Whenever life seems to hit extra hard, (and by life, let's face it, I mean alcoholic insanity) I never cease to be amazed by how my God, you can call it higher power, mother nature, whatever - it's God for me, works to SHOW me I'm not alone. I guess that's my hope. Somewhere out there is a person like I was, who had no idea that sanity and alcoholic husband could exist at the same time, will read anything on this blog, even the smallest tidbit, and realize, hey - other people know exactly what it's like. I'm not alone. And it really can be okay. Ideal, no. Fantastic, some days. Okay - lots more often than not - thanks to Al-anon, Getting Them Sober, Al-anon literature (Books), I'm better. I'm Okay.
To give you an example, last night, LT asked if he could go to a ballgame next week, on a school night. Jack reasonably said we'd need to see work schedule and grades before deciding. In the 16-y-o way, LT rolled his eyes, because he didn't immediately get the answer he wanted (I'm guessing). Jack went completely nuts and yelled at him, saying he didn't deserve that, and on and on. LT went to bed, because it was actually 15 minutes past his bedtime, and as he left, Jack said - fine, you decide. I'm done. I think to myself - okay - you overreacted. Whatever. Today Jack called me at work to tell me he was pissed and he wanted me to know it. He called to tell me that he is no longer going to be LT's dad, he can now call him Jack, but he doesn't have to leave or anything - HOW big of him.
At first, I could feel that old anxiety, panic, freaking out building up. I didn't say anything for a few moments, then said I'm sorry you feel that way. Can we talk about this at home? He said what's to talk about. He continued on with dealing with LT is going to make him sick, so he's done being his dad. I did begin to cry, and told him -I've needed to say this for months, maybe years - that LT is not Jake. He has not made the mistakes Jake has made, he hasn't had any of the bad things happen (YET) that Jake chose. Instead of hearing that, Jack said - tell me how I treat him like *H(^. I repeated that I said you treat him like "JAKE". He's not Jake. By this time, I'm fully crying, at my desk, door open; I asked if we could talk at home. He said okay, and we hung up.
I'm not going to lie - I cried for a bit, hard. But then I started repeating the truth and what I know as real to myself.
- This is not about LT. This is about me not giving Jack the arguments and drama the alcoholism likes to create, so that he doesn't have to think about what HE is doing to himself and our family.
- LT has been doing great in school and has a job, and hasn't missed one day, and has already worked longer than Jake ever held a job in his life, and Jack can't complain about that as one of Jake's weaknesses.
- LT is a wonderful young man, caring and kind. He DOES NOT deserve to be treated like this. Period.
So I got a book, Al-anon Dilemma of An Alcoholic Marriage. God directed me to just the right page. And I quote: I "would have to understand how desperately the guilt-tormented alcoholic needs such weapons (lashing out unreasonably) to bolster his own ego. When he uses these weapons to attack, it is not because he hates (LT) but because he hates himself and needs to reassure himself that he is not all bad. He finds fault in the (people) nearest to him because it makes it a little easier to tolerate himself." (Page 10). Seriously -this book was written in 1971.
This spoke to me. It hit me right where I needed it. TRUTH. I realized that I need to put this situation back on Jack. I called and told him calmly that I didn't like his position, but I can understand his frustration. However, he's an adult, and I am going to respect his position and not try to manipulate circumstances or try to pretend everything's okay and for everyone to kiss and make up. He sounded shocked when he said okay, but I feel free. I'm going to continue doing what my job is. Being the best mom to LT & Maggie (And Abby) that I can be. His interaction is really irrelevant. And if I am honest with myself, about 90% of the time, that's the reality we live in anyway.
I realize this is a bit rambling, but I am claiming this success. I'm not going to try to get everyone to get along. I don't necessarily think LT needs to change. He is doing fantastic in school and at work, and I would love it if he'd stop rolling his eyes, but Abby still does it at 21, so I'm not holding out much hope of that...LOL.
I finally recognize this as wisdom to know the thing I can't change.
We are not alone. and we are OKAY.
God grant me the serenity, wisdom & hope again tomorrow.