Saturday, July 30, 2011

This Time Last Year

A year ago we went to a family wedding. In the days prior to the wedding, my mother-in-law and I had a huge fight. She said that we tiptoed around my husband excessively and that she couldn't take it anymore. Our house was stressful and the girls were anxious. I was very angry with her and asked her to leave. I had never done such a thing in the past. At the time I thought it showed courage; a few months later I saw my reaction as the fear-fueled lashing out that it was.

The argument definitely made the wedding uncomfortable. Because we were driving, I chose not to drink...very much. I had two glasses of wine, poured by someone who drinks normally. Then, I spent the rest of the wedding waiting to go back to our hotel room so that I could drink more. I watched my husband get drunk. It was the happy, "what's your problem?" style, and personified a sudden sociability that I couldn't find in myself. I felt out of place and unable to leave. I was tired and increasingly anxious as the hours ticked by with no end in sight.

We finally made it back to the hotel near midnight and after everyone else had fallen asleep I snuck out of bed for my favorite kind of drinking - late and alone with my thoughts. I was already at the point in my drinking where I didn't trust myself to drink with anyone else, lest I become beligerant or tearful. If I drank by myself I knew that nothing bad could happen. With each glass, I told myself I would go to bed, only to pour another. I sat on the floor of the bathroom with the door closed, so as not to get caught. Each time discovery seemed imminent I tossed back what was left in my glass, planning to pretend to have only just gone to the bathroom. I was unhappy. I felt trapped in my marriage and unable to initiate any changes. I used the fact that I had not had very much to drink as evidence that even if I quit drinking, he would never make any effort to do the same. I was embarrassed and ashamed of him that night. It seemed like my only choices were to keep drinking so that I wouldn't notice my own disappointment, or stop and sign up for endless nights like the one we'd had: me in the role of dutiful wife, lame friend, and nag.

A few days later I found the courage to quit anyway.

Now, I don't feel that same sense of hopeless, victimized self-pity...much. I am able to see that I have choices, somewhat limited by my circumstances, but choices nonetheless. I do not have to live with someone else's drinking, no matter who they are. I get to choose. I no longer feel the pull to drink, because sobriety has shown me my own value. I am more forgiving, more honest, and more resiliant. I know that pain does not last forever, nor does it kill me. I am strong enough to face the consequences of my own actions.

For this I am truly grateful.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Book Review Friday: Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay

It suddenly occurred to me yesterday that no matter how things turn out I will be happier. I will be happier because I am being honest with myself and with others, I have let go of outcomes, and am making decisions and choices based on what I know today. It is painful. It is still less painful than pretending things are a-okay.

One book that has helped me immensely in assessing my marriage is Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay: A Step-by-Step Guide to Help You Decide Whether to Stay In or Get Out of Your Relationship, by Mira Kirshenbaum. She argues that most of us have a tendency to look at our relationships in terms of a balance scale. We list out the positives and all the negatives and assume that based on the outcome of the balance scale, we can decide whether to stay in our relationships or not. The issue with this approach is that the scales constantly shft and the items on our respective lists can't be mathematically calculated. We doubt ourselves and we second-guess and become trapped in ambivalence.

Instead, she proposes that a diagnostic approach is more likely to help people get off the fence. Based on her extensive practice and research, she covers sixteen separate areas of marital concern and makes a recommendation about whether the reader would be happier staying or leaving based on their feelings about each criteria. I found that it helped me to separate the surface issues I had in my relationship from the deeper, more significant ones and as a result learned alot about my feelings.

Her main objective is to help her readers either leave or commit to their marriages. She argues that ambivalence is the worst state to be in. I couldn't agree more.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


I am tired and frustrated today.

I am behind at work because I cannot focus. Each day I hope the focus will return, but so far it's been a struggle.

I will say this: when I stay true to myself by being as honest as possible, I don't feel half as empty as I used to feel all the time. I look at this period of painful awareness and instead of believing it will last forever and possibly kill me, I know it will end. I know that out of pain comes awareness. Willingness to learn about myself during this period is essential to growth and change. The pain is worth it, only because avoidance and denial do not bring about change.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Stepping Back For a Minute

For the past several months I have been reading posts on a Friends and Family of Alcoholics forum. Reading these posts have given me so much strength and understanding. Reading about the experiences of others has really underlined for me how similar and how common our experiences are. Through these forums I have learned that I don't have to listen to drunken rantings, I do not need to be defined by him, I have strength and courage to face my own short-comings, and have the power to change the things I can.

