Saturday, December 31, 2011

"I Dont" - The novel in my mind

I don't know that I will ever actually WRITE a novel. I want to, but I lack commitment, follow through, dedication and belief in myself.

But here is the beginning of one version I tried starting.

This is FICTION but based in reality.



People wonder how I stay. I wonder too. But then, I also wonder how I could leave. Perhaps this will be my legacy; “Here lies Mallory Kelley. She stayed.”

There are worse things people could say about me.

Aren’t there?


remember when Macy was born. I can see us as a trio, as if I am hovering above us, looking back in time, laying on my narrow twin bed in my Mom’s house. We are so young. All three of us. Jake and I are just 17. No one thinks we will make it. Jake is gingerly fingering Macy’s fuzzy hair, her ears, each individual toe. He is mesmerized by her. I am mesmerized by him.


remember one weekend a couple years later when Ethan was around 18 months old. Jake had earned a weekend pass from his rehab program. Rain was coming down as if someone had opened up a massive hose over the whole Southern California coastline. He had hitched a ride with someone from the bus station. He knocked on our door and I opened to him sodden and oozing on the doorstep. I expected his usual vibrating irritation or impatience but instead got grateful and eager. Relieved, I pulled him in and fell into his arms. He hugged me back. He smelled of wet asphalt and chewing tobacco. The kids bounced around our legs like fleas “Daddy!” “Daddy!” “Daddy!”. He greeted them with a soggy, perfunctory hair tousle and they went back to their cheerfully obnoxious singing puppet video. We spent the rest of the weekend in bed, dry skinned and smooth in clean sheets. We absorbed each other. We breathed each other. Our limbs intertwined. The world dissolved and there was just us. We surfaced only to feed the kids or change an occasional diaper (which is remarkable in retrospect, because two kids under four don’t typically understand making themselves scarce). This was the weekend we made Lola. It wasn’t anywhere near when I should have been ovulating and we used birth control, yet her will to be overcame those mere trifling deterrents and just a week later, her rapidly multiplying cells implanted happily in the lush lining of my uterus. I can’t even begin to explain the horror of explaining this third pregnancy to everyone we knew.

Don’t you know how this happens?” they would act like they were joking, only, they weren’t. It wasn’t funny.


remember one of many Mother’s Days when we didn’t have a dollar to our name. Jake, who is normally horrible with holidays, (“Promoted by retailers strictly for profit”) got all three kids up and fed without disturbing me. He sent Macy out to pick flowers and got the other two busy coloring cards while he gathered the ingredients to make scrambled eggs and cinnamon French toast. He let the kids help mix and stir and flip. They stuck the muddy mangled flowers in a vase on a tray and carried up breakfast in bed while crooning “Happy Mother’s Day to you”. Macy was beaming with pride. Ethan was doing his best to mirror his Dad’s every move. Lola was clapping and giggling “We made it Mama. We made it.” They all climbed onto the bed and gathered around me to watch me eat it. Jake reached out and tucked a renegade strand of hair behind my ear then used his calloused thumb to stroke my cheek and whispered “Happy Mother’s Day, Babe”.

My past comes to me like this, in fragmented memories. Disjointed and disconnected. Seemingly separate and yet woven inextricably together. When I take each one by itself, I feel like I have lived dozens of separate lives. When I link them and look at them as a whole, I feel tired and sad and foolish. How can 20 years be so long and yet seem to have gone by as quickly as a tear falls?

Friday, December 30, 2011

Projection and Parenthood

Sheesh!!! I really should watch out what I watch on TV.
My friends told me I should avoid this season of NBC's "Parenthood". I had DVR'd all of them but not watched any yet (it is like chocolate... I am waiting and savoring it).
But as soon as I am told I shouldn't watch it, my slightly rebellious nature wants to watch it even more (#WhyIWillBeInTherapyForManyMoreYears).

I am crying my way through each episode... the teen mom wanting to give up her baby. (I was a teen mom.) Adam and Kristina with their brand new baby, heartsick teen, and Aspergers son and her feeling like she is doing it all alone because he is starting a new business. (I have parented alone.)
But I am particularly enmeshed with the Sara Braverman storyline.
Single mom Sara and her 2 troubled kids Amber and Drew move in with Grandma & Grandpa. Dad/ Ex husband (Seth) is a drunk band member who has been unreliable and abandoning and left Sara and the kids to have to fend for themselves (sound familiar loved ones of alcoholics???).
Sara finally begins to make a life for herself. She writes and play that gets great reviews, she is dating a darling and devoted (and much younger) teacher, her kids are kind of finding their way. And OF COURSE Seth shows up wasted and destructive. She convinces him to go to rehab and BORROWS money from her lawyer sister Julia to pay for it! (Further jeopardizing well-being and relationships to save the alcoholic.) Her dad is LIVID - she is throwing good money after bad and getting herself into debt and exposing her kids to false hope. She is alienating the great guy she is dating because she is so committed to helping Seth (although it seems she is legitimately not attracted to him, she DOES still care about him).
I know it is just fiction, but it is bringing up feelings in me... I feel mad and sad for her and for her kids. I empathize with her desire to TRY to "save" her kids' dad. I am so MAD at Seth. I am heartbroken for the kids.
Projection much???

