alanonmama











{May.7.2012}   MIA

Hugh is MIA today. He was a bit more stressed than normal, blaming the house, but that’s not that unusual. He got dressed and headed out to work for the day. Said he was going to go try and drum up some business. That was over 12 hrs ago. He hasn’t called. He hasn’t emailed or texted. Haven’t seen him working remotely on his desktop. He has the car with the carseats. Our other car is at the mechanics (I don’t even know which one). I am worried, but trying not to be. I put the kids to bed like normal (yea, me!), then tried to occupy myself with things I enjoy. Tried reading some call, sitting in on a meeting… but I am still concerned. I reached out and called someone from our group for the first time ever. She advised me to go to bed. So, I am, right after this.
In my mind, at this point, one of two things has happened: He’s hurt or dead. Or he’s going to take to disappearing as some other alcoholics do.
Oh, baby is awake. That’s my cue. Off to bed. Wish me luck at sleeping.



{May.5.2012}   First Step Part 1.

This is the begging of my Step Work.  I am using the book Paths To Recovery (P2R), which is part of the Conference Approved Literature (CAL).

Step 1 in Al Anon:

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.

When I walked into AlAnon I was ready to believe this step.  I had already tried every single thing I could think of to “reform” him. I had failed.  I had just had an episode of CRAZY that had caused me to hit a new rock bottom.  I’d go into more of that, but I think it will come out as I answer the questions that will help me “work” this step.

The questions to the following answers can be found on p. 15-17 in P2R.

Yes, I accept that I cannot control another person’s drinking!  Actually, I said, “Yes, a thousand times yes!  I had this realization right before coming to AlAnon, but was afraid that it was “wrong” to “give up” on my AH.  Like I would be an unloving wife if I left him to his own devices.  I am relieved and grateful to know that it is not true.

I also accept that I cannot control another person’s behavior. 

This one is much harder for me.  I don’t just try to control my AH, but in order to protect myself, I am often trying to control others.   One of the most obvious places where this has failed is as  mother. I used to feel like a failure when I could not control even my own children.   Society really puts pressure on us to feel responsible for other’s emotions.  If my or someone else’s child throws a tantrum in  public, I have overheard, more than once, someone say something to the effect of, “she needs to get control of that right now.”  They would shake their head in disgust.  Then, the parent tries all the tricks they know to manipulate the child to stop because of how they, the parent feels. We must conform to civility, right?  Some may bribe, bargain, beg, threaten, or use physical or verbal abuse to end the angry/frustrated behavior.  Lord knows, I have.  Often this ends with the child in tears, which seems to appease the onlookers.  I know whenever I allow this to happen, I am left feeling drained, ashamed, and out of control.

I now realize that it’sjustthe same with the adults in my life.  Often I have tried to control or change others because I believed either it was “the right” thing to do or the socially acceptable thing to do.  I am not, however, discounting that there have been innumnerable times that I have done so as a means to satisfy my own needs or wants.

I recognize that the alcoholic is an individual with habits, characteristics, and ways of reacting to daily happenings that are different from me.  Although, my illness wants to follow that with saying that I wish my AH would accept that to!  ;P

I found this question to be worded in a way which I could not comprehend.  So, I got out my dictionary and looked up the word “recognize.” One of it’s meanings is to “accept the validity of.”  Wow… uh… okay… I get it.   So, I am learning to accept the validity of his different ways of being, thinking, and acting. I can understand this to be true, but I think it will be really hard to put into practice…. To feel and know it in the moment.  I can hope I’m wrong, bu I understand that it may take a lot of concentration and concerted effort to truly believe in it and demonstrate it through my thoughts, words, and actions.  A reprogramming must occur.

