Why I Don’t Blog Here Anymore

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I remember the early days of coming to terms with my husband’s alcoholism. And by “coming to terms,” I mean trying to crawl out from under the avalanche of shock, disbelief, bewilderment and fear I found myself buried under. I just could not believe what was happening in my marriage. I didn’t even know how to process being called a fucking bitch, screamed at to shut the fuck up and the other assorted sundries of emotional and verbal abuse he would unleash on me.

That was nearly 18 years ago and I remember so vividly sitting in our basement before this big clunker of a dinosaur-now computer and googling “alcoholic husband,” “being married to an alcoholic,” “wife of an alcoholic,” etc. Anything. ANYTHING that would connect me with something that would leave me feeling less lonely, less isolated, less afraid.

I didn’t find much. Mostly I found blogs that were like ghosts in a graveyard. Shadows of what had once been. Hints at a life form that was no longer there. The blogs had been abandoned. Suffocated by the weight of life with an alcoholic husband.

Or?

Maybe?

Were these abandoned blogs not graveyards but chrysalis?

The sweetly abandoned cocoons of butterflies who had emerged from the darkness and taken flight?

It’s take me a long time – and I mean LONG time – of focusing on my husband’s drinking to realize that if I am to survive this, if I am to reclaim my life, if I am to crawl out from under this avalanche, I cannot focus on his drinking.

I cannot focus on his disconnect and detachment.

I cannot focus on the misery of his making that he projects onto us.

I cannot focus on his anger.

I cannot focus on the painful disappointment my marriage is.

Nor can I focus on my own anger.

My own misery.

My own grief at finding myself in the clutches of (someone else’s!) alcoholism beast.

I need to focus on growth and movement and gratitude and passion for life.

I have been SO unhappy for SO long.

I have been SO angry for SO long.

I have hated with a tragic magnitude my life and who I have become for so long.

But I am finally emerging.

From my own chrysalis.

And I can’t go back.

I began this blog because I wanted to give that woman who I was many years ago what I had been searching for. Some sort of connection in the middle of the night when the demons are circling and the beast of his drinking is gnawing on her flesh. But I can’t stay There. In that darkness. It doesn’t mean that I want to abandon the woman I was. I just need to write from a different place now.

A place of hope and possibility.

I know the desire – the need – of staying in that darkness. Of having to cry and lament, rant and vent about what is becoming of your husband, your marriage, your family, your life and yourself at the hands of his drinking. I get it. I really, really, really do. And if these are your first days of being called a fucking bitch or watching your husband stagger home drunk or being called to come pick him up somewhere, it’s going to be hard to appreciate how bad it’s going to get and how much you need to turn your focus away from him and to yourself. But if you find yourself here at this post – whether the day after it was written, a week later, a month later…years later – I hope you will visit my new blog – WrenRWaters.com. I don’t think we can force ourselves to skip the grieving process. Where I am writing from now, at that blog, is a far cry from where I was when I started this blog. It was a long journey to get there. Sometimes I feel too long. But I am there. Finally. And my hope is maybe my long journey will help other women shorten their own journeys out of the alcoholic marriage and back into their own amazing lives filled with limitless potential.

WHY I AM FAILING AT BLOGGING

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I’ve been married to my alcoholic husband for over 20 years.

I’m leaving him.

I’m starting a new blog.

I’m contributing on my friend’s blog.

I’m buying my own house.

Etc., etc., etc.

And so on and so forth.

Blah blah blah blah blah.

“Tomorrow morning,”(as in about four hours from now since it’s nearly 3 o’clock in the morning) I am going to….

Start getting up early.

Establish a morning routine.

Eat right.

Manage my anger.

Start moving forward with my life.

Etc., etc., etc.

And so on and so forth.

Blah blah blah blah blah.

Trying to free yourself from the shackles of an alcoholic marriage is like being given a big, beautiful pair of wings…

With you feet tethered to the ground.

You flap and you flap and you flap.

But you go no where.

I started this blog (and even a second blog, my wasn’t I ambitious) because I thought I could offer some help or support or a bit of solace in the dark lonely night to other women, younger women, “newer” (as in newer to the alcoholic marriage) woman than myself. But how do I help them when I can’t even help myself?

What can I say to these women?

After 20 years you get “used” to it. (Except you don’t.)

After 20 years, you just start living your own life. (But you don’t.)

After 20 years, you don’t even notice his drinking. (Except you do.)

How am I suppose to advise other women on saving their souls?

When I can’t even save my own?

PEACE, PROGRESS AND OTHER EXCITING NEWS

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I started this blog as a way to support other women going through the hell of living with an alcoholic husband or partner while trying to process my own painful trip through Hades.