Maybe my friends were right and it was a bad choice to watch it... stupid pridefulness...

Mr. M Goes Motorcycle Riding

Mr. M went on a motorcycle riding trip with some sober guys from the program. I have been near giddy with the thought of him being gone for a few days. This is weird because all I ache for him to do is to be sober and come home. But he has been sober for 5 weeks and he is over at the house every day. But we have been fighting. He has started to boss me and the kids around about cleaning (he's a bit OCD and likes to get all "up in our kitchen" when we are not as tidy as he is). He is no longer on "good behavior" and is crankier with all of us. (You can read the few previous posts about the fight on my birthday and on Christmas Eve morning). So a little break sounded nice.

He left and it brought up feelings of grief and sadness. I felt like I did when he was away from home and drunk. I just felt sad and hurt and abandoned. I kind of missed him but not really. If anything, his absence and my grief about it made me think how TIRED I am and how exhausting it is living this way.

He's only gone for 2 nights but has called and texted and left voicemails and sent video clips of the place he is staying. He got worried when I didn't respond and tried repeatedly to get in touch with me. We finally talked for a few minutes. He was telling me he missed me etc. I felt nothing but sad. I'm just sad.
I know it hurts his feelings when he doesn't get the response he is hoping for from me. And this freaks me out because if he gets scared or sad or feels rejected and cannot deal with his feelings, will he drink???? So then I feel like I should engage more and show him I love him - to prevent him from drinking. But this is just that illusion of control. He will drink if he wants and not drink if he doesn't want. My behavior is irrelevant. I can PRETEND I have some influence if this makes me fell better to convince myself that I actually have some power in this insanity. Mr. M may stay sober a while - or forever - or he might be drunk when he comes home tomorrow. And regardless, I am just sad right now.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Annual Birthday Saga

We made it through Christmas. It was fine.
The next day was my birthday but also Drummer & Sweetie's engagement day.
I kinda had a vision of sleeping in, but it wasn't to be... Drummer was up at the butt-crack of dawn singing away practicing the song he had written for the proposal. I was slightly annoyed for a couple minutes then got over myself and went and helped him decide where to hide the ring so she wouldn't see it.
He took off to plan and set up so he could pick her up at 9AM for their picnic.

Mr M went to a morning meeting and came over. The 2 of us went to an outdoor mall (it is 77 degrees and GLORIOUS here right now!) and had lunch and dessert then we went to shop and exchange and return.
It was crowded and chaotic.
We went to exchange stuff he had gotten me at a high-end exercise store. This was a real splurge for his to get for me... 2 pairs of exercise pants. (They typically run $100 a piece so it was a big deal.) Come to find out one pair he got me was "final sale" (for $60). I don't love them... they are not super flattering on me and for that kind of money, I should ADORE them and look like a GODDESS in them. But Mr. M - not being a shopper - didn't know that final sale meant... um... FINAL sale. He thought you could still at least exchange.
I was crestfallen.
Now he has thrown away $60.
And I got nothing.
I was super sad and also a little irritated.
He went straight to SHAME and self-absorption. It was all about him.
He couldn't be present for me at all... he couldn't hug me and say "That is such a bummer" or "that sucks" or anything.
He got mad at me for being sad. He growled loudly at me in the store. (I want to say he 'yelled' at me, but it wasn't really a yell, it was truly more of a growl.)
I am extremely emotionally fragile right now because of all that is going on; he is only 1 month sober, he is not living at home it is the holidays, we just had that big fight with him being unwilling to go to a morning meeting, it is my birthday and I am wanting a little gentleness and care. I didn't have it in me to have him attack me in public.
I left the store and booked it to the car.
Mr. M followed and we left.
We drove in silence to the beachside city where we were meeting the kids for my birthday bike ride.
We sat in the car in silence for almost the full 90 minutes until the kids arrived. We kind of pseudo made up right before they came. I will circle back around to the fight, but all 4 kids and wives, fiancees, and girlfriends came (except poor Girlie who is heartbroken she doesn't have a boy friend :(
It was absolutely GORGEOUS weather and we had a lovely ride.

Then we hightailed it down to my folks' house where we celebrated the engagement (Sweetie said "yes") with a little dessert party of about 35 people. Drummer and Sweetie gathered everyone around and told the story of how he did the surprise proposal... it was sweet and funny. Sweetie's dad gave a toast (non-alcoholic) and said a prayer (he is a pastor). It was a very nice evening. We stayed and cleaned up. It had been a LONG and full few days and I was wiped out.

