With foresight, Tom breaks an

explicit, fundamental trust agreement



Friday, August 22, 2008

Tom was at Pleasures & Treasures this afternoon. When he got home, he lay down for a bit. That's not unusual, as excursions tire him.  When he got up, he asked if we could eat food from Panda as he didn't feel like cooking. AND, would I go get it. I said yes.


When I got home I set the food on the counter. He seemed to be on the phone in the bedroom; with dad? I went in and gave a quick wave. It obviously startled him. Something seemed off. He seemed to be rubbing his crotch, which seemed weird in the context of talking with dad.  Was he just mumbling instead?  It was just past 5:30, my usual supper time. I started to eat alone, then realized that Tom may not know I was beginning to eat. I went in to let him know I was eating. He was HIGH. I looked at him.  With high eyes and a dismissive tone he said "Yes I DID!" I picked up a wet rag from his crotch, soaked from a fairly empty can of Maximum Impact ethyl chloride. AGAIN. I put them in a ZipLock to reduce the fumes.


My stomach stops for nothing.  I am always hungry like clockwork.  I sat down to eat supper.  I was furious.  Tom came by, tentatively.  I told him "I don't want you anywhere near me."  He gave me my space.


About an hour later, I lay down to cry, and started to get HIGH. He'd used inhalants IN THE FRIGGIN' BEDROOM!  I had to leave the room.  I couldn't even lay in my own bed to cry.


Tom called his sponsor, a good first step.  His sponsor said he'd meet him at the next meeting, our usual Friday 8:00pm "Sober Minded Leatherfolk" meeting where we normally arrive at 7:30 to get a parking space and to visit.  Tom asked if he could ride with me.  I told him I'd rather he get a ride from someone else if it were possible.




Tuesday, March 18th was the date I first caught him huffing. Tom had used a can of something labeled "Maximum Impact".  I'd found him in the office with the can and a saturated rag.  He'd gotten some of it on his chair pad, which had to be tossed, and the rug, which had to be cleaned.  At the time I thought the can was poppers but I now know Maximum Impact is ethyl chloride. Tom threw out the can before I saw what the contents were.  I told him in no uncertain terms that this was not okay with me.  He promised me that day that he would stop huffing and never do it again.  I went next door and slept in the slavequarters to get away from the fumes.  Here's what happened in the following weeks:

1.    Thursday, March 27th was the day we turned closed captioning on on the TV because his hearing was deteriorating.

2.    Thursday, April 3, was when Tom went to see ophthalmologist Dr. Warlen because of vision deterioration; and got referred to neuroophthalmologist Dr. Edwards.

3.    Friday, April 4, was when we went to the UCSD emergency room because not only were his hearing and vision deteriorating (and the vision deterioration had now progressed from one eye to both eyes), but now his arms were trembling as well and he was having difficulty walking.  When the drug and alcohol counselor came and spoke with us and the huffing came up, Tom reiterated his promise that he had stopped and would never do it again.

4.    Friday, May 16 was when Tom had his health episode where our friend big Tim M. happened to call and discovered that Tom had lost the ability to speak English.  Tim and his partner Bill F. called me.  When Tim arrived where Tom was, Tim reports that Tom was gripping a counter to remain standing, and appeared drunk though he knew that wasn't the case.  It was a warm day.  Things subsided after Tim cooled Tom down.  Dr. Edwards noted that people with multiple sclerosis also may lose the ability to verbalize if they overheat, and that subsides when they cool down.

5.    Friday, May 23 was when Tom had a car incident where he rammed our two motorcycles in our tandem parking and he didn't even remember it:


The troubling development above led to us agreeing that Tom would not drive until we knew more about what was going on.  Later, after three months with seeming neurological stability, Tom resumed driving.

6.    Dr. Edwards noted a return of the nystagmus vision symptom on Wednesday, August 20, 2008, two days before I caught him huffing again with a fairly empty can.  Had he been huffing again before the nystagmus returned?  (Later, Tom stated that the answer was "no".)




