Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Midnight Fight

I am feeling sad these days. Kind of just a dark cloud sitting on my heart. I find myself missing Mr. M when he is at work or when it is not one of his 'sleepover' nights (yet scared and dreading him moving back in when he has his 1 year sobriety birthday in a little more than a month ~ yikes!).

I call him and sound all sappy... and he has a bit of trouble with this because he takes it personally. I must be sad because he is such a terrible person and if he hadn't been a drunk and ruined my life, I wouldn't be sad. So it is hard. Do I not call him at all because he can't handle it? Do I call him and slap a fake happy face on? Do I call and still just be sad and bring him down? Tough call.

More later... I had to publish post and go do a few pressing things (you know, the tyranny of the urgent)... I will log on soon and finish.

I'm back and changing gears.

Mr. M spent the night last night as he does each week.
We got in a big fight at 5:30AM this morning.
We have been doing so well... we have not been fighting much. We have been getting along. (Although new teen Girlie would disagree. She says "All you and Dad do is fight." I said "Really? I feel like we have not been fighting that well and doing really well." She said "Nope. All you do is fight." So I tried to just HEAR her - I am in therapy, after all - "So you feel like all we do is fight?" To which she replied "No. I don't FEEL like all you do is fight... I KNOW all you do is fight.")
This morning one of the kids woke up early panicking that a history book was in Dad's car when they have homework to do. From my bed, in the dark, I lifted my head and groggily parented: "If you had done your homework after school yesterday instead of watching TV, you would have known that and we could have done something about that."
The weeping commenced "I NEED to get it done!!!"
Parenting from the bed in the dark continued "I know... that's frustrating."
You know the drill.
At this point Mr. M was awakened (GASP, NO!... the horror!)... he was surly and grumpy that his slumber was disturbed.
I was not apologetic.
If anything, I was a little mad.

After all, MY sleep was disturbed too. But sometimes that's what being a parent looks like. It is disturbing and uncomfortable. Kids have needs at all hours of the day and night. Sometimes they have bad dreams at 3AM and want to climb into your bed and then proceed to roll and kick and flail in your bed all night long and you wake feeling like you have been on the losing end of a prize fight and someone has poured sand in your eye sockets. Sometimes they barf all over their beds and themselves at 1AM and you need to get up and give them a bath and change their sheets. Sometimes they get chicken pox and can't sleep at all because they are so itchy and you have to stay up all night long watching Disney movie after Disney movie on the sofa for 12 straight hours. Sometimes they spend the night at a friend's house and are scared in the middle of the night and you have to drive over and get them.
I thought of 21 years of parenting in the middle of the night and how rarely he had been there for so much of it. How much I did all by myself. How alone I was. And then the NERVE of him complaining because his sleep was a little disturbed by me parenting our child at 5AM!
So it escalated and in his angry, self-righteous storming around, he accidentally knocked over a lamp in trying to turn it on and accidentally smooshed our 10 lb. dog who was under the covers in bed (heehee). The dog yelped/cried and this infuriated him. WHY IS THE DOG IN OUR BED???!? WHY IS THE DOG SUCH A BABY?! He grabbed the dog out of the bed and dropped her on the floor. He is yelling at this point and stomping around and dropping F-bombs left and right. I tell him to leave and he says "gladly" and leaves.

Now, this is a tough situation because no argument in an alcoholic marriage is just about that argument. As you just read, even the smallest, most insignificant argument has a lifetime of history in it.
Was I in the wrong? - Should I not have asked him to leave? If he lived here full-time, I couldn't have asked him to leave. (Can you see why I am nervous to have him move back in?) Am I in the wrong for asking him to leave in the first place? I was mad... that's OK. Feelings are feelings. But was I wrong for allowing all those hurt feelings from 20 years of marriage to enter into the argument?
Was he? - What is his part? Obviously, he over-reacted. But, in fairness, he was dead asleep and got abruptly woken up to arguing and crying and lights coming on. But he was ONLY concerned with HIS sleep and HIS precious rest. Did I even enter in? Have I ever????

