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So, Mom. How are you feeling about

the divorce?


Wow...


I go in different cycles.

Uh-huh.

I would say sometimes I’m really angry.

Other times I’m really sad...

and disappointed.

I feel like I’ve worked really hard to

keep our family together and so-

I’m angry that Mike pulled the family

apart so bad.

Yeah.

With his alcoholism, with his

addictions to all sorts of different

things. It’s... been really painful.

Yeah, I feel like there was...

I feel like a lot of that experience has

been...

It was like you tried to protect me from

that as a kid. So I didn’t even really

realize like how bad Dad’s alcoholism

or anything like that was. I just was kind

of confused as a kid until like he went to

rehab basically. I didn’t- I didn’t really get

it.

Yeah. Until he would acknowledge

it, it was more me covering up and

making sure that the family continued

to have a house and have food and have

medical care, and I just never let him

drive.


Because... I didn’t trust him to be Mhm. safe.

Mhm.

But once he went to rehab, it made it

more front and center because now

he would acknowledge it so then it was

acceptable for me to also acknowledge

it to other people.

Yeah? Like before he wouldn’t want you

to say anything about it or something

like that? Or like you wouldn’t want to say

anything about it?

Well whenever I would say something

about it he would tell me I didn’t know

what I was talking about.

Oh yeah, like he was in denial.

Right. Oh.

Therefore, forcing that denial in my

face all the time and not acknowledging

the fact that...

He went to counseling before that

because I said I would leave if he

didn’t go for counseling. I didn’t want

to watch him spiral down and I just

didn’t want to watch him kill himself. Yeah.

That makes sense.

Yeah. In the end, I had no ability to

have an impact on that.

Yeah like you can’t save him if he doesn’t

want to get better.


Right.

And his anger at me, it was always,

“You’re spending too much money.”

And it’s like, Michael, you spend 60,

70 Thousand dollars a year on alcohol

alone, and if you didn’t spend that

on

these

alcohol

other

we

things.

would

We

be

wouldn’t

able to do

have

all

the

so, he

bills

would

and all

put

this

his

kind

anger

of

at

stuff.

me about

And

the

spending

money,

all

when

the money.

in reality it was him

And it was very frustrating to me, but

no, I wasn’t really talking about that

with you.

Yeah I was much too young to

understand any of that for sure.

Right, right. And so protecting you

from that. Uh, Kyle with somewhat

aware of it at times...

Mhm.

but he was 10 years older.

Yeah. Yeah.

So that would make sense. When did

Dad go to rehab again? Like twentytwelve

or something?

Uh, two-thousand-eleven.

Two-thousand-eleven.

And by that time Kyle was also getting

himself into some trouble with alcohol

and drugs,

and they were drinking a lot together,

and they were doing drugs, and,

it became really problematic and Kyle’s

life too.


Yeah?

And I step back and look at it and

say Michael led a really charmed

life because... Yeah? he never got himself

caught? Whereas Kyle got himself

Mhm. caught.

And... that’s been really painful for me

to watch and step back and say they’ve

gotta handle, they’ve got to deal with

their own...

demons as it were with alcohol and

drugs.

Yeah, I mean- hm. I guess, I’m no

psychologist but I always just like wonder

where that comes from? I guess?

Because it’s like whether or not it’s the

environmental factor or like, uh, like I

mean nature-versus-nurture sort of thing.

I think with a lot of that stuff it’s both?

Yeah, that would make sense.

Uhm... Kyle gets it double because my

family also has alcoholic tendencies

and mental health issues and stuff like

that. Your dad’s family, his aunts and

uncles had issues with that.

And so, one of the things about the

addictive personality, and I’ll admit that I

have some addictive personality things,

y’know.


I don’t gamble, I don’t drink much

because it affects me in a different way.

So it’s like, I can sit and play sudoku or

I can sit and do crossword puzzles and

all that stuff on the internet for hours

and hours and hours and hours.

Mhm.

And so that’s the addictive part of

the personality, it’s like I have for

ever looked at it that- I mean I can

remember the first time I drank and

it was like, it has such an effect of my

body that I’m not going to go there.

I won’t- I don’t have more than two

drinks EVER and I only have one drink

once- a couple times a month and

so it’s like, I’m not going to let my

addictive personality go there to where

I’m physically addicted to alcohol.