If you are affected by someone's drinking, I highly recommend reading the forum posts. There were times when I had to stop reading simply because it confirmed that things were a dire as I thought they were, but I keep going back to them.

That said, yesterday someone wrote that although they'd been reading and attending Al-Anon meetings, they felt they hadn't changed because they weren't ready to leave their relationship. It really threw me, because it's so tempting to look for incontrovertible evidence of change. I think the changes I've experienced were so gradual that they were difficult to see in the moment, but looking back now are monumental. One year ago I could not cope if someone said something mean to me. I would cower. I would feel the heartbreak of letting them down. Their words would swirl in my head for days. Now, I am far better able to see that their words are only a reflection of what they feel and believe. What I feel about myself is up to me. I can think about what they've said, determine whether I agree or not, and let it go. The words do still swirl around a bit, but the emotional damage is not so devastating.

This has been a massive change. I am so grateful for that.

There are many other things I could point to that have changed for me on this journey. Share your changes if you can in the comments.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I Just Don't Want to Be Married Anymore

When I say that, doubts jump to mind. Perhaps it's because I'm not self-aware and have intimacy issues. Perhaps if I was more open and more trusting and had more faith, I wouldn't feel this way. I hear the voices of my detractors, including my husband. I know what he will say, or at least I have a good idea.

The only thing that keeps me from believing this is true is the endless stomach ache. It went away last week when I made my decision, and now it's back with a vengeance. I know that may sound stupid. Silly to look to your body to tell you the truth, but for me, it always works. Except that most of the time I ignore it and try to convince myself that I can get over it, that I'm strong enough to work through it. When I let go and am breath takingly honest, my intuition speaks loudly.

Now I just need the courage to follow through.

I've been thinking about the difference between a bottom line and an ultimatum. I think I found myself in the land of the ultimatum because I didn't pay enough attention to all the ways my bottom line had been crossed over. If we are to look at what people do, rather than what they say, we can determine our course. I regret saying that I couldn't work on the marriage unless the drinking went away. It is true. But the simple fact is that the drinking we both did has eroded our relationship to the point where I simply do not want to work on it. Each time we've bargained in the past I've thrown myself heart and soul back into it, with no good effect. Things would improve for a while, only to find ourselves with precisely the same issues. Why did I think a full embargo would change what levels of moderation had not? I trust the anger and judgement I hear from him far more than I do the respectful utterance. We have gone so far down this road that I don't want to continue with it.

That said, I am aware that miracles do happen. People are able to recover from all sorts of marital strife and rebuild their relationships. I have good reason to try - my girls, the love I once felt - but I just don't want to do it. I do not want to find myself writing about this a year from now. I simply cannot do it.

Monday, July 25, 2011

What to Say

I just don't know.

One thing I find fascinating is that it's always easier to see the way that others prevaricate and work themselves into a soothing narrative to justify their behavior than it is for me to see the way I do it to myself. I'm just not sure.

Every decision I've made over the past ten months to make this marriage liveable has led me away from the marriage. Detachment delivers on its promises - it is a self-protective measure against living with a person who is irrational and insane, forgetful, and selfish. It meant the family could stay together and it meant that I could build strength. The one insightful thing I'm beginning to wonder is whether the very act of detaching is a way of saying that you want out of the relationship. On the other hand, I can definitely see that our relationship has been devoid of healthy boundaries for a long time, so some degree of detachment has shown me the difference between loving someone and so completely identifying with him that I lost myself.

I appreciate all of you who suggested that I take care of myself in this. I wish I knew what that was. I just wish there was a sign. I don't want to be on high alert anymore. I want to live my life. I'm so very tired of wondering what the solution is. I can see happiness on my own. And although I know many people who've come into the program NOT wanting to be there, only to find their own reasons, I'm not sure I want to be someone's gateway. I don't want to be on my guard for the next x amount of time, trying to decide when I can trust again.