But here is the thing,
EVERY SINGLE 'SPECIAL' DAY of mine, Mr. M ruins.
Birthday, Mother's Day, Anniversary, Valentine's.
He is a pretty nice and generous guy most of the time but on any day that might kind of be devoted to me, he is HORRIBLE and mean and LOOKING for a fight.
He says it is me. He says that I ruin every holiday of mine by having unrealistic expectations.
I have to look at that and ask myself if that is maybe right. And perhaps it is.
But I SWEAR he is meaner and ruder and more shame based than EVER. I feel like he is sure I have expectations that are unmeetable... that he is doomed to fail and comes in already ashamed and upset and almost creates a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I don't THINK I have unrealistic expectation. I mean heck, I am married to a freakin' alcoholic... how high do you think my expectations are???
I have 2 main "expectations" on my special days:
* A lot of times I like to do something with my whole family, if possible.
* I like Mr. to be NICE to me.
Yes, I like to go do something; a movie, a meal, shopping, bike riding...whatever... I am not picky about that... but whatever it is, please be NICE to me. But he just can't seem to do it.
So again, like always, another supposedly special day of mine was spent fighting and heartbroken. (This year I had already accepted that my birthday was about the engagement, not about me. I was DELIGHTED to get to do the birthday bike ride byt the beach and that ALL my kids would be there!!! But I still thought I could reasonably expect Mr. M to be nice to me.)
I believe it was Albert Einstein who said the definition of Insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results".
I think I need to make a different plan for my special days and NOT spend them with Mr. M. That makes me sad. I WANT to be with him and have a great day, but that is insanity. It is Lucy pulling away the football from Charlie Brown and him CONTINUING to give her another chance and another chance... yes, at first, shame on her... but at want point does it become "shame on him"? At what point does this become "shame on me"?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Eve 2011

Today I was feeling kinda Bah-humbug.
Mr. M did what he wanted, slept in, meandered to his meeting when he felt like it and came over at 1:45.
I, on the other hand, got up and went to Big Lots for paper goods, grocery store for all ingredients for Christmas Eve, Christmas Brunch, Christmas dinner, and the engagement party on 12/26 (for Drummer & Sweetie), went to the craft store for a few more boxes, met a guy in a parking lot to pick up Girlie's letterman's jacket, came home and unloaded everything myself, and started wrapping gifts. I am taking care of the entire world while once again, Mr. M just takes care of himself and STILL manages to feel self-righteous about it!!!!!!!!!! GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR It makes me so mad. (Oh and by the way, this is all MY money too because Mr. M only takes care of his own needs with his money now too since he has his own rent and bills to run the business... so he REALLY just IS "all about him".)

In the meantime, Drummer & Sweetie had been fighting, Drummer was giving me serious push back about cleaning his room and bathroom when he is 21 and living here for free.
Bub says he can't go to church at 2:00 because of work at 3:30 (next door to each other!). I make him and he is 25 minutes late... completely disregarding me. Then he proceeds to come home from his 3 hour shift after 6.5 hours because they extended his shift. He made very little effort to communicate with us about it. I am taking away his iphone for 24 hours. YOU WOULD THINK I CUT OFF HIS FREAKING ARM the way he cried and fell on the ground!!!! Girlie had a couple of melt downs herself over Bub wearing her necklace and frustrating packages to wrap (having a daughter willing to help with this is DELIGHTFUL!). Meanwhile, Mr. M and I are not on speaking terms only doing the bare minimum 'business' conversation.

His dad comes over and brings gifts - all identical gifts for the girls; me, 16 year old Girlie, and 22 year old Mrs. Hacker, same shirt, same robe. *sigh* I guess its the thought that counts. We hang out with him and make polite conversation while trying to prepare for 17 guests.

Our evening was nice and our time sharing "thankfuls and hopefuls" was quite emotional for Sweetie's family who came. They lost their mom/wife to cancer last year at Christmas so this is the one-year-later Christmas and things are very tough and painful and Dad is already engaged to a new woman with an 11 year old (they are 21, 27, and 27). They have been grieving and suffering and fighting and struggling. There were tears and sharing and love. It was probably the sweetest part of the season so far, for me.

I am letting Mr. M sleep over in the other room so he can wake up here and be with the kids Christmas morning (which is unnecessary since the kids are old and we are doing gifts at 10AM now that they all want to sleep in!). If we were getting along, I would've let him sleep in bed, but I didn't even really want him to sleep over.

Oh well, tomorrow is a new day, right?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Eve Eve

Mr. M just left to his home (still living with Hacker & Mrs. Hacker) in a huff.
We got home from seeing the movie "Hugo" (me, Mr. M, Bub & Girlie).
I asked him about his schedule for the next day.

