Thursday, October 7, 2010

It's Been Awhile

So many days have passed since my last post. Ironically, it seems little has changed, except me. Which I think is a good thing. As I have re-read what I've written, I see how I've grown, become so much more sane, even while living in a slightly skewed and insane world. Again, all good. Thanks to Al-Anon, I have hope. I have hope that I can get better, whether Jack chooses to or not. It feels good. His cycle is continuing, but has done better over the summer with regard to the number of drinks he has. But he is a classic case study of the result of an alcoholic trying to control his drinking on his own. Eventually he's going to resort to what his body is screaming for. I'm just thankful that I can see beauty in the world, in our children, and even in him at times. Thank God for that.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

We May Not live at the corner of Insanity & Denial, but it lives in our house

Insanity continues to rein at our house. For a lovely mother's day gift, Jack bought himself a bed frame and mattress, and proceeded to unceremoniously move the entire thing, boxsprings and all, up to the spare bed-room, where he then has been sleeping with absolutely no word to me at all. He simply left the bedroom. It's a little like Elvis - he has left the building. I believe the extent of our conversations over the last 3 days has totalled about 30 words. Ironically, most of those were uttered last night.
Scene 1 - He finally gets home from his "project" after arriving home from work, and leaving without telling any of us where he was going, or when he'd be back. After running (i'm so excited I did this for myself), I was really psyched, he got home, I told him what I did. He says great, you should be proud of yourself. I give him a hug. He asks, "Why do you do that?" I say, because I love you and wanted to show you that. He says - even if I don't want you to? I said whatever, and went to change.
Scene 2 - later last night, Jack watching Cops, Maggie & I playing a game on the floor. We are making cookies, so the oven is warming up. There is a horrible smell eminating from said oven. To my knowledge, the last thing I made in the oven was meatloaf approximately 6 days ago.
Jack says - "Could you clean that oven tomorrow. You spilled something in it." I replied, you made cheesesticks in there on Saturday. Perhaps that is what the smell is. Jack responds - "I don't remember. Just clean it." I said certainly, I'd be happy to. He said, "thank you."
If this weren't so freaking insane, I'd cry. However, this is only solidifying my observation that he is nuts. His 24 beers consumption on Sunday obviously blocked his memory. Or he's an idiot.
Honestly, I want to feel compassion for him. I can see he is faltering and it is getting worse daily. But frankly, it feels good not to be caught up in the insanity. I'm not emotional about it. I will clean the oven, in fact, I did when it was still warm so the cheese would scrape right up....hmmm, doesn't sound like meatloaf???
Oh well. It is just another stop along the progression of alcoholism. He is deteriorating. I really hope he hits bottom soon.
Meanwhile, I'm going to keep working the al-anon program. What's good for the family is good for the alcoholic. Detachment. Reality. Sanity. I claim those. God, hear my prayer for him as well.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What Does Normal Look Like

Well, the drama continues. Jack continues to sleep in our room, after he told me he was buying a bed for the spare room on Saturday, and then tonight came home and said he had decided I was moving out. I said, no, I wasn't. He proceeded to say he would evict me. I'm pretty sure he can't kick me out of my own residence, even if his name is on the mortgage. THis is just so insane. If it weren't for the kids, I think I'd be gone right now. BUT the kids are here, they are part of the equation. I will wait upon the Lord - my higher power. I trust Him. Jack goes back and forth depending on how much beer he has had. Tonight, not so much - super mean and bullying. Although for the first time in my recent memory, he did apologize for talking to me like that - as usual - it is a minimizing of his behavior, and no recogniztion of the truth that exists or what I say. This is insane. Why is this so hard for me? I remember the man I married. I haven't seen him for so long. Why does this have to be so hard. I know I can't control, cause or cure this, but it seems so senseless. I guess it's back to the power of the disease on him. His brain is literally soaked in alcohol. He never dries out. I know the sun will rise tomorrow. I know God will still be there to guide me if I ask Him, so I will. If you are of the praying persuasion, please pray. I want to protect my children, but not harm them in the process. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Second verse, same as the first

