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I am a mommy, scribe, and middle-school English teacher. I am trying to cope with being separated from my beloved. DoUWantMore? email me: theprisonerswife@gmail.com

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Thin line between heaven and here

Posted by the prisoner's wife On 6:58 PM

The political world has been upended by news of Eliot Spitzer’s connection to a prostitution ring. Apparently, the scandal was flushed out when bank officials noticed several suspicious cash transfers and filed reports with the IRS. Many thought that it was a possible corruption scandal, but were shocked when Spitzer, the “Sherif of Wall Street,” was linked to a high-end call-girl service.

Sex and politics are not strange bedfellows. Several prominent politicians have found themselves on the wrong side of a sex-scandal, but news of Spitzer’s improprieties have many calling this once moral crusader, a hypocrite. Honestly, I could care less who Gov. Spitzer was sleeping with. That is between him and his wife, but this scandal brings up a myriad of other questions, namely, when does one move from being a human being, wrought with contradictions and complexities, to a hypocrite, devoid of any moral leg to stand on?

Thinking about the contradictions involved in Spitzer’s debacle brought to mind the complexities and contradictions that have shaped my father’s life. My father, a 30+ year veteran teacher and coach, has worked hard to teach, mentor and mold some of our most troubled youth, but he is also a functioning drug addict.

I have never said those words aloud. Never admitted to anyone that my father is addicted to drugs, nor allowed myself to think about it in any meaningful way. Likewise, he has never admitted it to me, but the signs are clear. My father, once vibrant, has deteriorated into a paranoid, heartbroken, functioning junkie. That stings, but cleaning it up doesn’t make it better.

I often wonder how broken you have to be to get hooked on drugs. How much pain do you have to live with until you say, “enough,” and fall into the comforting nod of cocaine? My dad has seen a lot. He lost his father at 7, saw his dreams of a NBA career wither away, and lost the love of his life, my mother. Apparently, my father’s drug use was constant throughout my parent’s 14-year marriage, but then, it was only weed. I distinctly remember a box my father kept which contained his “homemade cigarettes.” He never smoked in front of us, but he’d purchase Zig Zags and close himself off in his room for a while, then a strange smell wafting through the house. Like a teenager looking for an escape hatch, my father fell right in.

Soon his drug use turned to abuse and his paranoia led him to question every move my mother made and become violent. Mentally exhausted and tired of the drama, my mom moved us out to my grandparent’s house and my father’s downward spiral began.

I believe he sold all of our stuff. Everything we didn’t move out of the house is now gone: my mother’s piano, my flute, our TVs, bikes, our dog. I don’t have anything from my childhood that was left in that house. During those first few months and years of their separation, my father was vehemently angry. Everything was my mother’s fault. She kept us away. She was evil. She was a bitch. He threatened and threatened, and I realized I didn’t even know him anymore.

It has been 13 years since my parent’s divorce was final, and I’m still looking for the father I once knew. I catch glimpses of him from time to time, but the moments spent talking about and enjoying life have faded away to mere memories. My father still uses drugs. At 56 he has nothing. No car, no house, no place to call his own. He lives with my uncle and aunt, and hitches rides to work with friends. It doesn’t help that he makes quite a bit of money, but is broke a few days after pay day, always making excuses and blaming his lack of money on others. When he starts acting weird and asking questions that make little sense, I try hard to remember that he IS my father and not some strange man on the street. But it’s hard. We have little to talk about, and he still feels very foreign to me.

Watching HOB’s “The Wire” has made me a bit hopeful for my dad. Watching Bubbles, a drug addicted homeless man, fight his way back from addiction to some semblance of a normal life gives me hope. My dad isn’t that far-gone (right?). He still goes to work, he still mentors kids, still plays grandpa on holidays, but he also still uses drugs. Although the show a work of fiction, it is still grounded in truth. If Bubbles can fight his way back from the brink, I feel my father can piece himself back together again.

