Nearly a year ago I got the call my father was dying. Cindy and I knew we would get the debt and none of the assets. That’s our lives. We always get the shitty end of the stick. In fact, we expect it.
After getting my client married at TDCJ Terrell Unit, taking her and her twin daughters to lunch and completing bridal photos, I sat alone in my suv and called Monroe, NC to get the funeral home to go pick up the body. I tried to pay them THEN. They wouldn’t let me. I wanted CLOSURE. I didn’t give a damn what it would cost I wanted it over.
The next day I was scheduled at TDCJ Robertson Unit and in the middle of bridal photos when the funeral home “called to collect.” I used my platinum card to pay them with my name on it pay attention to that part because my name is why I started a Tik Tok. My original Tik Tok was wendymwortham which family members got banned because I was being honest. The first video on that account was me in a parking lot mad AF because the funeral home kept getting my name WRONG on the damn authorization form. I was alone, frustrated and had paid them more than they quoted while with my Robertson Unit clients to get CLOSURE. I didn’t care I wanted it over and done.
It took 4 authorization forms between 3 units to accomplish this task. In the midst of all of this I was as usual worrying about Stephaney. For 18 years Cindy and I have been worrying about Stephaney.
My blogs, my businesses and my life are a mix of family, clients, chaos and loving an addict. My entire life has been scarred due to addicts and 30 plus years ago my own twin sister didn’t know she was addicted to prescription pain medicine until she overdosed. She then quit cold turkey. We had no idea until that occurred she had a problem but upon realizing it changed it too. I don’t take pain meds and neither does she. Addiction IS a choice. No one can convince me otherwise.
At 15 years old and pregnant sitting in the shelter with Cindy I made a pact. “We won’t be like them. We won’t hit our children or be drunks or addicts. We will be the parents we never knew and the people we never met.” We kept that pact until an accident broke Cindy in half. She didn’t walk for nearly 2 years and those prescriptions are why and how she unknowingly became dependent on them.
No one speaks for the people who love an addict. They have no voice. Everywhere it’s all about the addict and not about the people who love an addict. The people traumatized and victimized by the addict are silenced. I changed the dynamics by documenting what loving an addict is like on my Tik Tok account. I didn’t care if addicts wanted to “bring the heat” and comment or others wanted to label me as an enabler. They didn’t know Jack shit about me and had no impact on my life whatsoever. Our journey IS our journey. It’s raw, candid, transparent and I make no apologies for my anger at addicts who refuse to accept responsibility or accountability for their actions. Our mother never did. She never will.
The first year of being homeless was pure survival. The shelter only allowed us to stay 6 weeks then we were homeless again. Living in the streets was hard but cleaning up in gas station bathrooms was how we kept jobs. We became waitresses so we wouldn’t starve and eventually got a shitty car we lived in until we could move into a shady apartment. We never could afford electricity. Cindy was raped coming home from her shift at ihop. I tripped over her in the dark. A few months later we were in a car accident and told she was pregnant.
Now it wasn’t only about us but also about Leigh Ann. Our entire lives have been spent surviving and raising 2 generations of kids with an addict once again affecting our lives. For four and half months since Stephaney showed up on my patio after being homeless nearly 2 years again I’ve been the cheerleader. Get her a job. A place to live. A car. Keep her sober. I’m effing exhausted. My pom Poms are out of streamers. Today I lost my shit on her after resolving an issue with a lost license in Rockwall. Why? She was upset about some stupid guy that has never done anything for her. Cindy and I are and have been the only ones who gave a shit about her and she’s worried that this idiot posted a photo with a girlfriend? I nearly slapped her.
Loving an addict is the most miserable, unrewarding and exasperating thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. They destroy your health. You lose any degree of peace in your life.
I can’t tell you the number of times I was meeting a client, walking into a venue or courthouse or onto a sound stage or standing in front of a film crew or had to walk out of my own house full of production people because I was getting yet another crazy ass phone call from Stephaney because there have been too many damn times. Cindy and I have had to act normal in abnormal situations for 18 years. It’s raw HELL.
I nearly lost Cindy due to a heart attack because she wouldn’t let me take her to an ER while driving Steph to yet another rehab in Oklahoma. A year later while telling me “trying to save Stephaney is going to give you a heart attack” my husband had 3 right in front of me. I was alone with both Cindy and Matthew when they both suffered several heart attacks. I will never get over the fear of being in that position. No one will understand how traumatic this is unless they’ve been through it.
I thrive in a structured environment. Predictability is crucial to me. Loving an addict is the most unpredictable thing you could ever imagine or endure unless you’ve done it you won’t get it.
I don’t know where this journey with Stephaney will go but 18 years is my limit. Cindys too. We’ve spent our entire lives focused on surviving or raising our children for all of these years. If Steph relapses again, we are clocking out. At almost 60 we are focusing on ourselves… we don’t know how much time we have left but by God we are going to live out the rest of our lives with peace, structure and predictability.