Input welcome.

Plus, I owe a Therapy update soon.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Weak Faith

This wife of an alcoholic finds HER faith to be much stronger in the winter too!
I LOVE this cartoon.
I wish it wasn't so true.
But if you can't beat it, laugh at it!!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Distant Land Part 3

I finished the book The Distant Land of My Father by Bo Caldwell.

Anna's mother dies of leukemia.
Years later, Anna's dad dies of a heart attack.

I can't even remember WHAT exactly got to me, but I actually started to cry so hard I had to put the book down.
Obviously, I was not crying about the book or the story, but about myself and my own hurts and pain.
I made ugly crying faces and little gurgling crying noises and cried and cried.
I cried about my life and my parents and my alcoholic husband and my kids and myself.
I cried about how I don't let myself be comforted and I don't let myself cry.
I cried about the dilemma of facing all your hurts with your parents but still liking & loving them and wanting to be in relationship with them and is that OK?  Am I "allowed" to do that? Am I "allowed" to want that?
I cried about Hacker who is working so hard at his new job and is actually doing difficult and scary things (cold call sales) that I am too terrified to do... and while I am PROUD as punch, I am also freaked out because it makes me uncomfortable when he calls people  that I feel too uncomfortable calling.
I cried because Anna (the book's protagonist) allowed her horrible, selfish, abandoning father to hug her and comfort her after her mother's death.  She allowed herself to receive comfort, even though it would be imperfect.  She allowed it to be enough for that moment.  She needed it and she accepted it.
I cried and cried.
I felt sad.
I felt true.
I felt a little scared & out of control.
I felt a little hopeful.
I got a headache and a stuffed up nose.

No More Politics

I'm done.
Those were my few little political rants.
Moving on.
Back to my pity-pot, controlling, fear mongering ways.
I promise.


Rush Limbaugh's Inaugural Poem

Rush Limbaugh's own version of the politically correct Inaugural poem:

"This is hilarious.
Somebody, somewhere, thought this was exceptional.
You have to understand, somebody thought that this was brilliant.
It's a code.
I don't understand it.

Today there's a street outside.
On that street are cars.
And in those cars are people with music on their iPods.
And they listen.
And the children in the back of the car, who are also on the road, may or may not be in their child safety seats, in which case the driver will be arrested and the child taken away.
When the car gets to its destination, it may run out of gas. If it runs out of gas, it's obviously a gas guzzler, and if it's a gas guzzler, then we need to harness the energy of the sun and punish the SOB driving the gas guzzler.
If the car gets to its destination with plenty of gas left in the tank, we give it a bonus of additional markers at Walmart for the day after Christmas, which is how today was planned.
And after we go to Walmart and pick up some of the lead paint that is made with our children in mind, imported from China, we will then have a meeting with the Iranians, who will love us, and they will get in their car, will also be on their road, and their road shall never end until they have nuclear weapons.

I'm sorry. If I can do it, it isn't art. 

And when we get to the end of the road, with the person driving the guzzler, 
with the perhaps or not perhaps child safety seats in the back, 
we will then know the answer to the question, which came first, the chicken or the egg?

And why did the egg cross the road to see something better down the road. 
But could the egg have crossed the road without the chicken? 

These are depth questions. 
And only President Obama has the answers. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Praying For the President

Pastor Rick Warren from Saddleback Church, CA offers the invocation prayer for President Obama at the 2009 inauguration.
Praise the Lord for sanity and godliness and righteousness on that dais this morning.

Sometimes I can surface occasionally from the self-centeredness of my obsession with myself and my pain, fear, and self-pity in an alcoholic marriage to pay attention to monumental things around me. the inauguration of our 44th President was certainly one of those!

And I REALLY don't mean to be catty (I really don't), but how nonsensical was this poem? Can you say "through the looking glass" anyone? As soon as I can get Rush Limbaugh's parody of this speech, I will post it... love him or hate him, it was HYSTERICAL!

