Sunday, April 1, 2012
I began a life completely foreign to me and would continue to live this nightmare for over a year. I was working full time as an assistant professor at one University and teaching three undergraduate classes and one graduate class at another University. I was now also scheduling meetings with psychologists, the Guardian Ad Litem, my attorney and finding it hard to simply survive each day without falling to pieces. I nearly lost my job.
I had no idea how to maneuver through this legal process: what to say and, more importantly, what not to say. I met with the Guardian Ad Litem first. She had already met with Peter so my interview was almost completely a defense of what had been said about me (opinion without evidence or documentation). I talked about the violence, the abuse, the journals and his obsessions, I showed pictures….but she wanted to talk about what had already been established.
Accusation #1: I had allowed under-age drinking. I was wrong to have alcohol in my house with teenagers, especially considering the volatility of the separation and impending divorce and how that was affecting my then 16 and 19 year old daughters. I would do it differently; I would have gotten rid of any alcohol to leave no questions. She “recommended” that I attend a course designed for people, ordered by the court to attend for a varying number of weeks, who had been convicted of drinking and drug related offenses. I was not being ordered, but it was one of many hoops I would need to jump through.
I interviewed with a woman social worker who clearly saw the domestic violence in my relationship and the correlation with using alcohol to self-medicate. She wondered why he wasn’t in any anger management classes and I explained the horrific last few weeks and the Guardian Ad Litem’s position. She recommended I take 12 classes and I was to start that Wednesday from 6pm until 7pm. She was one of many people along the way that saw my pain and suffering and would champion my persistence.
On Wednesday I drove to the building across the street from a strip club, in a part of town I had rarely been. I walked into "rehab" and sat on a couch in between two college aged young men. Directly across the room sat a women in her 50s, at the table the instructor, another woman about the same age as myself, a very tattooed man in his late 20s and in a chair, a young lady also in her late 20s. I introduced myself and briefly told my story. I quickly learned, the two young men I shared a couch with had been arrested for running a very successful marijuana business out of their dorm room, the woman in her 50s, a self-professing alcoholic, had just been arrested for her third DUI in less than a month, the young lady in the chair (Anna) was addicted to pills and was sincerely just not ready to give them up yet. Jimmy the tattooed young man….I never understood what he did, but he invited me on a prescription drug run to Florida weeks later. The same aged woman, Sally, was a former Las Vegas stripper who had also lost her daughter as I had my son; she was a drinker and looked like and acted like she was on something else. Everyone was at various weeks in their court ordered class time, some would go and new ones arrived during my time that ended up being just under 20 weeks. They called me the professor and were all very intrigued by my story and the injustice on the "other side of the tracks." One Wednesday a few weeks later, Sandy walked in. She had just gotten out of jail for assaulting her partner. She worked at the same University I did and she had hit rock bottom…
at 11:26 PM