So... Tough Love

By Jolene Jones 04/28/17

My emotional pain level is so high now I can only operate in resoluteness.

Armored heart
Jolene resorts to tough love to keep herself safe and sane.

Staggering three sheets to the wind, down the middle of the street, in broad daylight, yapping on his broken cellphone to go meet some whore in the park around the corner (for a quickie blow-job) was as good of a reason as any for me to practice some tough love. My emotional pain level so high now I can only operate in resoluteness. Plus it was on a day I had time to change the keys on my smart locks, pack up his stuff and get it in the garage. (I knew I wasn't going to ever have the guts to call the cops to get him out of the house.) So...I did it.

I have tried as much harm reduction as I know to do and Al-anon for years. I always remember reading the meditation stating no matter what, it ends up that some do stay together regardless of what has happened because they do love each other. Yep! The question of course is always....where is that line? I understand that goals other than abstinence are reasonable...housing is a big one for sure, to allow them the comfort level they need to work through other issues. People do need to learn skills to provide inner calmness when life hands highs that are too high and lows that are too low. And they need people to just listen to them.

I am ranting I know here but really this process takes a lot of time because creating good habits requires that they be done over and over. Plus...change is not a passive experience. Not only does the person have to want it...they have to believe it is possible for them first.

But I digress from my story here. A few days after the big lock-out comes the big bad drunk text. “How sick I am,” “ never try to contact him or figure out where he's staying,” and whatever, whatever, “Love Joe.”

Well, even though I thoroughly enjoy the television off and the fresher air, I grieve his absence and it is ongoing. I lie awake at night absolutely wrestling with the devil over this. Should I think about him again. Should I just start dating again? Should I this, should I that? How can I lose 40 lbs as fast as possible?

Then God gets hold of me and reminds me that he is in control and that this is a lesson. So I feel happy and grateful. I just need to take care of me and God will do the rest. I am sixty years old so I've been around this disease for a long, long time. I love Joe but he really has to figure out how to get a grip on his addictions for himself.

I can't even write this article without a good binge of sugar to power through it. It's like my clients telling me they have to take Adderall to mow a lawn. How many readers have actually had to throw a loved one out and what were the results? Joe and I have not been “boyfriend/girlfriend” since 2009 and have just lived together on and off since then. ..See my book “Dwelling.”

I knew better than to let him rent a room from me a few years ago when I attempted to start a sober house, but the house itself needed a lot of work and I knew he would do it. Numerous treatments have not proved sufficient for Joe's drug and alcohol problem. And...I still struggle with my own addictions as well. Ultimately I believe the 12-step program is divinely inspired and I will continue to find my right path there. I need to quit wallowing in my crap.

It was wrong to even live in the same house together as “just friends” because there's really no such thing. Living together is an intimate setting. I want to be married to him but he has to get his credit in order so we don't lose everything.

I have to stop feeding my emotions so I can live with myself. He may think I'm a fat ass...but I know I am. I have to live with it every day. My clothes don't fit. I die when I catch a reflection in the mirror. When I lie on my back I can hardly believe the buoyant cushion of my “Am I lying on a pillow or what?” “Jeez if each cheek were just the whole thing I'd be doing okay.”

My own 12-step OA program annoys me enough to understand how treatment programs can be such a turn-off for him. Still I do what I have to do. No program is the be all and end all.

My spirituality has grown as I persevere. And I am still at least 150 lbs under what I once weighed. So what is God telling me today? We are not perfect. We just do the best we can. We get back up and try again. And so I shall. Okay, I see there's a meeting on Saturday that looks good so I will go try it to the best of my ability unless God shows me something better.

Yesterday something came up that I did have to call Joe about. He did answer his phone and he was helpful, loving and Joe. He was clear of mind. I will continue to pray that he finds his way and I will pray to not be critical of his mistakes. I pray that I will instinctively know the right things to say. I thank God for another day and another chance to find the best way to feel my feelings and learn to live life on life's terms without becoming toxic. I am grateful to at least be communicating with him so that our collective strengths can mesh as positively as possible.

-Jolene Jones is a Substance Abuse Case Manager for a Forensic ACT Team.

Her book Dwelling is on “Goodreads” for the month of April 2017.

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