One Year Later

8 04 2011



ONE YEAR OF RECOVERY

I don’t want to call this a year of sobriety, because god and my friends know, it wasn’t exactly sobriety – not from substances, alcohol, outright craziness, sexual acting out, emotional roller-coasters and lots of fear and doubt – but wait, this is what a first year without the drug of my choice looks like, no?

But this year I became myself. When I walked out of my 15-year relationship/ marriage a year ago today, I was a completely different person. I was beaten down, at the end of my wits, at the end of everything.

I walked out of my husband’s mansion all the way up on Mt. Washington, away from money, power, prestige and total humiliation.

I moved into a place all the way down the hill from his gorgeous, art-filled and spacious palace into a cute little house that’s the size of his bedroom.

A year ago on this day, we returned from Robert D’s Birthday Party in Malibu and sat down to watch Madman season four. The episode was all about Don Draper’s cheating and I could not take it anymore, got up, wandered out on his magnificent terrace, overlooking all of Highland Park and San Gabriel Mountains, sank into one of his tasteful redwood outdoor chairs and started to cry. I cried like I never cried before. Payne came out, took me into his arms and the we both cried.

I realized in this moment, that the cheating would never end, no matter what he promised, swore and pleaded. I knew that if I stayed, I would have to become a character from Madman and accept that he would always have other women and cheat and lie and I could either accept that or leave.

I choose to leave. I walked up those stairs, got into my car and drove down the winding roads I’d driven thousands of times before.

I went home to my place and made a reservation at the Biltmore Hotel to end my life. I was done. 15 years of making this relationship work had led to this. I could not imagine a life without him, but the life with him was so painful, so degrading and so crazy making, that death seemed like the only place to go for peace and relieve.

I did not die. I lived and the people that came into my life at just the right moment showed me that there could be something worth living without him.

I loved this man with all of me, with all my heart, with a ferocity that made me love him even when he had stopped loving me. We had a connection and a love that was able to overcome our craziness, our fights, our constant break-ups, our doubts and fears of closeness. We shared the ugliness of our addictions and we held on to the hope that we could save each other.

I still love him. I still miss him.

But my friends who gathered around me and took my weeping calls at 2 AM and assured me that I was a person, a women, an artist, a worthwhile human being, a blossoming power to reckon with, slowly convinced me that I had a right to exist and a reason to exist and something worthwhile to contribute.

Piper, Lisa, Kateri , Rachel, Mesmera, Anne, Diana, all my friends, but most of all, Elda  – they all took over and became the cornerstones of my new life. They saved my life. And of course,  my lovely daughter, who needed a mother that was alive when she went through her own, crushing depression.

Today, I am grateful. My brain is my own brain now. I used to think and judge the world with Payne’s brain, that was negative, paranoid and, well, his brain, not mine. It was a struggle, but eventually, I got my own self back.

My own self is still a mystery to me. Allowing Payne access to my mind and the way I looked at the world was awful and ugly, but safe. Safe, in that I did not have to use my own intellect and critical thinking – he laid it all out for me – but that safety never felt right and kept me in shackles and caged.

I am Monah now. With all my flaws and talents, with all my very own demons, but it is me now I wake up to and most days, I love who I am. Just like everybody else.


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One response

8 04 2011
Jeff Bozem

A very strong statement, by a very daring and strong acrobat…….Monah you will succeed at all that you put your beautiful mind and your determination towards…..on that you can rest assured…….great writing by the way!!

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