But I'm afraid that my wanting to leave is some attempt to take the "easier, softer way". It's always been easier for me to be alone than to rely on others. So is it true that I don't trust him or want to work on the marriage? Or is it that I'm afraid to trust him?

Sorry - rambling. Fingers are crossed that this ole stream of consciousness writing is taking me somewhere.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Conditional Love

This post will be rambling and contradictory, because right now I am rambling and contradictory.

So, he's agreed to stop drinking. I think the fact that his agreement came at a moment of deep pressure (at no point during the many conversations we had in the past would he even consider temporary abstinence) puts it in question. I think when our lives are threatened with great change (even good change) that we have the knee-jerk reaction to do anything to keep things as they are, even if "as is" is not really what we want when we are truly honest with ourselves.

I have also been thinking about bottom lines. I know they are healthy. We all need to think deeply about what we're willing to live with and what we are not. If we can set those boundaries, we can protect ourselves. Where confusion enters, at least for me, is when those boundaries have some dependency on another person's behavior. I do not want alcohol in my life. At all. It has been at the heart of most of the destruction in my life. I don't trust it and I want to be free. He drinks. He thinks it is fine.

Would a proper execution of the boundary have been to recognize that he thinks it's okay and just pursue separation? Is it that I want the separation and believe the only justification I have for wanting it is the drinking?

Then, I think about all of the people in AA who've shared that when they began coming to meetings, they didn't think they had a problem. They came because of their boss or their wife and now are truly grateful to be in recovery. That, without AA, they wouldn't have found their own reasons to stay sober.

So I wonder. If he has a problem, then this is good. Even if I'm squeezing him. Of course, his recovery is none of my business, so I cannot make decisions on this basis.

Staying sober takes effort and commitment. Each day we must get up and re-commit. We must get through challenging circumstances and intense triggers without a drink. I cannot imagine success unless at the core you are doing it for yourself.

I don't know if I can open my heart to him again. I know I cannot do so right now.

So I'm praying for wisdom and guidance on the next right thing.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Musing About Marriage

This has been a big week of back and forths, of staying and going, of checking my motives, and of trying to find some simple truths. Over the course of my marriage there have been many times when I threw myself to the carpet and wished he would quit drinking. This simple wish was a part of me long before I began my own descent into drinking to escape from my reality. It was there in the beginning of the relationship when I felt a low level of discomfort about the number of activities we did that were centered around alcohol. Ten years ago that seemed to be an abnormal way to live. Of course, over time that would change.

Back then, I periodically sought oblivion through pot or alcohol, but still knew shame. I still knew it wasn't the way I wanted to live. I was still able to see the trade-offs that came from being stoned or drunk at the wrong time - like when someone needed to talk and I wasn't able to be present. I did regrettable things that were harder to shake off than they would be later.

But I still drank, and it continued to smooth the edges and reduced the questions I had about what I was supposed to do with my life and the person I wanted to be.

This break from reality was interrputed only twice, during my pregnancies. When my first child was born I remember thinking that it would be a good time to stay stopped. I felt less internal conflict and had enjoyed the freedom I felt. Part of this came from the resentment I always felt about my father and they myriad of ways his drinking had damaged my childhood and I knew I didn't want to pass it on to my children. There was a conflict that I don't think I consciously resolved.

The source of the conflict was in part related to my husband's drinking. He continued to drink during my pregnancies and I can remember looking at my pregnant friends with envy when their husbands gave it up so they wouldn't feel left out. I felt angry and resentful because he just wasn't present for me. My second pregnancy was worse. His drinking had escalated and I was ready to leave. I knew I couldn't live like that. Due to other circumstances, he quit drinking and I felt sudden hope about our relationship.

This was short-lived, although by that point I was drinking again too, so I could blot out the disappointment. Even still, we'd both progressed. I was now worried about both of us. I wanted him to stop drinking so that I could stop drinking, but wasn't sure I could actually stop. I was afraid to quit if he was drinking because I thought it would be too hard. I was afraid of hearing the things he said to me when he was drunk. I was afraid I couldn't survive it if I was sober. The sober days here and there had given me a taste of what it would be like and I really was not sure I could handle the onslaught.

