Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Therapy Day 10.21.08

Dr. has been seeing me for just $25 a session (a DEEP discount from his usual $150). I am grateful for this. I needed it when I first started seeing him! Now, things have gotten less scary financially... I have some cushion (for today)... I can afford to pay more. Therapy is valuable for me. I have just started paying $65 an hour to have hair electrocuted off my chin so I don't become a bearded lady!
If I can pay $65 to have needles stuck individually into each hair follicle and have electrical current shot into them to kill hair for my vanity, then surely, I can come up with $65 to pay for an hour with Dr. for my mental health! I am going to cut down on my electrocution appointments and start paying Dr. $65.

I feel good about paying more... and although I don't know that I could EVER justify $150 an hour in my budget, I don't want Dr. to think that I don't think he is worth that much. I told him I felt guilty because of this. He told me he didn't need me to validate him because he knows what he's worth.

This gave me pause.
I don't know if my feelings were hurt because he didn't need that from me (and what good am I if someone doesn't need that from me?).
Or was I sad because I do not know my worth and that was such a stark contrast?

Things to think about.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Election '08

I do not want my alcoholic marriage blog to be political or religious.
It is more about:
                                         

That said, I feel that as we progress toward the election, I MUST say a few words.  
I find myself NOT wanting to watch TV or read the news. 
I just want it to be over and to know our fate.  
I am distressed by our media's obvious bias.  
I am saddened by our vote for the popular, the charismatic, and the slogan instead of the TRUTH.  
I am disheartened by our country's fall from standing up for what is RIGHT.  
Even so-called "Christians" are compromising and siding with people who believe it is OK to kill a baby in the 7th-9th month of pregnancy.  
Where has common decency gone?  
Where have our morals gone?  
Where has our commitment to remembering the non-negotiables gone?

A questions has recently arisen about Obama's birth certificate.
I am not saying these concerns are true, but I am saying that IF there are legitimate concerns about ANY candidate's (from ANY party) citizenship status, wouldn't you think the candidate would want to be accountable to the American public and SHOW us that there is not ground for concern?
I asked this recently in an email and sent it out to my voting friends of all persuasions.
the reactions surprised me (although I guess they shouldn't have).
No Obama voters wanted the truth.
They all said it was a smear campaign against him.
PERIOD.
Since when did asking a QUESTION become a "smear tactic"?
I feel like we live in comunism/socialism  (see definitions below) already!
Yikes!

COMMUNISM - As a political movement, communism is a more radical branch of the broader socialist movement. The communist movement differentiates itself from other branches of the socialist movement through their wish to completely do away with all aspects of market society under the final stage of the system and their focus on the international working class as key in that revolution. 
FACISM - A social and political ideology with the primary guiding principle that the state or nation is the highest priority, rather than personal or individual freedoms.  A political movement that believes in an extreme form of nationalism: denying individual rights, insisting upon the supremacy of the state, and advocating one-party rule with ultimate authority resting in the hands of an elite few.
SOCIALISM - An economic system in which the basic means of production are primarily owned and controlled collectively, usually by government under some system of central planning.

Well, it will all be over soon. 
One way or the other.

Meals for the Broken-Hearted

When Mr. M went off the deep end this last go 'round, some nice "church ladies" brought my family meals.
Thoughtful.
And a good idea since I couldn't bring myself to make anything at all... I personally lived on cigarettes & diet coke (don't tell Pastor :o) and didn't see why my kids should need to eat over and over again... "Didn't I just feed you yesterday?"
And Vegetables?
My poor kids didn't see one for MONTHS at a time... our best shot was a small salad at El Pollo Loco.
But I am betting on the fact that when I get to heaven, God will assuage my guilt and let me know that Ketchup is indeed a vegetable.

Like the meals you get when you have a baby or when you have surgery, alcoholic husband meals tend to be lasagna or other "red" italian meals or "cream of" soup casseroles.  Don't get me wrong, I am a grateful recipient... but a little variety wouldn't hurt, would it?

A friend of mine makes this dish... and brought it as a "losing your home" meal to one of our foreclosure friends and they RAVED about it... I wish she would've brought it to me as a "sorry your hubby is drinking again" meal.  
Hmmm... Maybe next time.



Monterey Chicken

Chicken
6 thin boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4oz can of diced green chilies
8oz pkg of shredded monterey jack cheese
1/4 c. shredded parmesan cheese
1 envelope of " orginal" Shake n' Bake
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. pepper
6 TBS butter, melted

Tomato sauce - 
Cook all ingredients in a small sauce pan until boils and is slightly thickened.
1 15oz can of tomato sauce
1/3 c. onions, diced
1/2 tsp. cumin
salt and pepper to taste
hot pepper sauce (optional), I use 2-3 drops

Combine Shake n' Bake crumbs, parm. cheese, chili pwdr., cumin, salt, and pepper. 
Dip chicken in melted butter then roll in crumb mixture. Place in a baking dish. Layer diced green chilies and then monterey jack cheese on top of each chicken breast. Drizzle any remaining butter around the edges of the chicken. Bake at 400 for 25-40 minutes- depending on how thick your chicken breasts are. Serve with tomato sauce (some like sour cream and limes too.) I like to pair these types of meals with a salad, refried beans, and tortilla chips. Enjoy :)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Foreclosed


Yesterday Mr. M and I went over to our friends' home to help them pack and to hug them as they sobbed.  
The sheriff had appeared last Thursday to serve them with an eviction notice.
Sad and devastating under ANY circumstances... the heartbreaking twist here is that Wifey knew and had been hiding it for MONTHS (and helped create it).  Hubby was completely in the dark... shocked and flabbergasted!  
I was packing in the garage.  I walked over to Hubby's workbench.  My eyes filled with tears.  This was not the workbench of someone who knew he would be moving and was preparing to move.  It was the workbench of someone who thought he would be there for a long time.   They have a LOT more to work on than just losing their house (and all their equity - a lifetime of work and savings, lost at 40 years old).

