addiction, Infidelity, Love, Recovery

Hold Me Dear

When I close my eyes, I see a plastic cup filled with ice and a blue bag on the passenger seat. I hear a crazy woman screaming at him, holding on to the door handle on the driver’s side, “Give me the fucking bottle or I’ll call the police!” I can feel the pull as he puts the car into gear and drives away. It is my 48th birthday.

What are you afraid of? Why can’t you see it’s time to leave?

There is someone new pursuing me. He messages me several times a day to ask “What are you doing?” Or “How is your day?” I remind him I’m married and he says “Don’t worry. I just want to be friends.” Can they smell it on me? Desperation? Loneliness? Hopelessness? Fear?

I ask for the bottle when he returns. He says he threw it away. “Where? Where is it?”

“In a trash can by the Taco Bell.”

“Which one? Which can?” I ask. There are no trash cans by the Taco Bell. He hesitates. “The one by the fabric store.” Fucking liar.

I search his car the next morning while he’s in the shower. I dig through buckets and boxes in the garage too, before realizing there are too many places for a bottle to hide. I stand in the doorway in my bathrobe, my hair and eyes wild.

When he comes down, I search his lunch bag. I escort him to his car, and I stand there watching as he pulls away, waiting for the garage door to completely close. He tells me later that he’s ok with this. That I should stay on top of him. Never trust anything. He says it like this is normal.

Nope nope nope. Not a word of this is normal. Not a word is ok. I am standing on the brink, with one foot dangling over the edge.

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Uncategorized

The art of being codependent

Glass of wine in hand, as the rest of the house has gone to bed. I feel as bad as he was some days, for keeping a bottle hidden. He caught me once. Made a big deal of it and said it would be my fault if he relapsed. He did…maybe already had at that point…but supposedly has stopped again.

But I swear I smell it sometimes. Not a liquor-y smell, but a sweetness that came after…something from the way it metabolizes. Maybe you have to be the spouse of an alcoholic to understand. But it puts me on the defensive and I scrutinize everything he does and says, looking for solid evidence. This is what it is to be codependent.

Last weekend I actually found a half empty bottle of vodka hidden behind the console table in the family room. He denied knowing that it was there, and there was no way of knowing if it had been there 6 hours, 6 weeks, or maybe 6 months. But it made it worse…finding something to confirm my fears…and I’ve been less trusting ever since.

And so I did a bad thing tonight. It was the smell again, and the way he was trying so hard to be cheerful, and just off, I guess. I wanted so badly to know for sure…even to be proved wrong…maybe especially so. And so I asked what he thought about keeping a breathalyzer in the house. You can buy them on Amazon.

Nope. Did not go over well. He said that would be fine, but that in return he gets all my passwords again. Email, Facebook, the iPad. He says he doesn’t trust me any more than I trust him. And the worst part about it is that he’s right. He wouldn’t be happy to know about the places I’ve been…this blog…our private lives exposed, included. A loss of trust is a very big thing, and it takes a lot to earn it back. I’m not trying as hard as I should…I recognize that. Afraid maybe to put my whole self in and then find out that he was drinking the whole time. Is it instinctual to always want to keep things even? It sure as hell isn’t rational.

And so I am sitting here…hiding in our daughter’s room, where I sleep most nights since she went off to school…surrounded by projects half done, and wondering what my next step should be in life. And drinking the wine I keep hidden in her closet. And wondering how, exactly, I arrived here. Life. Some days it’s a little overwhelming.

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Gratitude

Today I read an entire page about a girl studying her own hand. Such a mundane topic, but when well written it can hold your attention…leave you enthralled even…or at the very least, can remind you that sometimes it is less what you say, and more how you say it.

I’d hoped to say the right things. When I started to write here, I’d hoped to make a difference. Hoped that my experience…my pain…would make life better for someone else. I still believe that everything happens for a reason. That every experience teaches us something. That every life we touch is somehow…even if ever so slightly…forever changed. Maybe it’s just a way to justify my existence. To feel I have purpose. Sigh. Or maybe I’m just crazy.

I don’t write much here anymore. I guess that’s obvious. After awhile it felt like too much whining. Too many dark and dreadful days. It didn’t make me feel better, and I doubt it would help anyone else either. So much for making a difference.

Well here is the honest truth…as I know it anyway…

There isn’t a handbook for convincing your loved one to go to treatment. There isn’t a step-by-step list of instructions. There isn’t a book…or even a library of books…that will save you. You can go to meetings…and you should…and they will help…but they will not save you. You are fucked. Sorry. That’s the honest to god truth. As I know it.

You will come out the other side someday. You may feel like you never will, but you do. You will arrive fairly well physically intact. Some people will even congratulate you for all the good work you’ve done for somebody else. But you still won’t be you. Count on it, darling. You’re going to come out as somebody new.

There…I sound jaded. It wasn’t my intention. Nor was it my intention to WHINE so terribly much. I do appreciate my life. Small moments…simple things. It was my advice to T when his world was coming apart. Appreciate the small things…the things that work…even when the big things don’t. Gratitude. It will make life bearable.