Distant Land Part 2

Another moving quote (pg.218) from The Distant Land of My Father by Bo Caldwell.
This is why literature is an art.  It speaks to each of us where we are.  As the wife of an alcoholic husband and the daughter of a workaholic father, this speaks to me on many different levels.

In this first part, I identify with Anna, the young teenage girl and all her mixed up, crazy emotions.

I tried to think what to tell her, how to explain what was wrong without alarming her.  I tried to think logically, to be calm.  But finally I just blurted everything out.

"I cry all the time and some days I hate school and some days I love it and my friends are nice but they hurt my feelings and I don't like the way i look and I feel so lonely sometimes and its not your fault and I don't know what I am doing wrong - " I stopped for a moment and looked at her to see if she was alarmed or frightened or disgusted.  But she just looked worried and like she loved me, so I gave in and told her what I was afraid of.  "I think something's wrong with me."  And I began to sob.

In this second part, I identify with the Mother, Eve; the powerlessness, the aching desire to offer your child something, the anger, the love.

My mother smiled, but in a way that was so gentle that it gave me hope.  "Oh Anna," she said, in the same way  she'd said it since I was little, and she just held me for a few minutes, rocking me.  When my crying had slowed, she said "Nothing's wrong with you.  You're not crazy, you're not sick."...

..."I took a few breaths, trying to be calm "Are you sure?"  I asked...

... "Your father is making a terrible mistake by not returning," she said.  "And there is nothing I can do about it.  I can tell you he'll regret it for the rest of his life.  He's missing out on the best thing in the world."  She looked at me.  "And that's you."...
..."Don't forget that: this is his mistake.  The fact that he hasn't come home is no reflection on you.  Its just evidence of his bad judgement."  She looked at me evenly.  "Which, unfortunately, is something that we can't control."

As parents, we CAN'T make it all OK for our kids.
We can't un-do the pain their absent of addicted parents have caused... we can't love them enough to make them not feel abandoned... we can't fill them up enough that they don't feel an emptiness from the loss... we can't make it "all better" as much as we would long to. 
We CAN show up, we can be present, we can listen, we can hear, we can allow for uncomfortable feelings, we can offer comfort, we can teach them how to be honest and FEEL and not run away, we can offer them alternatives to the way their other parent has chose to live, we can offer "sips" of mental health (as we TRY to find it ourselves!!!), we can let them know they are not crazy or bad for having those feelings.

We can make a difference.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Distant Land of My Father

I am reading The Distant Land of My Father by Bo Caldwell.
There is a paragraph at the end of the chapter "city of angels" that resonated with me.
The protagonist, Anna is writing about how much she missed her father when she was just 7.  He was still an Shanghai, China while she and her mother had left and moved back to the US, to Los Angeles.  This paragraph is actually about a little girl missing her Daddy, but it feels like what I feel when Mr. M is drunk and I am living my life without him and picturing my future without him.  So, these are all the author's words, except where I substitute "husband" for "father" (for literary integrity, I will italicize those instances).

"I didn't just miss my husband.  I lacked him, and without him, I didn't feel myself.  I was afraid that his absence showed on me somehow, and I thought of Shanghai's beggars. My father had told me once about pain from phantom limbs, and I understood, for I, too, was a beggar now, missing not a limb or an eye or an ear, but a husband, and here in this land that was supposed to expand my soul, I no longer felt whole."

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Alcoholic Marriage Wordle 2, 3, 4...

I am a little addicted.
But I'm done.
I have made like 391 of them (, but I will post just a few for edification (or fun!)... 
These were created not from my blog but from a word list I created using recovery or feeling words that applied to my situation and resonated with me.  Using that same wordlist repeatedly, either randomly or by my design, fonts, colors, layout, etc. can be changed.  (The bigger words are bigger because they are repeated more often, so for example, I said "hurt", "God", and "ask" more than once in the list.)