I do not want ANYONE to be as miserable as I have been in my alcoholic marriage... I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.  But wow, do people suddenly have more understanding, mercy, grace, and gratefulness!  (And where did the pity and maybe even tiny bit of judgement or "we are better than you" look in their eyes go?)   People suddenly realize what kind of love, support, and help we could have used in OUR tough time when we show up to help them in theirs.

Mr. M found himself teary and emotional all day.
He was sad for our friends.
He was also sad for us.
He saw the devastation the lying and betrayal can bring.
He had never seen his friend cry... and he wasn't just crying, he was sobbing.

UPDATE: My Friend's Boyfriend

Months ago, I wrote a post called My Friend's Boyfriend.  In it, I talked about my recently divorced friend and my jealousy over her post-marriage relationships that "light up" her "soul".

This is an update.

I have not talked to her in a long time (Guilty note to self: call her and go to lunch) but Mr. M saw her.  He said she was kind of depressive and melancholy.  
Apparently soul light boyfriend cheated on her.
I am NOT glad about this.
I am tremendously sad for her.
However, 2 things:

#1 - I DO think there CAN be a valuable lesson in this for her!  Sometimes all the fantasy and soul lighting up are just lust.  Sometimes it is good to wait, take it slow, do the right thing.  Sometimes, single parents should not be focusing on their soul lighting up (and the drama of "will he call or won't he" etc.), but on parenting their kids, especially when you have just had an affair and divorced their Daddy.

#2 - It was good for ME in that I WAS feeling jealous and lonely and wishing I could experience a little light in MY soul instead of only an alcoholic marriage.  Watching her hurt and pain is a good reminder to me that while I HAVE missed some fireworks of the soul, I have also missed all that drama and heartbreak and I have stayed and given my kids an in-tact family for a few more years.

So, I'm sorry friend.
I'm sorry you are hurting and suffering.
(And I would love to go to lunch and catch up.)
But you helped me be more grateful for my choice and not jealous. 
Thanks.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Therapy Day 9.30.08

Today was therapy.
I told Dr. about the dream I had about him.
The dream was that his office was the waiting room.
People kept coming in DURING my session and sitting next to me on the sofa while waiting for their therapist to come get them.
The receptionist was right in the office too, answering phones, taking calls, filing etc. (Her name was Yolanda, in my dream.)
Dr. had some forms I had completed and he wanted to review them with me so he handed them to me... they were someone else's (2 different peoples' stapled together, but not mine).
I was kind of fretting and planning HOW I could tell him that I couldn't do therapy with Yolanda in the room and I didn't know what to do with these papers that were not mine. I didn't want to sound threatening or demanding... but at the same time, I know I could not do therapy this way.
His next clients came in and sat right there with us in the "waiting room" which was his office.
There was a young girl with them (maybe 6-8) and she leaned against Dr. very familiarly (like a family member). He patted her fondly and kissed her forehead... I was JEALOUS!... I wanted to be loved and familiar like that. (Embarrassing!) I remember thinking that it made sense to me now that he would not see my friends for therapy and that he did not want his clients talking and hanging out.
When i woke up, i was sad and felt weird. I was embarrassed.
I knew I didn't want to tell him about my dream... which of course made me know that I needed to all the more (terrific!).
We didn't get to it until the last 10 minutes or so... but I DID tell him... he said there was a lot to unpack there and that we should talk about it next week.


We also talked about comfort.
I feel an endless, bottomless need for care and comfort.
He said he thinks that maybe I THINK I need comfort, but that no one can really make it "OK"... no one could truly comfort me effectively (true!!!). He said he thinks there is more value in someone being PRESENT with me in my feelings... allowing me to have them, not rescuing me, just BEING THERE.
He said more and more he is interested in the possibility of parenting kids and even babies this way... that maybe comforting them (shooshing them, jiggling them, getting them to stop crying) might not be what they need. After they have been fed, diapered, burped, etc... perhaps they just need someone to be with them... truly with them, while they cried and felt their feelings. Someone to see them, hear them, make eye contact with them and be present with them while they felt their feelings.
Interesting concept.

I just almost typed "I love him".
Then I stopped and felt weird.
I don't know what my feelings are.
I feel hopeful.
I really want him to be the 'real deal'... but what IS the 'real deal'?
Someone who is really CAPABLE of helping me and being strong and confident and leading me where I need to go?
And I can't really feel like I love him.
I don't even KNOW him!
I love who he is to ME.

Hmmm... stuff to think about.

Alltop update

Alltop already DOES have an addiction site!!!
They just call it "Recovery", not "Addiction", so click and 'aggregate' (as they would say!).
Enjoy.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Alltop.com

Great newish website:  Alltop
Directly from their website, this is what they say their purpose is.
"We help you explore your passions by collecting stories from “all the top” sites on the web. We’ve grouped these collections — “aggregations” — into individual Alltop sites based on topics such as environment, photography, science, Muslim, celebrity gossip, military, fashion, gaming, sports, politics, automobiles, and Macintosh. At each Alltop site, we display the headlines of the latest stories from dozens of sites and blogs.

You can think of an Alltop site as a “digital magazine rack” of the Internet. To be clear, Alltop sites are starting points—they are not destinations per se. The bottom line is that we are trying to enhance your online reading by both displaying stories from the sites that you’re already visiting and helping you discover sites that you didn’t know existed. In other words, our goal is the “cessation of Internet stagnation” by providing “aggregation without aggravation
.”

Visit... it is great!  
I can't wait until they add more and more topics!
Of course, coming from an alcoholic marriage, one I would like to immediately see added is addiction.alltop.com.

If you agree, please email them at info@alltop.com and send them your own version of my email below.