The plan is to go to church at 2PM for Christmas service.
Mr. M's dad is coming over to drop off gifts and pick up their gifts at 3:45 (since I am not on speaking terms with Mr. M's mother, going on 4 years now!).
At 5:30, Drummer's soon-to-be-fiancee and her whole family (2 brothers, dad, dad's fiancee, and fiancee's son) come over along with my folks and siblings.
We will eat dinner. (Our new tradition is that we are going to eat all our favorite appetizers for dinner - yum!)
We will read the story of Jesus' birth from the Bible... we pass the Bible around and each take a turn reading a few lines from the story.
Then we each take a turn sharing some things we are thankful for from the past year and some things we are hopeful for in the coming year. We start off in the darkness and as our turn comes, we light a candle. Little by little the room and our little group gets lighter and lighter.
When we are done we have sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus and have birthday cake.
This all started when our kids were very little - our way of bringing a little spiritual emphasis into the consumer extravaganza :)

All that long explanation to say we have a LONG and full day.
I am including Mr. M in it (unlike Thanksgiving when he had mere minutes sober).
I asked that he please go to a MORNING meeting tomorrow instead of a "nooner" since we have such a full day.
He was bothered and said he would go when he wanted and more or less told me to butt out.
He accused me of not supporting his program!
He has all week to sleep in (he schedules his jobs later in the day so he can sleep).
He goes to a NIGHT meeting monday, tuesday, wednesday, and thursday nights. I have asked that he please go to morning meetings Friday and Saturday so he can be with us in the evenings. Sunday we do church in the morning and he has been doing a nooner.
I am TRULY nothing but supportive. I don't say anything about how much time he spends in meetings.
I completely realize that without meetings we do not have him AT ALL.
For him to accuse ME of not supporting him SLAYS me.
That he could storm out angrily is beyond me.
I am also feeling bothered that he would even want to argue with me about it... I kind of feel like he should be happy I am being with him every day and letting him come over every day and completely 100% "made up" with him and he is coming to Christmas!!!!!!
And yet, on the other hand, I don't want him to live in shame, "owing" me forever.
But would a little perspective and reality check on his part be OK?

My way of setting a boundary for me was to decide that he is right, he can go to a meeting whenever he wants. But I don't want him here and then leaving. I want him to come and stay so as he left, I told him to not come over tomorrow until 1:45 when we are leaving for church. Then he has the whole morning to do as he pleases (as usual in Mr. M's world... he only has himself to worry about). He can join us when he is ready to participate.
Now, I want to call him and engage him in a 'discussion' (a fight?).
But I am not going to.
I am writing this post then going to sleep.

I had been feeling so cheerful and Christmasy today so it was a bummer way to end it. (I love Christmas shopping and Christmas music and Decorations and Lights and Crowds and all of it - PLUS we had spectacular weather today; crisp air, blue sky, bright sunshine, a perfect balance of chilly yet warm!)

I am hoping this doesn't ruin Christmas or serve as an excuse for him to relapse (does he CREATE fights SO that he can relapse????) It sucks to have to live in fear of that...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Therapy Day 12-20

I didn't cry in therapy day but I should have.
I had feelings come up but I didn't want to go there and Dr. didn't push. I don't know if he didn't notice and see or if he was being 'easy' on me cuz he could tell I didn't want to go there and I had a flat tire and he didn't want to push me over the edge.
I am embarrassed to tell you that while turning into the parking lot for therapy, I turned too early (to quickly get out of fast moving traffic) and hit the curb with my front tire. This scared me and obviously harmed the car and I was still in the road with my rear hanging out in fast-moving traffic, so I just kept going and so also slammed the back tire into the curb too. (In my defense, I thought I had cleared the curb and didn't think that my rear wheel would hit it, plus, I was freaked out.) I hobbled into my parking spot and got out to check. Sure enough a BIG HOLE in my tire and completely & utterly & hopelessly flat. I could see any obvious other things wrong like bent rims etc. I do not realize to check the rear tire though.
I called Mr. M... he mocked me a little. He said to call after therapy. He had a job to do and maybe we would both be done around the same time and could figure out a solution together.

Back story - when Mr. M was DEEP in the drink, I had take my car to get the tires rotated and the alignment done (I get really proactive and "fixy" when I am in crisis... trying to order my world in weird wasy). They asked about the "key" to get our lug nuts off. I had never heard of this (this is Mr. M's arena). They found it and all was fine. Except last week the mechanic said they couldn't fine the key... the tire people hadn't put it back. I called them.. of course, they didn't have it and had NO IDEA what I was talking about. So I have been procrastinating on going to the dealership to GET the freakin' key! So OF COURSE now I have a flat tire and can't change it without the key!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (And the nearest dealership - also of course - doesn't have one, so we have to go to a much further one.)