Today Tom said "I made a mistake". I told him a mistake is unintentionally picking up a can of peas when you meant to get green beans. With forethought, he intentionally broke a promise to me. This is way beyond a mistake.


Later, I went in the bedroom to get dressed for the meeting.  A fume-related-headache started to begin.  Once again, because of Tom's inhalant abuse, I would not be able to spend the night in my home.

Before we left for the meeting, I made it crystal clear:  "Your inhalant abuse impacts me, and I am no longer going to remain silent about it."

At the meeting, Tom introduced himself as a newcomer and an addict, both commendable steps.  Later, when he shared, he said that, as a fister, he's always viewed poppers and inhalants differently.  (This was news to me:  Until tonight, when I looked at the ingredients on the can and it said "ethyl chloride", he had only ever mentioned inhaling poppers.)  But that tonight he had used inhalants totally outside of fisting.  He'd make a bad decision, and for that he was sorry.

This expanded knowledge that Tom had been using inhalants/ethyl all along was infuriating to me.  Using ethyl chloride was never acceptable in our relationship framework:

1.    Huffing ethyl is using strong drugs.  [He snorted when he read this line.]

2.    Huffing ethyl impacts his health.

3.    Huffing ethyl may impact our dog.  Dogs have 100x the smelling acuity of humans and she is also 1/25th our size.

4.    Huffing ethyl impacts me.

Related, Tom had never told me he was using ethyl chloride.  (Later Tom stated that he changed from poppers to ethyl about a year ago because poppers were giving him a headache.  He stated he felt they were similar and did need to mention it.  Overlooking that his ethyl use gives *me* a headache, I said they are absolutely not similar to me.)


When it came time for a burning desire, I knew I had to get this off my chest:
"Tonight Tom admitted that he used inhalants today.  But this is not the first time.  Back in March he spilled what I now know to be ethyl chloride in the office.  It required tossing something because it had ethyl on it, and shampooing the rug.  I made it crystal clear that this was not okay with me and Tom promised me that he would stop and never do it again.  A week later, Tom was having severe neurological issues and we were in the emergency room.  A man there asked 'Have you used any drugs or alcohol?'  Tom said no.  I said 'That's not correct.  You were huffing on something last week.'  Tom minimized his usage in his share.  And because of his usage, I am once again being forced out of my home to avoid the fumes.  I'm pissed.  He didn't just make a bad decision.  He sent me out of the house.  With forethought, he broke a promise to me."


I spent the night elsewhere.


Saturday was the monthly gathering with my sponsor and the other folks he sponsors.  I shared what was going on.  One of my sponsee brothers asked the gentle statement/question:  "You're in recovery.  You know that some people relapse.  How is it any different in your relationship?"  I explained "I'm not in an intimate relationship with those other people.   And I'm very clear that I do not have the emotional masochism to be in relationship with an addict who deceives me."  Tom was cleaning the entire house when I got home.  He apologized.  I told him an apology alone was not sufficient this time.  He got defensive and pissy:

·         He said I lied in my share on Friday.
When I asked him what he meant, he said "You said I'd used inhalants outside of assplay before."  Disregarding that he'd never said he was using ethyl during assplay, and disregarding that using ethyl was not okay by me at all ever, I clarified "You used back in March."  He said "I had a buttplug up my ass."  I said "Oh.  I didn't know.  Which would mean my share might be incorrect but it was definitely not an intentional lie."

·         He said this was exactly the same as me smoking pot years before.
I said it was nothing like it; that with foresight he had violated a fundamental trust agreement in our relationship.

·         He claimed again that his apology was sufficient.
I said no it was not.  Striving to make amends for this would require much, much more.  "We need to start with couples' counseling."  He said "Not until I'm well established with my therapist."