My father is not a bad man, he is in pain. And pain causes you to do things you may have never imagined. The dad I once knew is still there, waiting to come out again. I just hope it happens before it’s too late, and I don’t even have the memories of him to hold onto anymore.

18 Response to 'Thin line between heaven and here'

  1. Christina Said,
    http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2008/03/thin-line-between-heaven-and-here.html?showComment=1205293620000#c7646301645426145791'> Tuesday, March 11, 2008 8:47:00 PM

    Thank you for sharing this. Out of all that I read and reread of this post, I keep holding on to your words hope and hopeful.

    "He who does not hope to win has already lost."
    Jose Joaquin Olmedo


  2. M.Dot. Said,
    http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2008/03/thin-line-between-heaven-and-here.html?showComment=1205329740000#c5178071414325112439'> Wednesday, March 12, 2008 6:49:00 AM

    My father, a 30+ year veteran teacher and coach, has worked hard to teach, mentor and mold some of our most troubled youth, but he is also a functioning drug addict.

    I can only imagine how vulnerable you felt writing that.
    Vulnerability is the opposite of anger.

    I am the child of not ONE but two addicts.
    One, fortunately is in recovery,
    and it is one of the most spiritually affirming things to watch.
    The other, millers time, three times a week.

    I say this to say that I understand and I love you.

    Got to Alanon, it has helped me.
    Try it out if you haven't.




  3. Anonymous Said,
    http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2008/03/thin-line-between-heaven-and-here.html?showComment=1205350440000#c5904867764942174172'> Wednesday, March 12, 2008 12:34:00 PM

    Is there any chance of you sending this post with your dad? Maybe he will understand that he didn't just destroy his life but has hurt all those who loved him.

    I don't understand the turning to stimulants. I have it in my own family and still don't understand it.
    What is this great pain that everyone wants to numb with drugs?
    I often wonder whether these people just use it to 'escape' life's realities?

    It is just the normal ups and downs of life. That simple.

    Send your post to your dad or take it to him and see that he reads it. Maybe inbetween 'rausch' a moment to awareness will happen.


  4. http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2008/03/thin-line-between-heaven-and-here.html?showComment=1205356800000#c5343786402188759381'> Wednesday, March 12, 2008 2:20:00 PM

    Thank you.


  5. http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2008/03/thin-line-between-heaven-and-here.html?showComment=1205357040000#c3582363531608276254'> Wednesday, March 12, 2008 2:24:00 PM

    By the way, to "anonymous" -- when you are dealing with a loved one who is an addict, thinking that they will magically be reformed by the revelation of your pain just sets you up for more heartache. Unfortunately, unless you have a plan to get that person in recovery right then, pleading is futile.

    I know this from painful experience.


  6. http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2008/03/thin-line-between-heaven-and-here.html?showComment=1205377140000#c6155949261297566960'> Wednesday, March 12, 2008 7:59:00 PM

    Xtina: no, thank you for reading & offering such a beautiful quite.

    M.Dot: never heard of it & i'm not sure i NEED to go anywhere, nah mean? i'm not particularly damaged, it's almost something i just think about as an aside. i wonder is that a bad thing? that i can manage not really feeling any type of real way about it all.

    anon: thank you for reading & sharing your thoughts. i didn't write this for my dad to see & probably will never call him on it. i don't think i'm there yet...not strong enough to deal with the denial and what my accusations/realization may due to him.

    Kim: thank you for your response.


  7. http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2008/03/thin-line-between-heaven-and-here.html?showComment=1205519880000#c6384617664427296740'> Friday, March 14, 2008 11:38:00 AM

    aint that the truth. BTW, i posted chapter 3 from my due to be released next novel HER KISS WAS NEVER MINE on my blog today, let me know wha u think pls


  8. Dogon Said,
    http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2008/03/thin-line-between-heaven-and-here.html?showComment=1205539260000#c952525367886537147'> Friday, March 14, 2008 5:01:00 PM

    ok LOL but they know memphis speak and have done all of my books, but i have 2 prof readers u ca take one of their slots. you would really be impressed with final product, make folk think im a writer lol



