Wednesday, February 27, 2008

To Drink or NOT To Drink?

I had not had a drink in 20+ years.  I had 20+ years sober.  I am almost 40... I got sober at 17.... the same time I met Mr. M and he was newly sober too.  

I thought we were on the same "path" together, wanting the same things.  

Only I stayed on that path, and he was off frolicking in the "forest" (well, you get the picture!).  Then he'd be back on the path (or at least tell me he was back on the path).  Then he would be nowhere to be found on the path and instead be drunk and passed out in the forest somewhere (usually on a major holiday or for one of the kids' birthday parties).  Then he would - supposedly - be back on the path.  Then suddenly fired from his job and running through the forest again.  Meanwhile, I am trudging along on the path, alone.  Trying to make sure the kids get an occasional vegetable, getting them to church, sports, band, Dr. appointments, getting poster board for the family-tree project in Spanish 1, getting new "skinny jeans" for a non-uniform day at school, paying bills, going to the bank, making sure there is toilet paper, cleaning up dog pee in the living room (because it is raining outside and heaven forbid the dog do out in the cold and get a chill or get damp!), putting kids on restriction, enforcing bedtimes, arguing about curfew, kissing boo-boos (big and little, real and imagined, about girlfriends or Dad).  (I don't mean to sound so bitter!!)

All this time and I am on the path.
Last summer I started thinking "Why am I sober?  Why don't I drink?"  Do I really think I have a problem with alcohol?  Or do I think I am being a 'good influence' on Mr. M and will model for him what 'not drinking' looks like?  Am I just taking a moral stand against alcohol?"  I looked at Mr. M and I thought THAT is what an alcoholic looks like...  I am not an alcoholic!  I don't have to prove anything to anybody!  And I had a drink.  A margarita, in fact.  And I liked it.  (Yes, I had a tiny bit of a buzz - hey, it had been over 20 years since a drop of alcohol had touched my lips - in fact, I got sober before I had ever even had a legal drink!)  

Now, I have a drink once a week or once every other week or every third week or so.  I went on vacation and had a beer every day.  One day, I had two (gasp!).  Do you know what I found out? Alcohol makes me sleepy (wow, I'm getting old).  
I don't even really WANT to drink at lunch time (then all I want to do is go home and nap!). 
But with dinner, it's kinda nice to have a drink.  Because you know what?  I am not an alcoholic. 
I have a boatload of other problems... but heck, I am WAY more likely to over-indulge in pizza than in alcohol... and though cheesecake will definitely make my jeans tighter and affect my self-esteem and even my health, I am not likely to get fired from my job or leave my family for a cheeseburger, ranch dressing, or ice cream. 
(Although that doesn't sound half bad some days ;o)

So, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to log off now and go have some chili cheese fries and a beer!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Menstruation, Melancholy & Oprah

Today is a "wanting a divorce" day, but a better one.  I did not take any medication (neurontin or anything else) for depression.   My "monthly" started and  I feel less depressed and heart-broken.  Still sad and grief-stricken, but more functional... more able to do what needs to  be done without feeling like I am on the verge of falling apart.  This makes me deeply question how much of my sadness, anger, depression, fear, hurt, overwhelmedness, crabbiness, melancholy, excitement, passion, lack of passion, creativity, energy level etc. ad infinitum are more related to hormones than anything else.  I feel at the mercy of my monthly cycle.  My poor kids!  No wonder they don't know which way is up.

I am embarrassed to admit that I record Oprah every day.  I end up deleting 90% of them, but I am so afraid I will miss that life-changing episode that the entire planet is talking about that my whole DVR list is filled with Oprah and Intervention on A&E (am I a glutton for punishment, or what?  I live it AND watch it on TV!).
  Anyhow, I watched one show on adult children of divorce confronting their parents who divorced when they were kids.  In most cases, the Dads had left the moms.  The Moms had been the ones left with the kids.  The adult kids (sobbing and devastated) seemed to have the most pent up anger at their Moms.  They had faced and grieved their Dad's abandonment... but what seemed to kill them the MOST was how unavailable their MOMS were to them after Dad left. 

