Friday, March 17, 2017

I wanna be mad

I'm not really sure how to express this, I've been feeling angry and frustrated the last few days - since the joint counselling session.

The counsellor has my husband's recovery as her goal. That is her job. She has enlisted me because his odds of recovery are higher if his family supports him. Also part of her job. I've gone to see her 3 times, 4 if you include the aborted session when H was drunk. I am doing my job. The good wife.

I don't want to be the good wife.

I don't want to be involved in his recovery.

I want to be angry, and have that anger be validated, and go on with my life without him.

It feels like helping him involves sacrificing me and what I need to be happy. I know that's an exaggeration, but anything that implies that I want to stay married feels like an imposition right now.

I'm feeling really pressured to see how Hugh does in rehab, and to consider marriage counselling. And it's implied pressure, from his counsellor, as those are the things I'd do if I thought he was going to move back in with me.

He came by yesterday, and brought a ridiculously large stuffed tiger for the puppy, who adorably attacks the tiger. But it makes me angry - I'm trying to declutter, and he keeps showing up with stuff we don't need, and we're supposed to be happy about it. Do I talk to him again about not filling up the house with useless shit? Or do I let go, knowing that I'm not going to be with his useless shit for much longer? Or should I work on that with him? We are going to have some kind of relationship, maybe I should work on getting him to not bring things over.

I know he thinks he's participating in the family by buying stuff. He needs to participate on our terms, not just his. That means finding out stuff he can do with the kids, and we've given him suggestions, not just showing up randomly and giving them stuff they don't want. So yeah, I need to talk to him about the stuff, with the goal of getting him to switch his participation from stuff based to activity based. It doesn't mean never buy anything ever. Just don't make it the main part of your contribution to any relationship.

OK, I feel better now.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Dear husband, will you divorce me?

I had the joint session with the spousal unit today, and I thought it went pretty well.

Neither of us cried, although he was close a couple of times when I noted how he'd hurt us.

We both left with a to-do list. Mine is done already, I've procrastinated enough.

You plan on going to inpatient rehab, and you know you'll be living somewhere else when you come back. Likely a friend who is moving to a 3 bedroom place, and he really only needs 2 (one for his office). That could work out; it'll be better than your situation for the last 6 months, sleeping on a friend's couch and drinking.

This is all good, right? So what's with the title of this post? Shouldn't I be delighted?

Not really. You showed no insight into your drinking, and denied that you'd done anything wrong. You blamed medication for your "symptoms" last week - it wasn't medication. You were fucking pissed. You blamed the kids for not interacting with you, when you refuse to take them anywhere, or arrange to do anything with them, or even sit and ask for a conversation when you're here. We had an OK chat a week and a half ago, before you showed up hammered for our first scheduled joint session. It was unusual, and positive, and hasn't been repeated. You have a habit of showing up when you know I won't be here, usually Sunday mornings. That's kind of shitty, you know.

I started talking to Zoe. She's a lovely, smart, perceptive young woman. And you have virtually no relationship with her. You can only find the negative. It's ridiculous. We are so lucky to have 3 amazing kids, and you can only see it in your sons. Sexism? I don't know. It doesn't really matter why, it's the what that hurts. She already knows you're selfish, and don't respect us, and treat our stuff as if it's yours, and don't listen unless you agree.

I feel disrespected, not because of the drinking, but because of how you've failed to pay any attention to my needs no matter how clearly or how often I expressed them. Mostly around the state of the house - the clutter. Stuff. But also around things like me asking you - begging you - to make dinner for the kids. You're a stay at home parent. That is something you used to do. Why did you stop?

For a long time I've felt like everything is up to me. Now that you're out of the house, it is. It's all up to me. And it's easier and better than when you're here. I don't have to fight to get what I need. I can clean things up without finding them later, hidden in some dark recess of the house. Life is much easier now. Less stressful. I'm in control of things that are important to me, and completely unwilling to give that up.

Can I see us back together? Not now. When I'm with you and I know you're sober and there is no alcohol around, I like you. I'm OK being with you. I remember why I married you back in 1995. I also know how much I've gained these past 7 months in terms of lower anxiety and more happy moments. I'm on a wait list for family therapy, and for the parent program to help the kids with their substance use problems. I'm moving forward with my life much more easily without you than I managed with you. I don't have to tiptoe around your anxieties around stuff and change, I can just do things.

You have money from your dad. Have I told you he keeps asking if he should give it to me instead? That money was meant for the family, and you have kept it. You spent it. On what, you don't know. That's your decision, and it's a selfish one. My money is ours, and yours is yours. This seems to be the pattern with everything - what belongs to your family members belongs to you, and what belongs to you is only yours. It's pretty ugly. I pay all the bills, you wander around buying shit we don't need, and get upset when I'm not delighted with your latest thrift store acquisition.

This is why I want a divorce. Even if you become sober and rebuild a healthy life - and I hope you do - I don't want to go back to tiptoeing around your need to acquire junk, and to keep everything, and to not change, and not try anything. You said in our session today that I do things you don't want to do. I have no idea what things you mean, but it has to be the changes to the house. These are normal things I did. Fixing things that are broken. Cleaning out stuff we don't need, like the extra 5 mandolins or extra 4 stand mixers. Most of this stuff we discussed. Why didn't you express your concerns then? Because you know you're wrong? Instead, you seem to complain to other people about it, but never to me. I can't be a better wife if you don't tell me what hurts you. And now it's too late.