Of course, as you know, I did. And it did get easier. Once I was able to see his behavior from some distance, it didn't hurt so much. I added much needed distance in our relationship to protect myself and my sobriety.

Over the past several months, there have been many changes in my expectations of this marriage. I went from watching him get wasted, hopeful that he wouldn't get beligerant, to hoping he'd only have a few, to hoping he would take a day or two off, to the place I am now, where I cannot be in this marriage if there is any alcohol. As he has bargained, so have I. At no point has he been willing to admit he has a problem. Or if a problem is admitted, it's something that lies distinctly in the past and not a concern for the present.

I don't think you can rush to this point. I don't think it's possible to force yourself into willingness to leave a marriage affected by alcoholism. I don't think you can leave simply because you know you should. That's another form of self-deception. I think this journey is taking me places that forcing a solution never would have taken me. Beyond what happens with the marriage, the sheer force of this experience is teaching me to trust myself and my heart.

Anyway, he now says he'll quit. I say: WHY NOW? Why not sooner, when I could have thrown myself wholeheartedly into the marriage? When my distance and growth have taken me so far from any intimacy? And this makes me wonder whether the drinking was the core problem to begin with.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Who We Are

One of the four people in my real life who know about and read this blog has generously offered to write a guest post for me. I met him at my home group several months ago and have always respected his openness and willingness to honestly express his doubts about the program. He is not one to mindlessly accept that which he cannot see and touch for himself. It is a beautiful gift and he reminds me to push against my own boundaries. You can check out his poetry at:

If you would like to guest post on my blog - please email me!


A little narrative for you.
There are so many things to say but for today I shall endeavor to keep it concise.
I'm an addict/ alcoholic in the early stages of recovery.
For the first time in my life I'm trying to find my voice.
Not the voice you want to hear.
What do I keep of me?
What do I discard?
I'm thankful to my doctors and AA because without the fellowship and medical intervention I doubt I would be writing today.
Medicine has side effects and I have to learn to deal with them.
12 steps of recovery also have side effects but do I have to accept them?
I'm realizing there are too many things that I hold near and dear that I can't give up to the masses.
Individuality, uniqueness, passion and flaws that I want to own.
Character is the resulting combination of the parts.
AA- my powerlessness defines me. Don't think so.
I'm a:
- son
- brother
- partner
- radical
- lover
- troubled
- giving
- thinker
All that and more is on my map of life.
I'm not a powerless addict.
Nor am I subjugating myself to god and accepting what is to come.
My experience allows me to see my world in a new light.
I don't want hegemony of thought (world view) with the fellowship.
In the words of De La Soul:
It's just me, myself and I

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Spirituality and Bubble Gum Pop

My honesty lately seems to have broken through blockages in my chakras. Despite feeling sick to my stomach with nerves, I feel better. You know, I really think I only make needed changes in my life when keeping things the same hurts more than any possible outcome from the change. It's like I need to be caught between that rock and hard place, to truly feel the burning pain, before I'm willing to take a risk.

For months I've been listening to "female anthems," searching for courage. It's embarrassing in some ways, as most of the music is more appropriate for my daughters than it is for me. More embarrasssing: I find it. I feel empowered and permitted to become expansive. I'm allowed to dream and search and open my heart without fear of falling. Letting go of outcomes with respect to my marriage has shown me how free it feels to resist the temptation to compromise on truths that are essential for me.

This is hard. Pretending everything is fine is harder. Infinitely more difficult. So difficult that I began to feel my age-old eating disorder stand up and dust itself off, prepare for battle. Now that I've spoken my truth, it has no power over me. I know that living like this would have inevitably and eventually led me to drink.

Peace will come. Thank you for all of your support and comments. Your words keep me keeping on.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Check Your Motives

I've heard this a few times when a big decision looms on the horizons. The first time I felt a niggling sense of judgement in the phrase. This was based on the notion that there are intrinsically good versus bad motives. Wanting more money = bad motive. If I'm honest, wanting anything that wasn't solidly altruistic, even if it protected my sobriety was a bit of a challenge. Wanting to protect myself felt cowardly, wanting more money felt greedy, wanting a more interesting job felt selfish.