Alltop, 
I would like to suggest addiction.alltop.
This could have info on many aspects of addiction including:
drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, shopping, gambling, eating, sex, codependency, families of addicts, and 12 step programs.  As well as some lucrative, income generating areas such as 
recovery programs & interventionists and anti-addiction medications etc.
Thanks for your consideration!

Alcoholic Cartoon #1

This isn't funny.
But it's funny.


Dwarves of Grief

**Excerpted from "This Does Not Have to Be a Secret" from the book "An Exact Replica Of A Figment Of My Imagination" by Elizabeth McCracken**

"...In the hospital in Bordeaux one of the midwives looked at us and asked a question in French. [The Author, McCracken explains her and her husband Edward's mediocre grasp of the French language during when they were in the hospital in France and their son, Pudding, was born stillborn at nearly full-term.] This particular [midwife] was a teenager, checking itmes off a list. The room was like a hospital room anywhere, on a ward for the reproductively luckless, far away from babies and their exhausted mothers. Did we want to speak to -

'Excusez-moi?' Edward said and cocked an ear.
'Un femme relgieuse,' the midwife clarified. A religious woman. Ah.
Here's what she said:
'Voulez-vous parlez a' une nonne?'
Which means, Would you like to speak to a nun? Of course in Catholic France it was assumed we were Catholic.
But Edward heard, 'Voulez-vous parler a' un nain?'
Which means, Would you like to speak to a dwarf?

When he told this to his friend Claudia, she said, 'My God! You must have thought, 'That's the last thing I need!''
'No,' Edward told her. 'I thought I'd really like to speak to a dwarf about then. I thought it might cheer me up.'
We theorized that every French hospital kept a supply of dwarves in the basement for the worst-off patients and their families. Maybe it was just a Bordelaise tradition: the Dwarves of Grief. We could see them in their apologetic smallness, shifting from foot to foot.

In the days afterward, I told this story to friends over the phone. Our terrible news had been relayed to my friends...and now I phoned to say - to say what I wasn't sure, but I didn't want to disappear into France and grief....We ordered carafe after carafe of rose', and I told my friends about the Dwarves of Grief, and I listened to their loud, shocked, relieved laughter. I felt a strange responsibility to sound as though I were not going mad from grief. Maybe I managed it...."

********************************
Dear Oprah & Ms. McCracken, please don't sue me.
********************************

I loved this for so many reasons.
I loved humor and heartbreak coexisting like lover's fingers interlaced on a walk down the beach.
I loved the impossibly lovely image of the "Dwarves of Grief"... so out of place and unexpected and almost gruesome that they fit perfectly into a situation of agonizing loss and suffering. [Though I have not experienced the tragedy of losing a child and won't even pretend to compare, my grief over Mr. M's drinking and the death of my marriage and all my hopes and dreams while we have 4 kids depending on us, has been profound and devastating in its own right.] How many times would someone's offer of a Dwarf have been welcomed? It seems like a validation of the crazy out-of-placeness of what is going on in my life.

"None of what is happening in my life makes any sense. What is happening?" I flail against reality.
"Excuse me Madame, would you like to talk to a Dwarf?"
"A Dwarf?" I would respond
"Why yes, of course, Madame, A Dwarf."
"You know what?" I feel a little calmer, a little more understood "This situation definitely calls for a Dwarf. Please! Bring out the freakin' Dwarf!!!"

And finally, I love the last paragraph where the Author acknowledges that she feels a responsibility to be OK, to offer a laugh, to not be too much of a "downer" in the midst of her entire world being ripped apart at the seams. So ridiculous. So unnecessary. And yet, so me!

Ah... what a deliciously beautiful piece.
Thank you so much "O" Magazine and Elizabeth McCracken that "refreshed my spirit".

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Mutual Agreements

Mr. M's currently does not live at home... he still lives at a sober-living facility. (He calls this his 'dwelling', he won't call it his 'house' or 'home'). He pays $700 a month to rent a bed in this dwelling. He shares a room with a roomie (who can change if the guy gets drunk or moves out etc.). Food is provided (old expired stuff donated from stores - YUCK!). Each resident has chores, and just like kids & teenagers, they try to get out of them, try to get others to do them, make excuses as to why they couldn't do them, lie about whether they did them etc. (Not Mr. M though, he is a little OCD and not only does his own chores, but others' and tried to shame others into doing theirs.)

Anyhow, The guy who runs (owns?) his dwelling - I will call him "CIA", which is how he sometimes jokingly refers to himself, to stand for Catholic Irish Alcoholic - has 12 years sober and came over to meet with us about how to gradually work back into Mr. M coming home when he reaches 1 year sober (God willing) in March.

It was a very valuable meeting, in my opinion. But a meeting only people in an Alcoholic Marriage could understand. We calendared out expectations, including how many meetings Mr. M will go to a week - even when on vacation. When he might go to the gym, come over and visit, spend the night etc.
We talked about when I was butting in and "running his program", when I was just a loved one expressing concern, or when I was a human being setting boundaries.
Very blurred lines, to say the least.

We talked about how I attempt to control Mr. M, my children, my environment, and circumstances because I am afraid. We talked about what is my part and what is his part. We talked about Mr. M's responsibility to build trust and make me feel safe and willingness to commit to a schedule which I know and can set me watch by.
Our homework was to come up with a proposed calendar as well as a list of "Mutual Agreements"... we would submit these to CIA and Sponsor and Dr. and get some input. This is out first pass, for those who are interested:


MUTUAL AGREEMENTS
Overnights
July - September 25 -
Sat. night
September 25 – Thanksgiving:
Wed./Sat. nights
Thanksgiving –
January 15:
Wed./Fri./Sat. nights
January 15 –
March
Wed./Fri./Sat./Sun. nights
March - 1 year sober, move home!