Well, there have been some "decisions" made recently. I didn't know about them, nor was I consulted about them, but Jack has been making decisions. He has decided he is done, he's done supporting me and the kids and getting nothing in return. So he took all the money out of the checking account and savings account, etc. and now he wants more out of life than "this." I asked him if he could tell me honestly, before we got married, the number of times he drank in front of me, or talked about drinking. He yelled to me, "Oh, so NOW I have a drinking problem, It's all my fault." That response told me volumes. He is so far in denial, he can't see the forest for the beers. Wow. I think I just have to sit here and wonder how anyone can function so far in denial. I'm not making any decisions right now, other than he can begin sleeping in the other room, and this time, I'm not trying to woo him back.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Growing is a slow process

I have been reading, devouring even, books about coping, living with an alcoholic spouse. Over and over again, the different authors say that with a change in my behavior and reactions, I will feel more sane, and Jake has a better chance of wanting to stop drinking. Lately, those books and words of encouragement are about all that has kept me going. Well, that and the belief that God already knows the outcome of this situation, and I don't need to worry about it. Living with Jack for the past few weeks has been nearly unbearable if I were to allow his behavior and words to penetrate my being any more than I have been. Thank God I have been going to Al-Anon, and have found these books. Sometimes the loneliness is still overwhelming, but I do believe, as one book said, that it is easier if I remember he is acting just like thousands, even millions of other alcoholics. There is nothing super powerful or super-special about Jack. He is an alcoholic. This is what they do. They get worse until they stop drinking or die. I do feel like I'm claiming some of my life back from the alcoholic/co-dependency issues. Small steps - not perfection. Like those flowers I'm planting outside, I must pay attention to my spirit, give it water and nourishment. Only then, will I be able to not only face what life offers, but grow and embrace it. May this weekend give you a peace that passes all understanding. If you are a wife who is lonely, send me a comment or email. I'd love to meet you and be internet friends!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

You might be an Alcoholic if...

A list - one of my first, but I think it's time.
You might be for an alcoholic if...
1. You take out the trash after you've been drinking, because you don't want your daughter to see how much you drank and call you out on it.
2. You think just a couple of beers = 9 16-oz cans or 15 12-oz cans in 2.1 hours.
3. You see everything your wife does as a judgment on your behavior - even when she cooks, after you say yet again that she never cooks, and you eat less than 3 meals a week out - including lunch.
4. you are in denial about everything in your life.
5. your life is not "exciting" - You are not content with anything in your life but make no move to change it.
6. you hate yourself and treat everyone in your family as if you hate them to make yourself feel better.
And now, how I can see things after going to Al-Anon, and to continue to read about alcoholism.
You might be recovering from Alcoholism in your spouse or family member if...
1. You are able to see that he is suffering from a disease.
2. You are able to stop bringing him drinks - as you are able - and let him induldge in his disease on his own.
3. You are able to go upstairs or in another room or outside the house if you need to be away from the way he is talking or drinking, or making you uncomfortable. Even just for today or just for the hour.
4. You are able to detach with love - let him feel the consequences of his behavior. If he chooses to be alone - let him be there.
5. You are able to say just for today, I will have peace in my home.
6. You no longer hate your husband, but you do hate what the alcohol turns him into.
7. I am able to see love and affirmation from other people and places. He's not so powerful
8. I am able to put him in the back of my mind...for now. After all, that's probably where we are, because his disease is the focus of his every thought and decision.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

One Day at a Time

Have I already had a post with this title? Maybe so, but I need another one. I guess what they say is true. As long as the alcoholic still drinks, the disease progresses. Ironically, it seems that the disease is also cyclical in nature. We are back to the place where he's trolling the internet, this time with a fake name, and trying to get someone else to see who he thinks he is. See the lies he believes. Someone who hasn't seen the alcohol. Oops - this time, it seems he went to lunch with someone who had a good radar and figured out he was lying...and worked with someone who is friends with me....uh-oh. So they figured it out, and thankfully I have honest, caring friends.
Now you may be thinking -why the hell don't you just get out of there?? Well, that would be easier if it was just me. But there are the kiddos. The ones who love him too - when he's not being the alcoholic. The ones who only know this man as their father. The ones who've had a previous father who was less than human. Besides, I'm finally in a place where I realize that all this drinking, madness, craziness really isn't about me. Yesterday the sun was gorgeous, the day was beautiful. The kids and I got lots done outside that had been put off because of the great tundra-like weather. I saw that hope again. Hope not as the world gives, but hope from God.
Don't worry- I will address this latest issue. With God's strength, help, and words - and TIMING. But I will not give in to the disease. Guilt is my disease, and when it starts talking, I'm choosing to not listen.
Spring is here, and like it or not alcoholism, I'm not leaving. For today.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Serenity Prayer - I better keep praying!