·         Things got heated.  Tom said "You never let anything go.  There's no winning with you.  You're always right.  You and your Imperious Tone.  WELL I'VE GOT NEWS FOR YOU WES ________!" he shouted, and continued.  Somewhere in there he said "Your share [Friday] was full of venom and hate.  That's why you have no friends.  People see the anger just under the surface and they don't want to be around it."  I replied "From one angry 'burning desire' share in five years?  You are so wrong."

·         When it came time for my evening call with Daddy Barry, Tom hollered into the phone "Tell him there will be no [birthday] party [Thursday]!"


I started to gather things for another night away from Tom.  Tom said "You don't even have the courtesy to tell me you're spending the night out!"  I said "I haven't left yet."  Then Tom said "Do you want me to pack my bags?!"  I told him that would depend on what he decides to do next.  Then I told him I was leaving. Later I realized that *I* shouldn't be out of the house because *he* chose to use.  I returned.  I asked Tom to sleep in the other bedroom.  He asked "Why do I have to go to the other room?"  I said "Because you're the one who broke the trust."  He set up the air mattress in the office.  He largely stayed in there and I largely stayed in the living room.  But I was horribly uncomfortable with even this proximity.  It felt like our relationship rapist was just in the next room.  I gathered my things and told him I was leaving.


Sunday I returned but he was not home.  I gathered things for another evening away.


Monday when I returned I asked Tom "When are we going to talk?"  He said we need to talk now about X Y & Z, such as when would I be there, walking our dog Opa, where the car will be, etc.  I told him I was not going to discuss anything until we were inside couples' counseling, with the exception that I'd make sure he had the car for his doctor appointments.  He said but we don't have a counselor.  I suggested he find one within the week, and if he wants issues addressed then get an appointment sooner rather than later.  Tom agreed.  I gathered things for another evening away.


I had been writing for days.  Tuesday I was crystal clear what needed to happen in the relationship next.




Is Tom willing to do what it takes to continue our relationship? 

Here is the roadmap I laid out initially, Saturday-Monday


I have a right to not trust Tom right now.   I have a right to be angry for quite some time.  Tom needs to acknowledge that this is not going to dispel quickly.  These are emotional boundaries.


Is Tom willing to do what it takes to re-earn some of my trust?

This is also an emotional boundary.  Tom may think these are unreasonable (or not) -- to him -- but I'm letting him know what it takes for me:

1.  Begin couple's counseling within 1 week.

2.  I feel violated.  I want the option of healing without our relationship rapist in the next room.  I want the option of crying in my own bed.  I want to be able to immerse in the solace of my music.  Tom stays elsewhere for the next 30 days.  He can of course take his computer, have access to mail, and we'll coordinate car usage.  I want Tom to know how it feels to suddenly be forced out of what has been our home.

3.  For now, do not touch me.  By example, it would be inappropriate for someone who just threw paint on you to give you a hug.

4.  Tom tells Dad, in my presence, that Tom has broken an explicit trust agreement of our relationship.

5.  Work a strong program.

1.  Go to 90 meetings in 90 days as suggested in the Narcotics Anonymous basic text page 44.

2.  Meet with his sponsor weekly.

3.  Work all the steps, including inventory, amends, and meditation.

4.  Call program people daily.

5.  Stop associating with people, places and things associated with his drug use; including Pleasures and Treasures, where he bought the ethyl chloride.  (Alternatively, they can stop selling it.)

6.  Come clean on the other times he's used.  That ethyl bottle was largely empty.

6.  Acknowledge in writing that Tom's health is at risk, and that he has been doing something that endangers it.

7.  Acknowledge in writing that his breaking my trust & his inhalant abuse affects me, and that he shall not expect me to be silent about it with anyone.

8.  Acknowledge in writing that there may come a point where I forgive him, but it is unreasonable to expect that I will ever trust him the same again.

9.  Acknowledge in writing that this inhalant abuse is fundamentally different than my 1997 marijuana use he says it's the same as.