Program & Counseling
Mr. M will go to 4 meetings a week and 1 individual counseling session a week.
Mr. M will locate & attend at least 3 meetings a week while on any vacations.
Mrs. M will go to counseling & Bible Study each week.
Mrs. M will look for a new Al-Anon meeting, finding one to be her “home meeting”.
Mr. M & Mrs. M will ask CIA about the couples' meeting he recommended and/or find another couples' meeting.
Mr. M & Mrs. M will consider and investigate couples counseling.
Mr. M will work Steps 4-9
before coming home (not beginning "1 week" before, but be working on them from September until March.)
Mr. M will do service committee commitment at local facility where drunks go to dry out. (Mrs. M will support and encourage that.)
Mr. M will keep and work with a Sponsor.
Mr. M will incorporate some
morning workouts and meetings into his schedule.

Household
Mrs. M will use more words like “we” and “ours” instead of “I”, “mine” and “my”, especially as they get closer to March.

When Mr. M comes home, Mrs. M will clean off Mr. M’s side of the bed and end table and respect the sanctity of these areas in addition to the workbench in the garage.

Mr. M will not throw Mrs. M’s stuff in the trash, but has the right to have a trash bag or box somewhere to dump it if she stacks or piles in his areas.

Mr. M agrees to incur no new debt without Mrs. M’s agreement.

Mr. M will provide Mrs. M with at least $250 per week child support.

Mr. M & Mrs. M will agree to try the “letter” communication in a couple big disagreements as another tool to help. (Writing letters to one another to express feeling and giving time between communications to digest information and respectfully communicate.)

Mrs. M will not ask Mr. M to leave the house and neither Mr. M nor Mrs. M will threaten divorce in anger in routine, day to day arguments.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Who am I? (Therapy Day 9.23.08)

I have always been an "otter" ("sanguine", in the whole personality type world - if you believe in that). My "otterness" (if you will) is an immutable fact. It is one of the things I KNOW in my life. A playful, fun-loving, very social creature, I love people. I enjoy
being popular and influencing and motivating others. I am hurt when people do not like me. I like to surround myself with
friends, but not necessarily deep relationships. I love to goof-off. Otters are notorious for messy rooms. (HELLO?!?) I like to hurry and finish jobs (and these jobs are often not done well). I am like Tigger in Winnie The Pooh.

My Strengths?: People person, open, positive

Weaknesses?: Talk too much, too permissive

Limitation: Remembering past commitments, follow through with discipline!

I have always known I have "lion" (choleric) undertones - secondary characteristics that raise their heads in certain circumstances.
Lions like to lead. The lion is good at making decisions and is very goal-oriented. They enjoy challenges, difficult assignments, and opportunity for advancement. Because lions are thinking of the goal, they can step on people to reach it. Lions can be very aggressive and competitive. Lions must learn not to be too bossy or to take charge in other's affairs.

Strength: Goal-oriented, strong, direct

Weakness: Argumentative, too dictatorial

Limitation: Doesn't understand that directness can hurt others, hard time expressing grace

I LOVE Golden Retrievers (phlegmatic) and always wanted to be one... but no one (including myself) has ever believed I was one.
Good at making friends. Very loyal. Retriever personalities do not like big changes. They look for security. Can be very sensitive. Very caring. Has deep relationships, but usually only a couple of close friends. Wants to be loved by everyone. Looks for appreciation. Works best in a limited situation with a steady work pattern.
Strength: Accommodating, calm, affirming

Weakness: Indecisive, indifferent, unable to express emotions, too soft on other people

Limitation: Seeing the need to be more assertive, holding others accountable


While I appreciate Beavers (melancholy), many of their awesome strengths and character traits and their weaknesses and limitations make me itch.
Organized. Beavers think that there is a right way to do everything and they want to do it exact that way. Beaver personalities desire to solve everything. Desire to take their time and do it right. Beavers do not like sudden changes. They need reassurance.

Strength: High standards, order, respect

Weakness: Unrealistic expectations of self & others, too perfect.
Limitation: Seeing the optimistic side of things, expressing flexibility

(More details about these animal personalities, based on Gary Smalley's writings, can be found on this website.)

Anyhow, I just went in with Mr. M (my alcoholic husband) and had a session with HIS therapist. His therapist is into these personality types. So we briefly discussed them. He was 'educating' me about them. It took a lot of self control to not try to jump in a prove that I am knowledgeable about this topic (I am forever wanting to be seen as educated and knowledgeable... It is easy for me to come off as a bit of a know-it-all... in fact, it is HUGE growth for me to admit I don't know stuff!). I did not tell him that I have spoken to audiences of thousands about this topic. I have led workshops on this topic. I am kind of a bit of an EXPERT on this topic.

Anyhow, I told him I was familiar. I told him I was an otter. He said HE is an otter. But at the end of the session, he told me he didn't think I was an otter. He thought I was GOLDEN RETRIEVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This rocked my world!
Really!

Regardless of whether these personality traits are 'real' or not, they do have SOME usefulness and in this arbitrary categorization of human personalities, I have always been seen as an otter. that said, am I an otter?
Have I changed?
People used to always KNOW and SAY I was an otter.
Now, this trained therapist who believes in and values these personality labels and types is saying I am a Golden Retriever!
Did I just act like an otter because it worked? It served the purpose of making people like me and want to be my friend?
Was I never really an otter to begin with?
Am I really a Golden Retriever?
Or am I truly an otter and am becoming more of a 'golden retriever' because I am so hurt and broken?
What about the Lion part? Typically, Lion & otter can be compatible, but Golden retriever and Lion are not.
So, if I am truly a Golden retriever, I cannot be part Lion too (and I feel like there is a lot of lion in me, but I have had to tone this down to be more socially acceptable).