I accept that alcoholism is a disease. Oh, man! Has God ever been setting the stage for this one!  At least it seems that way.   It has always been easy for me to believe that A is a genetic disease.  I’ve seen it permeate families.  It’s just so predictable and illogical… I really had never considered it to be a choice.  Then I met my husband, Hugh.  I remember talking about alcoholism and hearing him say that he thought it was a choice… that calling it a “disease” was just and excuse.  An example of how people like to label everything these days to get away from personal responsibility.  He would point to smoking cessation as an example.  He was a smoker for years and years.  Then, one day, he decided he was through.. and he was.  He didn’t believe in clinical addiction.  Mind over matter.  I remember thinking it was crazy, but unimportant in our lives.  We didn’t drink, didn’t smoke, and didn’t have many friends that did either.   Over time, after he started drinking, I allowed him to reprogram me in this regard.  He was so insistent that it was his choice, that he could stop anytime… Accepting that was so very hurtful.  It meant that he was choosing alcohol over us.  Maybe it meant that he meant the horrible hurtful things he said to and about me.  Maybe they were true, too.  Choosing beer over family, beer over my wishes, beer over the family, beer over happiness.  What sane person would choose that kind of dysfunction?  Still, in the back of my mind, I felt like it wasn’t right… that the man I loved couldn’t- no wouldn’t choose to hurt any of us this way… or to disobey God’s word with intent this way, either. 

This started more worry within me.  If I was wrong about Alcoholism, what else must I be wrong about?  His fidelity?  The kids?  God? Do I know ANYTHING?

It changes the way I deal with a drinker in the following ways. First… well, it changes everything.  I wrote earlier that god had “Set Me Up” for this moment.  This Truth.  So I could relate to the feelings such abuse could invoke.  

Tourette 1

Tourette 1 (Photo credit: TheLadyKris)

I have tourrettes syndrome (TS).  I inherited it from my mom’s side of the family.  My Dad’s side provided  legacy of depression, learning disabilities, ADD, an

d OCD with hoarding.  So, I got the Jackpot of Neurological Dysfunctions. There are many co-morbid conditions that often appear with TS.  It is not uncommon for a person with TS to also have ADD/ADHD, OCD, Learning Disabilities, and Oppositional Defiance Disorder (or other behavioral disorders).  I am no different.  I present with signs o

f many of these.  Because many behaviors that result from these dysfunctions, some of my reactions/actions/thoughts may seem illogical, absurd, and can be difficult for others to cope with. Which can lead others to try and change/reform me.  Dh has tried many things to cure me.  I honestly believe he could benefit from a 12 step for these issues alone.  To illustrate this, though,  there was one painful night where Dh reveled  that he doesn’t trust anything I feel, say, or do anymore.  When I talk, he allows it to go in one ear, and out the other…. pretty much about everything. He discounts every bit of me as “TS”.  I was shocked, hurt, and angry at this revelation.  What was left of me then?  My only good friend doesn’t put any stock into what I feel, say, or think.    This meant that things that I am passionate about, like car seat safety, were things he was discounti

ng as “extreme behavior from TS/OCD.”  That could have serious consequences for our kids.  I found this out after we bought a new tiny car.  I found out later that he had decided not to listen to my car seat concerns/conditions.  He bought the car he wanted without regard for me and the kids-at all.  There are so many decisions he has made like this lately, esp. in regard to the kids.  What kind of marriage is this, then?  Oh, I’m veering OT.

The point is, he is at the point where he doesn’t know which part is “disease” and which part is reality.  I can certainly relate to that with his drinking. When he chooses to label me, discriminate against me, belittle me, discount what I say, and think of me as less than incompetent I feel hurt and angry.  It erodes

the trust I had in him and his friendship with me.  I am concerned.  I’m unsure of how you can be friends with someone if you don’t or can’t respect or validate anything the other thinks or feels.  I don’t feel friendly when he undermines my parenting.  I don’t feel friendly when he makes my whole life= TS.

I am NOT my disabilities. Hugh is NOT is disease.   IT is not my identity.  What’s more, Hugh didn’t cause it, can’t cure or change it.  So, it frustrates me that he wants to sort/filter out what is TS/What isn’t.   I don’t want to be over-analyzed.  It gives me the feeling as if I was a caged animal being studied.

