Got a phone call from my ex mother-in-law this morning. Indeed she still calls often, often to tell me a package is on the way. She's a shop-aholic, that's her drug. It would be cool if she shopped at boutiques, but her budget doesn't match her appetites so it's dollar stores and tag sales. We get boxes every few weeks with about 2 out of 20 items being actually useful or of our taste. The rest goes right back into the thrift shop cycle.
This morning was not about a package. It was about her trying to get money out of her son, my ex, to send to Kyd to help him get his license. She couldn't bring herself to say the words out loud, the reason why my ex isn't sending money. "He's spending it on, you know", she whispered.
"Drugs", I said out loud. I heard her sharp intake of breath on the other end.
My ex is doing drugs, hard drugs, probably crack cocaine since that is the drug-demon of choice in the rural area they live in. Also, I happen to know he was doing crack four years ago, and I never expected he was going to stop. He had a "heart attack" this past spring, only when I got that call I knew it was drugs then too.
I decided to call him just now, knowing full well he probably wouldn't be able to hear what I was going to say, and that it probably won't make a change. But he needs to know I know, he needs to hear that I'm not ok with it, and I need to know that I told him he is hurting others and in future will probably hurt them even more. People who do crack and don't get into recovery have only two other options. Jail, or death.
When my ex and I split he was drinking heavily after years of sobriety. Not healthy sobriety, just not drinking. He didn't need to. He was a binge drinker, and drank to stave off feelings of absolute self-hatred. He had been physically and sexually abused as a child. I got him to go to therapy when I found out, and he earnestly tried, right up until his family refused to hear about it. But still, he had his children, a good job, a nice house, and a wife he loved. He didn't need the drink. And I...I was clueless about alcoholism. If he wasn't drinking, he wasn't an addict.
Then he lost a business, and we lost everything, and he collapsed straight-away into full-blown alcoholism. DUIs, fights, black-outs, violence, and suicidal ideation. I left, we reconciled when he sobered up, we started over, but he was different, I was different, and the drink was seeping in. We split again permanently two years later and before I was even gone he found himself a girlfriend who liked to drink. The relationship was pure chaos from day one, and the drugs started. I don't know all the details, and I don't even know how I knew, but I knew there were drugs involved. That was 11 years ago.
I opened the conversation by telling him I was concerned about him. He chuckled dark and low, and told me he works 12 hour days and what he does on his own time is his business. No, it is your children's business too, this hurts them. It makes you unavailable financially, physically, and emotionally. And if something happens to you they will be devastated. He began to rant about how they don't care about him, what happens to him doesn't matter and I cut him off. First because I wasn't going to listen to crazy, and second because I wasn't going to have him yelling in my ear with crazy.
I am probably the only person in the world that can raise my voice to my ex without him hanging up on me or exploding into a tirade. I remain, to him, a symbol of the one brief period in his life where things were good and he was a grown-up man. He calmed down immediately and I took the opportunity to re-stress that I called because I am concerned for him and everyone involved, not to lecture him.
"I'm too busy to talk right now", he said quietly, and I let him go.