Why I Finally Feel Ready To Leave

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People in the “outside” world seem to be befuddled by the fact that the wives of alcoholics don’t simply run for the door the first time they trip over a pile of “empties.” They think drinking problem = marriage dissolution. No questions asked. No doubt. No remorse or hesitation. If only it was that simple.

Or easy.

Or painless.

No, leaving our alcoholic husbands is never simply, easy and certainly not painless though that seems to befuddle the outside world as well. Why would we grieve leaving some “no-good drunk” of a husband?

Well, for lots of reasons I won’t go into right now. What I will go into is why I finally (finally?) feel ready to leave. Ironically, it has nothing to do with his drinking, per say.

I asked my husband if he wanted to take a vacation this summer.

“We can’t afford it.”

“Who is going to watch the dog?”

“I don’t know if I can get off work.”

No sooner did he finish his last objection thent I realized,

“Oh my God! I have been listening to these excuses for 20 years!”

Everything – EVERY! THING! I have ever – EVER! – presented to my husband in terms of our lives, direction we might take, dreams we might pursue, adventures we might create has always – ALWAYS – been met with the same – SAME – reasons why we CAN’T.

First and foremost is the steadfast,

“We can’t afford it.”

I don’t care if I was suggesting planting a willow tree in the backyard or taking an overnight trip to the lake.

“We can’t affort that.”

It’s his go-to, his safety, his stand-by.

Then, depending on the situation, he has his alternates.

The dog is a popular one for any sort of trip.

“What are we going to do with the dog?”

When I suggested we be foster parents (this was LONG ago, when I would even dare suggest such an idea), I guess since money is hardly an issue there, he had to pull out the,

“We don’t have room for that.”

There is also his all encompassing,

“That will never work.”

So when he said we “can’t afford” a vacation this summer, it hardly seemded the sort of thing that would cause a deep revelation within me. But that’s the thing with “revelations;” they may seem sudden, like a volcano erupting, but really they have been a long time coming. Like a volcano after all. The energy brewing and percolating beneath the surface, “undetected” until the day…

And so last night when my husband began with his litany of “can’ts,” it hit me,

“He will never want to do anything.”

His excuses are just that. Excuses. The real “excuse” is he doesn’t want to or can’t leave his comfort zone. He wants to work, come home, drink only to wake up and do it all again the next day. Now I by no means think he’s happy or fulfilled. No, I know he is quite unhappy but he’s not going to challenge that. He’s not going to work to Be happy. He’s just going to sit in our house, worrying and yelling about about money until the day he dies.

And THAT is why I finally feel ready to leave.

Because I want to LIVE…

Until the day I die.

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I Used To Hate Him For…

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his drinking.

I used to hate him for the beer bottles littering my house.

I used to hate him for his snoring as he laid passed out in the living room.

I used to hate him for the way he would scream and curse at me.

I used to hate him for the dirty dishes and trash he left laying around.

I used to hate him for being emotionally unavailable.

I used to hate him for never fully participating in our family life.

I used to hate him for the way he drove.

I used to hate him for being such a pessimist.

I used to hate him for his anger.

I used to hate him for turning the smallest incident into a verbal assault.

I used to hate him for his refusal (or inability?) to communicate with me.

I used to hate him for his constant harping about money.

I used to hate him for the suppressive pall he cast over our home.

I used to hate him for everything our marriage was not because of his drinking.

Now I just hate him…

For making me hate myself.

Did I Forget To Mention This?

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I have a new book out.

It’s probably not what you would expect me to write.

I didn’t expect to write it myself.

A book for “them?”

It just kind of happened.

I was thinking about what I wanted, needed – longed for – from my husband.

And then wondered if there were any men who were interested in hearing what their wives want, need, long for from them.

It’s not a fluffy, feel good book.

I hope the guys get that.

But I hope they also get that for most wives of alcoholics, we hold onto the love and the hope for a long, long time. Maybe too long in all honesty. That can be bad news for us..

But good news for the men who want to hear it.

The Difference Between An Angry Person and A Person With A Temper

When I married my husband many years ago, I soon came to realize he was a very angry person. WHen I suggested this to him (maybe growing up with his own alcoholic father had something to do with it, aye?) he would say,

“You’re an angry person too.”

And I would say,

“No. I may have a temper. But I am not an angry person.”

He’d said,

“There’s no different.”

But of course there is a difference.

