Monday, January 30, 2012

The Big Breakup: Addiction, Pain and Promise

It has been a long, long time since my last post but, in my defense, there has been a lot going on in my life lately that made it difficult to get my blogging mojo working. First and foremost, my fiance and I broke up after a little over two-and-a-half years together. After valiantly battling his addictions and being sober for nearly five years, in the last several months he began slowly replacing his old addiction with a new one to buying and reselling things on EBay in a way that I imagine is very much akin to how someone with a monstrous gambling addiction approaches the roulette tables. As innocuous as an EBay addiction may sound, the results of it were just the same as if he had been downing a bottle of vodka every night--he repeatedly spent all the household money that was earmarked and desperately needed for bills or groceries on EBay merchandise, especially silver, and isolated himself more and more in his room, slowly but surely alienating all of his friends and family, including me and his eighteen-year-old son that lived with us. While I had to sit in line at food banks to make sure the family didn’t go to bed hungry, he sat in his room and made purchase after purchase on the auctions hoping to resell for huge profits, which he never did. While I was hauling in bags of charitable people’s leftovers in hopes of stocking our pantry that became progressively more bare, he was hauling five to six packages out of the mailbox every day. As he proceeded down this path and the situation at home got more stressful, he became angry and irritable and only pursued his addiction and isolation more. 

In all honesty, I don’t think I can tell you the single thing that finally pushed me to end the relationship, but as, I suspect, it is in most cases of love gone sour, it was a mounting of a thousand little things that finally made the pain of ending it less than the pain of staying there with him, unloved, alone and carrying the entire burden of supporting the family on my shoulders while he blissfully clicked away in his room. Our boat was sinking and I felt that while I was frantically bailing water, he was drilling larger and larger holes in the hull. And because I always hate when someone tells their breakup tale as if it were entirely the other person’s fault, I will say that I was definitely culpable in not having spoken up about his behavior much sooner than I did. I hate conflict to an intense degree and so I tend to stuff things until I can’t stand the situation any more, then just move on. Perhaps if I had screamed and stomped my foot a few times, or thrown a few plates, it would have been a wakeup call for him, but I am not that woman. In my heart I know that for the future success of any relationship I may have, I MUST learn to stand up for myself more, but there is a balance to be achieved there as well--I must stand up for myself, yes, but I also must not let someone turn me into a screeching harpy simply to attempt to achieve in them a basic level of common decency.  

So I left him. I packed up my animals, (three dogs and two cats), and whatever belongings of mine could fit in my mom’s van and hightailed it back to California, to the city where I grew up. Because of my eyesight I cannot drive, but my dearest friend Angela and my mother drove for three straight days across the wastelands of west Texas and Oklahoma to come rescue me, then three straight days back with me and five animals in tow. I am much blessed and much beloved. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you want to look at it, both my friend and my mother have experienced similar breakups in their lives so we were able to commiserate the whole way home and I knew that for the first time in a long time, I was truly not alone. 

I am living at my mother’s house now until I get my feet firmly back under me again--I guess that makes me one of those “boomerang children” you hear about on the news--and between fighting feelings of loss and failure, more and more I allow myself to feel excited about the new life and possibilities I see stretched out before me. I can go back to school and, at long last finish my degree. I can go on to get my M.F.A. in creative writing--a deeply held dream of mine for many, many years. Because I am no longer supporting an addicted spendthrift, I can finally get my little epileptic dog the proper medical attention she needs. I don't have to go to bed hungry ever again or wear worn out clothes with holes in them. I have friends here and family so I need not be isolated anymore. There is a fantastically active CUUPs group in a neighboring city that promises much Pagan fun and new friends. There are writers’ groups ALL OVER THE PLACE that meet regularly, hold readings and contests, and even offer the occasional scholarship.

I took a long, circuitous path to get here, but for the first time, in a long time, I feel I have found my home. 

Blessed by the Mystery,
-M. Ashley

The artwork for today's post is actually one of my own creations from about fourteen years ago. I am no Picasso by any stretch of the imagination, but I do love making art and perhaps now I will have the time and energy to pursue that once again as well. 


  1. You are a strong woman, and any decision like that is hard - especially if it is the right decision. It sounds like things are looking up for you, and while you continue to take your life back things will only get better! ♥♥

    Also, don't feel you have to apologize for not blogging. This is your blog, you do what you need to do! You and your family (even fur family) come first!

  2. You've been through quite a bit, so it's understandable that blogging was the least of your priorities. Feel what you need to feel, and do what you need to do.

    *Hugs* and best of luck on your new journey!

  3. As I've always said, we control how we look at life. We can see negativity or positivity. You seem to be looking at this as an adventure and a way of making positive changes. Good for you. I know that things will work out in the best possible way for you.

  4. You are far stronger than you think, my friend. I always sensed that about you, but now I see it too. In all that school and writing and making new friends and making ends meet, do remember to take some time out to care for your OWN Health and Well-being.