Tuesday, December 13, 2005

My Other Lives (part 2)

go back to part 1 as a refresher

October, 1988. I was 34 years old and had a live-in boyfriend. We'd been together for 4 years. We were both alcoholics. He was 10 years my junior (I've always been attracted to guys younger than myself). He was also a hypochondriac, HIV positive, addicted to pain meds shopping and lying. And he was a psycho. Definitely bi-polar. We had met in a gay bookstore while doing the nasty in a back room. Neither of us ever had any pretention of being monogamous. Perfect fit, eh?

I could write for hours about that relationship, but I digress.

The company I worked for sent me to Trinidad and Tobago for a short project. I would be gone for a couple of months. I was thrilled to get away from Psycho. While there I quickly discovered one of the world's great pubs. Straight, of course. Yeah, right. Not when I was there.

This initial overseas assignment turned into years of more travelling. A good part of those travels were by myself. For the next 5 years, I would spend weeks and months in port cities, living in hotels. I worked in straight environments with frequent visits by my boss. For a couple of those years, my boss and I lived together in a rental home near London. The home also served as our office outside the USA. If anyone ever suspected I was gay OR an alcoholic, they didn't let on (to me, at least). Work by day. Drink at night with the occasional sexual tryst.

I became very good at separating work from play. They were literally two different lives. They ran parallel to each other. I would often travel from London to a small port in Holland. That included the 45-minute flight to Amsterdam followed by an hour train trip north. Nearly every time I made that trip I would stay overnight in Amsterdam at a gay bathhouse. Amsterdam provided all my wants. Good bars, easily available marijuana and sex. Then I would head off to work early the next morning, no one the wiser. I did this countless times.

I've heard many times in AA meetings how we are so good at compartmentalizing our lives. That's exactly what I did.

During those last years of drinking when I had returned to Houston I tried not to show my alcoholism to my mother. When I visited her it would be in the mornings, before I began drinking for the day. On holidays and family get-togethers I rarely stayed more than a couple of hours. Had to get to the bar, ya know. I tried to hide it from Mom, but she knew. Oh yeah, she knew.

Today, I am so lucky to be able to continue making my living amends to her as a sober and responsible son. Now is when it counts. Now is when she really needs me and I am there for her. Not only do I love sobriety, I love recovery.

10 comments:

Tarun Jacob said...
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Tarun Jacob said...

The road to recovery may also beocme a road to realization. Good luck!

Hannen said...

Doesn't it feel good to really be "there" for your family. I sure enjoy it. One of the many perks of being sober.

Trudging said...

It must really wear you out always trying to be who you aren't. I am glad you can be you now.

Boston B. said...

I felt so badly while I was using b/c I knew my mother knew, I knew she knew I was lying, but I couldn't stop. Today I can look her in the eye. It feels good.

Scott W said...

"Not only do I love sobriety, I love recovery." Yeah, it shows.

Alexis said...

Wow. Thank you for Sharing (with a capitol S). Your honesty is wonderful.

Lisa said...

That was truly from your heart. It is so important that you are able to be there, sober, for your mother when she (and your sister) need you the most. I know you know that already but I have been there with ailing parents and my siblings living too far from us to help on a daily basis. You are blessed to be where you are now.

So

Kenny said...

Thank you so much for sharing. I get to know you better everyday by reading your blog.

Mary Christine said...

Life in sobriety is so good. No matter what. Thanks so much for sharing.