The stained ceiling.
I will never forget my first night in the home I now occupy. I lay on my bed, staring up at the water stains on the ceiling with tears running down my face into my ears.
It had been quite a road to that night.
Long story short, I went from owning a two-story home in Nevada and making amazing money at a job I loved – to renting a single wide mobile home that I could afford with my unemployment stipend.
When I was laid off due to the mortgage/banking debacle, I was married to a man who adored me – I had two step-daughters, a dog, a cat, and of course, my Nic.
I was the main bread-winner. The home was mine before the marriage and so, when the income wasn’t just cut in half, but quartered, there wasn’t enough to sustain the household.
I lost the house.
We moved across the river to Arizona into what we could afford to rent as a couple.
And then I lost myself.
My drinking had increased after I found myself made redundant. It was a trigger for the inevitable. I already used alcohol as an escape – it was already escalating, and before losing the house, I found myself confronted by my husband and heard myself telling him I would quit.
I did for a little while. Then it became my secret. Who did he think he was? I drank when we met? It seemed to be okay when I was supporting the family!
I told myself that, and it seemed to make sense.
I was lying to myself.
Because really the black outs, the arguments, the misery that was my drinking problem, had never been okay.
In our rented home I hid my drinking. I couldn’t buy obvious amounts of what I liked, and I’d heard that vodka didn’t have a scent – so I would buy purse sized bottles (plastic so you couldn’t hear the ‘tink’ of it against my keys as I snuck it in the house) and hide it in various spots in the house.
I would then dispose of the bottles in public garbage cans. Outside of grocery stores, fast food restaurants. Where ever I could look nonchalant tossing a small brown bag.
This went on for over a year, give or take.
I couldn’t stand it anymore!
I quit drinking, got help and came clean with my husband.
I also told him in no uncertain terms that I didn’t want to be married to him anymore.
While this is my blog – and these are my truths, it’s also public. I won’t go into much more detail about why I didn’t want to be married to him, that’s not fair.
(There’s so much more I want to share with you all, about many things! One day perhaps – but find myself having to edit myself a lot more here than I had anticipated).
In quick succession – my husband left, I never saw my step-daughters again.
(On my 21st day of sobriety I had to have my sweet dog put to sleep).
I looked for work. I was ‘over qualified’. They ‘couldn’t pay me what I last received’. Or, there just plain wasn’t work in our area.
My son and I found ourselves on food stamps and public health assistance.
Friends and family came to our aid from time to time.
I fought and fought to find a way to stay in the home we were renting at the time – and finally came to the conclusion to LET GO! This was after selling my nice furniture, my appliances. Anything I had of material value was sold piece meal to make it one more month.
We found something I could afford. No washer, no dryer, no dishwasher. But it was shelter! It was do-able.
Came OH so close to losing this place too. I sold my wedding ring, my engagement ring. His wedding band. I even sold our DVD’s to a local pawn store for gas money.
Then I found a job.
(That year a dog adopted us and I had to have my sweet cat put to sleep).
I haven’t had a drink in over a thousand days now. And in less than two months, it will be two years since I started that job.
But back to that first night.
I looked up at those ceiling stains and felt like I was in some sick motel. I felt like I had let my son down. I felt inadequate, scared, alone, angry.
I realize now, it wasn’t so much the actual state of the home, but what seemed to me at the time to be a representation of my life. I was that ceiling.
I was still sheltering my son, but I was stained. I was in need of repair.
I’ll glance up from my bed from time to time now and notice the stains. But with my imagination back to its healthy overdrive, I now see pictures in them. They’re oddly beautiful, their shapes have become familiar.
It has been well over two years since I that night I cried into my ears – and I have repaired myself.