A big difference!

An angry person is always angry. They may not know they are always angry but that anger is constantly there, like the backdrop that life plays out against for them. It’s why they may yell at a waiter when their food is late (as opposed to getting annoyed, frustrated and even mad but not raging with anger); it’s why they will curse like a sailor at the crows who get into the garbage (rather than working harder at crow-proofing the garbage) and yes, it is why an alcoholic can (will) call his wife a fucking bitch or tell her to shut the fuck up or suggest she go “fuck herself.” To say being an angry person is the same as getting mad is to say setting your house on fire is the same as building a fire in the fire place. Two very different things.

And so when I met my husband, I guess I had a temper. I didn’t really think I did but I do know I was not an angry person. Barking dogs or people parking on the street in front of my house or someone driving “too slow” in front of me did not induce in me a ten minute, profanity-laced rant. My normal state of being, my “default” state you could say, was reasonable calm and happiness. I didn’t feel assaulted by the least – real or imagined – transgression.

I don’t know if I can say that now.

The other day I pulled into the gas station and the way all the cars were situated, I couldn’t get to a pump but there was an empty pump being blocked by a woman at another pump. I asked her if she would mind pulling forward. She refused. Now, do I think she was kind of a horse’s ass for not pulling forward? Probably. But can I tell you, the absolute RAGE I felt within me was startling. Now there wasn’t anything I could – or would -do (because angry AND crazy is a whole different beast!) but I was SO!! MAD!! Beyond what I think was proably reasonable or even healthy.

My husband says there is no difference between being an angry person and a person who gets mad.

I can say there is absolutely a difference.

I know.

I’m living the difference.

How Strong We Are

A friend of mine is in what I call the alcoholic-husband-funk.

We all know it well.

The state of being that cycles around where you are just SO tired…

And SO spent…

And SO done.

She sent me an email to this affect and, I am chagrin to say, I felt like there was nothing I could really say to her.

I felt like I was letting a friend down.

But the truth is, later today or tomorrow or by Wednesday at the latest, she will be fine.

She will be the mother she needs to be, the wife he doesn’t deserve and she will make life happen and work for all those around her.

But of course she is not “fine.”

Of course, inside her a little bit more of her has withered and died.

Day One: Planting Seeds

Well, here it is Monday morning.

The weekend is over and like a drunk after a three-day bender, I made a lot of “promises” over the last few days and now it’s time to make good on them.

Or at least start.

As I said, I have NO! IDEA! how I am going to buy my own house but I know it’s the first thing in a long time that has made sense to me and excited me. So, rather than worry about the pesky how, I am just going to start planting seeds while maintaing complete faith in Mother Nature’s (aka God; aka The Universe; aka Life’s Energy; aka all beyond me) ability (and willingness) to provide all the necessary sunshine, rain and nutrients to create the garden of my dreams.

Gardening really is the perfect metaphor for the act of pursuing your dreams. The gardener or farmer doesn’t plant her seeds and then spend the days trying to figure out how to make them sprout roots, burst through the soil and start producing flowers and fruit. Nope, she plants them, maybe gives them a little sprinkling of water and then leaves the seeds and the wonders of nature to take care of the rest. The How part.

I don’t need to Know How.

I just need to Do.

Everyday.

And so my “how” is simple: do something EVERYDAY toward the fulfilment of this dream! Plant that seed and let life take care of the rest!

Today’s how?

I emailed a radio personality who has a show on alcoholism and asked if she would like copies of my books and be interested in me discussing them on her show!!

I Think I Am Finally Excited…(And A Little Bit Surprised)

I’m surprised that this song is by “WhiteSnake.” Never imagined that when I heard it on my “easy listening” station. But I like the words!

And I think I am finally excited…about my life!!

We all know how the alcoholic husband sucks us dry.

Mentally.

Emotionally.

Spiritually.

And even physically as the stress takes its toll on our bodies.

We spend a lot (A LOT!) of time wanting something different for ourselves while feeling unable to achieve such.

I never understood exactly why?

Why couldn’t I dig myself out of this hole he put me in?

I think “direction” is the answer.

As in lack of direction.

I have wanted out but didn’t know how to get out, was afraid of what my kids would think of us getting “out,” etc., etc.

Then yesterday somehow this plan came to me.

About an hour from us is a little resort town.

The kind where you can buy a house for a million dollars…

Or $250,000.

