At the apex of our partying days, KJ shoved me. Hard. That’s not something I freely admit because I’m ashamed I did nothing about it. That’s also a moment I’ve vowed never to bring up now that he’s in recovery. One of the regulars we hang out with at our bar, HA, had a different idea last night. HA explained to KJ how much better everyone likes him now that he’s sober. HA also told him what happened that night. KJ almost got in a fight with HA and another guy playing pool. KJ is (was!) a cocky drunk, and one who thought that he’s ten feet tall and bulletproof. I grabbed KJ’s arm that night to try to get him to leave, he was in the moment and mad, and pushed me roughly. That was only one story that KJ is hearing from our friends.
See, here’s the part about being the partner of an alcoholic or recovering alcoholic. He almost has a clean slate in his head, while I’m having difficulty wiping the hard drive in my head. He has no memories of the fucked up things he did and said while he was drunk or high on something, while I still have the burden of remembering them all. I know I’m supposed to support his recovery and not throw things he did back in his face, and I don’t do that. He doesn’t have the memory of telling a guy at the bar who asked were we together “Sorta, but you can fuck her if you want.” Or after me driving for an hour to rescue him at a bar not in our town, answering a girl who asked the same question “Hell no, I’m not with anybody.” He doesn’t have the memory so he doesn’t understand why I’m insecure sometimes in this relationship. When my best friend died of an overdose a couple of years ago, she lied to her parents to get money saying I needed it. I found this out after her death and felt betrayed. And I’ll never get the chance to resolve it or tell her how hurt I am. I almost feel the same with these things with KJ. Yes, he’s still alive, but that old drunk KJ personality is dead. So I’ll never get the chance to resolve those issues.
Now, KJ is also missing a lot of our good memories that I can still think about that make me smile. Our first kiss, which happened during a terrible drunken karaoke rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody, that happened in front of all of our coworkers and the entire bar. And it was almost straight out of a chick flick after the whole bar cheered for that kiss, because everyone had been rooting for us to be together.(I actually have that on video). Or the time KJ made up and freestyled a few rap verses in front of everyone that he made up for me. The time that he started naming Jesus’s disciples to keep from finishing too fast but started saying them out loud instead of in his head and we literally giggled so hard our stomachs were hurting.
I guess at this point we concentrate on making new memories. We ran into someone he’s known for years last night. He went to the bathroom and she wrapped her arms around me and thanked me with tears in her eyes. I told her she had nothing to thank me for, that it is his hard work and persistence. She said “yes, but you were the one in the trenches, and supporting him with no obligation besides love. You deserve thanks too.”
So while I’ll never know what KJ is going through mentally now that the physical withdrawals are done, he’ll never know the baggage I carry for both of us.