Saturday, June 3, 2017

Sum Of All Decisions--"Thank You Ashley Madison" excerpt

Saturday, January 12

     I told Kent my thoughts on the universe slapping me upside the head. We were eating breakfast.
     “You had a lot at stake,” Kent said. “You built a life together, a family. You had to try. You’re too hard on yourself. People change Brenda. JB is not the same man you married. I’m not the same man Maggie married. We’re the sum of all of the decisions we’ve made thus far. JB made a lot of bad choices.
     “Speaking as a guy, once you let your mind go down a path, if you don’t stop it, sooner or later you’re going to act on it. When you get away with it, you do it again, and again. The person JB is today is not the person you married. The seeds of who he was to become were there, but he had many ways to go. He’s clearly a messed up person with many unaddressed problems. I know you’ve been unhappy for years. He is who he is because of the decisions he’s made, where he let himself go.”
     “Thank you for that,” I said. “How are you?”
     Kent was sober eleven years. He relapsed a year ago and has been drinking on and off since.
     “I actually envy you,” Kent said. “You get to start over fresh. I have all my baggage stacked around the way it has been for years. Part of me sees you and me partying in Cuba in 24 hours. I’d never bring you down with me if you weren’t already drinking, but if you were already drinking . . .”
     Kent was asking if I was drinking, and if I’d run off with him. I felt a part of my brain click off. I didn’t want to deal with this. I didn’t want to believe Kent. I began telling myself Kent didn’t mean it. Damn. How often do I do that? I need to listen. I need to observe. I need to believe people when they show me who they are. I looked at Kent long and hard. I felt scared for him.  
     “When’s the last time you drank?” I asked.
     “December thirty. I wanted to drink normally. I wanted to go to a bar and have a few beers and watch football, so I did. I did it again. Two times I had three beers and left. The next time, I drank more and my family knew I was under the influence when I went home for dinner.
     “Today I feel good though. I feel like my head is in alignment with my heart. But I can’t tell you about tomorrow. I feel like if I relapse one more time I won’t go back to recovery. How many times can I go back to meetings and say I relapsed? The last time I did that, Malory, Mary, and Patty were all sitting in the same row and their heads snapped in my direction all at once. It was funny. One guy started snickering. The thing is, I love drinking.”
     “All of us alcoholics do,” I said.
     “I’m really fun when I’m drinking.”
     “I’m a lot more fun sober. Drunks are boring.”


  1. Your self-observation, "How often do I do that? I need to listen. I need to observe. I need to believe people when they show me who they are." really hit home with me. All I can say is, ditto. I'm just now catching up after a couple of months away from this blog and WOW, Brenda! You truly have some amazing insights, and ironically they are even more applicable to my own life now than when I first stumbled upon this after Googling you when finishing reading DOAAHW for the 5th or so time. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us, and please keep up the great work!

    1. Thank you. Thank you so much. I have to keep reminding myself to listen, observe, and believe what people show me, too. So easy to see and hear what I want. All the best to you.