I go into therapy and Dr empathizes with me and how difficult this is.
Weirdly, I say, it is not that tough. It feels just like a normal (albeit frustrating) life circumstance. Because Mr. M is sober and can help me, I do not have to do it alone... we are a team and it's gonna be a pain in the ass, but it is just a little annoyance in the scope of life.
On the other hand, if Mr M was drunk and I was alone, this would probably put me over the edge (interesting food for though for me later). I would be devastated, overwhelmed and would feel my aloneness profoundly.
And yes, thinking about how I am a hair's breadth away from that being the case RIGHT NOW, that is a scary place to always live: if I call Mr. M for help right now, will he be drunk or sober? Will he be in any condition to care about someone besides himself? Will he be ABLE to help me or will I be alone?
Relaying the entire above paragraph to Dr. had me where I could've been in tears in a millisecond. I was feeling it. (WHY don't I let myself GO there??????? That is the whole stinkin' POINT, for land's sake! - I am so disappointed.)

That's all I wanted to say.
Except I WILL add that the rear tire had a huge hole in it too and Mr. M thought that was just hilarious. He called later in the night and said his pals at the AA meeting all wanted to pass on their admiration at my commitment to following through! (HAHAHA! Thanks a LOT guys!)
So after waiting for three ours for my little sister to run to the further dealership for the key and for Mr. M to finally get there, I STILL ended up having to call a tow truck because we only have ONE spare :/
And on top of that, it had to be a flat bed type which takes longer.
And by the time we got there, the tire place was closed, so we still have to deal with it in the morning. So, not over yet.

But it was sooooooooooooo nice to have Mr. M there and to do it together and to be able to have help and not be alone.
Does that make me WEAK for enjoying it so much?
Should I be more self-sufficient?
(Because these are the judgmental things my inner critic scolds me with.)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Consistent Inconsistency

I feel bi-polar or something.
My emotions are all over the place.

I sometimes question myself and wonder if I am over-reacting to Mr. M's disease?
A lot of people live with alcoholic husbands in alcoholic marriages.
I am not alone or unique.
Do I need to go to nuclear options like divorce and asking him to move out and the intense level of grief and heartbreak I feel?
Maybe my expectations are too high?
What is my value & worth in this whole thing? Do I deserve more? Or is this the best I can hope for?
And where does my Higher Power figure into all this? - Do I get to decide what I want to do or is this some kind of 'test' or 'challenge'?... Am I too focused on my comfort and happiness in this life, when I could just be finding joy & peace in my suffering and trials?

One minute all I can see is my grief and loss and I take Mr M back into my heart and bed after ONE WEEK sober, and embrace him and can only see how much I love him and do not WANT to do life without him.
Then he gets all cozy and starts taking it all for granted and making assumptions... he starts demanding or bickering and cleaning the house (as if I am a failed housekeeper in his absence - which I am :/
I start thinking of how he starts drinking and ABANDONS us. (Lest I forget what this really is.)
How he pees his pants, saturating the whole couch.
He breaks things.
He vomits on things.
He runs into things and falls over.
He drives drunk.
He doesn't work.
He doesn't provide.
He is not even "semi" functional.
When Mr. M drinks, it is cataclysmic.
If I go nuclear in my reaction, I think it is because he goes nuclear in his drinking.
I think it would be harder and "grayer" in the questions I ask myself above - if he were more functional... but he is not. Living with him drunk is truly not an option, so that helps.

So the last few days, I have been feeling angry and sad.
I feel like when the going gets tough, Mr. M gets going.
And again and again for the past 24 years, I am left alone with 4 kids, 4 mortgages, 1 dog, 4 cars, college apps, angry kids bickering, discipline (I just had to fight it out with Bub at 11:30PM because he wants to shave his head, vacuum the hair, and do laundry in the middle of the night on a school night when the rest of us are just turning out the lights for bed - he thinks I am out of my mind so I had to threaten to take away his beloved iphone, this sent him into a complete meltdown of tears about how HE has been the one to step up to the plate during dad's absence! really???), bills, home & car maintenance, working and dealing with clients, emotional trauma of Drummer arguing with his soon-to-be fiancee, Girlie's driver's permit tests (studying and failing and the TEARS and then studying and PASSING and now having to DRIVE with a new teen driver - UGH!), shopping or and paying for all Christmas gifts, ordering (and paying for) Girlie's letterman's jacket, designing, ordering and paying for Bub's yearbook dedication page, Bub's graduation is coming etc. etc.
Mr. M just gets to CHECK out while I run and pay for things single-handedly.
And then he sobers up for 10 minutes and gets to waltz back in and enjoy all the fruits of MY labor - until he wants to fall off the deep end again!

I get jealous and sometimes I want a turn to lose my mind and give up and throw in the towel and run away from home and know that someone ELSE will pick up the pieces.
Now, please don't misunderstand me, I could NEVER allow myself to do that AND I wouldn't truly want to. Being a mom and having my family is my greatest joy in life.
But sometimes.. sometimes... I am tired and sad and tired of doing this alone - or being frightened that at any minute I will be left to do it alone.
And that realization and fear is getting harder and harder to live with. (Hence the gnarly feelings I am having below, fantasizing that MAYBE there is someone on the planet who will love me and want to STAY and do this journey WITH me.)