Your dad got himself physically

addicted to alcohol.

Yeah.

And... now he can never have another

drink because one drink puts him back

into, he doesn't know how to say no.

And that's the physical addiction that

came from the mental addiction that

he started with.

Mhm.

Do you think your, like,

aversion to alcohol was a result of seeing

your parents being like,

like having that addiction?


Uhm.

I didn't acknowledge that my parents

had that addiction until I was older.

Oh yeah?

And so, I... I like to be in control of

myself and my life.

Mhm.

And so, the fact that the first time I

had alcohol I was in college... first or

second night I went away to college

and people are drinking and I was

drinking. And I had several drinks and

I remember thinking I don't feel like

I'm myself I feel like I'm watching myself

behave...

And when I finally came to myself as

probably two or three in the morning

and I was really cold and I didn't have

my coat on. And I couldn't remember

where I'd left my coat and I thought,

I don't like the feeling of not knowing

that I had control over what was going

on around me.

Mhm.

And I just didn't like that. And so, I

can count on my hand, on one hand

how many times I've ever had more

than...

like I don't want anymore, I don't need

anymore I don't want the feeling of

not remembering what's going on in

my life.

Yeah, that makes sense.


And so I think that was just me being

overly responsible personality and

just taking charge of, “Nope, I’m not

gonna let that happen to me.” Yeah.

And, I look at Mike, and when he got

to that point he decided to keep on

going.

Uh-huh.

And keep on going

and keep on going

and keep on going.


And although early on in our

relationship, I'm going to say we had

been married maybe five years. And he

had too much to drink one day, and...

We were having a party at our house,

and they- he and a friend were

riding his motorcycle around the

neighborhood because we lived in a

neighborhood that was way way out in

the country.

Mhm. Where?

Uhh... Outside of Denver.

Uh-huh.

And, uh, he and a friend, kinda, he

was driving the motorcycle when they

were way too intoxicated and they

wrecked the motorcycle. And they

didn’t really hurt themselves like,

banged up or something like that , it

was no big deal. They weren’t even

going fast, they just didn’t have enough

motor control at that point.

Yeah.

And I remember sitting him down and

having the conversation of, “I don’t

want to be married, I don’t want to be

watching kill yourself! You can’t drink

and ride your motorcycle.

Whatever it is, you need to talk it out,”

and he started crying, and it’s about

his relationship with his mom and

his mom being over-controlling and

him never learning how to make good

choices.

Uh-huh.

And so, he started going for therapy.


He wasn’t drinking near as much.

Again, that had been a party so he

didn’t get overwhelmingly drinking too

much for several more years after that.

But, that kind of crept up on me and

all of a sudden I’m aware that he’s

drinking too much, and then we would

argue about him drinking too much.

And so starting right around when

Kyle was born in the 90s was when I

recognized that was drinking too much

and he wasn’t making good choices

and decisions. And we had conversations

constantly about it.

Sorry, say that again? The last part. You

something constantly?

Yeah, we had conversations about it,

how often that he was drinking, he

wasn’t making decisions for the family.

Mhm.


And...

he continued to go to therapy...

but...

he never told his therapist that he was

there because I made him go to therapy

because he was drinking too much.

And so, he never admitted to his

therapist that he was drinking too

much so... Oh.

He continued, he did therapy for most

of his life since 19... 88...

he’s been going for therapy but he

never talked about alcoholism until...

probably two thousand-ten.

Yeah, I was going to ask like what was

the... what was the the moment or like the

impetus of him realizing that it was such

a problem?

Well we’d been having the conversation

since 1990 and we even went out and

looked at a couple places for rehab for

him. And...

I’m gonna say in 2003, 2004-2006

we went again looking at places. He

wasn’t in the frame that he would agree

to go. And then, his therapist here,

clearly she could tell that he was an

alcoholic. Because by this point his

alcoholism was so bad that his body

sweat alcohol.


Oh yeah.

And so you could smell it on him.

Whereas he couldn’t tell it, everyone

around him could tell it, was able to

recognize that that was what was going

on.

And then when his mom died... in

2011 he came back from his mom’s

funeral and he was so intoxicated for a

week and a half that his therapist said

that if didn’t he check himself into

rehab she was going to call the police

on him.