Maybe, once you've been on your own for a bit, and rebuilt relationships with the kids, and your friends, and me, and you have hobbies that are your own, I'll be able to imagine enjoying time with you again. Right now, I can't. I want to move on with my life, sell the house, pay you off, buy my own place and help the kids grow and leave the nest.

Friday, March 10, 2017

The uncertainty is killing me!

What uncertainty, you may ask. The uncertainty around what I should do about my marriage. It's been almost 7 months since he moved out, at my request, and he's still drinking. I don't know if his current lapses are part of a relapse or not - does it matter? We love attaching labels to things, especially medical things, but does the label help? In this case, I don't think so.

We have our joint meeting on Tuesday, and I gave him the letter. The one that says I don't want a divorce, but am not ready to have him back. That tells him the story of the good parts of our marriage, and outlines what he needs to do and tries to explain that I can't promise him a happy ending. I can't. Right now, if I had to decide, I'd end the marriage. But I don't have to decide now, so I live with uncertainty. And I'm asking him to do the same.

I realize the uncertainty makes it more stressful for him, and that he might use that stress as an excuse to drink. That does not make his drinking my fault. Relationships don't come with guarantees. And when you break one, an offer of an attempt at rebuilding is as good as it's going to get.

He went to a friend's brother's funeral drunk. At 10:30 in the morning. This isn't a moral failing, what frustrates me is that he can't look at this and say yes, I have a drinking problem. He looks and says no, I wasn't drinking. Addicts lie. I know that. It doesn't make it feel any better when he does it.

I am so glad he's not living with me. I don't miss him as he is. I do miss the person he was before his addiction took over his life. I don't know if that person will come back. It looked like he would, for a few weeks over Christmas after he got out of the hospital, and for a few weeks in February when he seemed to be staying sober. But I don't want him back if he's sober only part of the time. That isn't good enough. He has to rebuild a life without alcohol. Rebuild his friendships - I hope he didn't lose another one today, thanks to his behaviour. Rebuild his marriage, maybe. I don't know. Maybe it's too broken to rebuild. My dad suggested I consider our marriage over, and decide about starting a new one with him. I think that's a good way of looking at it, for me. I doubt he'd want to see it that way, but I don't have to tell him that's what's working for me - he just needs to know it's going to be a long and uncertain road ahead, and he'll be better off at the end of it, even if it doesn't involve living with me ever again.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Meh

It is a gorgeous spring day, although winter's coming back for the weekend. I find it's best to have low expectations for March weather, then you enjoy the good days instead of ranting about the bad. Although I do that too...

It's been over 6 months now since I asked my alcohol dependent husband to move out. I really thought he'd get his own place, get on a wait list for treatment, and be back by now. Instead, he moved onto a friend's couch, drank like a fish and ended up in hospital after drinking a bottle of cough syrup. Does he think he's a rapper?

The hospital incident did seem to have gotten through to him, he was exploring rehab, and ended up going to see a counselor regularly. She is very good, as far as I can tell, given that my total experience of counseling is seeing her 2 1/2 times.

But but but - we were supposed to go together - and he showed up drunk. He drove there, too. It's probably a lapse, not a relapse, but this feeling of something is horribly wrong and I must cry just won't go away.

I think the uncertainty is getting harder to deal with. I can have certainty if I divorce him, but I'm not sure I want to do that, and given the agony and expense of the d-word, it's not something to do if you're not sure. I am sure, however, that I am not even close to ready to have him back.

What's next, then? Well, as it has been for 6 months, the ball's in his court. He needs to act to deal with his addiction, and replace his alcohol use with a life. Then maybe we can rebuild a life together. And maybe we can't. Either way, it'll be better for him and our kids than things are now.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

rain and relationships

It's a lovely rainy day, first one in a while. I had a great 18k run this morning, singing Bowie and feeling so alive.

I've been reading more about living with someone with an addiction, and attended the first of a 2 night education session on addiction. I found a few things helpful. The addiction process they described made sense; the brain, after enough exposure, thinks the substance is a need, hence the cravings and physical symptoms when the addict has been sober for a bit.

It also helped me acknowledge that yes, this is real, but my responsibility is to myself and the kids. If my spouse doesn't want help or refuses to accept it, I can make sure I'm not enabling him by making excuses for him, but I don't have to do anything if I don't want to.

I don't have to kick him out.
I don't have to try to stop his drinking.
I don't have to beg him to pursue treatment.

I am going to give him phone numbers for help, there are options available he won't look up. And I am going to get the boys driving so I am not stuck running all the errands.

His drinking is no better than it was, but my coping is. I am living my life, he can't join in until he is sober because his drinking, and withdrawal when he isn't, have taken his ability to do much of anything. Sucks for him. Doesn't mean the rest of us need to stop our lives, and we haven't. My kids know their dad's drinking sucks. They also know it is not their fault, and they need to keep living their lives.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Fun with freezers

Things I learned emptying our ancient deep freeze:

Plastic bonds with fruit
Crowbars don't separate frozen bags of soup
Old food smells awful
Chipmunks eat freezer crud in the compost
A 7 cubic foot chest freezer produces at least 10 cubic feet of compostable stuff
Even empty, getting those fuckers up the stairs is no fun
Punching youself in the face trying to rip open bags doesn't hurt that much, and the swelling is barely noticeable
Some smells do not wash out of your hands
Concrete can grow mold


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

and on Christmas Eve eve...

I got mad and said I don't want to spend Christmas with you if you're drinking.

This is getting to feel like I don't want to keep trying. Clearly it is time for a run. Endorphins make everything look better!