1.  Tom sent me out to get dinner and then used.  With foresight, he tried to covertly break a fundamental trust agreement of our relationship.
(Later Tom clarified that he was high when he sent me out.)

2.  I told Tom when I was going to smoke pot.  I was honest.

3.  Tom smoked pot with me on more than one occasion.

4.  Ethyl chloride is a quantum leap magnitude more intense than pot.  As his friend little Tim M. said, what he observes is

1.  People just about lose consciousness.

2.  Their heads drift to the bed.

3.  He can't tell if they're okay.

4.  They can't speak.

5.  He doesn't know if they're having a heart attack.

10.        Acknowledge in writing clear boundaries around any future drug use.

1.  If he injures himself as the result of his drug use (stroke, accident, death, etc.), I will not be responsible for taking care of him.

2.  If he uses again he is choosing to end the relationship and we shall get an uncontested divorce with these terms:

1.  Even split of liquid assets, excluding the $1,000 or so remaining inheritance from my mother.  As of this writing, I think that's about $40,000 but I can't access online banking or Quicken to verify.

2.  Even split of net equity in the condo, despite the fact that I put much of the money down on our first house from retirement funds ($10,000?); a substantial portion of inherited funds for our second house ($35,000?), and another substantial portion of inherited funds for this condo ($35,000?).  Net equity would be paid to Tom within 5 years, meaning that there would be no fire sale, and Wes retains the option to remain in the condo at the five year point if he can refinance and pay Tom cash based on appraisal by Shane Stewart if alive.

3.   The car remains with me.  From my cash I shall pay Tom 1/2 the Kelley Blue Book "private party" value for a 2002 Volkswagen Passat GLX Sedan 4D, with CD option but not cassette plus premium wheels, 33,000 miles, good condition (we're excluded from "excellent" by "never had any paint or body work"), ZIP code 92103 = $12,515 / 2 = $6,256.

4.  Opa remains with me as I would not trust that she would be safe with him around inhalant fumes.

3.  If he uses again he will leave the premises immediately and move his belongings out within 1 week.  If anything remains after that I may donate them or keep them as I wish but they are no longer his and he may not return for them.

11.        Give me his cash to manage and, when he asks to use it for something, provide receipts for how it is spent.

12.         Because of defensiveness over his using, he canceled a Thursday birthday party for Opa and Daddy Barry.  I want him to feel a similar consequence:  Tom may not go to Madonna with me in November.  [His pissiness flared again while he was reading my writings out loud to me Tuesday:  “I didn’t want to go to Madonna anyway.”]



When did Tom begin using ethyl?

Is it possible Tom is acting out because we got married the previous week?

Why doesn't Tom want to tell Dad that we got married?



1.  Betrayed.  Tom really doesn't seem to grasp the magnitude of the betrayal.  Following are some examples of betrayals.  They are not threats.  They are simply examples to try to give him a perspective of how this feels to me.  For example, it would be a betrayal if I were to:

1.  tell his parents he was gay before he came out to them  [Side note:  He came out to his parents back in 1993 upon advice from our attorney when our attorney was working on our wills, powers of attorney, etc.  The attorney said "You've got to come out now.  Things are unnecessarily difficult on the surviving partner if parents are not only grieving a death but also just discovering their son was gay."]

2.  call Dad Adkins and tell him we got married and his son is doing drugs

3.  empty the bank account

4.  call Tom's disability insurance company and say he's doing drugs

2.  Irritated.  Not wanting to acknowledge the depth of the betrayal is itself drug addict behavior.  This is a higher level of betrayal than Tom is acknowledging.  Tom doesn't normally take his commitments lightly.

3.  Violated.

4.  Insulted.  The marriage was a step in our relationship, one where I was taking care of Tom.  Specifically, he is undergoing an age-55 disability review and I was protecting him from the possibility of me being deposed, making available married partner's right to privity of spousal communication.