Moms were hurt, bitter, abandoned, alone, and scared, so they shut down on their kids and were crabby and disconnected (many times working one or more f/t jobs).  The Moms had good reasons/excuses (I was exhausted, your dad left me, I didn't know how we would make ends meet, etc.), but that was not the point.  The point was that the kids seemed to have so much more anger and bitterness with the parent that stayed and held the whole family together.  The abandoning affair-haver or alcoholic or abandoner was just excused - because that's all anyone expected of them.  But the stay-er the holder-together-er... they were the ones the kids seemed to have the most resentment toward.

Now I am smart enough to understand that it is SAFER for the kids to blame to parent who stayed... that parent is the one who will not abandon them when they are crappy and nasty.  But it is also that they stopped expecting anything from the abandoner and expected EVERYTHING from the stay-er.  So when the stay-er fell short and didn't meet 100% of needs, the kids felt abandoned x10 because they needed present parent to be their everything.

This was not necessarily an encouraging show for me (the stay-er), but it was a little enlightening.  And it DID remind me to not sell my soul to make my kids happy because they will probably NEED to blame me when they are grown.  And it also reminded me to just try to HEAR my kids... not to make excuses or try to fix them or explain things... but just to hear them.  

Easier said than done.

Therapy Day (after) 2.25.08

Ahhh... I guess it's OK that my therapist cancelled for last week.   His wife had a baby, 4 weeks early...  So I'll let him slide, this time.  But no more babies for a while, OK Doc???  

Someone asked me if the baby was a boy or girl, if it was OK, and a few other questions.  I HAVE NO IDEA!  I am so self-absorbed and my session IS only an hour... and I'm not there to hear about him and his baby! Haha!... Seriously though, he does not talk about himself in my sessions, I always feel like I am trying to avoid doing hard work if I want to talk about him... but now I am questioning that and feeling like a HORRIBLE "friend" (because he tells me our relationship is "real"... and yet, if it was really "real", wouldn't it be more mutual? and couldn't it last longer than an hour? and mightn't we call each other during the week? and would he really charge me money?).  Wacky!

I spent almost my whole session theorizing and mind-tweaking on why I had decided to get a divorce and then changed my mind.  I was in my head and avoiding my heart almost my whole session.  Normally, it is my Hour O'Weeping, but this week, the water works did not start until the last 10 minutes.  It amuses me terribly that all I do is cry the whole time in therapy... he probably thinks "Wow, this girl's a crier!"... but if he knew me in "real life" (or actually "fake life", cuz I think therapy might be REAL LIFE!), I NEVER (or rarely) cry.  I am trying to get better about this, but it is slow in coming.

Remind me to write about the "Empty Well".

Monday, February 25, 2008

Obsession With Him

I have therapy today (he cancelled last week, Why??? HELLO!  I have abandonment issues! You can't CANCEL my therapy sessions!).  
Anyhow, I will write a "Therapy Update" later today, but this morning I just want to check in.

When I talk to my friends, they usually ask "How's Mr. M?" or "What's new with Mr. M?" which seems strange to me.  
I have not talked to him in almost 2 months and cannot talk to him for another coupla weeks.  So although I am sure there is plenty of new stuff with him, I have no idea about any of it! 

Now is this an embarrassing statement about how much I constantly talk about and obsess on Mr. M and my alcoholic marriage? 
Or is it that my friends don't know what else to talk to me about?  
I'm not sure... but I know that at some of the best Al-Anon meetings, some of the healthiest long-timers, will not talk about their "Qualifier" at all... their shares will all be about themselves.  
Now THERE'S a novel concept!  
Who am I if I am not Mr. M's hurt, betrayed, abandoned wife?  
Right now - honest truth? - probably no one.  
Which is exactly WHY I need to divorce him.  
Then I am just me.  
No blaming, no accusing, no focus and obsession with him.  
No alcoholic marriage.  
Just me alone with me and my successes and accomplishments or lack thereof.  
Huh... maybe I'll try that one week... a whole week of posts only about ME... no kids, no Mr. M... just me and my stuff.  
You might just find a lot of blank pages!  

