Once you enter into the life of an addict, you are there. Not only are you there, but you might often find that you are no longer here.
Here is where only you are. But, you are no longer. A barnacle, superglued to the other, not sucking life but giving, your purpose becomes it.
Every time you try to extract, the primordial ooze of regret suffocates you like a stagnant oil spill. You are sure that, without your presence, the addict’s return to dissolution will be far worse than the time before, perhaps tragically. So, you return, just to make the sludge drop off before you shower.
And, then you go to Al Anon. Al Anon is where everybody goes who can’t leave. And, they sit around, and follow all the rules of the meeting, and bite their lips during the droners and chew their tongues when somebody cries out for an answer. And, when it is finally your turn, you know full well that everybody else is either biting it or chewing it but you adopt the mantle of denial just long enough to say your piece so that your face doesn’t come off your head and melt under the lights.
Being at Al Anon serves one purpose. It helps you accept that, from within your particular demographic, there are between nine and twenty two other hapless partners and spouses whose lives are as inextricably caught as yours is.
There are two ways people exit these meetings. They either bolt out as quickly as they arrived, or linger interminably, usually gathered around the latest newcomer. When you are the newcomer, you experience a few minutes of comfort realizing that the rules of the meeting can be bent just long enough for some actual human contact.
Thirty eight minutes later, legs crossed in a standing position, you still haven’t shaken off the last, most desperate proselytizer, the one whose week was by far the most traumatic. That one really needs you. Without you, at least in symbol, the meeting will have been meaningless.
When you finally get into your car, momentary relief that you can finally go floods your being. And, this going is of the highest value. By leaving the meeting, you have performed the only true act of departure you’ve made all week.
And, you drive away.
At this point, you have two choices.
You can keep driving. Or, you can return to the arms of the addict, who waits anxiously for you.
And, everybody knows where you will go.
You go back. You go there, because that is where you are. Even when you leave, you are still there.
There you are.
© 4/4/18 Ruth Ann Scanzillo All rights those of the author, whose story it is, and whose name appears above this line. Thank you.