This week has been especially hard. I have been struggling with some health issues, and that usually doesn't go over very well with an alcoholic - the attention is not focused on him. To that end, he disappeared for several hours the other day - leaving the car in the driveway, but disappearing in the middle of the night. Sadly, this is not the first time it has happened, but in my weakened state, I reacted more like someone very caught up in the craziness instead of the sane person I'm working on becoming. I hated that feeling of overwhelming fear. It came back so easily. But I fought it - I fought it hard. I continued telling myself what is true, over and over, but that fear was there- putting it's claws into my very soul and trying to establish a hold on me. Luckily, I was able to reach out to my al-anon friend...and I knew what the truth was and where to hear it. That was such a blessing. As usual, in the end, he returned home, acted as though all was normal, and life went on. As it does. What brought me back when I was with my friend was the serenity prayer - God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Claiming that as my mantra, I go forward to make a life for the children and me. We love you, dear Jack, but we don't have to suffer in your disease with you.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Watching out for the Kids

I want to be clear - I love my husband very, very much. He is an alcoholic, but I love him. I love the person he was when we got married, before the alcoholism had reared its ugly head. At that time, I didn’t even know he drank. I believe he drank in front of me two times in the two years we dated. Once at a holiday party he had one bottle of beer at a restaurant. Once on a vacation, I believe he bought 12 cans that lasted a week. I don’t love the alcoholic, and I don’t love what he says when he is drinking, but I do love him. I am still in my marriage because I do. However, that being said, I don’t want to underestimate the impact his drinking has on our family.
When you have kids, it seems like alcoholism is even bigger. First the spouse of the alcoholic has to figure out how to cope for herself (I am using the feminine, as that is my experience). If there are kids involved, and they are old enough to talk, she will probably have lots of questions to answer for them as well.
My husband and I were married less than 5 years ago. We each had an older son, younger daughter from our previous marriages. At the time, our children were 22 (Jake), 15(Abby), 10 (LT), and 8 (Maggie). His older, mine younger. He hasn’t adopted my children, but he is the only father my children know/remember. They don’t know their biological father due to safety issues/court order. My husband offered to be and is their DAD. This is one of the things that I love about him…he loved my children too. When we were first married, our (my) daughter, Maggie was 8 years old. She never really saw daddy drinking because he would do it mostly after the kids went to bed. However, as his alcoholism progresses, he has begun to drink earlier and more. She has seen him after a few beers. Before, he may have started drinking at 9 or 9:30 in the evening, now he has begun at 8 or 7:30. He used to drink 6 beers a night, now he drinks 9-12 16 ounce cans OR MORE. She has seen him get drunk. She has asked me some hard questions. Some questions, I didn’t know the answers to either.
(I want to say right now that his increase in drinking more and earlier is not because the kids are now almost all teenagers or older. This is because he is an alcoholic and alcoholism wants all of him. He will continue to get worse unless he decides he wants to stop. Completely. I want this, but I can’t want it for him. He has to get there. Frankly, this is one of the things that sucks about the whole situation. I can realize I can’t change it, I can wish it were different. However, it is not in my control. I can’t even make him see what harm he is causing himself, his children, his marriage, his wife (ME!!). I want to scream. And sometimes I do. But usually only in my head, to God; thank goodness He hears me.)
Often the kids focus on why dad says things that aren’t really true. One such thing they have heard him say is that I don’t love him. LT and Maggie are now 14 and 12. They see how we treat each other on a daily basis. They know that I love him. They want to know why he can’t see this? Why does he always say it sucks to be him, nothing is ever good for him? Why does he say nobody loves him? The best example I could come up with that is on their level (even a year or two ago) is that Dad sees everything through “beer-colored” glasses. His view of the world is kind of like when we put on sunglasses that make everything look greenish or blue-ish. The tree trunks aren’t really green, they are brown. Our house isn’t blue, it is white. But when we see the world through those glasses, it makes things look different than they really are. I explain to them that Dad looks at our life with a beer soaked brain that makes everything colored by the beer. He doesn’t see that we love him, because he hates himself so much, he can’t believe it.
When I first used that example, it seemed to really help. It seemed like they could understand it. Sometimes they’ve asked why he hates himself. I try to explain what I think, what I have observed. In this case, his parents weren’t especially loving, and still aren’t. The stories he tells me about his childhood show me that he truly wants something better for his children – all of them – than he had. The three younger kids have become very good about verbalizing their fears, their worries, their frustrations.
The older is not in our lives. I have a feeling that has a lot to do with alcohol too. My husband doesn’t see the blessings we have, because he’s busy seeing the bad things. That is what alcohol does. It brainwashes, literally, the alcoholic into believing that the only way to survive is to be drunk. Alcoholism is very sneaky and powerful.
I feel very blessed that I have a God who forgives, and I pray that one day, my husband will find that forgiveness for himself. That he will see the God who can forgive his sins, not just everyone else’s. That’s my prayer every morning and evening.
As you face this now 2 month old New Year, if you are looking at the world through glasses that color your world the wrong color, take them off. See what you are missing. It’s a beautiful world out here.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