Mr. M wants to be forgiven and have a clean slate.
He wants me to focus on the good times and not let the bad out-weigh the good in my memories.
And when he is good, he IS pretty darn fabulous (my friends have jokingly moaned "Why can't OUR husbands be recovering alcoholics!!!???"). Like right now, he has spent 2 FULL days Christmas shopping with me; humoring me, running from store to ridiculous store in search of that perfect gift, carrying bags like a pack mule, and yes, PAYING, because he is working and when he is working and sober, he is the most generous guy you will ever meet. He'd give you the shirt off his back. (I am more fearful and therefore stingy and greedy - "UM... don't give that guy the shirt off your back... WE need it!!!"- Side note: I think I have always been fearful around money, but of course with Mr. M's consistent inconsistency, I have gotten more and more terrified.)

That is me any given day. Confused. Up & down. All over the place. Borderline crazy.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Playing With Fire

I have been in a kind of fantasy-denial for the last week or so.
This blog is a good friend to me when I am hurting and lonely and scared... but when I am feeling ok or (dare I say) good or just in denial and WISHING I felt that way, I turn my back on this friend who is a reminder of painful times I don't want to remember.

Mr. M had 3 weeks sober on monday.
This is fine.
I mean, all ANYONE has is one day, right?
3-6 weeks is Mr. M's typical relapse cycle (putting us right around Christmas for his next falling off the wagon episode).
But he is so hopeful, so committed, so excited about his sobriety, I DEEPLY want to believe it too and so I have been living as if I do.
(He is doing "90 meetings in 90 days" and calling program people all throughout the day. He is calling his sponsor and working his steps. He is working and going to the gym. He is cheerful - mostly - and hopeful. He is him at his best.)

In light of that, I have been letting him come over every day. We went Christmas shopping together. He has helped with Dr. appointments for the kids and errand running. I was out of milk and having 'guilty mom syndrome'. He called at 10PM, after his meeting, saying he had gotten milk and could he bring it by! He set rat traps when I heard scurrying in the attic. He decorated for christmas when I was out at a party. He filled the fountain and moped the floors. (And yes, we have had *ahem* a couple conjugal visits.)
My life is easier when he is sober.
I am not alone for 10 minutes.
I so want it to be real.
I SO want to lean into it.

[OH! Writing this reminds me that I have to remember what my therapist said this week about that... something like maybe I can't handle it and am not ready for it??? and bring it up again to Dr. next week.]

So I have been "enjoying" it and just indulging for a little bit.

But then my "other man" flirtation surfaced (I haven't mentioned it for a zillion reasons: I want to pretend it is nothing, I am embarrassed and ashamed, Even though this is anonymous, I am still so afraid of being discovered)... and I have been fixated on that instead of fixating on Mr. M and his drinking.
I have SO many things to say about this subject:
I am 41 and this person is 58 - This means he is too old for me.
He is married - and this means he is MARRIED... and even if some of my behavior makes this seem questionable, marriage means something to me. (I mean My GOD, I have fought for 23+ years to keep my sham of a marriage in tact, I am not ABOUT to be a party to destroying someone else's!)
I am not that attracted to him.

That said, here's the thing:
I am super vulnerable.
I am deeply needy.
I am ACHING to have someone take care of me (and he is wealthy - more on that in a minute).
I am longing to have someone desire me.
So PLEASE GOD, rescue me from myself... I am TIRED of being the grown up. Can HE please be the grown up and do the right thing??? (I found myself praying for his marriage today, that he would only have eyes for her... that their love would be kindled, that their marriage would be protected.)

I have been having a kind of "fun" time playing with this flirtation... It is a delightful distraction from my pain and loss. Plus, I am telling myself it is just a little harmless fun on both our parts. I mean, we only usually see each other once a year for our annual lunch to talk business and catch up. This year we didn't need to at all but he told his assistant to schedule it and she said he just liked spending time with me!
So we HAD our lunch.
We drank wine, yummy, expensive wine (he treated... normally I would because he is my client). I know nothing about wines, he does... he was excited to share that with me and be the expert and teach me.
I had a tad to much and was a little flushed and wobbly as we left.
He loves to do the polite hug and kiss goodbye (on the lips! - SOOOO not what I would ever do!). Only this time, he pulled me up against him so that I was fully pressed up against him and planted one on me. I backed away and thanked him for lunch and that was it.
But then he texted me later.
He asked a couple more questions. He said they might require another lunch. I agreed. (UNACCEPTABLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) He asked if we could do it the next week to "kick off thanksgiving week" (Really?!) I said sure. (What the heck?)