5.  Uncertain.  It feels like Tom is trying to trigger an exit of the relationship.

6.  Deceived.  It appears the undisclosed ethyl use has been going on for some time.

7.  Judgmental.  He's relying on drugs for sex.

8.  Resigned.

9.  Clear.


We've supported each other through many life moments, including

1.    family deaths such as Wes' mom, then Tom's, and Tom's sister

2.    the deaths of around 200 of Wes' friends and acquaintances

3.    uncounted illnesses

4.    major medical times, including Wes' 5 sinus surgeries and Tom's gall bladder, hernia repair, and implant surgeries; and Tom's broken leg and broken arm

5.    other medical and legal issues, such as Tom's age-55 disability medical review

6.    arrival and departure of additional major parties to the relationship, particularly my leather slaves

7.    three homes

8.    family drama, particularly The Letter Wars

9.    Opa's arrival

Now, with foresight, Tom has broken an explicit trust agreement fundamental to our relationship.  He has not copped to the magnitude of what he has done.  He's been hostile.  I am angry, do not trust him, and am resigned:  I know that trust can mend, but it will never be the same.  I was clear:  I do not want to continue together given this personal truth.  But with that clarity has come a great sense of peace.




Tom's actions have ended our relationship:  He broke
an explicit trust agreement fundamental to our relationship.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I met with Tom and shared my writings.  They continued with the following, which I felt an exceedingly fair arrangement for the logistics that come next:

1.  We shall get an uncontested divorce with these terms:

1.  Even split of net liquid assets, excluding the $1,000 or so remaining inheritance from my mother.  As of this writing, I think that's about $40,000 but I can't access online banking or Quicken to verify.  To make the accounting easier, Wes shall open a separate American Express card.  Both Wes and Tom shall use their respective Mastercards for any new charges while existing debits on the joint American Express card that belong to Wes are shifted to his separate account.  Tom will open a new Bank of America account.  (What this will do is Tom retains excellent credit from the Amex, and Wes will have the excellent credit from the bank account.)  When the process is complete and the joint American Express is paid off, the net liquid assets get distributed.  The "joint" American Express account returns to Tom's sole ownership.  Float loans may be made in the interim and their balances will be deducted from the final distribution.  I'll handle the disentangling of the finances.  Tom has seen me handle the distribution of my mother's $240,000 estate and knows he can trust me to treat him equitably.

2.  Even split of net equity in the condo, despite the fact that I put all the money ($10,000?) down on our first house, from retirement payout; most of the money ($25,000?) down for our second house, from inherited funds; and about half the money ($35,000?) for our present condo, again from inherited funds. Net equity shall be paid to Tom within 5 years, meaning that there will be no fire sale in this depressed market, and Wes retains the option to remain in the condo at the five year point if he can refinance or otherwise pay Tom cash based on appraisal by Shane Stewart, a Realtor we mutually trust, if Shane is alive.  Otherwise we each obtain an appraisal and average the amounts unless the appraisals diverge by more than $50,000.  If that happens, and we cannot simply resolve the issue between the two of us, we shall enter binding arbitration using a nationally accredited mediation firm agreeable to both of us.

3.  The car remains with me.  From my cash I shall pay Tom 1/2 the Kelley Blue Book "private party" value for a 2002 Volkswagen Passat GLX Sedan 4D, with CD option but not cassette plus premium wheels, 33,000 miles, good condition (we're excluded from "excellent" by "never had any paint or body work"), ZIP code 92103 = $12,515 / 2 = $6,256.  Title will be adjusted from joint to sole ownership accordingly.

4.  Tom keeps his motorcycle, purchased with funds from the sale of Mom's Sable.  I keep my motorcycle, purchased with inherited funds.  Titles are adjusted from joint to sole ownerships, accordingly.

5.  westom.com and officerwes.com and their content remain mine.

