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.

Who Are The “Lucky” Ones?

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If you ask me, eventually and essentially, the alcoholic marriage comes down to one of just two types:

The Slow Erosion.

This is my marriage.

There are the expected flare-ups every four, five or six weeks. Sometimes not for months. The fuck-you’s and the fucking bitches, shut the fuck ups and go fuck yourselves. It’s a pressure cooker of a home, no doubt, but the intensity of the pressure is not constant. What’s constant is the slow climb. The building of pressure that leads to the climax. The alcoholic unleashing his fury and purging himself – at the expense of his family, of course – of the loathing, self-hatred and anger like a volcano spews it’s lava, noxious gases and broken rock pieces.

It’s a deceptively dangerous alcoholic, what some in the “industry” euphemestically refer to as a “functioning” alcoholic. The idea (fallacy!) being that somehow, in between the eruptions, everyone is living mentally healthy and emotionally safe lives. That because the alcoholic doesn’t spend the mortgage money on booze or get arrested on a regular basis, somehow his wife is spared the sterotypical pain and dysfucntion of an alcoholic marriage.

And it’s the marriage that is most likely to rob us of our lives, our souls. The marriage that steals our days and lives so gradually, so insidiously that we lose ourselves to complacency.

We live in the in-betweens. It’s like we are periodically jerked out to sea, tossed about violently and mercilessly in the ocean depths only to be returned to the peaceful shoreline for a few weeks or months. We live with the fear, the dreaded expectation – the knowledge! – that it will happen again but the warm sunshine and the soft sand are deceptive. We let ourselves be fooled. Not because we are dumb or weak or “co-dependent” on the ocean’s rage but because we are human beings and human beings (the good ones anyway) tend to have a hard time walking out on committments they have made and people they love. (Or onced loved?)

And then there is the other alcoholic marriage.

The Pure-Hell-All-The-Time.

An ocean that is constant in its assault on us. An ocean that nearly never stops pounding us with thousands upon thousands of gallons of bone chilling water. An ocean that we somehow endure its absolute worst day in and day out until one day it delivers even more.

One day it becomes even more viscious in its attack on us.

Think of the alcoholic marriage where there is repeated jail time, jobs continually lost or extra-marital affairs regularly. Think of the alcoholic marriage with physical abuse or holes punches in walls or public displays of drunken behavior.

The alcoholic marriage that one day, somehow, is even worst than all the years of worst.

This is where my friend is in her marriage.

A marriage that it is impossible for her to deny its destructive affect on her.

A marriage she knows she has to leave and yet she doesn’t know how.

She will find a way.

Because she has to.

Meanwhile, I am “safe” (relatively of course) in my marriage of mostly nothing. My marriage with an emotionally absent husband whom I can “ignore” because he’s not in jail or having an affair or losing job after job.

When my friend tells me of what she is enduring in her marriage – infidility (blamed on her, of course) – I think I am “lucky” one to not have to face the pain of betrayal while trying to navigate and mitigate the anger and hostility of an alcoholic husband. (Caught in an affair, no less. Like a cornered animal, the alcoholic who has no way out will attack).

Yet, when I think of how she will find her way out because she has no other choice, I wonder…

Maybe she is the “lucky” one.

P.S. I love you T. You can do this!

Just Sad

I went away for the week-end to visit a girlfriend.

I was SO excited about going; even the three hour drive was inviting.

A chance to be alone, clear my head, take care of no one’s needs but my own.

I was sure I would come home feeing invigorated and rejuvenated.

But I guess it’s kind of like a “three day pass” when you’re serving on the front line of a war.

“Invigorated” and “rejuvinated” for what?

The time with my friend was lovely.

And as a not-so-incidental side note, I think her husband is an alcoholic.

She and I met a few years ago at a state-wide soccer tournament our kids were playing in. We hit it off the minute we realized we could make fun of all the uber-soccer moms! Since then our friendship has been more phone (yes, the generation who communicates via that thing where you actually speak to one another) then actually person to person but it’s blossomed non-the-less. I’ve suspected for some time that her husband is an alcoholic. I have quite the alcoholic-meter. As in, I can spot an alcoholic-husband a “mile away.” With my friend, the first thing that sent my meter rising is her marriage is a lot (A LOT!) like mine! There is this emotional absense of her husband that I recognized right away. For example, right now something quite significant is going on with one of her sons and she hasn’t even discussed it with her husband!! Then there are the “he came in to get a beer” or “he was getting a beer” statements peppered in our conversations. Not all the time and not as a complaint but when any sort of comment or mention of alcohol is made – more than once and when it has no relevance to the story – click, click goes the meter. And finally, her words, he is from a family of “raging alcoholics.” So there ya go.

Anyway, so my sadness and melencholy today isn’t the result of spending the week end with a loving, caring couple. I didn’t spend the whole time looking at them and thinking of how much there isn’t to my marriage. In fact, much as if a friend came to my house, I rarely saw her husband. No, I’m sad today because the week end away and the six hours of driving there and back gave me time to think about how really, really bad my marriage is.

