to serve his prison term....but now that it is almost all over, it doesn't even seem that bad anymore....It's just that I hated physically to stay away from Jimmy, whom I want to be with all the time.......You see, Jimmy "spoiled" me in the years we were married, and it was so hard for me not to have him with me.

  When we got married, Jimmy was the only one who understood what I had gone through...........he listened over and over again to the horrible stories, as I purged myself of the past....I had lived in total fear...a continuing nightmare...a home that turned into a "house of horrors" each and every night.  ....Every night, picking him up from the floor....making sure he was alive and breathing....coming home from work at 8am, and finding him buck-naked sitting under the kitchen table, in a daze....the list goes on and on......

  And so, if you may think my life is terrible now....well, no, it isn't!............Although Jimmy may be in prison (currently in rehab), believe it or not we have a wonderful life and marraige, and stay connected every moment of every day....Our love has only grown stronger everyday....Together we help people, and things are progressing along beautifully.  The reason Ireally write this journal, is to share my thoughts and life with people.  Hopefully to help them, somehow, to see they are not alone.  A prison wife exists in a special place in the world...she lives in an isolated bubble...totally for her husband.......she's like married, with no husband!...only phone and letters and visits.

  My advice  to you, or anyone in this situation with a crack addict, is to 'let them go."  Everyone has a choice to make and your daughter made the choice to take crack.  You can pray for her, as I will.  However, do me a favor and keep saying these 3 will help you, as it helped me..........
PEACE, HARMONY, AND BALANCE,"  That is what you want for yourself at this time.  You want to put your life in order, starting today....You will have harmony and balance in your will not drive yourself crazy with your daughter.  Start with yourself...try it for a few days....God will take care of your daughter, and guide her.  Yes, prison may be the best thing for her at this point.  In prison, she will be able to meet wonderful people who can guide her spiritually on the right paths of life.  So now, stop focusing your energy on your daughter....focus it on yourself, your life, your home..............and please write back and tell me how you are doing!..........I send my love and strength to you, and MAY GOD BLESS YOU.......And let us say a little prayer today, for all those who are addicted....that they may somehow see the "light," and be led onto the right "path"..........Please God,  help our fellow human beings, and give them the strength to find the "Way."..........FRAN



elgeiselman said...

What a blessing that you can find happieness and love depsite your life's struggles.  If your Jimmy is truly the man of God you say he is, and you are obviously blessed to be a blessing to others, God is smiling down on you both!  Even with your love and devotion to eachother that is so deep, your focus is still on helping the people of God FIRST... I am amazed.  If only all of us could love others like you and Jimmy.

crystalmoon222 said...

Dear are truly a most wonderful person!...Thank you for your kind thoughts!....I just read your profile....congratulations on becoming a nurse!  You muist be excited and happy.............I always loved hard work too.........working and meeting goals makes me happy..I 've been a nurse for 31 years, but have retired from nursing 3 years ago, due to my eyesight.  If you have any questions about nursing, I'd be happy to help you out!  I worked mainly in Orthopedics and Neuro, most of the time....also med-surg....and held management positions along the way!  I was also certified in med-surg.  I have lots of accomplishments and awards, that I gathered along the way, for example I received the "Ambassador of Courtesy Award, in Las Vegas...and I was nominated for that by one of my patients for "excellent care."
I'm also like you, and like church...I am on the baking committee and bake goodies each month for the church, and I am a "mini captain," and sell raffle tix...Yes, doing good just makes me feel good!