Alcoholic Marriage Wordle

If you are a "wordy"  (wordaphile?) like me, you will love these nifty little Wordles found at
Here is the one it created for the alcoholic marriage blog.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Therapy Day 1.6.09

I went to therapy last Tuesday (as every Tuesday)... 9:30 sharp.

I have so many thoughts and things crashing around in my head, I'll probably have to write about them in chunks as I am able.
But the thing that drove me to post right now... at this very moment... that was pressing against me was "leaning into care"

Dr. talks about care being offered and my reluctance to "lean into it",
I like the visual that provides. It's like that exercise where you close your eyes and fall back and trust the other person to catch you. Without reservation or self-protection, you just TRUST and fall into the care. Only his version is safer. I don't have to "fall"... I can just "lean".

Only I don't do it.
I have to always make sure that I have my own back. I don't trust that anyone will TRULY be there every time I fall and care enough and catch me completely.
Using Mr. M as an example: I believe he will be there 75% of the time.
He wants credit and strokes for this (which I try to give him), and that's fine, but that means that 25% of the time when I lean in, I will get dropped. So when I go to lean (it doesn't feel like "lean", feels like "fall") how do I know if THIS is the 75% time or the 25%... and so because of that I put my arm out to catch myself, or I don't really FALL, I kind of fake fall with no intention of truly relying on some one else to catch me. At least if I land on my butt, I will have cushioned my own fall..

This is no way to live; afraid, self-protected, closed up.
I want to live brave and open and available (as commenter Mandie encouraged on my "Guilt" post a few days ago).
Oh, but that's easier said than done.
And I find my own brain and programmed behaviors thwart my without me even being consciously aware.
It is so bizarre to see all the defense mechanisms I have put in place, like layer and layer of walls and moats and barbed wire and draw bridges and archer protecting my castle.
What am I so afraid of?
What am I protecting?

I have anxiety right now and I reach for the gabapentin.
I can't bear to feel my anxiety.
I worry about my kids and yet I don't bring that to Dr.
I tell myself it is because I need to focus on ME and not my kids right now... but deep down I think I am VERY vulnerable about my kids and so i don't want to bring that stuff to Dr. and address it.

Long story short though, I was crying in therapy and feeling and telling Dr. I was so afraid my alcoholic husband was going to relapse that I lived in fear and couldn't lean into his care. Dr. suggested, however, that I WAS leaning into it and perhaps that is why my anxiety was heightening. Mr. M is stepping up and being present and I am trying to be softer and more open and more vulnerable which makes me more dependent and more afraid of losing him. I had to ponder this.

I wanted to share this with Mr M but he sometimes doesn't want to talk about feelings and therapy... so he used a little subtle shame to shut me down and I had a shame attack and DID shut down. He woke up in the morning and asked me to tell him about therapy but I was still to hurt and ashamed to tell him so I told him I would tell him later when I was feeling a little more warm and fluffy toward him.

We went out to dinner a night or two later and I told him that Dr. thought I was leaning into Mr. M more and trusting him more. Mr. M instantly realized this was what I had been wanting to tell him earlier and he chuckled and enfolded me in his arms "Is that what you wanted to tell me but you had to be feeling more love toward me?" I was embarrassed, but nodded. He kept hugging me and was happy and proud.

This morning, I was sharing how anxious I have been and how I have been reaching for the meds (gabapentin). He said "I can IMAGINE how anxious you must be" and went on to empathize with how scary it must be to face the possibility of single parenting and the money and all the bills and chores and everything all by myself and that he could put me back there by simply taking one drink and how hard that must be to have all that fear and no control over it and no ability to protect myself or be able to stop it.
He didn't try to fix it or make excuses or change the subject or make it go away.
He just HEARD me and didn't freak out because he was so ashamed.

We are making progress... slowly, but surely.
I pray I can lean into it.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Drummer's Perspective

Don't you love it when your kids are in a really good place for a few minutes?
With an alcoholic parent in a dysfunctional home, it is easy to focus on all the things we do WRONG.  I love those moments when you get it bask in a moment of "right".