It’s the same with Alcohol and Hugh.  I’ve been there, doing the same with him… and also understanding that it is a necessity to sort it out a bit.  To separate the person from the hurtful behaviors.  The seemingly uncaring actions. If he messes something up, I wonder if it’s the A. If he runs late, I wonder if he’s out drinking.  I wonder what else he hides… is he out flirting with other women.  When he went out and drank and also picked up something from the store something nice for the kids or I, I only saw the drinking.  Everything from the point where he is tipsy on doesn’t count.  His feelings, thoughts, or actions don’t count. He doesn’t matter after that.   I think that’s where I had gone… what I didn’t know I was thinking/feeling and acting.  Hugh FELT it before I knew it.  I hurt him time after time because I treated him like Rubbish.  I discounted any generous spirit, any hurt, any happiness he had because he had offended me.   I resented that he acted and spoke more lovey dovy  to me after he had drank a few.  I didn’t believe him then when he would say he loved me, but I always  believed him when he said hurtful things about me.  Hello, my name is Alice, and I am crazy.

If he is too sick to chose the right things… if he is hurt by both his own and my actions…. I should be treating him with compassion… even if it is difficult.  He is worth the work.  I am worth the work.  We are told to love the sick.

Believing this, also releases me from the responsibilty of reforming him.  I am free to enjoy him for who he is.  To give up the parenting role.  Stop punishing him for being sick.  I can look to who is is and choose to like and love him.



{May.4.2012}   Paper Clips and Progress

Today, my husband came out of his home office asking for a paper clip.  He picked up our toddler.  I was in the bathroom, trying to go number 2.  He and my two children hang out at the door, grumbling about different wants they had.  I reminded them I was indisposed (Uh, HELLO?  Can You not see that!) and that I would talk to them when I was done.  Before I left the bathroom, I happened upon a large spider.  I ask my son if he minded getting a glass to catch him in so we could release him outside.  He happily fetched one, “Oh, boy! I wonder what kind it is!”  I get the spider in the glass and am carefully taking it out, both hands busy when my dh meets me as I enter the hallway and tried to hand me the baby. :/ Um…. I am kinda busy.  Does it look like I have free hands?  He starts repeating over and over that he needs a paper clip.  Not really asking me if I have one, but implying that he needs me to get him one.  BECAUSE I moved the paper clips from his office elsewhere.  Before Alanon, I would have felt very badly.  I would have let his implications (that I am such a slob and so inconsiderate that he can never find anything he wants which causes his whole life to suffer) drive me to a dark place.  I would have worried and obsessed at how awful I was.  I would have let his worry upset my day.  THIS TIME, I didn’t.  I reminded myself (not him- yea me!) that they were MY paper clips (they are brightly colored “fun” clips) that I let him use back when he first moved his business home.  I lent them to him because he had yet to purchase his own.  That was FOUR years ago.  I took them back a few months ago, because I had need to use them for some of our boy’s school work.  They ARE mine.  It’s OKAY that I moved them.  I didn’t do it to CAUSE him harm.  He certainly could have seen to it to buy some paper clips of his own in these many years. For my part, I will admit that it would have been nice if I had let him know that I was taking them back… and maybe let him know where their new “home” was and that I truly didn’t mind if he used them occasionally.  It may have reminded him to buy some others; maybe not.  BUT my responsibility to him about paper clips ended there.  I can see that.  😀



{May.4.2012}   Prayer

We have been talking about prayer in one of my groups.  A little bit about me: I grew up in a Christian home.  We were never pressured to believe one thing or another and always were allowed to choose where we went to church.  We were gently encouraged to attend, though.  From a very young age, I believed in Chirst.  Truly believed and accepted him and all that God had to say.  REALLY.  I LOVE God and LOVE being a Christ follower.  By the time I started college, I was a feeling pretty close to being in that state of “praying without ceasing.”  I felt like my life was spent IN prayer.  IN God’s presence.

