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

I Said It

For many years now – I don’t know how many – but many, I have resisted.

The words that have swirled in my head.

The emotions that have whispered in my heart.

I didn’t want to let the words out.

I didn’t want to give the emotions credence.

I may have heard them in my head.

Felt them in my heart.

But I refused them.

More, much more, for me than for me.

In fact, entirely for me.

I knew allowing those words would do far more damage to me than to him.

Allowing those emotions would wound me more than him.

But then the other day.

When I was seeing my therapist and I recapping the past four to six weeks litany of outbursts and verbal attacks by him.

I don’t cry that often when talking about him.

Anymore that is.

I used to.

I used to cry a lot.

Often sitting alone in my car in the driveway.

But for the most part, those tears are all dried up.

But the post holidays, I guess.

All that pressure, stress and expectation rolled up in a month, like some sort of overstuffed anxiety burrito.

So I was crying softly and the words kept echoing in my head, kept banging against the walls of my hart, until I said, nearly in a whisper,

“I hate him.”

Happy New Year – And Why I Don’t Believe A Woman Should Stay (Married to an Alcoholic)

As a writer and (poorly consistent) blogger, I feel it’s kinda like my job to read other writers’ books and blogs on the subject of alcoholic husbands and marriages. And while of course I respect everyone’s journey and each marriage is different (but not really), blah blah blah, there is one thing that always gets my fingers twitching on the keyboard and that is the stories of women who choose to stay in their marriages. It’s not they choose to stay that gets me all banging-out-an-opinion on my laptop. It’s what seems an almost universal sense of superiority and self-righteousness.

Hey, if a woman wants to stay married to her alcoholic husband, seriously, I will not debate or argue or judge that. 100% that’s for her to decide.

But…

I will argue and debate (and probably judge a bit) the idea that somehow it is more noble to stay than to leave and/or that those of us who choose to get the hell out of drunken Dodge somehow give up on our marriages or betray our vows or abandon our husbands. There are only two kinds of marriages when it comes to being married to an alcoholic:

The marriage to a recovering alcoholic and the marriage to an active alcoholic.

That’s it.

If he’s an alcoholic, he’s either in recovery or he’s drinking.

No in-betweens.

And so, when a woman decides to stay, it makes a big difference which marriage she is deciding to stay in.

If she is staying in a marriage with an active alcoholic, 100% I will go to the mats on this, her life is greatly, greatly compromised. You just can’t live fully when you live with an alcoholic.

You.

Just.

Can’t.

Even if she attends Al-Anon, and sees a therapist and spends each day working to manage her emotions, her feelings, her reactions to his behavior and drinking, think (THINK!) where all that energy, all that passion COULD be going. It could be going to Her! Life! To her dreams, her goals, her desires and hopes and wishes and wants. Even supposed “detachment with love” is an everyday energy drain.

If a woman chooses to stay married to a man who is pursuing recovery, well, I can’t really comment on that since that’s not who my alcoholic husband is. But I will say this:

I am moving out this year.

I spent over 20 years married to him.

In that time, nothing has ever indicated he’s interested in “recovery.” (Why would he be? He doesn’t think he has a problem.)

I’m not giving up on my marriage or betraying my vows or abandoning him because I won’t wait another 20 years to see if he comes around.

I’m reclaiming my life.

Tis The Season

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Happy Thanksgiving.

How was your turkey day?

Did you stay home?

Travel?

Have family in or just your immediate family?

Did you do the cooking?

The cleaning up? (Yes. to probably both I will guess.)

What was on your Thanksgiving menu?

Just the tradtional like turkey, sweet potatoes (marshmallowed or not-marshmallowed?), cranberry sauce, stuffing, green been casserole?

Or is your family a little more daring, adventurous with the meal? Maybe ham? Tacos? Forgo the sweet potatoes all together? (Hark!)

What about that side dish we seem to all share though no one “prepared” it?

The alcoholic outrage/outburst/tirade.

I don’t know why the holidays are ripe for the worse of an alcoholic’s behavior to erupt but they are. (I’m sure if I googled it, I’d find some definitive reason why the alcoholic’s abominable behavior is intensified during the holidays.) I guess I’m past caring about the why anyway. I just know it’s happening. It starts with Thanksgiving (or maybe even Halloween depending on the year) and goes right through to the new year. Like over-eating, over-spending and new year’s resolutions – it’s pretty much the same every year.

Yesterday my to-be-ex didn’t disappoint though he came up with a new line, a very telling line, a line where I thought he had no more mean, harsh, ugly, vile lines to offer. I told him to stop yelling and he said, (drum roll please),

I’m only yelling at you.”

Yeah, I know.

I said,

“I count. I! Count!”

In case no one has said it to you, really said it to you,

Happy Thanksgiving – as in “thank you.”

Happy Thanksgiving – as in “I love you.”

Happy Thanksgiving – “you are amazing.”

Happy Thanksgiving – thank you for reading and supporting me in this little blog-venture of mine.

Happy Thanksgiving – I love you in that I mean I don’t know you but I send love to you as a fellow human being and survivor of another person’s compulsive drinking.

And Happy Thanksgiving – you are amazing. We didn’t choose the best travel partners for this ultimate travel adventure called Life and yet, we all are keeping our heads up and looking forward.

Enjoy your holiday week-end.

And if you’re shopping, buy yourself a little something.

It doesn’t have to be big or expensive. Maybe just a candle or an inexpensive little piece of jewelry but something to remind you that you count.

You do indeed…

Count!