In the despair of my situation I stare down the bottle of whiskey. It’s almost gone and with it everything else. One more drink and it will all be gone. Everything. I won’t think and, more importantly, I won’t feel. To take away the responsibility of my actions. God, my actions. Everytime I think back, the shame steals my breath, steals my soul. I tip the bottle back and drink.
It’s a dream, the bliss of ignorance. I thought I was happy. I’d done everything a small Christian society dictated. I’d dated the same girl since I was 14. A childhood romance that bloomed into a marriage and a child. I started college. I did everything that I was suppose to do that makes people happy. It was the American Dream; love, family, education, a decent job. There were tiny moments when I was happy but then there would be a glance. I couldn’t put my finger on what I saw in that glance, but eventually I started to make small changes to see what the glance could show me. Then it exploded.
They say the truth shall set you free. In a way it does, it removes us from web of lies we have entangled ourselves in, but it can leave us in shambles with nothing but pieces to pick up. In my case I was left with nothing but pieces; with them, I am still trying to create a new life. It started after I got married and had a child; the deceit of lies began to grow. I realized my young wife and I had nothing in common, other than our son and long history of being together. I would start to find excuses as to why I needed to spend time away. I spent the majority of my days with my friends working or smoking pot. As long as I provided for my family, I was allowed to do whatever I pleased. I started hiding simple things about what I was doing; then bigger things like finances. We were crashing into insurmountable debt, but I had a job and was providing. That is until the job market crashed and I was out of work. With the pressure of providing for my family and the relationship with my wife becoming more and more distant, I found her best friend to confide in. We talked about everything without the stress and reality of my marriage. Hiding from my relationship I saw a commercial for the Army. Instead of talking it through with my wife, I made the decision that I was going to join. It provided another place to run away from reality and also improve the financial situation I was still hiding.
In a way the decision to join the Army made me feel like I was finally back in control of my own life. I could make my own decisions and be happy. It made me feel successful and capable. It breathed life back into me. It was me and me alone. However, it also created new stressors of an unknown future. I didn’t know where I would be living or if I was going to deploy. With the unknown in front of me I took “leave” and went home for a couple of weeks to spend time with my family. The time with my family turned into a relationship and sexual episodes with my wife’s best friend. Just before leaving, my wife discovered the deception and the truth came forward- the truth that I had been cheating. I’m not proud of it but it wouldn’t be the last time either. With the threat of being alone looming, I begged her to stay. She did. For the next couple of years we struggled to make it work.
Eventually the military sent me to Korea and it was a relief for me to move without my family. I could again be myself without the approval of my wife, or I could at least ignore the incessant nag by not answering her emails or phone calls. As I spent more time on my own, I created my own life and began to discover who I actually am and who I wanted to be. I became involved in working out and crossfit. I started to coach. I was becoming capable and my own person again. As I created this new life without my family I met a new girl. This girl made me feel alive. She began to challenge my way of thinking and life. I fell in love with her hard. I connected with her on a level I had never connected with another human being, but I was married and she knew it. So I lied, I told her my wife wanted a divorce even though I was the one who wanted it. That was all it took and I was in. The time with her was where I grew and developed more than I had my entire life. She challenged me. She let me see myself through new eyes. Eyes that could accept my life wasn’t what I wanted it to be and I could change it. It was ok to be me and have my own happiness.
As all lies do, this one came crashing down and I lost her. It was inevitable. I was still married with a kid, lying to her about it. However, my time with her gave me the courage to finally man up and do what I should have done a long time ago. I got a divorce. I felt like a failure and still do in some ways, but as the truth came out and my life fell to shambles, I learned what I didn’t know. The truth shall set you free. The truth was I wasn’t happy married and neither was my wife. By separating we have provided the opportunity to let the other person have happiness. The truth is I am afraid to be alone. The truth is I don’t think I deserve to be happy. The truth is I think that I am a horrible person for the things I’ve done. The truth is I look at the bottom of the bottle of Jameson and try to forget..