None of this really MEANS anything, it is just more of an interesting observation on how I have changed and how perceptions of me have changed.
I guess that means growth and change.
And this is a good thing.
Right?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Abandonment

I found this on a blog and it resonated with me:

"Ever been rejected? Ever wanted to be chosen ahead of, before, above anyone or anything else?  Me too.
It's what I thought I'd find in love with another person. Didn't happen.
Wasn't cherished or adored or.....chosen most of all.
When you realize there IS a list of priorities in another person's heart and you aren't at the top...it's crushing, sobering. Heart wrenchingly sad.

Abandonment: The feeling of being forsaken and alone.

To believe you are worthy and valuable in God's eyes, is a stretch when human love has been so unsteady, unreliable, uncertain.
To believe God loves you foremost, that you are His crown of all creation, feeeeeels ridiculous. I know. I struggle with it too, sometimes.

When there has been no one on earth to completely love you most of all, makes it nearly impossible to believe there is such love for you in heaven.

Yet, inspite of being "unchosen" thus far on earth, I am banking my life on the belief that God truly truly actually does love me like that. I believe He chose me, chose to give all of His love to me. I believe He aches to be in relationship with me. I believe He pursues me and that He'd rather die than live without me. I believe that.  Tonight I don't feel that, but I believe that."

Being in an alcoholic marriage, married to an alcoholic husband, this is my life story: abandonment.  Knowing that when he is drinking, Mr. M would choose the bottle any second of the day over me.
And I confess, I have believed and hoped and clung and held on and struggled and "obeyed" and 'tried", and encouraged and ______ (fill in the blank) for 20 years.  I am tired.  I think I am hurt and angry and bitter.  I feel dried up and disconnected and done.  I don't want to be mad at God.  I want to be better than that, to have bigger faith than that.  But today, I need to be honest (maybe being honest will get me out of this dry, dry desert): I wonder where god is in this time.
How many times will I hurt and cry and will he leave me there sobbing in a heap on the floor and not protect me, not save me?
It feels like when I was little and I would get hurt and not allow my parents to comfort me... I knew it wasn't what I needed or it was inconsistent, so I pushed them away... and even when I was itty bitty, they let me push them away!!!  They needed to be to grown-ups and push past my protests and hug me and hold me.  When i was an ugly, hateful teen and screamed that i hated them, I needed them to be the adults and KNOW that I was just a little girl, trying too hard to be a grown-up and I need them to push past my vile outside and hug me and let me know they saw and still believed in and loved my insides.
I feel this way about God.
He is GOD.
He should KNOW that I am too tired and worn out and weak and hurt to keep doing this.
And yet He allows it to continue.
He leaves me here on my own, to fend for myself.
I need Him to be in charge and push through and take care of me.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

FOLLOWERS

I just figured out how to add followers to my Alcoholic Marriage blog and become a follower of others'  blogs.  I am so excited!  (Not that anyone is following mine - YET - so I am just excited to have learned something new technologically!)

To add a followers gadget to your own blog:
It is under "dashboard".
Then "layout".
Then "page elements".
Then "add a gadget".
Then it will show you followers.






To become a follower of someone else's blog:
Go to your "dashboard".
You will see your "reading list".
It will say "blogs I am following".
Down at the bottom, there is a tab that says "add".
Click that and a pop up will ask you to enter the URL of the blog you would like to follow.
You can also choose to follow publicly or privately.
For a fun, friend's blog, you might choose to follow publicly so everyone will know you follow that blog.
For Alcoholic Marriage, you might choose to follow privately so you can remain anonymous.

Happy following!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Therapy - Hurt Feelings

Recently, Mr. M decided to break up with his therapist. (Rightly so, in my controlling opinion.) But I assumed (because I want to control everything) he would be finding a new, "better" therapist. Instead, he decided that perhaps he would not GO to therapy any more (FREAKING OUT!!!!!!!!!! What?! Is he cured???).

I, of course, think this is unacceptable, and I kinda panicked. I got all up in his kitchen and started threatening ("If you stop going the therapy, I don't know if I can be around you any more" etc... not the healthiest interaction I have been part of this year). He told me to "work my own program" (ouch). To which I responded that I am not sure how I am supposed to react. I STRONGLY believe in the value of therapy right now in our lives. He is an adult and he can decide not to go. And I am an adult and I can decide that I don't want to continue to try to be in a relationship with someone who doesn't want to invest in healthy changes. So he is free to make his decision and I am free to make mine. But this got all mucky because my decision is seen as (and very well could be) a manipulation and threat. Plus he IS trying to invest in healthy changes: going to multiple meetings a week, using a sponsor etc... it's not like he isn't doing anything. I cannot control him and force him to be in therapy (or for that matter, work a program or not work a program, drink or not drink, call his sponsor or not call his sponsor etc.)... but I CAN set a boundary to protect myself.

So the question is: where & when is a boundary healthy and where & when is it sick and controlling?

So I told Mr. M I would call Dr. and get some perspective.
I did.
Dr. called me back and gave me a little input and thought and then after about 5 minutes said his typical "I have to wrap this up". My feelings were hurt by this. In my whole year of therapy, I don't think I have EVER called him (possibly one other time, but I don't think so). I do not want to ask for help or "use up" all my calls (I have made up some kind of limits and my scarcity mentality causes me to limit myself so I don't use them all up because there is not enough). So when I finally feel desperate enough to call, my feelings were hurt that he had to rush off the phone.

Then I felt ashamed and embarrassed for even having these feelings. After all, it IS his job, and he has 2 small children and is probably desperately needed at home, and it could wait until next tuesday, and I am asking too much, and he DID call me back and DID give me 5 minutes etc. etc. etc. I was busy talking myself out of my feelings and not just listening to them and hearing and validating that I was hurt.
So the next tuesday, I thought I should maybe bring it up to him... but I didn't have the courage.
So I talked about other things (the relatives leaving etc.) and after a while there was an awkward silence. I decided I should maybe tell him my feelings were hurt. Right when I started to talk, he started to say something... he stopped and asked me what I was going to say and I said "no", what was HE going to say? (I was a chicken and relieved that he was going to talk!!).

