In 1988 Governor Dukakis was the Democratic presidential nominee. At some point during the campaign it came to light that his wife, Kitty Dukakis was an addict, she was addicted to diet pills. In my youthful and mockish way, I recall I was completely unimpressed…going so far as to say, “Oh, Please! Diet pills??? Geez, get a real addiction!” Pretty unfeeling, I know! ((This is where you should insert divine laughter))
Fast forward 20+ years and I find myself living with an addict. And the addiction isn’t anything glamourous sounding or heart rending (not that addiction is glamourous, but no commercials or posters with stars and slogans). I live with an online gaming addict. It sounds silly and trite when I say it out loud and even more so when I read my words in black and white. But, there it is. He can spend 16 consecutive hours online with friends across the globe, hunting dragons and garnering treasure…meanwhile real life goes on. I’m basically a single parent; he has little or no interaction as a parental figure and at his best is more like a beloved, cool uncle than actual father. Oh for certain he’ll yell and wear the guise of a dad every few months or so, but for the most part his life begins and ends on his monitor. Even his work suffers, he spends as little time at the office as possible. He is still asleep when I take the kids to school and head to work myself and is home before the kids and I return from our days.
As for ‘us’, all that is left of ‘us’ is a piece of paper from the state of Montana that says we’re legally an ‘us’. He asks how I sleep, because you see hasn’t slept with me in years. He asks me how my day was, this is usually over his shoulder as he returns to his desk and computer. He tells me I look nice or pretty or something of that nature. And that is all there is left to ‘us’. I admonish myself a lot of the times, tell myself I should try more…be more loving…be more supportive…try to enjoy the times he reaches out to me, and not be bitter about the times he shuts me out…
I wish I could give Gov. Dukakis a hug, hold him close and say how sorry I am. I should have never made fun of his wife’s illness and never made light of his painful journey. I realize now, that no addiction is small. All addictions leaves scars and sadnesses…addictions step on things, good things and grind them to a pulp. Addictions spread like wild fire, touching and burning those around the abuser…I only know I’m alone…and scared of where my future lies…and uncertain of what to do or not to do…And that Gov. Dukakis probably felt those things too.