  9. http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2008/03/thin-line-between-heaven-and-here.html?showComment=1205541600000#c316764458895447003'> Friday, March 14, 2008 5:40:00 PM

    thanks hon, i rsponded to the comments


  10. http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2008/03/thin-line-between-heaven-and-here.html?showComment=1205547660000#c7045896099937862476'> Friday, March 14, 2008 7:21:00 PM

    toss a cross


  11. Mango Mama Said,
    http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2008/03/thin-line-between-heaven-and-here.html?showComment=1205549640000#c3698220742840323427'> Friday, March 14, 2008 7:54:00 PM

    Wow, it's so incredible that you are able to share this. Thank you. I do believe there's hope for your dad, but I'm also happy you're in a place where you seem to be able to deal even if he doesn't. I have a very difficult relationship with my dad also and I'm just learning to accept that I'll never change his behavior, but I can change my own and how I interact with him (or in my case, choose not to interact with him).

    I'm also a great fan of Bubbles/Reginald and I'll miss him and The Wire.


  12. http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2008/03/thin-line-between-heaven-and-here.html?showComment=1205593200000#c6893513545129772503'> Saturday, March 15, 2008 8:00:00 AM

    Torrance: stop hijacking my comment section! LOL

    MangoMama: It is tough, isn't it? not to have the dad you REALLY want (or had before?). even as a grown woman it affects you. and girl...I wish the Wire Could have gone on forever, but I know that they wanted to tell the stories, then leave. as soon as the box set hits, i'm buying it! that was one of the best shows, ever.


  13. Lovebabz Said,
    http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2008/03/thin-line-between-heaven-and-here.html?showComment=1205709900000#c2165392555667084894'> Sunday, March 16, 2008 4:25:00 PM

    I hear the love you still have for your father. Keep that next to your heart. Everything else is an illusion. He may remain an addict for ever, or he may not. But what is fact and true and divine is love.


  14. Charisse from Da Bronx Said,
    http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2008/03/thin-line-between-heaven-and-here.html?showComment=1205766960000#c8867272530210322909'> Monday, March 17, 2008 8:16:00 AM

    I love what you write. I just discovered your blog. I will be a frequent visitor. My ex-husband is in recovery and hasnt relapsed in the 11 years we have known each other, but he told me very often that it is very easy to slip back, without proper support. I hope the best for your father.


  15. http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2008/03/thin-line-between-heaven-and-here.html?showComment=1205772720000#c4100361885120994767'> Monday, March 17, 2008 9:52:00 AM

    Chrisse from the boogie down: thank you for your well wishes for my dad. i pray the same for your ex-husband. i can't imagine the struggle, you know? thank you for stopping by, i'm glad you'll be comin back!


  16. Mike's crown Said,
    http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2008/03/thin-line-between-heaven-and-here.html?showComment=1205865780000#c1150303620845964373'> Tuesday, March 18, 2008 11:43:00 AM

    There is always redemption. Bubbles reminds me of my dad as well. Its been 5 years clean for my dad. But sadly as Bubbles cleans up there are many Dukkies to take his place.
    I will pray for your dad if he can function and work he has the strength to kick his habit and return to a life of purpose


  17. http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2008/03/thin-line-between-heaven-and-here.html?showComment=1205884320000#c1112956198010915561'> Tuesday, March 18, 2008 4:52:00 PM

    mike's crown: thank you for stopping by & sharing such encouraging words. wasn't it sad to see Duke go down that road? the last episode just showed how life continues on. Duke became the new Bubs, Michael, the new Omar. wild.


  18. MrsSaditty Said,
    http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2008/03/thin-line-between-heaven-and-here.html?showComment=1208993580000#c2011275203358840025'> Wednesday, April 23, 2008 4:33:00 PM

    This hurt but I managed to read it all. I have a brother that is an...addict? Yes, an addict and it is easier to type than to say. Thanks for being candid, it put salve on my own wounds.