More wine. More yummy food. More laughing and conversation. Yes, he has said that his marriage lacks intimacy and connection and they have talked about splitting up. He said lunch with me is the only time he does something nice for himself... like a little vacation.
When lunch was over, he asked me to drive him to his car. I did (again, flushed with too much wine at lunch! - and enjoying the feeling... I am normally SUCH a good girl and this was ALL so naughty and I am embarrassed and sad to say I was enjoying it). When he was getting out he leaned in to hug me and he kissed me and he PUT HIS HAND UP BEHIND MY HEAD AND KISSED ME AGAIN... I pulled away... he kind of smiled as he got out of the car and said "Delicious"! (GULP!) He called me after to tell me something and then it all kind of faded away. Mr. M got a few days sober. I put it behind me and *phew* I didn't have to think about it until next year.

Until we had to email about something for business.
Then I told him I was having trouble finding wine as yummy as we had tasted (true, but unnecessary to say) and asked for a recommendation.
He said it was the excitement and the company that made it so good and suggested we "meet" again.
I said sure.
He said FRIDAY (in 2 days from now). I said that it probably won't work until after the new year. (I am terrified AND I don't want to be over-eager AND I truly am a good girl and don't want to do anything "really bad" - as if this isn't all bad enough! And, I kind of like that I am aloof and have the illusion of being in control of SOMEfreakingTHING in my life).

EMAIL/HIM: You need to find some time for me in your busy schedule!

EMAIL/ME: hahaha! What can I say, I'm in high demand! :)

EMAIL/HIM (after a few more exchanges where he asks if I am on my way over and I respond "I wish"): You’re making this a lot more complicated than it needs to be you know :)

So thankfully, I dodged that bullet for now... but he is a 58 year old man who knows what he wants (although I THINK - and really, what the heck do I know??? - he is a "good boy" and a rule-follower who is just having fun "playing with fire" too) and is more firmly going after it. But he is not going out TOO much on a limb.
Anyhow, it is all very fun and enticing, and distracting - and I am ΓΌber-vulnerable.

So over the last 2 days I have been feeling more ANGRY with Mr. M. I am feeling less in denial. I am feeling more TIRED and hurt. I am wanting more distance.
But why can't I do this just because I am worth it and have value?
Why do I need some fake/fantasy flirtation with an OLD married guy to give me false strength to back away from Mr. M?
(And I would NEVER want to hurt this guy's wife and grown children... even if I was utterly selfish and immoral, I couldn't live with myself - GOD, I hope that is true!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

I CANNOT minimize the role this man's MONEY plays in the equation.
He is not bad looking.
He is smart and had many good qualities.
I am not really that attracted to him... but the idea of security of his income and that lifestyle are HUGELY appealing to me.
Not from a "gold-digger" standpoint but from a safety and security and comfort and being cared for and taken care of perspective... To think I wouldn't have to live in constant terror and could REST. My goodness, that is a turn on!
He is looking for things that I can provide and I am looking for things he can provide.
(Although truthfully, as Dr. oh so sagely pointed out - how safe and secure and rest-filled would I really ever be able to feel with a man who could up and leave his wife? If he did it once, he could do it again.)

Over these weeks, I have also been looking on dating websites and am vacillating between exhilaration, terror, and nausea.
What if someone won't love me?
What if I end up alone and Mr. was my only chance at love?
What if I end up with someone worse???
Mr M - abandoning as he is - love me even if I have gained weight, grown a few chin hars, have acne, get crabby at PMS time, etc... I can be a handful... maybe I would not be worth it to someone else?

So this is clearly bringing up a LOT of issues in me.
Honestly, I think very little of it is about Mr. M... it all says a LOT more about ME and my lack of belief in my worth and value, about my deepest fears, about how much I attach to money.
I am not making any rash decisions or moves, but I AM very very very vulnerable and that can be good or bad depending on the circumstances that happen to me and the choices I make.

God, please protect me from myself.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Therapy update

I am still seeing "Dr." who I used to write about each week. I SHOULD start writing weekly updates again to chronicle my journey for myself. (If I ever go back and read them, it is SOOO interesting to me to see where I was and what I was learning - a blog is just a journal posted online... even if no one else reads it, it is a record of our journeys, for ourselves.)

I took a break from therapy for a few moths due to financial reasons - we had a LARGE tax bill due in April and needed to scale back to get that paid. When we recouped, I started therapy again. The timing was perfect in that Mr. M relapsed about 2 weeks before I started again... it has been a lifeline to sanity to have a healthy, balanced person with whom to process.

Much of what I blog about probably comes straight out of stuff I am working on in therapy. One of the main things being to just ALLOW myself to be where I am... to be sad, to be mad, to be heartbroken, to grieve etc.
I didn't realize quite how much I make up all these rules to follow.
I have to kind of chuckle (a sad chuckle because it is not "haha" funny, but it is interesting funny) when I think back to when Hacker was in 1st grade. He was at a small private school that did not have uniforms but the boys had to wear slacks and a collared shirt. Hacker usually wore "polo" style collared shirts but one day I gave him a shirt that buttoned all the way up from the bottom. "Oh, mom, we are not allowed to wear this kind of shirt," Hacker told me. I assured him that he WAS allowed. He was fairly certain he was not. We went back and forth a few times and I eventually said "Sweetie, there are plenty of rules in life and in your school - you don't need to MAKE UP rules to follow!" I thought this was HILARIOUS that he was not just a "rule follower" but so much so that he created rules that MIGHT exist to follow. I wondered WHERE he got this?!

