How the “Smart Woman” Got Caught Up in the Drama of a Drug Addict
This is a true story… and a somewhat embarrassing story. However, if in the telling, this story enlightens other “smart people,” than so be it….
[“And the trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk more” Erika Jong]
Ladyjustice has always considered herself a knowledgeable person – book smart, analytical, problem solving and possessing enough “street smarts” to know better… But alas, this was one of the hardest lessons of all – to be played like a fiddle by a master manipulator and not even realize it! LJ was no match for this person, henceforth to be called “Madam X.” Madam X had a pattern of leading unsuspecting people on a journey to hell and back.
Ladyjustice should have known better…
Little did she know at the outset that she would not only be a crime victim again, but also demonstrate an ability to rise above the pain, and abuse to save the perpetrator’s life…. whatever that was worth.
It all began when this blogger hosted a Woman’s Sunday Brunch gathering within a major hotel in an elite community in central Connecticut. One Sunday, a new guest, “Madam X” arrived. She was small in stature, was well scrubbed, freckle faced and appeared “too cute” in looks and personality for words. In fact, unbeknownst to LJ, she not only strolled in, but rode in on her motorcycle. (Motorcycles are hardly foreign objects to this blogger. Please refer to past blog- After 30 Years….. (Anniversary Tribute to Don Gore (8-26-1933–4-17-1981)
Madam X was charming and cast her spell toward LJ even during the first meeting. It was almost like a dream… PI’s Denny Griffin or Vito Colucci should have rounded the corner, taken this blogger by the shoulders and said, “Wake up woman, this person is bad news!” But they were nowhere to be found!
Madam X and LJ became friends, but there was something not quite right about the situation. This blogger had met others in the past that were in a tough spot, living on the edge for awhile until finances improved. But LJ should have known that the transient little barn converted apartment was for the wayward and not a “charming fixer-upper.”
Madam X was down on her luck. She had a job but lived paycheck to paycheck. She was a licensed handyperson, but was working in a hotel catering department. Madam X was a good cook, skilled at arts and crafts, and voiced goals and aspirations.
One day while sitting on the couch of her ramshackle apartment, after finishing a call to someone, she warned LJ, “You don’t want to know about my problems,” when an innocent offer of help was made. LJ had just rescued her stranded with her bike, needing a ride. (LJ should have walked out the door right then and there.)
This blogger was oblivious, blinded that “something was not quite right.” This cute and perky person fed into LJ’s caretaking nature…and Madam X knew it…
Madam X needed a temporary place to stay … so Ladyjustice oblige
d, thinking that it was the right thing to do to help a new friend…. And that our friendship would grow as a result.
Madam X moved in with her considerable amount of belongings, taking over LJ’s “neat nick condominium” and rearranged her life as never before.
Madam X came from a neighboring state, had two sisters. Both were successful professionals in other geographic areas. Madam X portrayed herself as “the black sheep of the family,” always trying to prove herself, always misunderstood. If memory serves, her mother was a widow, but dating.
What Ladyjustice wasn’t aware of initially, was that Madam X had burned many bridges, including her family. It appeared they were in a state of inertia when LJ desperately called them upon Madam’s first disappearance.(i.e. not in total denial of her problems and former rescues, but not helping her to face the music and suffer the consequences for, such things as losing her driver’s license….. and unbeknownst to this blogger, a drug problem.)
And so… having a new housemate, Ladyjustice, “Savior of the People” drove Madam X to her hotel job, frequently rising at 4 am to arrive at 6 am located over the hazardous Avon Mountain.
Fortuitously, rather than be the constant chauffer, Ladyjustice decided to put her on her auto insurance as a motorcycle was not always the best means of travel. Let me say fortuitously again, as one fine day, she borrowed LJ’s Subaru Forrester, fell asleep at the wheel, landed in a ditch and totaled the car, with only a few scratches to her body.
As time went on, the naiveté on LJ’s part remained and so did the loans of a few dollars here and there (which were accumulating). The good thing is that all expenditures were logged in a book as proof of what was owed (she told herself). Madam X liked a glass of wine with dinner…every night as it turned out.. which didn’t seem terribly out of place at first? LJ even sacrificed Thanksgiving dinner with her family in favor of a twosome, much to her family’s chagrin.
This blogger wasn’t thrilled with the situation, but kept the thought that the inconveniences were only temporary as soon as she got a better paying job. The inconveniences mounted and the psychological control and lies began, such that LJ wanted out of the situation altogether. But Ladyjustice knew Madam X would not go easily. She was a “hanger on” whose job it was to charm the world. ‘Never afraid physically, but LJ was in a constant state of worry, tired of being manipulated by charm and tired of beating up oneself for the stupidity of being duped.
By this time, thanks to the insurance company, a new 2003 midnight blue Toyota Matrix was on the premises. But… there was more to come…
One night, while Ladyjustice slept, Madam X got up, “borrowed” LJ’s car keys and stole the new car! The next morning, the car and Madam X were nowhere to be found. (Drug addicts are good at disappearing and re-appearing.)
