I had been living with a drug addict/alcoholic/certified crazy man for less than a year and it was a huge disaster. For a refresher click here to read the last post. He was abusive and scary and I packed my dog and some of my things and left.
I knew I was on the right track when I was invited to live with a couple I met the coffee shop where I worked. They were so sweet and kind to me and obviously saw through my alcoholism and chaos to the real me. They knew I loved Rock Hall and didn't want to leave but had nowhere to go. The woman of that couple told me of a time in her life when she was "taken in" by a friend who didn't want anything in return but a promise to help someone else when needed- a promise to pay it forward, in other words. It just so happened that Sushi and I were in need of help! We moved in and lived like a family. It was wonderful.
I'd love to say that this was the end of the situation with Steve and that the order of protection worked like a charm. But, alas, 'twas not the case. Steve disregarded the order and began to do some really frightening things. While living in New York I had gotten into a bit of trouble and owed a few days of community service. Since I took off and moved to Maryland, there was a warrant for my arrest. Steve called the NYPD and told them my location. He called my creditors and gave them the phone number to my job and they began calling incessantly. I left a bunch of clothes and items in the house we shared and he had a garage sale and sold my stuff. That which he didn't sell he left on the front lawn to get wet during a particularly rainy weekend.
He drove past my job all the time and dropped off bags of my clothes on occasion. Upon opening the bag I'd find my clothing shredded and shoes cut up. He sent me bizarre emails. He emailed and called my boss, parents, and sister- reporting on my behavior. I called the police each time he did something to harass me and we informed that there was nothing they could do but they'd "note" it.
I'd also love to say that my drinking waned and I began to get better, but that wasn't happening either. I still drank. A lot. I knew that alcohol had a grip on me but I just couldn't stop. I was getting to the point of not being able to live with alcohol and not being able to live without it. I knew I needed to quit but the thought terrified me and I repeatedly pushed it from my mind. I held on to the hope that I could regain control over alcohol and drink like a normal person. What I didn't know is that it's impossible to go back to normal drinking once crossing the line into alcoholism. Trust me, that's not a fun place to be at all.
So, here's what happened. The beginning of the end, if you will.
What happened next is truly disturbing and if you can't read it, I understand. I tell this story quite a bit in recovery groups and to women involved in abusive relationships so I'm used to talking about it and am very okay with it. It may be harder to read than it is for me to write.
It was a Tuesday, the day after Memorial Day, 2007, and I left work at the coffee shop, planned to run a few errands, and go home to walk Sushi. I made a few stops along the way to talk to friends. I headed down the block and as I walked down the main road in town, I saw Steve rushing out from behind the bank. Adrenaline ran through my body- talk about fight or flight! I was instantly terrified. He started shouting, "Come with me, you're coming with me!" I remember exactly what he was wearing and how he looked. I freaked out and ran into the road and tried to stop passing cars. No one stopped, because they didn't realize what was going on yet. Steve grabbed my arm and pulled me on to the lawn of the bank and I started screaming.
He spun me around to face him and I noticed something in his hand- a meat tenderizer that had once belonged to me. My first thought was, "Hey! That's mine!" Before I could have another thought, he did the unthinkable- he swung it and hit me in the top of my head. What the hell?! I fell to the ground and immediately covered my head with my hands and curled into a ball. I have the strange ability to remain calm in a crisis and this quality came in handy that day, let me tell you. I remember thinking to myself, "You got this, Amy. Just stay calm, and help will come! The police will come and they will take him away. You got this!" I was bleeding from my head and I just stayed as calm as I could. Because I was curled in a ball, I'm not sure what was happening around me, but I could hear some action. Steve then grabbed my hair, pulled my head back, and put a gun to my head and then tried to get it into my mouth. The entire time he was screaming at me and I was not responding to him at all. Not a word. I really didn't want to make him any angrier.
Disoriented and bleeding, I heard what I now know to be a bunch of guys jump him and get the gun out of his hands. It just sounded like a quite a commotion with cursing and shouting. (The guys who jumped in were young and not what we might think of as upstanding citizens. One was out on work release from jail and the other might be in jail now. I love those guys! Whenever I see either of them, I hug and kiss and thank them for what they did.) Where were the police? It felt like they were taking forever to come!!
Still curled in a ball, the commotion going on around me, I suddenly felt something wet over my left shoulder. The smell was unmistakable- it was gasoline. It was exactly at that point that I panicked. "HE IS GOING TO KILL ME!," I screamed at the top of my lungs and jumped to my feet. What he said next scared the crap out of me. He said, "We're going out together, sweetheart." I really thought I was going to die. With him. In the street. In a quick flash I saw my entire family and their devastated faces. It was horrible. The only thing I can guess is that he didn't have a match or lighter, because I ended up on the ground again, this time being choked from behind. That's when I heard the sirens. Finally, the police arrived! I later found out that what seemed like an eternity to me was actually about 5-8 minutes. That's a really long time when you're trying to stay alive.
Covered in blood, gasoline, sweat, and fear, I ran across the street to safety. Steve was pepper-sprayed and handcuffed and hauled off by the police. I was safe and alive! Hallelujah!
There were a lot of people standing around watching and I can still see some of their horrified faces. I called out to a friend to please go walk my Sushi and was then ushered into an ambulance. As the doors closed I had a thought, which seemed perfectly normal to me at the time. I now understand how insane it was.
"Shit! The liquor store is going to be closed by the time I get back from the hospital."
I was a sick woman.