I remember some friends who live in Singapore doing a similar thing. Chewing gum is illegal in Singapore (I think due to littering prevention). One of our friends brought some gum home from America for his family to chew in their home. The wife gasped with horror that her husband was bringing this bootleg contraband into their home. He told her is was not illegal to own and chew gum in their country, in their home... it was only illegal in public. She was not so sure about that... she was pretty confident that NO, it was illegal in any form in any place. Again, there are plenty of real rules, but in our fear and pleasing, we sometimes invent and follow extra unnecessary rules.

All this brings me back to me, all these years later. Well, I darn well know where Hacker got this! I came to see that I was not the rebel I thought I was. I too have rules I make up to follow.

I have all sorts of rules around Mr. M's drinking and m behaviors & responses that I didn't even realize I have. For example, in this latest go around, I decided not to have Mr. M join us for Thanksgiving. It was HARD but I thought it was a realistic consequence, given his choices. Then the next day, I heard a RAT running around above my head in the attic and when Mr. M offered to come take care of it, I gratefully said "yes". I felt bad doing this because my RULE said that I needed to be consistent. I am not allowed to hug him and kiss him and have him come over and hug me on wednesday only to say I am feeling angry and sad on thursday and don't feel like seeing him. I have rules that say I have to pick a position and stay with it. Why??? I'm not sure... because I don't want to send wishy-washy messages? Or maybe because I feel like if I am inconsistent that will make him confused and sad and cause him to drink (as if anything *I* say or do actually causes him to drink! - My grandiosity thinking I am not powerless and that my life is manageable).

I feel like I sound like a crazy person letting Mr. M come over one day and then NOT letting him the next. Dr. is so validating though. He says that I am honoring myself and listening to what I need. As long as I am just listening to my needs and being nice to myself, he thinks it is healthy. If I have MOTIVES though (like to punish him or teach him or send him a message), then it is a different ball game and he would want to explore that. On the flip side, he says Mr. M gets to also be "wishy washy" and decide if HE feels like he wants to come over and kill the rat or not. Maybe he WILL do it, but tomorrow and not get up out of his cozy bed when he is already hunkered down for the evening. Mr. M functions out of a lot of guilt and shame and "owing"... he has a really tough time saying "no" to me when he is sober because he feels like he has hurt me so badly he owes it to me to set no boundaries and has to do anything I want. I am sure in our younger years I perpetuated that and completely agreed that he DID owe me... but this is a tough one, because how long does he owe me and how much? Can he ever repay his debt? etc. - If I am going to "forgive" him and stay with him, I feel like I actually need to forgive him and stay with him... but is that just another one of my "rules" I made up??? - I am still learning!!!

I think it is more about - If I am sad then I am sad and I can express my sadness. I might want to cry and tell him how much sadness this has caused me. If I am feeling mad and don't feel like being around him then that is an OK boundary to set. Likewise, HE needs to be responsible for himself and what he can handle... for example, he needs to honor himself and believe HE is worthy of that... so if he is not in a place to be able to HEAR my sadness right then, he doesn't "owe" it to me to listen right then. He might need to say "I am feeling overwhelmed right now and I don't feel like now is a good time for me to listen to your feelings... can we do this tomorrow?". We both need to be grown-ups and be responsible for ourselves.

I am glad he has started therapy too so at least it isn't like I am speaking Greek to him! We are both kind of of the same page speaking mostly the same language.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

20+ Years Ago

Today I was on facebook looking through the pictures of my friend's daughter that appeared on my news feed.
She is about 22... she and her young husband are so sweet and fresh-faced and naive seeming as they smile out at the camera holding their newborn daughter and toddler son. They look like babies themselves and yet here they are playing house, making babies of their own, and trying to forge a path for themselves in this world.
I look at them through tear-blurred eyes.
Because I can only see myself.

Mr. M and I were BARELY 18 when we said "I do".
We had no idea what "we did" when we said our vows and began to forge OUR own path.
I was a sweet little girl like my friend's daughter; sweet and fresh-faced and naive.
I feel so very sad for that little girl that I was.
She deserved so much more.
She deserved a husband who was present, who didn't leave her and get drunk and lose his jobs and steal the rent money for cocaine or take the kids in the car to buy drugs.

How could she have known that if she stayed, she would eventually be a middle-aged woman with 4 grown (and nearly grown) kids STILL GOING THROUGH THE EXACT SAME THING?

I wish I could reach back in time and hug her and whisper her worth to her. I wish I could comfort her and keep her safe and protect and provide for her.

I see my friend's sweet daughter and I am so happy for her and for them and yet it is hard to not feel jealous and to mourn deeply for the sweet, unmarred happiness I never got to have.