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Sober Living. Part Two. 2018.

My roommates arrived back at the apartment. Janice worked at the Waffle House. She was a short, brunette, quiet, woman in her 40s. She had been living there over a year. She was faithful to her 6:15 am AA meeting. She had a very nonchalant demeanor. Lauren worked at Smoothie King. She was a fiery red- head in her late 30s. She was bubbly, funny, and tall. Both were beautiful and dedicated to the program. Lauren kept tarot cards on the table outside on our balcony. I had never read tarot cards before, but I became very intrigued and loved to read them. I had no clue what I was awakening. For the time being, my requirements were to attend one meeting a day, the group meeting on Thursday evening and Sunday; as well as my IOP classes during the week. The first few days I spent a lot of time on the phone with Jack. We woke up talking and went to bed talking. At bedtime, I had my trazadone pill to take. Treatment centers will give you sleep medication upon request. I always requested sleep aid for my insomnia. Jack and I were acting like high school kids. We would stay on the phone to hear the other one breathe! I laugh about it now. So delusional!

Jack finally got his truck. There were rules about boys, especially new relationships while early in recovery and with other guys in recovery. My own personal rule was: Do not get caught. Jack pulled in a parking space on the side of the apartment building. My roommates were not at home. I had to be careful who was watching. Not only were I getting in a guy’s truck but it was not my husband’s. I got in and gave him a hug and kiss. We went to a local coffee shop. It was my kind of hippie shop. Jack forgot his wallet. I paid. I was thinking...great. I do not have much money and here he is not even paying for my coffee. I could see the embarrassment on his face. We went to the couch in the back while we waited for our coffee. We talked, but there was really one thing on our minds. Sex. After we finished our coffee, we walked out and he opened my truck door. Jack was always a gentleman opening my door for me. I respected him more for his traditional values. He embodied everything I wanted in a man, until he did not. We pulled back into the apartment complex on the back side and parked. A vehicle pulls up right beside us and we immediately stop. I am laughing. Jack says, “we gotta go somewhere else.” We adjust ourselves as he puts the truck in drive. Maybe next time. I had to get to an AA meeting. And He had a meeting with his sponsor. The goodbyes were hard. I never wanted to leave his side. I was content while looking in his eyes. The rest of my life felt like a circus. But with him, I felt safe to be myself. For a few more weeks, we were in our own little blithely ever bubble with each other.

I started the IOP program. It extended a lot more group therapy. Everyday a group of fifteen people from different backgrounds, cultures, and ages gathered in a circle, in a large room, to talk about feelings. By this time, I was over talking about my feelings. We would have to go around the room and rank ourselves from 0-10 on how we felt and why we felt the way we did. There was always one who loved to speak and enjoyed telling the group how a simply activity, such as grocery shopping, made her overwhelmed. I did not mind others over sharing. It was less attention focused on me. And while all this therapy may have been helpful, my mind was overrun by Jack and my children. Oh, and how much I hated Eric. While he was off at the beach living the good life; I remained listening to countless hours of other peoples’ problems. I did have my own therapist I saw once a week. We did not get very far at all. I was tired of talking about my issues. I wanted someone to help me solve them. My therapist was nice, but I easily manipulated her. Three weeks into the program, I shared my reasons why I did not need to have IOP anymore. I needed her to sign-off on it. Basically, for insurance purposes. She did.

Jack and I found time for each other a few more times. Then the 'pink cloud' disappeared. Reality set in. We had our own lives, and our own baggage to work through. The fantasy was over. The obsession subsided, and what once appeared perfect; taunted me.

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