Monday, September 17, 2012
I am currently laying in a big, fluffy bed with the ocean glistening beyond the rooftops and palm trees swaying in the breeze. Mr. M is asleep beside me. ( tried to wake him up, but he is not a morning person and would sleep away our whole beach day if I would let him,) Today we are supposed to take a little water taxi to a small beach accessible only by boat. Should be fun.
Mr. M has 10 months sober.
In October of last year he relapsed hard & fast.
Have you heard about the "sleeping tiger" in AA? That is what they call the disease of alcoholism. When the alcoholic is not drinking (sober or just dry), the disease is not gone or "re-set" or pushed back to the beginning stages. However big and powerful and advanced the tiger (disease) was when it went to sleep is EXACTLY how big and powerful and advanced it will be if & when it reawakens. If it was a ferocious, full-grown beast when it went to sleep, it will not awaken a sweet and harmless baby cub. It may take a day or a week or two, but the progression will be fast and furious. And so it was with Mr. M's relapse last year. It was so bad so fast (picking up right where it left off) that his binge only lasted about a month total... but it was knock down, drag out, piss his pants on the furniture, kick him out of the house to a seedy motel, enter the hospital in physical agony (do I have acute or chronic pancreatitis?) painful.
He got sober after spending Thanksgiving alone, crying.
I do not have the power to sober him up or keep him drunk, but he seems particularly affected by it when he truly, deep down - I think he can see it in my eyes and feel it, there is no bluffing - that I am done and leaving him. When I am crying and sobbing and threatening, he TRIES to get sober but fals repeatedly. Then I am truly done. Hy heart is hard toward him. I am finally empowered to leave. This is it. And he sobers up. For a good long time. 6 years. 3 years. etc.
I soften up toward him, start letting myself hope and believe, start trying to lean in to trusting him and he relapses again. An exhausting cycle.
So he is in a sober period.
Things are better overall... I think therapy (mine and his) is contributing. He talk about feelings more and TRY to fight about the heart of the matter more than the peripheral things. I THINK he is "stuffing" less. But of course, I don't know and won't until it is too late and he is drunk. And I honestly don't think I have another go-'round in me. I don't.
But for today, we are on vacation and it is nice and restful and fun.
I asked him if he minded if I drank around him (I have only been drinking when he is not there - he KNOWS, but I haven't done it in front of him). He said he would be happy if I did. I had a glass of wine one night at dinner and a mixed drink on the beach one day. He told me to have a beer on the beach and I said that I didn't want to do that to him since I figured THAT would be painful for him (like watching someone eat your favorite chocolate brownie sundae while you are on a diet). He said if there WAS one thing he would like, it would be a cold beer on the hot beach. (It is very much the culture down here - cerveza on la playa). I have no idea if this dumb or smart or neutral. I just know that for 20+ years of our marriage, I was the only one NOT drinking and I am not the alcoholic! (What is wrong with that picture???) - On the other hand, if he wants to TALK, like a grown-up, and say "Hey, Mrs. M, I am realizing that seeing you drink is stirring up urges in me, so can I rethink that and ask that you please consider NOT drinking around me?" I think it would be perfectly great for me to honor his request instead of making up standards to enforce that I think will keep him sober.
It is weird how NORMAL it seems right now and how quickly that can change (on a dime). But if I can actually ever live out the "one day at a time" philosophy (or both the Bible and the program), then TODAY is a darn fine day.
Hasta la vista, Baby.