At this moment, I am grateful for the last of the wine I stashed with a neighbor. A rose’, consumed outdoors at dusk. The crickets chirp, the birds sing their last evening song, and the world is still…the last days of summer. I am grateful for warm weather, and humidity, and feeling the air touch my skin. I am grateful that my children are happy and healthy. I am grateful that my husband has stopped drinking again. As far as I know. I am grateful for trust. For love. For a week of vacation that starts late tomorrow. For feeling less anxiety the last few days. I am grateful for good friends, and family that means well. I am grateful to have made it…almost, as it is still a few days away…to my 25th anniversary. Proud of that, all things considered. I am grateful for a few simple words from T in response to a message he was under no obligation to return. Grateful. Grateful for more things than I can list.

There…that’s it. In case these are my parting words. My one useful bit of advice. Gratitude. Be grateful. For all things…big and small. Even when your heart is breaking and you feel all alone. Especially then. Be grateful.

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addiction, Recovery

Relapse

Relapse.

I try not to think. I try not to feel. Truth is you get a little numb to it after awhile. You lose your desire to fight, or to cry, or to swing a bottle at someone’s head. You get up each day and do the things expected of you, most of them anyway, and from all appearances everything is normal.

He’s still drinking, and still lying to me and saying he isn’t. I’m not sure which is worse…the drinking or the lying.

I found the last bottle in his car. He’s working today, and I could drive to where it’s parked right now and use the second set of keys to get in and see if anything is there. What an enormously codependent thing to do. Half of me says Do it. Prove to him and to yourself that you’re on to him. Show him you have reason to not trust him. That your frustration and fears are justified.

The other half says It’s a waste of an hour and the gas it will take to get there and back. That if you find something you’ll be miserable for the rest of the day, and if you don’t, you’ll feel foolish. That if he catches you, it’ll just make things more tense at home.

Mr. Anxiety has settled back in for a long and uncomfortable stay. I don’t like it. And I think this is unfair…the whole stupid thing. To me and the girls. Especially the girls. Why are we being punished for his mistakes?

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addiction, Infidelity, Love, Recovery

As her heart whispers, Never leave…

Maybe we all know the very best things we can do for ourselves. The amount of sleep that we need, the proper amount of exercise we should get, the number of servings of fruits and vegetables we should consume. Our minds are rational, practical things.

Not so much our hearts. Our hearts crave the unreachable. The toxic. The unthinkable. Our hearts are spontaneous, erratic, and lack any shred of common sense. Um, or maybe that’s just me. :)

I’ve had lapses. Days that I’ve done the wrong things. And days that I so really want to. Thus this letter to myself. Here…read it. Publish it for the entire world. Admit that you are fallible. No one here will judge you. No worse, anyway, than you judge yourself.

Dear self,

It is over and most of the time you feel better because of it. No more unreturned texts, no degrading pictures, no waiting, no wishing for something you can’t have. Reality…it wasn’t a healthy relationship and he couldn’t be what you need. He was selfish and vindictive and he didn’t care about you nearly as much as you cared about him. You survived on crumbs. Small handouts to keep you there. You deserve better.

You may think it’s ok to revisit that place on a day you feel lonely or sad. You may think one peek at what he’s doing, one message to see how he is, one more try to get him to love you. Once won’t hurt.

Wrong. It hurts EVERY SINGLE TIME. Every picture, every word he writes, every post he likes on Facebook, everything he says to you. Every new beginning is followed by a hurtful and horrible ending. It leaves you feeling angsty, bereft, and confused.

If he loved you, wanted you, valued you, he would come to you. He would be a grown up and use his words. Or at the very least, his actions would speak for themselves.

If it was meant to be…if you truly belonged together…god would place you in each other’s path. It would happen on its own. Fate cannot be forced.

There is no reason to say that one last thing. You’ve said it all. Told him what an ass he was, told him you wanted to spend the rest of your life with him, told him exactly how you felt…the good, the bad, and the ugly. And you even said goodbye with a good measure of dignity and grace. Let him go.

Maybe it won’t work out with Chris. Maybe he will never forgive you. Maybe he will start drinking again. Maybe he will die young. That doesn’t mean you should go back to T. Not ever. You deserve better. You deserve to be loved and respected and wanted for WHO YOU ARE, not just for sex. You deserve to be valued and pursued. You deserve someone who falls all over themselves doing their best to love YOU.

Put away your phone, your computer and this iPad. Organize something. Clean something. Work in your garden. Take a walk. Go shopping. Get a pedicure. Snuggle under a blanket with a book and some tea. Have lunch with a friend. Watch a chick flick. Eat something you shouldn’t. Be good to yourself. Love yourself. Walk away and be happy. :)

Love,

Me.

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Love

Poetry for T

I wanted to talk…to know how you’ve been, what you’ve done since I saw you last. You wanted a half naked picture.

I wanted to see you in person, to hear your voice, to be close enough to touch you…just once, after all these years. You said “Next time take your underwear off.”

I wanted to know everything about you…your hopes, your dreams, your greatest disappointments, every one of your secrets. You wanted to know whether I prefer top or bottom.

I wanted you to love me, to remember me, to think of me kindly after I have gone. You said “Your hand keeps getting in the way.”

I wanted to be there when you were sad, to love you the right way, to make up for the way she treated you. You wanted me to use better lighting.

I wanted to marry you on a beach, to wake each day beside you, to grow old with you, to be together until we die. You said “Maybe we could meet up once. You know, for oral sex.”

“Why just once?”

“The correct answer…so we don’t get caught.”

I will paint you in one color. I will forget every kind word you ever said to me. I will make you into a monster. Which unfortunately is pretty easy. I will remember you with sadness and regret. I will cover myself in pain. And I will never ever ever text you again.

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