I will tell you that I have faced some adversity in my life.  I had a life-shattering experience when I was 15 that shook me to the core.  I’ve always been (as is my Dad), a “glass is half empty” person.  It’s just me.  So, I easily fell into a depression.  I had some more trauma follow shortly after that, and I assure you I only came out of it closer to God.   Deeper in my faith and walk with Him.

What makes this walk different is… I started believing the lies that

Alcoholism was feeding me.  IF I was a better housekeeper, dh never would have started drinking.  IF…. IF…. IF.   I began to think maybe he was right.  I was a slob.  I had the power to drive people to destruction.  I brought misery and pain to people I love.  I, I, I, I…  So… feeling so unlovable, and after trying and failing so many times to change myself and change dh, I gave up on asking God.  For anything, really.  I had some grateful moments, esp. related to the kids… but I felt so horrible about myself that I couldn’t bare to ask my AWESOME God to give me one more drop of kindness, one more drop of hope.  I wanted to die.

On our most recent Big Bad Crisis, “The Night Which Must Not Be Named,” I found myself so, so very alone.  So sad, so scared.  Even then, while I *wanted* to pray, I couldn’t hardly manage it.  I had to literally let the groanings, wimperings, and sighs BE my prayer.  I feel like I was at the end of myself, as they so often say many of us must get to in order to be willing to do the work necessary for Change.  Namely, to give it up to God.  To allow God back into my life… Nah, to admit that he had been there along, regardless of my want for him.  I came to realize that I there chad been weeks, maybe even a month or so where I literally could not remember praying even one time.  I still believed in and loved and feared God, but I didn’t feel worthy of his attention.  didn’t want to be such a burden and failure in front of Him.

I am grateful to be reconnecting with my HP, my God.  It is still a tender rekindling of the relationship I had once so enjoyed.  I would like to report that I’m back to my “normal” prayer habits… but I’m not.  I feel like my prayer muscles are atrophied.  I still find it surprising at how hard praying is for me right now.  It’s not emotionally easy.  It requires opening myself up and admitting I’m vulnerable… and I am still feeling very defensive. Like a hedgehog rolled up into a ball.   Prickly, tense, tight, scared, instinctive, reactive.

Mary Magdalene, in a dramatic 19th-century pop...

Mary Magdalene,  painted by Ary Scheffer. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



{May.4.2012}   R Words

My gratitude words for the day:

Relax- glad that I am starting to Relax instead of walking on eggshells or making myself sick with tention and struggle.

Realization- realizing the lies I’ve believed or told myself, realizing there is hope, realizing I didn’t Cause, can’t cure, and can’t change It.

Routine- I am finding routine to be such a comfort!  I thank God for guiding me to the right one for my family and I.

Reality- accepting what it IS instead of struggling for improbable or impossible fantasies.

Releasing- responsibility to my HP.  Phew, glad of it!

Return and Respite- together.  A return to my HP and the Respite that He and Alanon together have provided to me.

Robust- the hope to be strong and healthy again someday

Rock bottom- without feeling I’d hit it, I never would have found the help and hope I’ve found in Al-Anon.

Gratitude Journal

Gratitude Journal (Photo credit: limevelyn)



I’ve been in for nearly three weeks and had not told my dh I was attending AlAnon.   I had been pretty careful to put away my materials.   Dh had noticed a difference.  He mentioned so last night.    Then, this morning he found a piece of literature laying about (thanks to my toddler) and when he “caught” me on a teleconference he put it all together.   The reaction…. Was not good.   He was bummed.  I feel… Defensive, guilty (for not telling him about it), and i slipped back into denial or a moment: my first thoughts were, “maybe I’m still making too much out of nothing, maybe he isn’t an alcoholic.”. Then I proceeded into fear, “what if my going to AlAnon drives him away, causes him to drink more? What if, what if, what if?”.   Then I felt like hitting my head in a, “doh!” moment.  Truths:  I didn’t lie per-say.  I Had wrestled with when and how and if to tell him.  In fact, I planned on asking for any experience shares in my Alanon group meeting today.  If I handled it wrong, it was because I didn’t receive my “how to talk to your A” instruction manual ;).   I can forgive myself.  As for him… He’s going to drink regardless.  I don’t cause it.  If he spirals farther down into the disease, it is not my fault.  He would have found another excuse on his own.