I fear I haven’t been very successful in that I have been far from consistent in my blogging. About a year ago, I thought the issue must be that I was ready to move past being married to an alcoholic. I couldn’t really write about being married to an alcoholic, I reasoned, because I was done being defined by being married to an alcoholic. To this end, I started a new blog: WrenRWaters.com

This was to be a blog not about being married to an alcoholic but about moving beyond being married to an alcoholic.

But just as a house divided cannot stand, a writer divided cannot write. Every time I had an idea for a blog post, I would question: was this an “alcoholic husband” sort of post or more a “moving past” alcoholic husband post? In the end, it became no post.

To the rescue, as often has been the case in my years as a writer and the wife of an alcoholic, was my friend, Linda Bartee of the Immortal Alcoholic blog. (immortalalcoholic.blogspot.com) She and I are always cooking up something between us and so it came to be that I will post on her blog once a week – Monday morning – with an excerpt from my book, “The Alcoholic Husband Primer: Survival Tips For The Alcoholic’s Wife.” I first published this book in 2016 but recently re-published an updated 2nd edition.

So if you are just climbing into your boat for this trip down the Styx River, I hope you will check out Linda’s blog, immortalalcoholic.blogspot.com for some insight into the things I wished I had known in the beginning. And if you’ve been on the river for awhile now, check out my blog, WrenRWaters.com for how I finally took control of this boat called My Life and am steering it into more peaceful waters.

You Mourn The Strangest Things

As macabre as it may sound, of course death is on most of our minds right now. The good news is, thankfully, that the majority of people infected with coronavirus will survive. The sad, sobering and thought-evoking news is over 50,000 Americans have died, over 200,000 people worldwide.

200,000 people. People that were fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters.

Husbands and wives.

There are many heart wrenching stories about husbands and wives losing their partner of 40, 50, even 60 years.

What can that feel like to lose someone after a lifetime together?

What can it feel like to know the hole your absence would cause should you be the one to go first?

I don’t know.

I’ll never know.

Of all the things to evoke envy, it wouldn’t seem that a grieving husband or wife would be on that list.

But it is.

Not that I envy their pain.

Though maybe I do.

What is the saying?

Pain is the cost of love.

I’ll never feel that great pain because I am not experiencing that great love.

I’ll never have to worry about my husband mourning me. I’ll never have to assure him, insist, I’d want him to love and marry again should I go first.

It may sound like a terribly odd thing to long for, but I do.

To love and be loved so completely.

I’M SO EXCITED!!

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My heart is racing.

Ready to beat right out of my chest!

For so long…

For so very, very, very long now…

All I have wanted is my own house!

A house that is warm and comfortable in the winter, cool and inviting in the summer.

A house where there aren’t half-finished projects everywhere. Broken this and that else where.

A house full of color and joy and loud, obnoxious laughter.

A house where I went to bed at night without a flippin’ fan blowing for white noise and the bed is covered with sleepy pets.

A house I couldn’t wait to come home to.

A house that was mine, mine, mine, mine, mine.

All.

Mine.

No, I have not bought that house.

Yet.

But what has me so excited is today, it finally became clear to me.

Actually buying my house will be the easy part!

As they say, it’s all down hill from here!

It’s not an easy thing to end your marriage.

Even one to a verbally abusive alcoholic.

And so today, realizing I am 100% committed to recreating my life, building a new future different from the future I was expecting, was liberating for me.

All this time, it hasn’t been the mechanics of getting a divorce or making enough money that has held me in my marriage.

It’s been my – rightfully so – ambivalent feelings.

It’s been my – justifiably – doubts and wavering conviction.

It’s been my – understandable – grief over losing the future I thought was to be mine and my children’s.

In other words, it’s been the completely natural progression and process of ending one’s marriage.

It’s been a “long time” coming.

Not just time wise, but emotions-wise.

I remember writing with such conviction I was “done” only to watch another six, 12, 18 months tick by with seemingly no change on my part.

But today I saw, felt, all that change that has been happening.

Within me.

When you decide you’re going to build your dream house, there is first the not-so-exciting, not-glamourous stuff. Finding the site. Getting a “perc” test. Closing on the site. Clearing foliage. Digging the basement. Laying the foundation. It can seem so trivial and tedious. Like nothing is happening except a big hole in the Earth where you beautiful, sun-light breakfast nook, master bath with a Jacuzzi tub, gourmet kitchen house is suppose to be. Septic tanks and rebar. Backhoes and cement mixers. A muddy hole and waiting for the rain to stop hardly seems the stuff dream houses are made of.