Friday, February 22, 2008


I am writing this blog for me.
I am doing it anonymously so I can say what I want to say, how I want to say it.
Trouble is, people pleaser and tap dancer that I am, I think I need an audience.
I thought I could do it like a diary... with a little, tiny lock and a teensy key tucked under the mattress, where no one could find it and no one could read it and that would be fine.
Only I find myself wanting to tell people I am blogging and then I even catch myself looking for comments... only I don't think one other living person on the planet has ever even visited my blog.  I KNOW I have only been blogging a couple of weeks... but I NEED someone to see it.  I NEED you to read it.
Even seemingly uncaring bloggers CARE if you read their stuff.  Case in point, Violent Acres.  
She is clearly entertained by her own supposed lack of caring and "poor impulse control", but I doubt if  she would continue badgering "mommy bloggers" with the same zest and verve if she had no audience.  I simply can't imagine her secret expletive filled diary hidden under her childless mattress complaining about people's fat, horrible undisciplined children.  I am not out to make enemies with her - I am utterly entertained by her writing and grateful she DOES want to write for an audience!  Which is exactly my point... SO DO I!  I may not be as crackling and incisive a writer as V or as funny and sparkling as _______________ (I'll fill this in later), but maybe I can be my own brand of great when I get out of my pathetic "my heart is breaking" and "my 20 year long prison of a marriage is killing me" slump.
I don't know how to get noticed or read.
Aside from my extremely limited knowledge of SEO work which wants you to have many links leading to your site (I have... only probably in the range of... let me NONE).  And repeat your tags over and over and the Google "spider" will crawl and find you.  So I just went through all my previous posts and shamelessly added in the term "alcoholic marriage" in both the tags and the body.  Plus, I will repeat it here several times in a row.  Please bear with me and know that I might not be that great an alcoholic marriage writer (yet?) but I am not as bad as I may appear in my current alcoholic marriage state.  Because alcoholic marriage or not, if you actually ever make it to my site to read it, I'd better give you something worth staying for. Don't give up on me and my ramblings about my alcoholic marriage... hang in there.  I may get better.  And add sparkling, incisive, crackling, funny comments... that will DEFINITELY make it better!  (And maybe we can make this another mini on-line Al-Anon meeting!)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Eeyore Here

Last night I said I was choosing to be a Tigger. Today, however, I am pure Eeyore... eating thistles and living in the gloomy place. I am on my pity-pot again.

Just when I had decided to get a divorce and end my alcoholic marriage - and was grieving it, but feeling hopeful (don't get me wrong, in my grandiosity, I was still blaming myself for ruining Mr. M's life), I got an email back from a known Christian author on divorce & remarriage. Here is his email and my rainbow of responses:

"Thank you for sharing your difficult situation with me. From what you say, you have been suffering for a long time.
As you know, the Bible does not say anything about addiction, and drug use is not listed as a ground for divorce. His addiction has clearly caused him to neglect you in all kinds of ways, but it is difficult to know whether one can call this deliberate or not. However, even if you accept an entirely medical model of alcoholism, and regard your husband as sick and incapable of supporting you, the fact that he has denied the problem and refused treatment for so long makes him at least partly responsible for his addiction and for the neglect which this addiction has caused.

But now that he is finally in treatment, wouldn't it be perverse to divorce him just when he is getting straight?... Either way, you have the space of time during which to put your life back together. During this time you should make a decision, but not one which makes him into a victim.

At the end of treatment, you may assume that he will be clear of alcohol, and so if he then chooses to start using this or any other drug, it will be entirely his own choice. At that point you would be able to clearly say that he was continuing his neglect deliberately. Given the many years you have already suffered this, you may decide that this would be, for you, the point at which your marriage can't go on.