My head is full of new head Knowledge…. But my heart is loping along this morning.  I’m not feeling it…
But I believe it… And I will keep coming back.

 



{April.24.2012}   conflicted

Yeah, I knew it. He went out and drank with a business buddy (who has played a part in a crisis before). Then, he came for less than an hour and went right back out to get a pack of beer (roll eyes).

So how did I do?

Not stellar, but not a complete failure, either

I am finding two things really difficult.

1.) I am still finding myself angry at his choice to start drinking way back when. I am having a hard time really committing to heart that this isn’t a choice. It’s harder than I thought, because for so long he has been telling me he has control over it. It’s his choice (so that I can’t boss him around), etc…

2.) I’m having a hard time knowing what to do/how to feel/be when his drinking interferes unfairly with the kids’ and my activities.

;

He left to go to work on a job at 3pm. I was being very productive around the house and with our children’s schooling. A full day of preschool and a full list with everything checked off by the end of my “work day.” I had been looking forward to a reward of playing our online game with him, as a reward to myself for such a stellar day. My AH had asked me to defrost these massive steaks we’d been hoarding. I had pulled them out the night before and told him so. I call him at 5pm to get an ETA, though, I guess I knew (based on his cohort) he probably was out drinking. He says, “Oh, honey! I am out with Mr. B eating.” I remind him of the steaks and he feels a bit stupid, but unwilling to change his plans (which feels like a big “Screw you, wife and kids!”). He promises to be home before the kid’s bedtime to fix the steaks. I let him know that I would have to find something other to eat because the kids and I were hungry. I hang up. YEAH RIGHT! I know what would happen if if he did come home on time- he would grill them to hot/fast and then have to finish them in the oven and it would take another hour past the kids bedtime to eat. I starting thinking, frustrated, and realized I had never cooked a steak (or much of anything else) on a grill by myself. I realized I wasn’t as frustrated with his drinking (I’m doing pretty good at giving that to him and God), as I was with my helplessness. So… I googled how to use a propane grill. I also read how to cook the perfect steaks. I did it- and I even ended up with at least one of them being perfectly medium rare. AWESOMENESS. 🙂 I sent him a pic and told him not to worry about dinner. He could cook his steak (I dind’t want to mess it up- it’s a rare 2.5″ er for us) whenever he wanted. He promised to be home by bedtime. I didn’t count on it, and had the kids routine finished 1/2hr late. I proceeded to put them to bed (they have to go at the same time or one will wake the other up). Just as the baby fell asleep he strode in, noisy and annoying. I was “cool”/nonchalant about his drinking, but a bit irritated that my nearly asleep babe is now waving hi to dad and excited out of it. Then, he quickly finished putting the boy to bed. I once again, just get the babe to sleep and he comes stomping through headed to go get beer. The sound of him leaving most certainly wakes a not-quite asleep baby. When this happens, it becomes difficult for me. Baby has nursed herself full, but didn’t fall asleep. She’s teething, so would like to nurse herself to sleep, but if and when she tries, her belly gets uncomfortably full and then she can’t and gets fussy, etc… etc… etc… which makes me want to SCREAM because it HURTS to nurse for 3 hours. I was irritated. He ended up playing with someone else (an old BAD influence buddy), and, when I got baby down finally at 10:30 (3.5 hrs late), I felt really cheated. It was hard not to feel upset.