And yet I have so many good things in my life.

That’s the real tragedy of life with an alcoholic.

You can have wonderful children, good friends, a cute dog and food on the table every night but it all (ALL!) gets poisoned by the alcoholic.

You Know What I Am Tired Of?

Watching other couples and families live their lives.

Pursue their dreams, plan their futures, achieve their goals.

My neighbors just bought their new-dream house.

A friend is planning a European vacation with her husband and three kids for next summer.

My ex-boyfriend is teaching his kids to ski and love the outdoors.

We, we exist.

Sure, we have some sports activities here and there. But mostly we all just co-exist in our house and life.

Could I save myself for my dream house?

Plan my own future?

Take my kids outdoors myself?

Of course I can.

Of!

Course!

But I didn’t really sign up for single-mom-but-not-really-single-mom when I got married.

I didn’t sign up for lonely nights, solitary parenting and living by myself with him.

Honestly it’d be easier to be a single mom.

At least I wouldn’t be living in the ILLUSION of having a partner.

A Dangerous Place To Be

I feel like I hate everything about my husband.

Everything he does.

Everything he doesn’t do.

He used to accuse me of not being happy or satisfied with anything he did.

I fear I am at that place now.

Is it justified?

I don’t know.

That’s the problem with the alcoholic marriage.

What is “right” or “ok” or even normal and what is the product of living with an alcoholic?

Of course happily married couples get annoyed with each other but they have the happily part to balance things out. What happens when you don’t have that? What happens when it’s just all the annoying and none of the happily?

Everything Reminds You…

of the marriage you don’t have.

Someone posted on FaceBook this little joke video of a husand and wife texting one another regarding her going out for a “girls’ night out.” The joke was you first saw text of what each was really thinking and then backspacing/erasing and the more approrpiate response actually texted.

For example, he would text “when will you be home?” And she might start to write, “I am never coming back…” but then actually text “Around 11.” He’d then start to reply somthing like “so you’re just abandoning your family for the whole night” but erase that and say, “have a good time…”

It was cute and lots of people commented, “exactly” and “so true…” but what I was thinking was,

“My husband and I never text one another.”

We have no running inside jokes.

We don’t talk about the kids or our frustrations with them or our joy and pride for them.

We don’t share what we’ve seen on FaceBook or the news or happened to hear from someone else.

We certainly don’t dream outloud about retirement or a mountain cabin or the grandchildren we will be eager to have both visit and go home again.

We’re just here, in this house, in this life, together but barely doing more than co-existing beside one another.

It might be hard for someone outside such a marriage to understand how profoundly stressful such a marriage is. Afterall, if there is relatively limited fighting and screaming for an alcoholic household; if there are no calls from the police or jailhouse; if “all” I have to deal with for the most part is his emotional and mental absence, shouldn’t that be “not that bad” compared to the “really bad” alcoholic marriages?

Maybe it’s not “as bad” but it’s still bad. It still rots your soul. It still destroys you. It still erodes your sense of self despite it being his drinking.

“Sometimes A Cigar Is…

just a cigar.”

So said Ernest Hemingway in response (or defense maybe) of “all” the symbolism in his writing. Sometimes there wasn’t any symbolism at all. Sometimes…

But what about when the cigar is not “just” a cigar?

Or the empty kitchen kitchen trashcan liner-box is not JUST an empty kitchen trashcan liner box?

The last two days have been horrible, as evident by my “rapid” succession of posts. (Misery does make for prolific writing.) But like any volcanic eruption – the firey, molten lava kind or the emotional kind – after the violence comes a strange calm. The release of energy – again be it of the raging hot-rock variety or the emotional varity – is cathartic. Maybe not for the villagers at the base of the volcano or the children who live with the “volcano” but certainly for the volcano/”volcano.” And so now that I am purged of that intense build-up of angry energy and resentment, I can seem to go back to relatively “normal” living.

So I decided to clean out the pantry.

And in that pantry I found…

The empty kitchen trashcan-liner box.

Seems innocuous enough, right?

Except that box represents everything I have been screaming about for the past two days.

No one does ANYTHING around here…including throwing out an empty box.

(I do realize that my husband actually PUT a trashcan liner in the kitchen can, hence the empty box I have to deal with but I think we all know that’s not the norm…)

Now of course I would sound like a lunatic and a bitch should I start screaming about that empty box. And because I had an emotional eruption over the past two days, I don’t even feel the need to scream.

But you know what that box is?

It’s the beginning of my next eruption.

It’s the dormant magna that will one day become the explosive lava, ash and rock of my emotional volcano.

I know this is unhealthy for me and my children.

I know I should find a way to never let the volcano build up in the first place.

I know that my tactic of simply sucking it up for months until I lose it over “just a cigar” is hardly a joyful way of living.

I just don’t know how to do things any differently.