Oh, I see. It’s a pretty, uhm, obvious, uh, I

guess rock bottom that they talk about it.

But it wasn’t him recognizing it, it

was her pushing it. Because I’ve been

saying that for years,

Yeah.

and he didn’t do anything about it but

when his therapist said it, then he did

something about it.

So.

At least he listened to somebody.

Yeah.

Because, he has a lot of health issues

from his abuse of alcohol for so long.

Yeah.

Going to the doctor’s and having

surgeries and all these different things,

because of his alcoholism he still didn’t

stop drinking.


And.. nobody could do that for him,

he was the one who had to finally

decide to do it, and I’m very happy

that he did it because the therapist told

him.

Yeah. Hm.

As far as that goes, ever since he went

to the rehab, once a year he would say

to me, “Well you know, everybody who

goes to rehab gets a divorce.”

So he had mentioned that about once a

year for a while. It just didn’t-

I tried to get him to go to couple’s

therapy and he refused...

He just went off on his own of, “I’m

an alcoholic.” He was-

before he went to rehab he was always

very angry with me that I wouldn’t

drink with him.

Uh-huh.

And I remember at one point, early

on in the therapy around 1990, the

therapist said something to me about

just because Mike drinks doesn’t make

him an alcoholic like your parents.

Oh. Really?


And I was like, “How does she know

my parents drink?” Because I went

to therapy with him once because I

had an issue that I needed, I needed

support from his therapist to tell Mike

that he couldn’t behave that way-

Uh-huh.

Because...

I went to a therapist after Mike hit

Kyle.


Kyle was eight months old and Mike

hit him so hard. That it was lucky that

Kyle wasn’t inured.

I told him that it wasn’t okay and

he told me I didn’t know what I was

talking about, so the next week when

Mike had therapy I went in with Mike

to the therapist.

And I wasn’t as worried about dealing

with Mike’s alcoholism at that point, so

I wanted the therapist to get across to

Mike that it was never okay for him

to hit Kyle again.


Yeah.

And he didn’t.

That’s good.

After that one time. But it was like, it

was very frightening to me that Mike

hit Kyle.

Yeah that’s- that is scary.

Yeah, yeah, oh yeah.


Because, I was in another room and

I heard him hit Kyle and Kyle went

flying and it was like, Kyle was only 8

months old, it’s like, that is NEVER

okay. And he, and Mike never hit

Kyle again and he never hit Erin and

throughout all of his alcoholism...

He hit me a couple times and we had a

huge fights about it. One time I had to

go to the hospital and it’s like I don’t

allow him to touch the kids. That was

not going to happen.


Yeah.


Did your fights decrease after he went to

rehab then?

He was not violent after he went to

rehab. Our arguments after rehab

declined. He checked out. He didn’t

talk anymore to me.

Mhm.

When he got out of rehab, for the first

three months I was going to meetings

with him, AA meetings with him

and stuff like that. And then all of a

sudden, he didn’t want me to be at the

AA meetings with him, and he stopped

communicating and talking.

Mhm.

That’s kinda what happened.

So that would cause some problems.

Yeah the lack of conversation, that

lack of communication. And so after,

so that would have been probably

the middle of 2013. He stopped

communicating.

So sometime after about a year of him

not talking much about anything, I set

up that once every two weeks we would

go out for date night and talk.

So even though he wouldn’t talk in

between there, we would maybe have

conversation on date night. We did

that for... a couple of years he was still

very distant and then he got into do in

the pornographic movie.

Mhm. Yes I, uh, I remember that.


And so he had taken all of his his

addiction for alcohol and taken

that, and he had problems with

pornography and gambling and

smoking before.

But he took all the time, energy,

money that he spent on alcohol and

put it into pornography and, and

gambling and other things.

So he didn’t get rid of his addictions,

he just moved it to something else. And then

he started yelling at me about money

again and I thought, “What is going on

here?” And then he started signing my

name on documents.

Mhm.

And running up all these bills. So... I

feel bad for him at the decisions and

choices that he’s made.

Uh-huh.

I know that for me, it’s healthy or not

to be around him.

That makes me sad.

It makes me cry.

I’m sorry about that.

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