He was wondering what was going on with me... he said I was very distant and disconnected.
CRAP!
I asked him if I had been this way at all in the past year.
He said I had not.
He was basically asking me "what are we not talking about?".
I couldn't do it.
I slogged through the whole hour and DIDN'T SAY A WORD about it!
Later that day, I called and left a message and told him that he had hurt my feelings and I felt stupid and embarrassed that my feelings were hurt about it... yada yada yada.

He called me back the next evening and we talked about it.
I then had to go in the following Tuesday and discuss it (ugh).
It was good though.
He was very gentle with me about it and very encouraging.

Growth.
Scary but hopeful.

[I had thought I had disconnected and been distant because he hurt my feelings, but in retrospect, I don't think it was because Dr. hurt my feelings per se. I think it was more because I wanted to protect myself from expectations and hurt and needing too much and being let down.]


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Blog Friends (Allison)

This was a comment from my entry "Not Enough" along with my response to the comment.
I wanted to post it here because THIS is the reason we blog.
So keep on blogging, keep on sharing, keep on commenting, keep on posting.
We are not alone.
We were DESIGNED for community.
We were CREATED for fellowship.

**********************************************************
allison said...
I read everything from day one. Your heartache over Mr. M.
I too have a Mr. And this post, every word, is me, except my Mr. has been sober for 5 months because he finally got his 2nd dui and might go to jail soon over it. He was a great husband and is a great father but my heart and mind can't handle him anymore. I wanted to start a blog about it but he is a computer geek and will find out. Your blog is my blog or what it would be mostly. I don't go to therapy. I don't know if I should. I want a divorce but won't because of kids. I thought of cheating but I love my husband and would feel eternal guilt.
So I read your blog and feel everything you do.
You are my new alcoholic husband friend. The first person I know of that gets it. As long as you blog I will be here.
Every post I read touched me and makes me cry. Not because I feel sorry for you but because I feel sorry for me. Your feelings and thoughts and wants are mine. And that makes me cry.
Thank you for sharing and will anticipate your next post. Best wishes and I hope your story ends in a good way.

August 24, 2008 4:50 PM

tearlessnights said...

Ahhh Allison!

Isn't that what our heart longs for? To been truly seen and truly known and truly understood? To know you are not alone? That your heartache and struggles are not so unique?

Even I do this blog anonymously... I needed to do it for ME... to out my heart's cry and heart break and questions and struggles on the page and not have any of my friends and family know how UGLY I can be!!! I am learning though and maybe one day the me on the page (blog) and the me everyone knows will be one and the same (partly why I am going to therapy!!!).

Keep posting.

Love to you sister.

August 28, 2008 8:39 AM

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Thanks Oprah.

This is my second post about Oprah.  
My
first was in February '08 (when I first began this on again, off again blog) and now, my second post, in late August '08.   I confessed in that blog that I record (on my DVR, which is like "tivo") the Oprah show every day.
I still do.
In my defense, I have it set to record only new shows (no re-runs).  I probably only turn on the TV 4x's a month, and when I do, I usually spend a little time going through my long  list of old Oprahs and deleting 95% of them.  

DELETE LIST
I delete all the celebrity, Tom Cruise bouncing on the sofa episodes, 
I delete most of the book club ones (although I will read almost any fiction she recommends now - some of my all time favorite reads have been "Oprah books"), 
I delete the "favorite things" episodes, etc.  

KEEP LIST
I will keep an occasional diet, health, and weight loss episode.
I will keep almost anything Lisa Ling does; visiting prisons, child soldiers, slaves, etc.  (I want to BE Lisa Ling when I grow up!!!)
I kept several shows about cleaning up clutter and about a hoarder... yikes!  This inspired me and I got up and cleaned out my entire hoarding office... ugh!!!
I have kept shows about families in crisis or, as I mentioned on my previous post, about children of divorce.

Anyhow, all this to say...
All this to say WHAT?
Hmmm... all this to say that there are times and circumstances the
Oprah show has value to my life.
And there are times it doesn't.
I guess I am trying to be clear - to protect my own dignity -HA! - that I am not an Oprah groupie and I do not obsessively watch or follow or 'obey' her, but there ARE truly times when I DO indeed glean some wisdom from her show.
I am about to share one of those times.

In my recent post Signs of Strange Behavior, I listed signs I saw and missed or ignored  (DENIAL) that told me that Mr. M was drinking again.
Definition of Denial:
the act of asserting that something alleged is not true
(psychiatry) a defense mechanism that denies painful thoughts
abnegation: renunciation of your own interests in favor of the interests of others

That's why I am thanking Oprah, it was she who opened my eyes and ended my denial (at least on that issue at that time).

This was several (3?) years ago and I think the show was about women who were abused by their husbands or boyfriends.  (I say "I think" because I MAY be blurring 2 or 3 episodes together in my mind, so don't hold me accountable for the accuracy, just go for the meaning, OK?)  Anyhow, one woman had had something severe happen to her at the hands of her 'man'... I think he had shot her face off or something like that.  And another woman had maybe been set on fire by her 'man'.  (Again, I could be combining episodes.)  Oprah was asking them if that had had ANY indication or sign that he was the kind of man who could harm her like that.  Each woman said "no"... "No, he had never done anything" that would lead them to believe he could be a harmful person... But Oprah wasn't satisfied.  She didn't just let them go on with their stories.  She kept pushing in this one area:  when you were first dating, was there anything there that shoed how controlling and possibly violent he might have the potential to be?  "Well, there was this one time when he didn't like what I was wearing and grabbed my neck and shoved me up against the wall and made me go change because I looked like a whore" (or something like that).  "And he didn't want me talking to any of my friends and took my cell phone away"  and...

