“The ingenuity of self-deception is inexhaustible.”
I haven’t had the will to write these past few days but see that it is necessary if I want to face the truth. I discovered that my partner B has been using again. Even after I bought him expensive text books and a backpack for his study, paid for his cancelled and rescheduled doctors fees as well as all of the other daily grind payments. My retrenchment payout, that we have been living off since November last year, will dry up by the time I am due to give birth.
Why did I think things had improved? – He had been exercising regularly, swimming, riding his bike, quitting smoking. However, during his bike rides into the CBD, only 20 minutes ride away, he has been scoring, using and then riding home.
I was devastated, again. Since the truth has been discovered, he has continued to use on a daily or every two day basis (this is moderate for him compared to when he is in full swing). I cried but did not feel the fear that my whole world was going to crash down. I did send some vile messages to him regarding his capacity for fatherhood and the short and long-term damage that he was inflicting on his son (who lives part of the time, with his junkie ex-partner and her junkie partner). Things along the line of he was determining his son’s own junkie destiny, a child lives what they learn and learns what they live.
I knew that put-downs were only going to exacerbate his feelings of self loathing. So on each occasion, I would express my disappointment through my tears but try not to go on with criticism or ultimatums for an extended period. On a positve note, he did actually tell the truth each time I asked whether he was stoned. This is an improvement because it is the lying that has created such suspicion and distrust from me in the past. I have tried to encourage him to tell me when he considering scoring, as it happens but he confessed that he is fighting those thoughts all of the time and we would be discussing nothing else.
We have communicated about it frequently, I think in a way, we both have wanted to pretend it hasn’t been happening as he has been attempting to continue on functioning in other ways. He cooks dinner every night when he gets home from study, he helps me keep the apartment tidy, he is an affectionate father, who spends time with his kids playing and reading every day, is generally loving, caring and supportive of me, as I struggle with depression and my pregnant joblessness.
After each time he used, I would say, nothing has changed, you will be still using by the time I have the baby, this time next year etc. He would reply, I have improved, I am trying, I will keep trying. Every day, the same mantra. One night I cracked and pointed out that I had heard this at least 500 times since we had been together and that the intention was just that. I needed to see some action, obviously wanting to change wasn’t enough. I wasn’t talking about long-term rehabilitation, I wasn’t talking a naltrexone implant, just one thing to demonstrate that he was going to try something different. His words are empty to me now, I want to see a behavioural change. Talk to me about the thoughts as they happen.
At his most recent doctors appointments, he initiated two increases in his methadone from 90mls to 110mls. Once he increases to 120 mls it will almost completely nullify any of the initial rush or high that heroin would give him, which would make its procurement worthless. Interestingly, since the new dosage has come into effect, he has said a number of times out loud, well, I guess this really is it. I gather he may have scored the last few days but not had the desired effect.
He also went back to his doctor to get a referral to see a psychologist who has specific experience with drug and alcohol addiction.
He studied every day during his holidays (despite having his son stay with us for the majority of the time) and managed to get his three assignments submitted, with only one a day late.
He has been telling me about the changes he is undergoing, as he is not going through a physical withdrawal due to the methadone increase, however, the underlying anxiety and depression is more noticeable. This week, he was nervous about returning to study after his short holiday, whether his examination and assignment results being high enough, he was anxious about his son’s behavioural difficulties and really noticed physical and anxiety symptoms, if he didn’t take his anti-depressants early in the morning. He has tried to explain to me the compulsive nature of using heroin. Once that decision had been made to score, all the other ill-effects were temporarily erased from his memory.
I am losing the fear that our relationship will entirely disintegrate if he continues to use. For the past two years, I have kicked him out many times, only to beg him to return despite what I feel is genuine ambivalence from him at the time about whether he is capable of having an adult relationship with me.
He has been telling throughout each day that he does love me, that he hates himself for what he has put me through. Now, I feel anger but it doesn’t feel like it has to be all or nothing, I am learning to understand that this addiction is a constant struggle for both the person that is fighting the addiction from the inside and the other person not using, that is fighting it from the outside. I don’t want to battle him anymore, just that bloody seemingly seductive chemical.
I am trying not to blame the dealers for supplying him, his mother for having given him money to buy it, his junkie friends ringing him up to see if he wants to score with him, his ex-partner talking about her own usage problems to him on a daily basis. It is entirely up to him whether he resists.
I have also been less accommodating regarding caring for his son on a full-time basis (due to his ex-partner’s own usage). I have said no regarding requests for money, consistently availing myself to be the key disciplinarian, nanny and chaffeur.
I went for a job about a fortnight ago, with a government organisation that monitors women’s equal employment opportunities and obligations in both government and private companies. I am 7 months pregnant and the contract was for 4.5 months. I was really confident about my ability to do the role and thought it would be a good short term experience. It would have required me to take 6 weeks off work after my caesarian as you are not allowed to drive during that period, purely for insurance reasons.