But then “suddenly,” the sun comes out – both literally and metaphorically – and like a colony of perfectly synchronized ants, workers are raising walls, hanging kitchen cabinets and caulking around the Jacuzzi tub where you will bubble away the day’s cares as you sip wine and gaze out at the view you’ve dreamed of, longed for and waited on for so very long.

I thought buying a house would be the hard part.

I thought packing and moving and just dealing with all the STUFF would be the hard part.

I thought the mechanics of divorcing would be the hard part.

But I was wrong.

The hardest part of creating any sort of great change or personal metamorphosis is the journey you must first take.

Within yourself.

Little Changes – Big Feelings

I switched the carrier for mine and my children’s cell phones. In doing so, the account was taken out of my husband’s name and put in mine.

It hardly sounds that revolutionary but it created this odd, anxious – though not necessarily bad – emotion within me. Upon reflection, I realized the anxiousness was really the awareness that this is one more step in separating my life from his. And not just in the legal sense, but emotionally. Mentally. And I realized if just changing my phone account created an anxiety in me, no wonder it takes us so long to leave those that hurt us so dearly. Never – and I mean NEVER – would I have guessed it would be so excruciating to leave an unhappy, toxic marriage. This is why I object to the notion of “co-dependent.”

I am not co-dependent because I can’t walk away from my marriage.

I am human.

The Eyes Have It

I don’t know what the Universe was trying to tell me, but it seemed to be trying to tell me something.

I was in Starbucks yesterday morning. (Definitely my Happy Place.)

I happened to notice a couple waiting for their coffee order. The woman seemed upset – not overly but still somewhat upset or concerned – about something. She was talking to her husband and though I couldn’t hear what she was saying, it didn’t matter nor was I that interested. What caught my attention was him.

And the way with which he was looking at her.

Pure interest and concern in his eyes.

I lost myself in thoughts about how I literally can’t remember the last time my husband even looked at me, much less with any kind of “interest” or “concern” in his eyes. As my mind was kind of ruminated on this, I took my gaze off of them only to see this young couple standing right in front of my table. His back was to me but she as gazing into his eyes, her eyes smiling true love.

Whenever I talk about other people’s lives or relationships, I feel the need to qualify it by saying I am not so young or na├»ve to believe the rest of the world has these “perfect” marriages or “perfect” relationships or “perfect” lives but the truth is, you lose so much (so, so, so much) in the alcoholic marriage that other people do enjoy.

Like someone gazing at your with love and concern and interest.

SOMETIMES I FORGET…

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The beast lies in wait in the tall grass of complacency.

You forget he’s there.

You move freely.

Too freely.

Because he’s always there.

Always waiting.

Always ready.

I hate him.

Ok, I hate him.

He ruined my life.

Now, I know, I know…

Life is all about how you allow someone to make you feel and life is about not allowing someone to take away your power and your life is only ruined by someone else as much as you allow them to ruin it but sometimes…

Some days…

Some nights when you have forgotten the beast that alcoholism is…

The beast that it made him…

You get caught.

The filthy claws slash though your flesh and soul.

And you wonder how you could have even POSSIBLY forgotten!

How you could have for one single, solitary, no matter how brief, moment taken your eyes off that grass.

How you could have possibly let yourself get close to that grass.

Where the beast will always be.

BUT…

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I hope you’ve had a chance to hop over to my new website – WrenRWaters.com. I’m excited for this new venture and pretty proud that I managed to build a website because despite how “easy” the Internet world proclaims it to be, maneuvering your way through the website-building process is not so “easy” for those of us who grew up with four channels on television and car windows you had to actually roll up and down yourself.

But I did it.

I did and for that I am proud.

And the reason I did it is because I am at that place (finally? Finally.) where I realize (finally? Finally.) that “it” as in getting my life back, getting me back, living the life I want to live, being the person I want to be has nothing – N-O-T-H-I-N-G – to do with my alcoholic husband, my alcoholic marriage, the soul-sucking effects of his behavior, my grief over what was suppose to be and on and on and on. The fact is, we all have or come from “something.” A loss, a tragedy, a disadvantage, a challenge. It could be an alcoholic husband. But it could also be losing a husband to cancer or a freak car accident. It could be losing a child. Or it could be never having had the chance to have children. It could be chronic illness and/or pain. It could be something major with our parents or other family members. It could be an emotionally and/or physically abusive past or childhood. It could anything. No one gets to ride this ride called Life for free. But whatever path we have been trekking, eventually we converge at the same point on the trail where there is a sign that says “this way” and an arrow pointing to one singular path. Eventually, it is of no matter our different pasts because the way to our new futures is the same.

That’s what my new website is about.