This was Oprah's point.

There were indicators.  They had had signs.  They had had gut instincts that they ignored.  She was talking to camera and to the audience of millions at home and told them to LISTEN to that tiny, inner voice.  WHAT IS IT TRYING TO TELL YOU?  WHAT DO YOU KNOW RIGHT NOW THAT YOU ARE IGNORING AND NOT LISTENING TO?

And it hit me.
I know that I know that I know that Mr. M is drinking.
No matter what he says, not matter what excuses or stories there are, I know.
I am not crazy.
I believe myself.
It may come out today, it may not come out until next week.  it may NEVER come out, but I believe myself... Mr. M is drinking.

[REMIND ME: I want to write more about that inner voice and how and why we ignore and deny it.]

It was a relief to finally believe me. 
(And the truth finally came out about 4 months later that he had been drinking and lying and sneaking and hiding for about 3 years... but of course, I already knew that... I wasn't crazy... I just needed to believe myself.)

Thanks Oprah.


Signs of Strange Behavior

The post for today copied and pasted from alanondiary.blogspot.com, a blog I really enjoy.
And then I have added my own list below.

This post is about strange behavior of the alcoholic. Some things I should have seen as not "normal." I was lulled into a sense that this is a normal behavior pattern for a person. Below are some of the signs I maybe could have seen and recognized as alcoholism.  As you know, my story is one where I lived with alcoholism for years. I was married to an alcoholic.  Here's the strangest thing. I never knew that my wife - my "qualifier" was drinking. I just grew accustomed to how she was behaving and "just thought" that this - her strange and erratic behavior was normal.

Here are some signs of the strange behavior;
1. Failure at being on time - to anything. I am not compulsive about being "on time" especially outside of the business world. But being late all the time - for anything and everything should have been a "sign" that something was wrong.  By the way, her parents had the same problem with her. She would always be late to everything. And they thought it was "just her."

2. Forgetfulness. Yes, forgetting - a lot. Even forgot to pick her daughter up from school - or was late. Forgot to go grocery shopping - so there was little or no food in the house.

3. Shopping all the time. Another addiction. Forever leaving the house and shopping at the grocery store. It was "just one more thing" at this store or that.

4. Being unorganized - all the time.

5. Moodiness . . . especially at certain times. At 5PM every day she would become the devil. Her face would actually contort - twist - and she would be pissed off at me.
6. Being called a "Control Freak" - is a sign that you maybe controlling. But you are controlling something you don't understand and don't know why. For example, when you start asking questions about why your spouse is going out and you get "none-sensical answers" and you are then called a "control freak" - you may not be the problem, but your intuition is trying to tell you something is wrong and you are NOT listening or you are rationalizing it away. Being called a control freak may be a sign that you are controlling - you are not bad - you are just trying to figure out something that is not making sense. The problem is not recognizing that something is actually wrong.
7. Being controlling. Once you step into trying to control this disease - you lose. You lose your identity and the disease in the other person becomes more powerful in that the disease tells the alcoholic - "See, she/he is a bad person. Let's drink some more."

8. Missing work. Missing planes. Missing assignments. This occurred with Girl Scouts.

9. House a wreck. Car a wreck. I mean a mess. When stuff is scattered all over the floor -clothes or whatever or crud in the car - this is a sign. She was medicating herself away from the reality of life.
10. In my case - our daughter was always being "medicated." It was Motrin this and Motrin that for any pain. I have 4 full bottles of Motrin over my house (I no longer live with my wife and have filed for the big D in hopes that I could/can show some normalcy for our daughter). Our daughter would bring these bottles over in her suit case. I take them out and place them in the cupboard now. She was "in pain." But for some reason, once she was here, the pain was forgotten. I think this may be some sort of transference - my wife medicates herself and she wants to medicate our daughter. As I write this - I am a little pissed about this and would like to figure out what the heck to do about it.
11. Neighborhood women - they were sorta talking about my wife and how "funny" she was. I never "drilled down" into asking what they meant or what they were referring to.

12. Eating habits. My wife would eat a lot. Would these be munchies?

13. She was overly caring about what the neighbors thought of her. She wanted to show she was "perfect" on the outside, but in our home, it was a disaster. No dinners for us. But she would cook food for others who were coming home from the hospital after a baby was born or some event. Their dinner was perfect. Ours, well it sucked or did not exist. A big sign. The alcoholic and the alcoholism does not want to be found out, and wanted to put on a "perfect front." This is very normal in an alcoholic home. Sometimes the spouse of the alcoholic wants to put on the air of everything normal over here. But in reality - the house is screwed. And it - the pretending and denial affects the children - here's how: their gut/intuition is telling them something is wrong - but they are being told "don't worry about it" or "everything is normal" and "don't tell anyone." Puts a big pressure on a little person and makes them grow up confused as all hell.

14. Too many glasses of wine. Kendall Jackson was the affair with whom my wife had. I wonder how may people are drinking to be healthy and in reality - are now alcoholics . . . I really wonder. Who would think an alcoholic could be a white wine drinker?

15. Wife would go MIA for 10 minutes or 30 minutes. Our house was fairly large. So she could hide and drink. Another sign. Duh.

Anyway, these were some of my signs I "coulda," - "shoulda" seen.  I know the focus needs to be on us - but there are some people out there who may be experiencing alcoholism and they are like us - they never knew it or don't know it - and need help to see it
.

*********************************
My list:

* Breath smells sickly sweet (vodka, which supposedly isn't supposed to smell at all).  I confront Mr. M about it and his excuses are plentiful and profuse.  He just put a dip (chewing tobacco) in.  And I lie to myself and tell myself maybe he has diabetes or something and that's why his breath smells sweet.  So I would start hounding him to go to the dr. to get it checked out.