You Are Not Alone

If you are reading this, it is a safe bet that someone you know is living with an alcoholic. Maybe you did as a child, or you do now, or your best friend’s spouse is one. The most surprising part is that you may not even know it. I have discovered on this journey that you feel so alone because alcoholism is so good at keeping itself hidden from those on the outside. And sometimes, it’s hiding from those inside the house, too. To my knowledge, none of my parents, grandparents, extended family was an alcoholic that I knew about until my aunt married one. Even then, I didn’t know it until he killed himself. I bet there were days when she wondered what she had done wrong, how she could fix him, what could she and the kids do to make it better. The thing is, she never talked to anyone about it. I never even thought about that until right now, as I write this.
Thank God that my friend could see what I was describing as the symptoms of someone living with an alcoholic. She walked me to my first Al-Anon meeting. She sat with me through the whole meeting. No one there looked at me with shame or pity as I sobbed through my first full meeting. I think I was crying at how lost I felt, how hopeless, how alone. But then as I listened to their stories, I was crying more for the fact that I wasn’t alone, others around that table knew how I felt, had even experienced some of the same things as me. I had hope. Even if my alcoholic never gets help, I can get help. Who knew???
I hope that as I begin this journey of blogging that you will find hope in knowing you are not alone, and that you can get help, even if your alcoholic NEVER stops drinking. I continue to find this site so wonderful – . For the first ten months of the year, I’d go there and read the bulletin board posts, read the book excerpts, and learn so much about living with an alcoholic. But sometimes I felt so angry because all I read was that we (the family of the alcoholic) can’t do anything to cause, control or cure the alcoholic to drink. I wondered why the website was named “Getting THEM Sober” when we can’t do anything about their drinking?” About 2 months ago, I had a real “A-ha” moment. I finally realized that the site is to help the families and loved ones of alcoholics get sober. I think that was the first time I really got it. In other words - The alcohol makes all of us in the family sick, even as we try to do our best to keep things “normal.” My understanding of that small detail – the name of the website – feels like my first real victory in finding the TRUTH within the lies that surround the alcoholism.
May you and your family find hope here. You are not alone.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Some Great News

I'm so excited - I've been writing at a great new site - Today's Cliche. I've gotten three posts up. I hope you'll check them out. It has been great, and something I've always wanted to do - write!

After a few posts, this didn't work out. Please check out the great writing by Kat and Dave. They are a great couple. I'll re-post my submissions here!