Rock bottom became the solid foundation
upon which I rebuilt my life after being married to and divorcing a sociopathic
Lately, when I look back over certain events in my life, it’s a lot like
watching the same scene from a movie play over and over. You know, the part
where the unsuspecting soon-to-be-victim is about to go into the
none-too-welcoming basement where the deranged ax-wielding maniac lies in wait.
It’s the scene we all watch wondering why she had to go down there in the first
place, and why isn’t she concerned by the sudden power outage and strange
noises? Why wouldn’t she go get the neighbor she just waved to seconds before,
the one who was outside watering the flowers?
We watch clue after clue slip past the victim’s senses while the ominous
music plays in the background. By the end of the scene, when she walks into the
danger that is more than obvious to everyone watching, we almost feel like she
deserved what she got for being so careless and frustratingly naïve. I mean,
what was she thinking?
And that is the question that has taken permanent residence in my thoughts
since my divorce, what was I thinking?
Taking mini-vacations in between
using is the definitive definition of a chronic drug and alcoholic
relapser. My ex-husband is one and “keep
coming back” was the constant revolving door into ER’s, psych wards, detox, recovery
and transitional housing programs, returning home for the “shame” period and
then we are off and running on his next binge, within days or a week. “One is
never enough” for him and ‘a thousand” is more in line with his addiction to
drugs, alcohol and degradation. “I’m so
sorry” is the quote of the day and “I will never do this again” is a pipe
Add to the mix that he has been
playing these “poor me, poor me, pour me another drink” and “hit me with your
best shot” for over 40 years (starting at age 12) with family, friends, spouses,
children and social service and recovery programs (at last count he had been in
21 recovery programs) and the subsequent nightmares from his consequences for
Throw in medically and
psychiatrically diagnosed sociopath, Anti-social Behavior Disorder, Impulse
Control Disorder, Bi-polar and severe social functioning ability and I had my
own version of “Nightmare on Elm Street” for four years. Wes Craven’s scripts
did not hold the horror or suspense element that being married to a sociopathic
drug addict and drunk had on my life.
His 12-step program was the count of
the steps he took between the end of my walkway and the door to the front of
the house as he banged to let me in after having been out on a week-long binge
in drug houses.
His 12-traditions were the same old
steps that he took each and every he began the vicious cycle of binging and it
became a joke in my house at the end because I had a written checklist of what
to do each time he relapsed: call the police, close the debit cards down and
report them stolen (no readily access to cash after being hit with $47,000.00
of funds missing from our accounts for drugs), buy my car back from a dope
dealer, pay off the “loans” that dope dealers made him, etc. It’s just the family tradition!
Living with a chronic relapser is
equivalent of “walking through the valley of death” on a rollercoaster that
never stops: hitting rock bottom was the
solid foundation of rebuilding my life and it was not about quitting, it was
about knowing when I had had enough.
Profile of a Sociopath
Sociopaths are masters at deception. For instance, he may have lied about
his job, finances or family. He probably did not have close ties with too many
people, as a sociopath is incapable of feeling shame, guilt or remorse.
A sociopath has little concern for another person's feelings, desires or
needs. His main purpose is to get what he wants, regardless of how it may harm
other people. He was probably very charming and charismatic, which is how a
sociopath will win over the love and affection of his target -- you. He knew
how to play the victim so that nothing was ever his fault and had a way of
twisting it around so that you believed that it was somehow your fault.
A sociopath continuously invents outrageous lies about his past experiences
and other people. If your ex really is a sociopath, you'll see a history of his
fabricated storytelling and wonder to yourself how you could have ever believed
some of those absurd lies in the first place.
Sociopathy and Drug/Alcohol Addiction: ASPD
and Substance Abuse
According to researchers at
Marquette University, fully 90 percent of all people with ASPD do abuse drugs
or alcohol. Whether officially diagnosed or not, as many as 40 to 50 percent of
all people in substance abuse treatment programs have enough ASPD symptoms to
verify an antisocial personality diagnosis. The simultaneous presence of
substance abuse and ASPD is known as comorbidity.
This term refers to the presence of
two or more health conditions, as well as interactions between those conditions
that change or intensify their effects on the body. In the case of drug and
alcohol abuse, people who also have antisocial personality disorder tend to
start abusing their substance of choice at an earlier age than people who don’t
have the disorder. In addition, substance abusers with ASPD develop serious
abuse-related problems faster than abusers without ASPD; they also develop more
damaging forms of these problems.
The Rollercoaster ride to Hell
Family members follow the same
downward spiral as an alcoholic or addict. There are 4 stages of family illness
before the family either “bottoms out” or enters recovery. The first stage is
the Concern Stage. This is the stage where family members are acting out of a
genuine concern. They are only beginning to experience the effects of alcohol
and drug abuse by a loved one. Family members at this stage have no idea what
they are up against.
The second phase is the Defense
Stage. This happens after the “first blockout” where the family members have
blocked out the reality of the situation and are going in and out of denial.
Addicts and alcoholics often experience “blackouts”, a period of time when they
have no memory of events, usually while seriously impaired or during a period
of coming off heavy alcohol or drug use.
During this stage, families are
preoccupied with the addict’s or alcoholic’s behavior. They protect the addict
by lying to other family members, employers, or to others about his behavior.
While tolerating the addict’s behavior, they feel increasingly responsible for
the family problems. The result is the “blackouts” increase, too. They can’t
remember all the negative behavior of the addict and tend to minimize the
After repeated “blackouts” comes the
Adaptation Phase. During this phase, family members try to change their own
behavior to adapt to the chemically dependent person’s behavior. This is a
critical phase that may cause family members to either become obsessed with the
addict, or they may begin to drink or use drugs themselves.
Family members may attempt to become
“the perfect person” hoping that will make the addict/alcoholic happy and
change his/her ways. It is at this time that family members may begin to feel
they are “losing their minds,” become absent minded, feel like failures, and
need medical or mental health care. They often give so much to others that they
have nothing left to take care of themselves.
Next comes the Exhaustion Phase,
when family members defend their use of intoxicant emotions, just like the
addict defends his use of drugs or alcohol. They lose their self-worth and
experience severe anxiety or depression. All excuses fail and fear rules their
lives. They have reached their “bottom.”
Just as when addicts reach their
bottom, family members must choose to admit the problem and recover, face
insanity or death. They absolutely cannot go on the way things are. When they
reach this point, family members must admit their problems and accept help in
dealing with them.
On June 20, 2014, I was totally
exhausted, hated my ex-husband for his chronic and constant lapses into drugs,
alcohol and degradation to support his habit and hit my personal rock bottom. I
had been biding my time until our lease on my home was up for renewal and he
could not come back into my residence when I called the police.
I went the big “D” route –
DIVORCE! After his 28
relapse (yes, I was an enabler and a co-dependent personality), I had
“hit the end” of this rollercoaster ride from Hell and filed for divorce and a
Protection from Abuse Order. By this
time, the police were telling me to “get a divorce” or “get a gun.” Divorce was cheaper.
Now a year later, I am in the
process of living my life to its fullest.
I realize that the emotional, mental and physical abuse, wielded like a
sword, is a thing of the past and I have a Protection from Abuse Order against
my ex-husband, effective until December 31, 2099. In truth, his addictions, his mental
instabilities, and his chronic poor choices in behaviors and actions are his
consequences alone and why? – because MY GIVE A DAMN’S BUSTED!