18 year old Drummer came home last night on an utter high on God.  
He'd had kind of a "mountain top" conversation with"E" (an ex-girlfriend  and now best friend, but they still love each other).  They had talked about God and the Gospel and forgiveness and love and many other passionate, intense, life-changing things that young, idealistic teens talk about.

He was SO in love with the Gospel he was near exploding.  He was saying that this is all he wants to live for... he can't live and NOT tell people about the gospel of Jesus Christ.  He wants to be a Missionary (Cambodia?).  

He told me he prays for me, when he remembers.  I told him I pray for him.  He said "I know, Mom" with such assurance and confidence.  I felt so guilty because I do NOT pray for him with the regularity and faithfulness with which I should.  I am a flaky pray-er (at best) and yet he believes that (of course) his Mom is devotedly praying often for him.  He said he feels safe and protected in our home.  He told me that he believes that all 4 of them are doing good because of the stable, consistent, steady influence I have been in their lives during Mr. M's tough time and long drinking bouts.

He had (just last night, not always - for example, when he is on restriction for not turning in an English assignment or coming home after curfew) such a sweet and loving perspective on me and Lord knows I WANT that!!!  I want my kids to love & respect me and to see how hard I have tried to give them stability and consistency.
But on the other hand, I know that kids need stability and reliability so they will tend to put that on me more because they NEED it to be on me than because I was really that great.  With Mr. M off the deep end, they NEED me to be the steady one... it is more about their need than the reality.  Even though I have worked hard to BE stale & steady for them, I know that I have my own dysfunction and have contributed to our family "dance" in my own special ways and I want my kids to feel permission to SEE the yuck in me.  I don't PREFER this... I don't want them to see any bad in me, I want them to only see my best moments & intentions.  But by living there, I am denying them mental health & truth.

Friday, January 2, 2009


I have not been posting for a long time.
I have just started to realize how much this is SOOOOO part of MY sickness as the wife of an alcoholic.
When he is doing bad, I am doing bad.
I start a secret, anonymous blog to pour out my heart and my angst and my fears and my devastation.  It is my journal that my kids can't stumble upon hidden in a drawer or under the bed.  My friends can't find it and gasp at my fantasies or unbalanced thoughts.  My qualifier (Mr. M) can't find it and know how I fantasize about my life without him.  It feels real and true.  I don't have to censor myself because I don't have to have a facade because no one knows who I am.  No persona.  No mask.  Just me.  Feels good.  Feels true.  Feels maybe even a little bit healthy.
Then Mr. M gets sober.
I let him start coming around.  
I hug him.  I let him start hugging me.
I let him have sleepovers.
We go to amusement parks and the beach and even *gasp* vacation.
I start a new family blog with pictures of all the new happiness and beauty we are creating.
I am living in a fantasy land, sucking all this up... lapping it up... rolling around and wrapping myself in it.
I SO want it to be real.
I SO want it to last.
I am SO afraid because I KNOW how temporary it can always be.

I am blessed to be able to give my kids a few more months or years with their Dad and not give up.  They are all blossoming.
But if I let myself THINK about it, I am afraid it is nothing but a house of cards.

My desire to be in denial and just enfold myself in this 10 month period of sobriety - where Mr. M is not perfect, but he is present and available and loving and strong - is all-encompassing.  I think that's why this journal is lying dormant. 
 If I come to it and log in with my secret email address and my secret name & password, then I am remembering and looking at the reality of what my life was (is) just 10 short months ago and I am forced to see how - with the sip of a drink - it would be right back there.

Would I regret this delicious period of denial?  
I can't answer that yet.
And I don't want to go back and read any old posts to see.
I DO know that I am still in therapy and progressing slowly (snail's pace, in my mind), but I DO see and feel changes... but I am not very brave... I am slow and hesitant and scared.  I want to be braver.  I want to trust more and love fully and not live to protect myself from real or imagined pain.

If temporary, my time of bliss is still real.  My kids' happiness is real.  But this... this alcoholic marriage is still real too and I need to not forget it.