If this is so, you should warn your husband, preferably in writing, that the first time he touches alcohol after his treatment (whether or not he becomes 'drunk') you would leave him with view to divorcing him. Although this sounds very harsh, it may be that this kind of ultimatum may help him resolve to quit completely.

As I say, I have no useful teaching on this from the Bible, and this suggestion comes merely from myself, albeit based on Biblical principles.

God be with you at this difficult time."
A) What are the odds he will really get "straight" this time??? and
B) Perverse? Isn't the definition of "perverse" telling your wife and children that you love them and are going to quite drinking and then drinking again over a 20 year period?

I really like & agree with this point!
However, doesn't every alcoholic ALWAYS feel like the victim, all the time - any time they have to suffer the consequences of their actions? (For example, this last bender, when he spent all Christmas week drunk, it was MY fault, because he was depressed, because I didn't include him in all my family's Christmas festivities, not his choice, because he had driven the children to a public place drunk and high and then PASSED OUT in front of 3,000 people!)

(Need I even clarify why I am laughing???)

Might one think that after 20 years of this sh**, I possibly:
1 - have given him every ultimatum in the book?
2 - believe it IS deliberate neglect?
3 - am already at the point where my marriage can't go on?
4 - want to leave him NOW with the view of divorcing him?

No it doesn't.

See "HAHAHAHA" above.

Yet even knowing all this, it threw me into a funk of despair because I just want everyone to applaud and agree and even help. (My tap-dancing, people pleasing again.)

On top of this, my 17 year old - whom I'll call "Drummer" (he marches to the beat of his own drum, that one), came to me last night with tears brimming in his eyes. Although he knows it is time for divorce and although he knows it was dad's choice, he is still heartbroken and he still can't help thinking that I am quitting!!!! He wasn't trying to be mean and he knew he wasn't being logical, but that was how he was feeling.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

T-I-Double Guh -Er

I want to be a "Tigger" not an "Eeyore".
Typically, in my adult life, I've been a Tigger. I mean, I'd say I am pretty bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy, fun, fun, fun, fun, FUN!

But in the last few years as a wife in an alcoholic marriage, I don't even recognize myself.
This marriage and the madness of Mr. M (no... I can't blame him... I am responsible for me... it's not HIS fault that I let him - and his adoration for alcohol - kill my soul) has turned me into an Eeyore.
Eeyore lives in the Southeast corner of Hundred Acre Wood in a spot called "Eeyore's Gloomy Place" and his favorite food is thistles. Yikes! That sounds like me. I live in My Gloomy Place where I like to feast on prickly things like the root of bitterness and self -pity... yummy!
I'm quite sure Eeyore wouldn't even approve of blogging because he once said "This writing business. Pencils and what-not. Over-rated, if you ask me. Silly stuff. Nothing in it."
Some of this is brokenheartitis and some of it is a CHOICE. I have been choosing Eeyore but I prefer to choose Tigger.

While I have heard this illustration before, the BEST place I've heard it is as part of Randy Paush's reprised talk on Oprah (which is 10 minutes, or you can listen to the long 76 minute version you can find on the internet too with a little searching).

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The White Flag Of Surrender

I have decided to file for divorce.

There. I said it. I am going to file for divorce. 20 years of fighting and struggling and clutching and squeezing and I am finally relaxing my grip and letting go. It's over. I have fought the good fight and lost.

Huh. I lost. I lost. It's over.

I am sad, but I am relieved as well. I think I have been fighting so hard to save this alcoholic marriage (so-called marriage) for so many years and have bought into so much of Mr. M's crap that I feel like I am the bad guy for "giving up" or "walking away". I am having to tell myself that HE was the one who left... he was the one who walked away. This divorce was his making. My brother said (and I think this was so true and kind of "Duh!") that I am not actively giving up... I am simply surrendering, to what he has been trying to do for 20 years... I am just waving the white flag and saying "OK, I give in... you can have what you want."

I have two pictures in my head.

