It’s like the Charter Cable commercials from the International Dateline, yesterdays post today. Due Friday, written Saturday. (Finally edited and posted Sunday.)
Up all night talking with Angel, actually more her monologue than dialog. In one of her epic manic phases, going on three days without sleep, her stream-of-consiousness revelations abounded. There was honesty, accountability, contrition, humility, hope, and a sincere desire to turn over a new leaf. But like New Year’s resolutions, her good intentions are hardly worth the toilet paper they’re written on. I’ve heard it all before, again and again, only to witness the routine flushing away of any progress, again and again. One step forward, ten steps back.
More than a cliché, she is truly her own worse enemy. She may rant all she wants about her abusive ex, his co-conspirators, and the system at-large all pitted against her, but at every turn, she’s played right into the hands of her perceived-enemies, demonstrating a remarkable lack of judgment, and destroying every last shred of credibility she ever possessed. Not to mention all the lost friends, relationships, career, health, freedom, vehicles, etc. strewn in her turbulent wake.
My own last straw with her was about a month ago. Midnight relapse/overdose right in front of me and my daughter, paramedics scrambling in, curious neighbors collecting in the hallway. Sure, a cautionary tale for my daughter on life choices to avoid, but who needs that kind of gut-wrenching education. I’ve never thought I could give up on Angel, but I have. Hope, trust, and belief all dashed. Some people have to hit their rock bottom, and I’m convinced Angel’s rock bottom will be death. It’s her fear too, but even when she acknowledges the likelihood, she still lacks the wherewithal to change her course. Like a time-traveller who knows their own demise, she is powerless to revise her future.
I want no part of it. I don’t want to be the one to find her. I don’t want to call her parents who have been bracing for such a call, but will still be devastated. No funeral. No grieving and bewildered children. I wish to be an ignorant survivor. I just want to wonder about her once in a while, hope she’s doing okay, hoping against hope never to hear any “oh-by-the-way-have-you-heard-about-Angel” remarks. I just want to go on with my own struggles with life with a little less stress, a little less drama, a little less dread.
I have been an ardent disciple of unconditional love. Love completely and unselfishly, ask for nothing in return. Now I believe love has limits. Maybe I’m a hypocrite, maybe my love wasn’t/isn’t truly unconditional. Perhaps I’ve inserted a condition after all, in that someone I love has to also love themselves, even just a little bit.
In loving Angel and caring for her, I liked to believe I was making a difference in someone’s life. Her daughter and her parents have told me that if it wasn’t for my influence, she might already be dead. Even Angel has said she doesn’t know if she would’ve made it this far without me. But personally, I don’t buy the hype. I feel so unbelievably helpless and inadequate. Perhaps I may have delayed the inevitable, but in reality, I haven’t accomplished a single thing except compromise my own happiness and well-being. You can’t help someone who won’t help themselves.
I asked her to move out, but she refused. Her name is on the lease. She has rights. Even if she hadn’t been paying rent or pulling her own weight. And house arrest dictated there was nowhere else she could go. With little fanfare, I informed her when me and my daughter would be leaving, the hell with the effect on my credit rating or rental history.
Angel isn’t a loser. This intelligent, articulate, accomplished go-getter was an American success story, at the pinnacle of her profession. I used to be so proud of her, not for the money she made or the trappings of success, but for the difference she made in the world. Her expertise truly saved lives, and I was blessed to witness it firsthand.
It’s touching to see how this proud, narcissistic woman, has lowered herself to try to make things right. She’s pawned every last thing she has left to help pay rent and bills, as if my problems with her have been merely about money. She’s finally consulted a pain clinic to properly address a fundamental underlying cause of her addiction. Apologized to everyone she’s hurt. Asked me for yet another chance, a fresh start. I told her I would think about it. Which is also what I told my daughter when asked if I would give permission for a tongue piercing. “I will think about it” is code for “fat chance, let’s change the subject.”
By the way, my daughter parlayed my “I will think about it” into tricking her mother into giving permission. So, let my daughter’s pierced tongue symbolize some “fat chances” are possible.