In just under two weeks, Pandora will have been dead for six months, and it was about two weeks before she died that I found myself on the fast-track to self-destruction. I was, in fact, out of control. We were both killing ourselves. She got there first. The events leading up to her death tell a poignant tale of what can happen when two addictive personalities encounter alcohol. A formidable enemy of society, alcohol is of and by itself is a very good thing. However, like many of the things that man has created, it has a dark side that many have experienced. Therefore, I will attempt to limit the scope of this exposť to some of the warning signs that were obviously ignored.
There was a time when Pandy and I weren't 'addicted'.... Or so we told ourselves and others. But looking back honestly, that was never the case. And the truth be known, it still isn't the case. My prayer is that seeing the truth in writing - black and white - will give me more strength and help me to resolve a number of very uncomfortable emotions. However, of one thing I am now certain. No one can help a person who 'enjoys' their addiction. In fact, when two such people meet, and find that they are attracted to each other, they should turn around and run away as fast as possible.
The first, and most obvious warning sign was that both of us recognized that the other had an addiction, and we were not ashamed to talk about it at length. During our first few dates, we 'justified' our behavioral problems to each other in terms that we both found acceptable. We established 'ground rules'. We actually found great comfort in the knowledge that 'someone else' had suffered a similar past. And on that 'comfort' a sexual relationship quickly developed. Truth be known, we were both already committed to someone else.
The second warning sign was that we were both willing to lie to those we supposedly 'loved' in order to spend 'quality time' together. Typically, that time was spent enjoying our addictions. It was 'our time away from the rest of the world', and we were 'in love'. What we were in love with was our 'accepted' addictions. What we 'gave' each other was intense sexual satisfaction that made us feel 'great'. It was like we were 'one' with each other.
The third warning sign involves the 'sacrifices' we were both willing to make in order to be together. In a healthy relationship, this sign indicates a shared desire to forego certain aspects of life in the hopes of building a brighter future together. In an unhealthy relationship, it indicates a deep desire to 'escape' further into the addiction. In my case, the 'supreme sacrifice' which 'proved my love' for her involved divorcing my wife of twenty-one years. Honestly, my wife and I knew I was doing her a big favor by 'letting her go' without a fuss. She moved on to a successful career. I stayed where I had been for years. In Pandora's case, the 'sacrifice' was agreeing to stop sleeping with other men.
The fourth warning sign came when we each found proof that we were lying to each other and excused the behavior. At that point, we both stopped trusting each other even though the trust we did have was convoluted at best. It was also at that point that the relationship started moving in a different direction. This happened because our only 'true friend' was our addiction. In our case, and over the years following the fourth sign, the relationship twisted through in a number of rather strange and even bizarre events. Though we rationalized that these events would help bring back the trust that was lost, they were actually new behavioral problems which made it 'easier' to justify getting even deeper into our addiction.
The fifth warning sign, which we both sadly recognized, was that 'the games' we were playing were no longer 'fun' for both of us.
The sixth warning sign was that we both kept playing games with 'other' people. We were two cheaters cheating on each other.
The seventh warning sign, which we noticed a number of times, was that our health was beginning to fail.
The eighth warning sign was that we justified not getting help by convincing ourselves and each other that doing so would make life a drag. As far as we were concerned, no one had the right to tell us what to do or how to live. Sadly, we weren't living, we were actually dying.
On February 4, 2003, Pandora died here at home by herself after suffering another severe asthma attack. She was surrounded only by empty bottles of whiskey. I had been taken to the hospital a day earlier after suffering a complete nervous breakdown while watching her refuse medical help and listening to pleas from the police and the EMTs whom I had called to come and save her life. She couldn't breathe. Sadly, due to state laws, their hands were tied because she was conscious and seemed to them to be aware of what she was doing. So they left her lying on the kitchen floor and closed the front door. She was found the next day by her best girlfriend.
So, why is this exposť titled A Why Wait A Year? The answer is pretty simple. A year is enough time to discover many truths about a potential life partner.
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