One is of CPR. Like you see in the movies, I am
agonizingly pumping on Mr. M's (or my marriage's - pick the analogy you like best) chest. I am breathing at intervals... I am pounding on him "COME ON. BREATHE DAMMIT!" The paramedics or Docs are gently speaking to me, and lovingly trying to pull me from him. "Ma'am, he's gone. Let him go. you have done all you can." But no, I am going to go on fighting and pounding and breathing for 20 years.
No more.
I am finally just accepting the fact that I have been breathing into a corpse's mouth and trying to pump a dead heart for 2 decades.

The second picture I have is a rowboat. I am trying to paddle and get us to a destination while Mr. M bores holes into the bottom and sides of the boat. I am frantically bailing and begging him to stop. Our whole family is sinking! He acts concerned and says loving and caring things about how he

SEES my pain and HEARS my hurt... he even tells me that he deeply wants to get over to the other shore too and that he doesn't want the ship to sink. Meanwhile he continues to puncture big, gaping holes into the boat.

There is insanity in how I bail and row and cry and moan about our plight and yet I continue to let him stay in the boat and believe all his words and murmurings even though they contradict all the evidence (he is actively SINKING our little boat!). Who is more insane? Him or me?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Therapy Day 2.11.08

I went to counseling today.  I told him I feel like "Johnny One Note" spending every session bawling about Mr. M.  Trust me, I have PLENTY of issues I could work on, so why am I obsessed with my alcoholic marriage and crying over Mr. M day in and day out?  Even when I am not in counseling, my heart physically hurts - like it's literally breaking - over losing my marriage, who I THOUGHT was my life partner, and the father of my kids.  

I feel like a Junior Higher obsessing over my latest crush "He looked at me... what do you think that means?", "He said HI to me, in a tone of voice that I THINK meant he was glad to see me, but I'm not sure, it COULD mean that he never wants to talk to me again."  I don't want to be that girl.  It is bad enough when Jr. Highers do it... it is EXTREMELY unattractive when adult (dare I say "middle aged" suburban housewives) women do it. YUCKY with a capital YUCK!

So anyhow, I talked about how Mr. M meets a deep need in me because I know he adores me... he loves me passionately... he loves me best.  (Of course, then I had to look at the truth which is that he really loves alcohol best, which sucks to have to honest about, but that is the truth). 

This led to how even today as (yes, I will say it again) a middle-aged, suburban housewife, I want everyone in my life to love me best.  Even people I do not know that well, or even like... I want to be everyone's favorite.  If I sense I am not, I start tap-dancing and performing to get them to like me better (tap dancing looks different for different people: for some, I will be a REALLY good listener, for others I will be really funny, for others I will be compassionate, for some I am deeply insightful etc.)... whatever I need to do to be their favorite.  
What does that do for me?  
Where does that come from?  (It is compulsive.)  

So Therapist asks how that comes into play in our sessions.  I tell him that of course I want to be his favorite. 
I am an affirmation/approval junkie (more on this another time)... but it is that PLUS the need to be the MOST loved.  
I need you to tell me that you love me and 
I need you to think I am smart or funny or pretty ad nauseum (and I want to FEEL that perhaps I am the smartest, funniest, or prettiest)... 
Which I will never believe any way and will have to desperately fight to stay "top dog".  
Plus, I will never believe I am the best anyhow, so it will never be enough... I am a bottomless pit of need.  

GAG!  I hate these feelings in myself.

Meanwhile I am overweight (more on my eating and weight in a future post) so I KNOW I am not the prettiest.  
I am broken hearted and depressed, so I am definitely not the funniest (plus how annoying is someone who is ALWAYS funny?... and how much pressure is that to always be funny?  And how much does humor keep everyone at arm's length?) and 
I am adequately smart, but I will NEVER be the smartest.  
So WOW, I need to give up the comparison and tap dancing and just learn to BE.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

My New Life

I am fantasizing about my new life in a small, 3 bedroom condo in north Laguna Beach, CA with a sparkling ocean view.  The kids (and one day grandkids, hopefully not too soon... I'm not yet 40!) can come to stay.  I want to see the ocean all day long.  