Now, I actually do not have either at the moment BUT…

I’ve decided that for my big (BIG! Like I could name “50 ways” it’s big. Wink, wink) birthday next June, I am buying myself MY OWN HOUSE in this town!!

A bold declaration, I know.

And I will say my friend did ask the obvious question:

“Good plan. But where’s the money coming from?”

Let me be clear on this. Very clear.

I.

Don’t.

Know.

That’s right.

I’m declaring I will buy a house in one year’s time though I have no money nor job?

Yep, that is pretty much it!

But I am going to make it happen SOMEHOW!

Because I want it THAT BAD!

The kids and I can stay “in town” (i.e. current home) during the week and then head to my retreat on week ends and school breaks! My husband can come…

Or not.

Because when you buy your own house, you get to make ALL the rules.

And the rules will be clear!

Be sober and nice…

Or don’t come.

Stay tuned.

I’m finally excited about MY life again!!

We’re Everywhere

Today I was in line at Michael’s (am I the only one who feels Michael’s’ is practical a spiritual retreat?) behind a woman who was fumbling around in her purse when it came time for her to pay.

“Sorry,” she tossed out to me as I waited, though I didn’t feel the least put out.

As she pulled out a bank card, she said to no one in particular it seemed,

“Oh this one is my husband’s. He’ll have a fit…”

She continued rooting around in her bag where she came upon a ten dollar bill.

“Here,” she said to the cashier, “I’ll use this and then put the rest on his card. Then he won’t be as bad.”

I chuckled and said, “husbands are all alike, huh? I do the same sort of thing when I have to use my husband’s card.”

“Oh yours isn’t like mine,” she said, though no hint of malice in her voice.

“Mine’s a drinker. Drinks too much. Is mean.”

“Oh,” I kind a smiled, “you might be surprised.”

Why Am I Awake?

It’s nearly 2 am.

Tonight nothing happened.

As in the nothing of my marriage but a lot “happened.”

My kids began snarking at one another the way they do and it cuts me right to the bone.

My children do not like each other.

No, really they don’t.

Of the four, some combinations work better than others but the truth is we all really live alone together here.

Of all the things my alcoholic marriage has cost me; of all the ways it has hurt, robbed and destroyed me, perhaps my children’s relationship, or lack there of, with each other is the most painful.

People tell me it will change once they are adults.

People tell me it is all “typical” sibling behavior.

That the palatable dislike they have for each other is normal.

We are a household of three teenagers and one very emotional tween.

Could it ALL be hormones and growing pains?

I want to believe…

I want to be hopeful…

But it’s hard.

I see so much of my husband’s behavior (not the drinking thank God!) in my children’s behavior that I find it hard to write it all off as sibling-stuff.

My kids hate each other.

It literally keeps me up at night.

Being Logical About The Illogical

Illogical – adjective – lacking sense or clearn, sound thinking

Logical – adjective – characterized or being capable of clear, sound reasoning

You know, after you have been married to an alcoholic for ten, 15, 20 years or more, you think you understand it all. You think you’ve finally wrapped your head around the maddness and have stopped expecting anything less. You think there is nothing more to discover or learn. And then one day…

Guess what?

Alcoholism.

The gift that just keeps giving.

I have a flower garden.

There are deer in our area.

In other words, I plant flowers for the deer to eat.

And the problem with flowers versus vegtables that the deer eat too is you don’t really want to put a big fence up around your flower garden.

So I have been trying to “design” and “engineer” my flower garden in such a way as to deter the deer from munching the tops off my daisies, aka deer candy.

My husband happened to walk outside and I asked him what he thought of my efforts and did he think it would deter the flower-top thieves.

“I don’t know…”

I tried to engage him a little more and still, he just kind of shrugged and said,

“I don’t know. I’m not a deer.” And walked back inside.

I started to feel hurt.

I started to feel angry.

But then I thought, he’s not even engaged in his own life.

Why would I expect him to be engaged in mine?

And that when It popped into my head.

An It that had eluded me in all my years of coming to understand the alcoholic husband.

The alcoholic is, by nature, design and very defintion, a completely illogical being.

It’s what makes alocoholics and alcoholism so maddening and difficult to deal with.

And so, in processing life with an alcoholic husband, what we need to be above all is…

Logical!

Stop expecting logical behavior fron an illogical being in an illogical situation.

It can go a long way in saving your sanity.