Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The biggest fight ever (the gloves are off)

Living with an alcoholic can be a really bizarre experience. "Volatile" is the word that comes to mind. With Rob, I never knew what or when an explosive fight would occur. As time went on, I tried in vain to try and avoid fights by carefully selecting things to talk about or how I acted. But none of it worked. Rob and I got in huge fights. Most of the time, when Rob screamed at me in his alcohol-fueled rages, I kept my mouth shut and walked away. But not always. And here is a classic example-- the story of our biggest fight ever.

On Sunday evenings, if we were in town, we often had dinner parties. This particular Sunday was one of them. I had spent the better part of the weekend prepping for our Sunday dinner-- making deserts, appetizers, breads, and marinades for Sunday. We invited the Mormon missionaries, Kalie and Nicole, his mother, his brother Chris and wife Joanie, the neighbors, and Deena and the twins (Deena is the sister of my friend, Lisa, who passed away from pancreatic cancer at the age of 38; she left four children behind and Deena took custody of all four children). It was Sunday afternoon and I was at the kitchen sink cutting up vegetables and Rob was sitting on the couch with a "soda" (which had lots of alcohol in it, though I wasn't supposed to "notice"). We were talking about where we should go on vacation next. I mentioned Europe and Bob wanted Alaska.

I kid you not, that's what started this fight. Out of nowhere, Bob's screeching high pitched scream boomed out. "You're so selfish! We never go anywhere I want to go!!!!!"

"Bob, why are you screaming at me?" Oh.My.God. I hated when he screamed at me. First, the pitch was horrific. It shook the entire house. Second, it was so condescending and pathetic that it made my heart pound. "I am standing right here. I can hear you."

"You never listen to me!!!" he shouted again.

"Bob, we are talking about vacation. This should be a happy topic," I said really slowly. Kind of like I would talk to a five year old (which, talking to Drunk Bob was just like talking to a five year old).

"Fine! I'm leaving! You can have your stupid dinner party all by yourself. I'm going to Anaheim." Bob was on a work assignment that had him in Anaheim Monday-Thursday. He usually left on Monday mornings but now, after a weekend of me prepping for a dinner party, he decided he wanted to leave? This was one time that I wasn't going to walk away from a fight.

"You are not leaving me to manage a dinner party alone- most of which are your friends and family," I said. I was so angry and, truth be told, freaked out. I didn't know how I could do the party alone and I didn't know what I would tell everyone. It would be so embarrassing and I tried so hard to portray this (false) image of our family and marriage.

I went into our bedroom and grabbed his laptop and ran outside with Bob chasing me. I walked out onto the diving board and held his laptop over the pool. "If you come close to me, I'll drop your laptop into the pool. Try it," I challenged him. This whole scene would have looked really comical if anyone had been able to record it.

"Don't do anything to my laptop. Oh my God," Bob was distressed, running his hands through his hair. "Please. I have so many work things on there that can't be duplicated. Please."

For once, he was contrite and humble. Drunk asshole, I was thinking. Wow, this kind of power isn't something I had normally felt. It was kind of nice. I was in the driver's seat. Yeah for me!

"After the dinner party, you can leave and never come back. Until then, I'm keeping your laptop and you can have it back when it's over. Then you can get the fuck out of here and stay gone," I said.

Bob promised, I took his laptop and hid it on the side of the house.

We had the dinner party and it was awful. I sat at a different table and every once in a while, I'd hear Bob say something really loud like: "Yes, women are really difficult. We men have to always try and pick up all the pieces. Right, Liz!" Our guests would kind of laugh and look at us-- not sure if it was a joke or they should laugh or what the hell was going on. I ignored Bob completely. I utterly hated him at that moment. He was a fat disgusting pathetic drunk and I loathed him.

The dinner party couldn't end fast enough. I did the dishes while Bob packed up for the week. Lord knows Bob would never put a dish away. At this time, everyone had left except the twins. Deena had left them in our home for a few hours while she ran errands. At this time, I gave Bob his laptop back.

"Here you go, now leave, asshole," I said. Bob's response was to grab the back of my head and kiss me hard.

I pulled away from him. "Don't touch me!" I said. I was stunned and disgusted.

He did it again, this time harder. I hardly remember doing this but I know I grabbed the side of this mouth and shoved him away from me. "Get away from me!" I said.

The next thing I know, Bob picked up the phone and called 911. "You cut me!" Bob screamed at me while he called the police. "I'm bleeding!" I looked at him. There was a small scratch to the side of his mouth.

"Please don't call the police," I pleaded. "Morgan is afraid of police. Please. You grabbed my head. You kissed me. You wouldn't leave me alone. Please. Oh my gosh. I'm sorry. Please just go to Anaheim."

Bob went into the garage and finished the call. I sat outside and waited, shaking. The kids were all up in the loft playing and watching TV so they saw none of this. The police came. One officer went to talk to Bob while the other talked to me. I thought for sure I would soon be heading to the police station. The officers then switched places- one talking to me and the other to Bob. Soon, a decision was made.

One of the officers said: "Bob admits that he has been drinking today. He is ok to drive now. Actually, because he grabbed you after you told him not to, you can press charges and we can arrest him. But if you're ok with it, we can wait here while he leaves tonight."

Yes, that is what I picked. I didn't want anyone going to jail. I just wanted him gone.

The officer was so kind to me. "I lived in an alcoholic home. You really need to consider leaving him."

Yes, I needed to leave him.

Then Deena showed up to pick up the twins. With the police cars in the front of the home. Holy hell, I wanted to crawl into a hole and stay there forever. At this point, the kids had come down from the loft and noticed the police. Deena and Taylor (Taylor is Lisa's oldest daughter who also lived with Deena) distracted the kids in the living room until Bob and the police left. Then she pulled me aside in my bedroom.

"Are you ok?" she asked.

For the first time, I started crying. "Yes. I don't know what to say. Bob is an alcoholic." I was so embarrassed. It was the first time I told anyone this bit of news. It sounded so strange coming out of my mouth. Weird. Liberating? A relief? Maybe.

"Lisa lived with this. Robert did all of this to her, too," Deena said. Yes, Lisa was married to Robert, a drug addict and his behavior was well known by everyone in the town we grew up in.

I called my best friend, Julie, and told her what happened. It was the first time I told her about the hell I was living in. It felt good to start confiding in a few close friends.

Over the next few days, I refused to have any contact with Bob. I didn't respond to phone calls or texts. Peggy called me and I spoke with her. She told me that she would encourage Bob to get help. Of course, none of that happened. And I spent a few more years living in the cesspool of alcoholism and abuse.

And it all started with a conversation on vacation options.