I saw it on Oprah, so it must be true. Her guest said the average length of time it takes to get over a lost lost is two years. He qualified it by saying, two years after the divorce was legally completed. I don't know why that makes a difference, and it does. No matter how apart you felt, in my case my husband had physically left our home years before I could complete a legal divorce. Something about the legal process hits you, makes it even more final.

I thought at first, maybe I was done when I discovered he was a drug addict. Two years of confusion finally made sense. I had answers for why our finances were a wreck, why he couldn't work, why he wouldn't see a doctor. He knew he was toying with his life, and mine, and he didn't care. He was willing to say what he needed to say in order to get what he needed to get. We had one fight only, in the whole time we lived together. It was my naive attempt at an intervention. My girlfriend who was a nurse had added up the information in her head. "He's a drug addict," she told me. I didn't get married to get divorced. I love my ex-husband, so I confronted him. What ensued was our one and only fight. He was absurdly offended by my allegation that his prescription drug use was too much. He threw up issues of disrespect and trust which were ironically the things he wasn't giving me. It should have been over then, and it wasn't. I found my self apologizing profusely, reporting back to my friend that he wasn't an addict.

Until the next car accident. It should have been over when he walked out the door. Ten days after being outed as a drug addict in the emergency room, by the attending physician. He promised to change, to detox at home. Said I could throw out his cache. He wanted a life with me. All that before he got home and realized he would really rather have his drugs. He didn't need rehab he insisted, since he wasn't a drug addict after all. There was no recovery. He walked out. I filed for a divorce the next day, and it wasn't over yet.

Over a year later I still couldn't get him served. I asked him to come back and get his belongings. Had him served when he showed up. That was the last time I saw him face to face. It should have been over then when I saw how crazy he was. Still complaining of disrespect. He accused me of kissing and hugging my friend, who was NOT a boyfriend, whom I did NOT kiss nor hug. It was Howard's way of making me wrong. He knew calling me disloyal after I stored his stuff for free for over a year would rankle me. If it were over I wouldn't cared, wouldn't have sought his approval. I looked in his eyes to see if he were clean, it was the same manipulation he has when he's using, the same story.

Six months after he was served the divorce was final, March of 2009. I was finally free. It should have been over then. I still grasped the weak memory of the man who cared for me so much. I thought if he were clean then surely he would help me pay some of the bills he had created. I wrote him after he said he was in a 12 step program. I thought when he got to the making amends part, he would have mercy. He sent $50 and then $50 more with a letter saying he would send money consistently. I wrote him gratefully a thank you note. Then he stopped. Stopped replying, stopped sending money. It should have been over then. I'd been kicked to the curb so many times. May be he had even started using again.

Yesterday a man came up to me at my work, and asked me what the name was of my former husband. "I saw Howard, you know." This gentleman told me. "He looked clean, remember how he looked like a bum before? He was clean shaved, dressed alright. He was at the VA and said 'hi' to me, asked me how it was in the mountains. . . I didn't recognize him. I asked someone what his name was, I think they said it was Howard."

"I would so love to know how he's doing," I admitted. I had so many unanswered questions: why didn't he love me? Why can't he help me with his bills? What were the triggers that made him use?