6.  Opa remains with me as I do not trust that she would be safe with him around inhalant fumes if he used yet again.

2.  Tom will leave the premises by 7pm tonight and shall move his belongings out September 4th-7th while I am gone on a trip.  If anything remains after that I may donate them or keep them as I wish but they are no longer his and he may not return for them.  Tom may use the car September 4th-7th, but after that I shall pay him for it and he shall relinquish any claim to title.  Preceding and subsequent, he can ride his motorcycle, buy a car, rent a car, use the bus, bicycle, walk, or take a taxi, but he may no longer use the Passat.


Tom was shaken when he realized it was over. He started gathering his things. But when he talked with his sponsor, his attitude changed: “I don't have to leave.” I told him we could do it the easy way, or the hard way. He asked what the hard way was. I told him the hard way was me calling Dad -- who has always let me know that if I ever need him to please call -- tell him I caught you using drugs a second time, have asked you to leave by 7pm, and you refuse to vacate.  He said “Fine. Call Dad.” I asked “Are you sure?” He said yes. So I dialed Dad. The first number I had was his old one. I looked in the database for the updated number. Before I called, I asked Tom again: “Are you sure you want to do it this way?” He said “Yes.” I called Dad and told him what was going on. We talked for a bit, then he asked “Why did Tom start doing drugs?” I said I couldn't really speak to that; that my own experience has been I walked in on him March 18th, he promised me he would stop, and on Friday he sent me out of the house and used drugs again. Tom said “I can call him.” I told Dad Tom was interested in talking with him. We said our goodbyes for now. I followed Tom as he talked with Dad, as I was concerned he would continue minimizing what is going on.  And indeed that happened.  Overlooking that I'd been working with him since March, Tom said "Wes won't work with me."  Similarly, he'd just read the list with 7 transportation options but Tom told Dad "I have no transportation."  (The next day Tom said he'd correct that one.)  And despite the fact that I'd been out of the house a second time because of his drug use, Tom played the victim and said “I've been doing everything I can and it doesn't seem to be good enough.”  Dad asked if I'd give Tom a little time.  I told him I would, but that I didn't want to be around him.


I gathered things for another evening away.




Wednesday, August 26, 2008

Tom was calmer this morning.  But he said two strange things:  The first was "I called the police."  Why?  "You made an implied threat to me."  I did no such thing.  "You wrote that you would call my insurance company and tell them I'm doing drugs."  I reiterated what was clearly written:  "Following are some examples of betrayals.  They are not threats.  They are simply examples to try to give him a perspective of how this feels to me."  He let it go.


Tom said he'd rather sell the condo now and split the proceeds.  I asked why?  He said either of us might die, etc., and he'd just rather sell it now and move on.  I pondered his request for a bit, then agreed.


The second strange thing occured later, when I was in the other room.  I heard my full name being carefully stated, "Wes __________."  I went into the office, where Tom was, and asked what was going on.  He said he was consulting an attorney, and she needed to make sure I wasn't already a client so that there was no conflict of interest.  Well this was irritating:  He uses, I respond consistently fair, and now he wants to be a dick?  I told him:  I'm honoring the agreement we've always held, which is that things are evenly ours.  I've provided a roadmap for splitting things 50/50.  There is simply no need to consult an attorney.  But if he does -- and this is not a threat -- it will feel to me like he's going to try and dishonor our longtime agreement and obtain some other split.  I told him that if he tried to scrap our longtime agreement to litigate for more, I would feel attacked and would then also lobby for more.  It's simply unnecessary.


The full magnitude of what he has done began hitting Tom.  He asked me to drive him to a hospital so he could be put somewhere safe for a few days until the overwhelming period passed.  I did.


Thursday, August 27, 2008

Awareness of more frustrating minimizing by Tom:  Yesterday he said he'd had a play date Friday night -- this was fine, we have an open relationship -- and he had the ethyl for the date.  He was just lying on our bed before the date when he thought "Why not?"  I realized this morning the impact of what he'd just said:  He had ethyl for the date.  Even without me catching him, he was planning on violating our explicit agreement.


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