Trying to live life one day at a time and see the joy that is there.
Friday, December 1, 2017
Again, I've let many months go by without a post. Maybe that's because life was going really well, and I was enjoying those peaceful times. I've honestly made so many improvements in my thinking, my work in the 12-steps of Al-Anon, and keeping sane. I believe that this has really helped Jack better as well.
However, if you live with an addict, you are probably familiar with the witching holiday time of year. This year we managed to make it to the day AFTER Thanksgiving before the bottom dropped out. Which is a good thing. For my own benefit, I need to get this latest experience out of my head. If you've experienced something similar, maybe it will even help you too. The crazy-making talk of an alcoholic is well-known to those living in the situation. But sometimes we as the sober members of the family doubt our own sanity, because the alcoholic so completely believes what he says.
This past weekend, Maggie was home from university. We headed out for some late black-Friday shopping. Nothing crazy, just going to a few stores - by which time we went out, most of the heavy shopping was over. In the middle of the trip, after not even being with Maggie & I in the store, Jack suddenly appeared, said he'd meet us in the car, and went out. We were in line at the time, so were well on our way to being done. Once we made it to the car, I could tell "something" had happened. He was silent, moody, and we headed home.
Once home, we endeavored to retrieve the holiday decorations from storage. Since these are stored out of our easy reach, Maggie was a big help in getting them out. Jack was even helping and seemed in a better mood. Maggie & I had put up the tree, Jack grabbed his computer and left the room.
Fast forward to 2 1/2 hours later.I was tired, so I told Maggie to wrap it up - and I'd check with Jack for any ornaments he'd like to be sure were on the tree. He didn't look up when I asked, so I repeated the question, and without looking up, he said "Nope." We began packing up the tree ornaments, etc. and he came storming through the living room and says, "what about..." and then nothing. At this point, I made my first mistake of the entire ordeal - I followed him and asked what he said. He said nothing, and ignored me, and I kept asking him to talk to me. Thus, I had jumped right in with both feet to the Crazy-Cyle that is this family disease. The weekend deteriorated from there. Finally on Sunday, he did speak to Maggie before she left for school, but continued to be cold to me. He finally did mention that I had hurt his feeling because I'd asked if he wanted one ornament on the tree after we'd decorated it all. That's clearly not what I said, but I wasn't going to argue. It wouldn't help.
In the afternoon, we worked some outside, and things seemed better. I do have to say, I was a wreck this entire time. I had cried several times, asked several times what was wrong, etc. All the things I have learned NOT to do in this situation. It was so easy to be pulled back into the cycle.
After speaking out loud some truth, talking with my higher power, reading some of the Forum magazine, which ironically, was about the holidays, I got my head back together. I proceeded to focus on me, my actions, what I could control, etc., and had the best week I could.
Jack spent the entire day yesterday at home, sleeping, and never left the house - even to get the paper. Finally, last night, he seemed like he was ready to talk. Before he began drinking, I tried, to engage with him, but he wasn't responsive. In the middle of a tv show, and a couple of drinks, he decided to let me know that he wasn't going to do it anymore. I asked what that meant, he went on to explain that he wasn't going to put up with me putting him down and telling him he was looking at other women and wanted them when he doesn't do that and only commented on someone's outfit.
I seriously thought I was in a dream. I had no idea what he was talking about. He went through a whole conversation that he says we had on Friday while shopping. It never happened. In that conversation, I said something that devastated him, and has hurt his feelings terribly. I swear, I have absolutely NO recollection of any of this. It was the most bizzare thing that has happened in quite some time. More crazy made-up things followed, but I'm happy to say that I stayed calm, said I didn't recall saying that, but that clearly he was very upset, and perhaps I'd said something flippant, and didn't recall it. He then wanted to know why I was being flippant....it just helped me see that HE had made this up in HIS mind.
I'm still not choosing to pick-up this blame. In a "normal" relationship, you can have a weak moment, be sarcastic, say you're sorry and move forward. This isn't a normal relationship. It's one with an alcoholic. What he says I said isn't even something that is within my character to do. I'm chalking it up to a guilty conscience on his part. And going on with life.
There is lots of helpful advice in Al-Anon, in the literature, and in the Getting Them Sober books by Toby Rice Drews. The most helpful to me is this, "if it's good for you, it's good for the alcoholic." And that's what I'm following. Do things that help me feel positive and good about myself and life. Be respectful and loving to Jack. And that's what I can control.I do love him deeply and know that he loves me. I hope that my continuing to stay healthy will help him too.