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!).

Monday, September 29, 2008


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.

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:

July - September 25 -
Sat. night
September 25 – Thanksgiving:
Wed./Sat. nights
Thanksgiving –
January 15:
Wed./Fri./Sat. nights
January 15 –
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.

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!

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.

Monday, September 15, 2008


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


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.
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.

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.]