* Lying about things... even little things... a LOT.  Getting caught and then making up an excuse or a lie to cover it.  I can't even remember any examples, but I was baffled all the time and was willing to thing that maybe I was crazy rather than see the truth that he was drinking again!\.

* My normally tidy, controlling husband didn't care about mess and didn't get off the couch to participate in life.

* Never getting off the couch.  The hours of sleeping and watching TV in the same position are too numerous to count.

* Sleeping excessively.

* Detachment.  "Elvis has left the building".  He ceased to be present emotionally in ANY part of the family... His body was there, but his heart, soul, and even brain, had truly "left the building".
* Not fulfilling commitments he absolutely would have under normal circumstances.

* Excessive anger over trivial things, like the time he had hiccups that would not go away and he broke down a door and tore the rod out of the closet... weird... couldn't explain it.

* Oh, this is a biggie:  He didn't eat dessert anymore!  When we used to go out to dinner, he could be counted on to always want dessert.  (Sober alcoholics often need & want sweets - to replace the alcohol in their systems, Mr. M was like this.)  Once he started drinking again, he never wanted to eat dessert (at home or out).  he would even say things like "you know I am not a dessert eater!"... and I am thinking "since when".

* Always accuses me of nagging or controlling him.

I know there are more and I will add them as I think of them.  Thanks to Joe at alanondiary.blogspot.com for your healthy, insightful posts, I appreciate you.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Blog Friends - Rhonda McPost

Back in my very first post from February 7, 2008 titled "My Alcoholic Husband", I received a comment that I think is worth sharing and since it was on such an old post, I thought it would likely get overlooked.

Rhonda Mc said

"I know exactly how you feel. I divorced my alcoholic husband of 24 years and regret it. What I can tell you is he is sick and does not choose to be a drunk and we, the social drinker, can NOT fathom that.

"Go get help for your part of the problem. Enabling. Go to Al-Anon really learn what we do wrong as wives of loving alcoholics. He has to want to fix himself and be a responsible adult. J ust as you have to take responsibilty for your actions.

"They are caring loving feeling human beings just as we are and if I can save your marriage I hope you will stop listening to your emotions and get a real grasp on alcoholism acceptance, faith, love for yourself and your husband.

"Think of him as a good friend that is very sick. Do not berate him. I know it is hard to understand but, just keep learning how to be responsible for yourself and leave his alcoholism to him.

"Do not bail him out of jams or degrade him to himself, your families, the kids, frends, or co workers. Do not buy into the denial and lies be aloof and detach with love.

"Trust me, agree with him when he says something... his feelings are just as valid as yours, because he FEELS that way. My ex says I didn't respect him. He is right. How could I? He'd go to bars with the neighbors, been in two rehabs and was sober for 10 years - a "dry drunk" they call it. I nor you are the cause of his drinking we can not cure their drinking and we can not control their drinking.

"Get a life of your own, not for vengeance, for peace of mind. Go to movies get a group of girl friends and play bunco cards whatever.
"Be respectful of yourself and your spouse and your marriage. They are the men we chose to marry and they are good men who are addicted to alcohol because they have something they don't like about themselves.

"If you are like me and have been married 20+ years they are all we know and we have been molded to the way they treat us. This is not normal but, if you change yourself and stop concentrating on him, your life will improve and you have twelve months to get it right.

"I envy you. I don't have that chance I had to divorce as he did not care about me and I allowed his drinking to destroy me and I am having a hard time with the decision I made. I never should've divorced him but, I never should've allowed this to happen to me in the first place. I am a good wife and mother and I deserve respect love honor trust faithfulness committment and fun and you do too. So does he.

"If you want something from your husband tell him lovingly. Hold my hand honey and let's go ... give him a kiss goodmorning and good night tell him how much you appreciate his help and that you are proud of him.

"
Think about never seeing loving or touching your husband again.   Find that love that God has for all of us. We are codependents we are sometimes sicker than the alcoholic because we are addicted to the alcoholic. 

"I know first hand what you are going through and if I can help you not make the same mistakes I made, then I have done something. 

... "It's painful either way but, learn all you can about alcoholism go to an open AA meeting I learned a lot.   They lie and believe their own lies and until they stop the denial and lies themselves there is NOTHING you can do but, heal yourself and get a sponsor of your own.  Trust me. It works. 

"Keep strong and remember why you married him, because love is deeper thn anything and God commands us to forgive 7 times 70 and wants us to love one another more than anything. 

"God be with you and your husband.   Don't give up... get over the emotions and think with your head.   You are not crazy just an enabling co dependent. They are adults and can get themselves out of their own mess they need wives not Mommas! 

"Now if you have other enablers and they are not willing to stop enabling (as my in-laws weren't) then ask your sponsor for help as we have control over no one but ourselves. I love my in-laws but, they turned their backs on me and I have to accept their denial and betrayal no matter how hurt angry and devastated I am,  if I keep haboring resentment I am only hurting myself.  Stop the negativity and pity party and get the help YOU need for you and your kids. 

"I hope this helped. I am right where you are. Divorce is a cop out and he asked me for a divorce and I gave it to him and I wish I would've never done that and let him file because he never would've had the guts to. How do I know that? He came back after 7 months of partying and when I told him I had filed that was it. I then asked him to work at our marriage and became weak in his eyes and I don't want that to happen to you. If you work keep working,  if not get a job. You do it for yourself and your kids. Not to hurt or punish your alcoholic husband. You both are responsible and need to be accountable for your actions. You are NOT there to point out his flaws. Look at your flaws and fix yourself. Trust me you can always go back to your old ways. God bless you and your family. Rhonda Mc"

Good stuff Rhonda!  Thanks for the comment.
Keep 'em coming!