Focusing on what I’ve learned – and how well I am implementing it – about how to move myself past the alcoholic husband path and onto the universal take-my-life back path.

But…

But I don’t want to totally ignore whence I came.

I don’t want to totally forget or abandon those of us, women in this suck-butt club, who haven’t yet found their way to the arrow. It’s been a long time coming, this awakening of mine but not so long that I forget what it’s like to feel completely mentally and emotionally debilitated by the behavior of an alcoholic husband. It’s been a long time but not so long that I have forgotten what it is to sit in my car in the driveway and cry or to hide in the basement and scream or to feel like I don’t even know how I can possibly survive the toxicity and chaos One. More. Day.

I don’t know if there’s a way to move faster down the alcoholic-husband-trail to the your-life-this-way trail head. We can only hear what we can hear when we can hear it. We can only do what we can do when we can do it. But perhaps there is a way for me to help you walk a little faster or jog for a bit or even full out run on occasion as you do move forward.

You are my peeps. You are my tribe. You are the reason I have found my way to the arrow. So I can’t just abandon you on the alcoholic-husband path.

But…

Eventually you have to leave that path.

So you can follow the real path.

The Your-Life path.

New Blog…New Book

https://www.wrenrwaters.com/

The above is a link to my new blog!

I know, I can hardly keep up with this one so why would I start another one?

It’s been a long journey for me.

A lot of back and forth.

Some that I articulated here.

More that I simply lived and endured day after day.

Until I finally realized…

Finally got it…

I don’t fault myself for seeming to take “so long to get it.

I can’t even say I “wish” I realized it sooner.

I think I realized it exactly when I was able to realize it.

But here’s what I now know beyond even the tiniest shadow of a doubt:

If you want to change your life…

If you want to go from where you don’t want to be to where you do want to be…

If you want tomorrow to be different from all the yesterdays…

You have to STOP thinking about where you are but don’t want to be.

You have to CEASE lamenting all you don’t have but wish you did.

You have to LET GO of all that your life isn’t or wasn’t or won’t ever be and grab hold of all your life can be – as though it already is!

When you are married to an alcoholic, it seems logically that if you focus or concentrate on how horrible it is being married to him, you’ll find the energy and will to change the situation for yourself and your children, if you have any. But it turns out human nature is not quite so logical or obvious. I mean, at first glance it makes sense: if you keep at the forefront of your mind how much you hate your life, if you hold onto how disappointed you are in yourself, then you will fill up with the grit and determination required to change everything about yourself and your life.

If this was a game show, a loud, obnoxious buzzer would be sounding right now while a big giant X flashed on the screen.

Turns out the more the human psyche thinks or focuses on something – for better or worse! The more the human psyche works to keep that very thing a part of your Earthly experience.

And so it’s been with me for many years now.

All (ALL!) I was able to think about over the last years is how miserable it is being married to an alcoholic, how much I wanted to get out of said marriage and how horribly disappointed I was in who I had become. Turns out this is basically the trifecta of thought for keeping me right where I didn’t want to be, being who I did’t want to be.

So it’s time I start thinking – and writing- about different stuff!

Good stuff.

Fun stuff.

But also pensive stuff.

“Deep” stuff.

Life stuff.

Stuff that may not always fit neatly into the “alcoholic husband” category.

Stuff that, I hope, may be helpful or hopeful, interesting or inspiring to a reader even if she isn’t married to an alcoholic.

I will still write here – when my thoughts are heavy on the alcoholic-husband topic. But I suppose if I’m honest, my journey is to move away from all things alcoholic husband – my thoughts, my emotions, my life and yes, this blog.

It’s ok though.

It’s a good move.

The move I’ve been moving toward for a very long time now I suppose.

Which brings me to my new book. (I’ll put a link at the end of this post.)

I don’t think I mentioned “alcoholic husband” even once in my new book.

It’s a series of letters I wrote to my husband over the course of about 18 months as I came to terms with the ending of my marriage. I never planned to publish these letters so it is the most raw and vulnerable of anything I have written. Sometimes I wonder, is it “too” raw? “Too” vulnerable? I don’t know that one could think of it as a “feel good” book. Not in any sort of traditional way but maybe in a hopeful way. As a record of personal growth and change. When I began putting the letters together for the manuscript, I was a little taken back by the darkness that was coming through. The depth of emotional despair being revealed – and I lived it! But by the end, I think the letters reveal the start of a transition within me.

The move away from hopelessness to hope.

The shift from grief to healing.

The journey from broken…

To whole.

https://www.amazon.com/You-Know-Cry-During-Yoga/dp/1706407440/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=do+you+know+I+cry+during+yoga&qid=1580735281&sr=8-1