Today Today the kids are sick. It’s Tuesday. My meeting is Wednesday. I’m not sure how/if I can make it. We’ll see



{April.23.2012}   Counting his days

Is it wrong to keep count of how long he can go without (me knowing of) him drinking? Perhaps. But for now, until I work that out, I want to. I just do.

Its Monday. He hasn’t drank since Friday night. Saturday he was an absolute bear. Sunday, for untold reasons, I was one too. Bear in this case = super irritable. When he is sober, I think he must feel like everything is insurmountable. If there is any obstacle to any activity, any hiccup in a relationship, he has this mantra, “F it. I’m done,” or “F you. I’m done.”. Quit before failing. Quit before someone gives up on you. Then he follows it with an ,”I don’t care!” which to me says he does care and is scared of hurting himself, others, or being hurt.

Last night he surprised me with NOT drinking while we gamed. It’s a very rare thing, indeed. I was reminded of the Today meditation… The one about luck. So I took it as that. I was happy that on that night, in that moment, I didn’t have work hard on recovery. I was still mindful of it and practicing some new things, but it was easier. We had fun. Our online buddy was drinking some wine. John wished aloud that he had some beer. Said he might go get some later. Later never came, but he wrestled with it, and before he decided to go to bed he seemed to resent me a bit. Because, you know, its easy to demonize me as evil for wanting to control him (I.e. wishing him well!)

Tonight’s the night… And I keep finding myself dreading it. I’m trying not to… It’s just one of my trouble spots right now.

I can say that I already love Al Anon, and believe god is using it to save my life.



{April.21.2012}   Hes home and all is calm

He came home, and I was pleasant, congratulated him again, told him goodnight and we are all now in bed without a fight for the first time in I don’t know how long. Feels AWESOME. Still sad that he came home drunk, driving and all that… But he is home and apparently everyone is safe tonight.



{April.21.2012}   First efforts

Today, I tried very hard to be happy for today. To do my best not to think ahead. When my alcoholic husband (AH) celebrated a success at work, I congratulated him with kindness. When I cooked dinner, I didn’t sweat it when he said he wanted to go to the bar to drink and eat wings to celebrate. Even though the kids and I arent feeling well. I just said, “if that’s what you want to do….” and when he pressed, suspicious, “its your life, I am not going to control you, whatever you want to do, do it. Be safe, I love you.”. To which he chuckled and said, “hmmm… That’s weird… Okay.”. It took him an hour of waffling back and forth to decide that he was going. He was so confused by it all. When it was apparent he was leaving, I asked him to give the kids a snuggle. He did, then hug and kissed them goodbye. He paused and said sulkily, “I don’t suppose you want one to,” and turned to leave. I corrected him that I did, which was met with further surprise. I gave him a very tender hug and kiss. Assuming it may be our last. I genuinely felt sympathy for the choice he was making, and sadness and empathy that he is so very sick. I honestly realize how SICK I am. This disease has brought me to the brink of crazy. While t would be difficult to find anyone to corroborate with me that AH is an alcoholic, there are oh, so many witnesses to how crazy I had
Become. Seriously.
So… Here I am. On a Friday night, alone. He has been away tonight for three hours. He is in our only working, new car. He has the only car seats with him. He is about 5 miles from home. He may hit and kill someone tonight… Maybe a child. He may get into trouble and go to jail or a body bag. He may make it home only to wet the bed.

What makes tonight different is, that at least for tonight, I have honestly released responsibility for any of that. I must believe that God will take care of us, some how, in some way, no matter what. I really am okay… Because tonight, I have met the needs of my children. I even made them feel extra special. I have taken time for myself. And I have admitted I have no control over people or places, or situations. I only have to make it one more day like this. I am going to bed in my room, with the kids, instead of staying up late or leaving my boy in his room to have to deal with an incoherent daddy when he calls out in the night. I am not staying up late to worry. I will not be calling the hospitals. I will be safe, in my room, with my kids, my dogs, and My God.
I have a feather of hope.
Goodnight.



et cetera