I explained that I could organise care through my family post that period and I could work from home during that first 6 weeks. Within 5 minutes, they went from being really excited about my experience to the realisation that my birth plans were not going to fit in with their peak period. The irony killed me, this agency is lobbying for flexibility for men and women in the workplace (particularly around family demands/parental leave) and paid maternity leave in Australia.
It was the first time since November that I actually gave up on getting a job before the baby was born. I have literally applied for hundreds of roles ranging from executive level (where I was pitched in my last role) to the most basic adminsitrative positions. I have received every recruitment rejection letter possible and not given up hope!
Which organisation would employ someone who was about to give birth in two months? A week later, a friend heard about a two month contract opportunity at her workplace and forwarded on my CV for their consideration. I had an interview this week and was told immediately that I could start next week. They have offered me part-time hours, on decent money and have indicated that if things work out well, that there could be further casual work this year, which might lead to a permanent opportunity. It will be working in an area of human resources that I have had little experience in – remuneration and benefits, I have transferrable skills that they will rely on and it will give me some good experience in that area as they are going through huge change in this regard and they are a global medical company, so it is out of financial services (first time for me in 10 years).
It will also take some pressure off the finances for me, I am completely debt free at the moment, (and want to stay that way), own my car outright and want to save to buy my own home one day.
My little girl has had a re-occuring, ear, nose and throat infection, so I have spent the past two weeks caring for her, treasuring my last weeks as a stay at home mum. I am due to have my other little girl in late June and she has been kicking me and rolling around in my belly. I think she has finally moved her head towards my pelvis and her feet and bum towards my ribs. The last time I was pregnant I ate much more healthier food but too much of it. This time, I have been eating all sorts of naughty foods, drinking a coffee a day but not eating as much. I feel huge but don’t think I am as big as last time. Last time, I seemed to lose all of the weight I had gained (20 kilos) within 2 months.
I haven’t felt the fear of the unknown regarding the labour, I have tried to keep the whinging to a minimum, although I notice that when I haven’t had enough sleep I am overly sensitive and emotional the next day. I also haven’t felt the same body self consciousness that I felt the first time, people really do stare at you when you get to the last trimester. Finally it is obvious you are pregnant and not just fat. It is pretty fascinating I guess and it is understandable that people want to check it out, particularly men who are mostly used to perceiving women’s bodies in relation to their sexual desires, rather than the outcomes.
As the baby tends to wake up when I would ordinarily go to sleep, I have been staying up quite late, watching late night television, whilst reading through and catching up on my favourite’s diaries. I have spent many nights sleeping on the lounge, the white noise of the television, or music have always been essential for me to drift off to sleep, whereas B prefers silence.
I am looking forward to our sex life returning to normal once I have had the baby. Although my libido is always supercharged, his wanes, partly due to his methadone use but mostly because I think he has hangups about sleeping with a pregnant woman. When we have had sex, he seems to suffer some misplaced guilt about the effects it might have on the baby. If I have an orgasm it utterly relaxes me, particularly in the chi region, why wouldn’t the baby feel that wave of relaxation?
I am due to see the teenage "little brother" that I mentor, this weekend. I tried to contact him last weekend but didn’t get a reply. He is now 13 going on 21. He has changed so much in the past three years I have been working with him. He has gone from being an emo skater boy to a real "lad" now. He is much more brand conscious, dresses like a hoodie, spends much of his free time smoking dope and drinking with his mates, graffitying trains and train stations. He still has trouble reading and is on his last warning from his high school regarding expulsion. He has already been sent to a behavioural school in Western Sydney, where the teacher / student ratio goes from 1:30 to 1:4. Although, this school only held lessons for four hours a day, he claimed to learn more in those few months then he had in the past five years in school. It just goes to show how important it is for kids with learning difficulties to get more personalised teaching that is not stretched to meet the needs of the highest and lowest common denominator in the class.
My major concern is how much he glorifies the idea of ending up in a juvenile justice institution. Having once been successful for a job in one of these institutions in my early 20’s to teach art, I didn’t even last the first day of training. Seeing how these kids lived, the reality of being completely dehumanised, once life had already pushed them to completely anti-social and criminal behaviour through circumstances beyond their control, I don’t think anyone as soft/compassionate as me could stomach how toxic these environments are and not end up broken myself. There is real increase in the lock up rates of adolescents in Sydney now and the statistics are proving there is no corresponding decrease in violent and drug related crimes in this demographic, or decrease in the rates of recidivism.
I guess it is just one individual I am working with now but one day, I hope I have my own world worked out so that I have enough energy to try and lobby for systemic change. I can just see in my little brother’s case how his circumstances determine his destiny. He has a single parent, who has mental health issues, deals drugs for a living and has a criminal record. He is dyslexic, lives in one of the lowest socio economic districts of Sydney and hasn’t been developed the skills to resist the need to impress his peer group. Before he had met me, he had never been out of his own suburb, other than 2-3 trips to the CBD in his lifetime. Although I am an inner city urbanite, he perceives it as a "rich" area, where people walk for pleasure/leisure rather than out of necessity.
Despite some bleak moments, I am feeling quite positive at the moment. I don’t know if its self deception or just self preservation but I am determined to prevail.