Doing It All By Myself

Learning about someone I know going through a divorce currently, has pushed me to do some fresh thinking about my own divorce. I’ve done a good job moving on after a good decade of healing, but hearing about recent goings on, and being in a healthy mode where I want to process, and work through my baggage, it feels like a good time to take a fresh look at things. It will be 10 years this year since my divorce, with my daughter turning 18 (she was 8 when I divorced), it feels like a good distance to take pause, look back, and see how I am (actually) doing.

After thinking through, and reliving many of the details of my divorce, I’d say I’m mostly in a good position. I’ve worked through all of the pain over the years, and after sufficiently taking another look at it all, I don’t find any surprising emotions hiding in the closet. However, one thing I did find that surprised me, and was something I had never realized before, was that I did my divorce all by myself. Not one single family member, or friend came to check in on me, ask how I was, or offer any financial, emotional, or other help. I did have a friend at the time I was working and living with, but he pretty quickly abandoned me when things got weird, right at the beginning, making it not something I can mark down as “help”.

I am not looking back at this to get retribution, or make people feel like shit. I’m acknowledging it for my own benefit. To work through, and set aside things. I think I deserve a pat on the back, but also I need to loosen the load on my shoulders, realize that I made it, and possibly offer some assistance to my friend who is going through the same thing right now. Divorce was one of the loneliest experiences I have ever gone through in my life. After dropping off my daughter on Sunday nights had always triggered heavy bouts of drinking, and a strong desire to go back to using drugs. I remember one night when I got back to the town where I lived, and discovered that a band was playing at my local pub, my receipt the next morning stated I had drank 18 pints of beer. 18 pints of beer. Damn. That is some fucking pain.

If I ask anyone in my family, or circle of Oregon friends what my apartment in Bend, Oregon looked like–none of them will have an answer. My one sister did come when I paid her and a friend to drive up and go to a concert in Portland with me, but nobody else will be able to describe the house I lived in for almost two years. I can still tell you every single detail of looking out the windows. What it felt like to lay in bed at night and in the morning. What it felt like to be in there all by myself. It was one of the hardest times of my life, and let me tell you, I’ve been through some difficult patches. However, I can look back now and confidently say that I did it, and I did it on my own, all by myself. For better or for worse. I made it through it, maintained the relationship with my daughter, and kept my career on track.

I’m needing to publish this to help me shift my mental state. My friend who is going through it right now will need help. I have a friendly, but firm, “he’ll get through it” position in my head. Not really feeling compelled to reach out and speak to him. This isn’t healthy. I should reach out and offer help, but I realized that one side effect of my experience is that I just don’t feel the need to say or do anything for him. I guess feeling like I had done it, and somehow that he can too. Which is bullshit. Sure, I did it all by myself, but it doesn’t mean that EVERYONE should have to. Because I was programmed by people around me to live in denial, not be overly caring or compassionate shouldn’t be paid forward. We all need help. Divorce is hard on everyone. I need to be in a state where I can reach out and help.