Ladyjustice had to go to work…but was too ashamed and embarrassed to tell her family members. She tried unsuccessfully to arrange for continuous rides from co-workers. In the meantime, LJ did report “the newest incident” to the police immediately. Madam X had no record in the State of Connecticut. This blogger finally woke up and wanted to have her arrested! The brand new car was placed on the NCIC-National Crime Information Center’s data base for missing vehicles.
At this juncture, Ladyjustice had to “swallow her pride” and notify family members for transportation …and for support. They didn’t see Madam X’s addiction. They only knew and expressed that she was one of “those people” from the wrong side of the tracks… a user. They were truly concerned for LJ’s welfare.
It was the first time Ladyjustice had ever seen her mother threaten bodily harm…and her sister wanted to “throw all of her belongings out on the street.”
A plethora of emotions were at work in LJ’s head- anger, disgust, worry, even a little compassion for this criminal. What made her do it after all? LJ’s main emotions at the time were incredulousness and self disappointment for being so easily taken in!
CAN YOU IMAGINE HOW ANYONE WOULD SINK SO LOW AS TO STEAL THE ONLY TRANSPORTATION AVAILABLE FOR A SINGLE, PHYSICALLY DISABLED PERSON??
Ladyjustice just couldn’t get over this fact…. This blogger began to look into eviction procedures – a legal morass. LJ learned that it was no easy task to evict someone who is not “an official renter.” Days passed with no word from Madam X and no sign of the car . Perhaps two weeks came and went…
LJ discovered the “ace in the hole,” as Madam X’s motorcycle was left on the property. Sweet revenge!!! After consulting the police,, or maybe it was an attorney, Ladyjustice asked a neighbor to sell the motorcycle … and he did!
When Madam did show up, dazed and confused, she was totally dumbfounded and “betrayed” that LJ would have sold the motorcycle. No sense of responsibility was taken, just concern for the motorcycle!
Long story short, the brand new car was located unscathed (i.e. not stripped) in a high crime area of Hartford. (Coincidentally, it was exactly the location in front of the house where LJ’s mother grew up as a child!) The interior was a mess with many a McDonald’s wrapper and a couple hundred miles on the speedometer. Upon seeing it, Ladyjustice physically shook and was unable to drive it to the detailing shop.
And… Big Surprise…. Madam X stole the car in exchange for drugs.
As she told it, Madam X had a “once a month cocaine habit” in addition to an alcohol addiction.
Second Surprise… Madam X’s family turned against Ladyjustice for having her arrested. In truth, she was saving her life…
This blogger tried to “take the high road” and be supportive of Madam X’s inpatient Drug Rehabilitation, in which she was a model patient- making LJ arts and crafts projects and colored pictures. Perhaps LJ was biding her time until the court date. On the surface, temporary remorse was exhibited by Madam, such that Ladyjustice, always the compassionate one, did not see the value in sending her to jail if she could “be put on the right path.”
[A bit of trivia for readers,- Did you know that drug and alcohol counselors frequently encourage addicts to color pictures with crayons as it supposedly has a calming effect? Hah!]
The court date came and this blogger had her opportunity to list all of the despicable behaviors . Madam X said all of the right things to the judge. The judge was very surprised at LJ’s generosity “not to send her to jail, Do not pass go; Do not collect $200” as they say in Monopoly.
Drug Rehab, urine tests, probation and a halfway house were part of the plan going forward.
There was a near miss, a potential relapse during this time. The Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services policies supposedly interfered with the ability to demonstrate a clean versus a dirty test. The details escape this blogger now. However, Madam X called LJ hysterically telling her story , pushed to the brink of purchasing drugs ..and then at the last minute, flushing them down the toilet. Ladyjustice saw an injustice in the story and dutifully wrote a letter to the Medical Director.
No Surprise Again… Madam X never really expressed any remorse to Ladyjustice. She didn’t achieve the “making amends step” of the 12 step program during the time we were together. Several weeks later, Madam X, a couple of transient friends and her sister arrived with trucks to finally vacate LJ’s condominium. It was a tension filled day, but we made it through.
A few weeks later, the Medical Director of DMHAS responded to LJ’s letter on Madam’s behalf and promised to do “staff re-training concerning their policies in the future.” As a final loose end, LJ tried to do the right thing and notify Madam X of the letter and its promise. (Why I bothered, I’ll never know…)
Response to the message left at the halfway house – A call from the local police warning LJ not to harass Madam X!! Ladyjustice went to Alanon Meetings and tried to forget….
Moral of This Story–
Had Ladyjustice not bothered in the first place with the “Master Manipulator”, the entire sordid tale would not have happened. If Ladyjustice had not demonstrated the courage to have Madam X arrested, she would not have had the benefit of drug rehabilitation and the court system “trying to set her straight.” Lady Justice would have retained the first car and all of the money owed, never to be seen again.
In other words, even with all of Madam X’s mess-ups and devaluing of other humans, Ladyjustice saved her life…even if it was against her will… and felt good about that one and only fact! (But for the Grace of God finding her in some alley…)
This blogger owns the same “drug car” today. It currently has 131,526 miles on the speedometer. When the time comes for the bone yard, the bad memories will vanish with it. As for Madam X, who knows where she is 8 years later… Hopefully living a cleaner life!
As LJ’s boss always says, “No good deed goes unpunished.”