I  can picture this without Mr. M.  I can completely imagine my life without him, when I live somewhere else.  When I am still in this home, with the kids and everything is here except him, it is painful.  I was just looking at real estate online and it was nice (free-ing?) to picture starting fresh without him.  

But then I am in the grocery store looking for new deodorant for myself (that actually works and doesn't make me smell like a skunk - more on this later) when I see some "prescription strength" antiperspirant and I think "Oh, I should buy that for Mr. M" then I remember that he is not here and may not be here again for a year or longer or... ever.  And I get a pain in my heart... truly  BROKEN HEART feeling.  

And I don't WANT to do life without him. But there is no room in my vision of the future for him  either.  For his relapses, for trying to believe in him, for trying to trust?  How do I make room for him and his CRAP in my future?  I don't want to.  I don't want to be in an alcoholic marriage any more (not even with a sober alcoholic.)

But I DO want to share my life with someone.  I am only 38.  I don't plan to live the next 50 years of my life alone.  I walked around the lake today and saw so many couples and so many men.  I have stopped looking at men... I almost believe there ARE no other men.  I keep my blinders on and only look at Mr. M but then I take the blinder off, for just a few minutes and there are men every where!  Wouldn't ONE of them want to love me?  Wouldn't one of them stay with me and not get drunk?

I don't have any wisdom to offer quite yet.  I think I will get there, but right now I am just whining and GRIEVING.  I think the wisdom will be more TRUE when the human-ness also shows through.  I am a BROKEN vessel.  I hope (ultimately) God's light will shine through my cracks, but for now, I feel pretty broken and sad.

Anyhow, my daughter Girlie, is already preparing herself for my next husband.  She said she will not talk to him when she comes to visit (she is picturing this when she is grown and moved out) and she was saying that I would be "grandma" and her dad would be "grandpa" and my new husband will be "crap face"!  Um... we still have some work to do.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

My Alcoholic Husband

My husband is a drunk.
He is away in "treatment" (if you can call it that).  It is a long program (12 months).  It's free, but there is no counseling, no 12-steps, no real program except a whole lotta Bible Study and prayer.  I can't COUNT how many times he has had hands laid on him with prayers of miracle healing (I can't handle any more of these "non-miracles").  So whatever.  He is out of my house for 12 months of free baby-sitting.

It sounds like I hate him.  I don't.  But boy, am I angry.  And man, am I heart-broken, alone, devastated, grief-stricken, abandoned, bereft, and tired.  God is big and can do miracles... I don't doubt this.  But He hasn't done it yet and my husband has free will, so what makes me think THIS is it?
If I was to take a poll of all the people who know us, I swear, 50% would vote for me to call it quits and get a divorce, and 50% would tell me to hang in there, obey God, "have faith".  
Some would change their vote depending on the day. 
Some would want me to give him "just one more chance" (how many "one more chances" can I give, I ask?).  
After this round of treatment, maybe he will finally 'get it' and get sober, some would entreat. But for how long?, I ask.  

Because you know what they say: "Dogs bark... and drunks drink".
Over our 20 years of alcoholic marriage, he has had periods of sobriety (10 minutes here and there), it's periods of sneaking and lying and hiding and semi-functioning.  And it has had periods of flagrant, skid-row bum binges (stories another time).

I have never had an affair (sigh).  To my knowledge, he has never had an affair.  Although I sometimes wish he would so I could Biblically justify a divorce.  (Would it be wrong of me to hire a hooker one time when he was drunk???)  

I am blogging because I want to speak the truth, before God and man.  I don't want to mince words.  I don't want to say the "appropriate" thing.  I don't want to say the "godly" or Biblical thing because i "should".  I want to speak my truth.  I don't want to use the words "probably" or "I think" or "I could be wrong" or "just" or other words that soften my opinion (that I use all the time in my "real" life because I don't want to offend people or sound "unchristian").  Maybe if I practice it here, it will leak out more and more into my "real" life. 

Let's take it one post at a time and see how it goes.

In August 2012 I wrote an "update" on this post.