I had a flash yesterday when it occurred to me that the notion of "checking motives" was more self-exploratory than judgemental. If I take action without understanding my reasons or expectations then there is a good chance I'll be disappointed. Only by understanding why it is I make a choice can I properly evaluate the costs of such a choice. If I understand and am ready for the potential consequences, then I won't be in danger of building up resentments, self-pity, victimization, and a whole host of other icky feelings.

Or am I out to lunch? Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sometimes It's the Simple Things

This time last year I was deep into a month-long relapse. A few short weeks after cutting myself I was convinced that a glass or two of wine with dinner wouldn't cause any damage. What had happened that night would not be repeated. Of course. I'd learned. It didn't take long before I was drinking as much as I ever was. Some part of me tried to keep a handle on it and if my memory bears any relationship to the reality, there were more nights when I went to bed prior to getting horribly drunk. But at base, I was still chasing the buzz as hard as I could - still seeking solace in the euphoria that comes from three glasses of anything alcoholic.

There was no grand gesture to my quitting. It only took a closed liquor store (okay, ten closed liquor stores) and the increasing sense that it was only a matter of time before I was gone. I'll be honest. I don't remember my last drink. I've heard people say that if you can't remember your last drink, then you haven't had it yet. I disagree. Somewhat respectfully... I will never forget my bottom. That was a dramatic topple from a precipice I didn't even realize I was standing on. The relapse and the slips produced no such drama. Those drinks were largely forgettable.

Anyway, I've been thinking alot about words. How we try to find the right ones, say the right things, in the right tone of voice to spur people to action. To get them to really see what we see. To have understanding. We look for grand gestures. And while my own grand gesture finally led me to the sense that enough was, in fact, and finally, enough, there was one small thing that, like a grain of sand in your shoe, continued to eat away at me and contributed to my sobriety.

I have a friend. I really love him. I met him when I moved to Canada and for some reason he made me feel valued. It was as if he could not see what I saw when I looked in the mirror, and yet that he saw me all the same. It's difficult to explain; usually when friends or co-workers saw positive qualities in me, I accepted that on the surface, but at base felt like I'd tricked them by hiding my worst qualities. In this case I wasn't able to partition it in the same way. Anyway, for a six month period near the end of my drinking we would frequently cross paths on our way to work in the morning. I always looked forward to seeing him, but most days was near staggering from the hangovers, so I also felt deep shame. I wanted to be the person he saw because some part of me knew that I was that person. Seeing him each time slowly broke down my resistence to change. It gave me a reason to get sober.

And it was a small, not a grand, thing. And it made all the difference, because now when I look in the mirror I can see what he could see back then. Thanks J.

Monday, July 18, 2011

How Free Do You Want to Be?

As I typed the title of my post, I found myself wondering if I've already used that title...hmm. I guess I'll find out when the URL is created, because honestly, I'm too lazy to check.

In the back-and-forth I've been living with for the past several months, I've often thought about whether I'm putting my sobriety first. Because I haven't picked up that first drink at any point over the past ten months, I figured I was doing okay. I told myself I was putting it first. In the past few days I've realized something fairly essential - there is a massive difference between putting my physical sobriety first and putting my emotional sobriety first. While I have been focused on my emotional sobriety, I have not given it over. I have not thought about my life in terms of basic bottom lines. Any "handing over" I've done have had terms attached.

Where this relates to my marriage, I was unable to come to a conclusion about what to do next because I was not able to truly let go of outcomes. The last time I nearly felt ready to leave, I simply could not do it because I could not figure out what I would do with our dog. (dog??? Believe me, I know!) I could not imagine a life where I did not see my kids every day. I could not take responsibility for the pain I would cause my family.

Once again, I felt like I jsut had to swallow my own pain. Deal with it. Push it down. It didn't matter.

It was only internal disintegration caused by the dramatic disconnect between what I KNOW is right for me and what I was doing. I was saying, "It's okay," even when it wasn't, and I was telling my inner voice to take a hike. Very much like when I was drinking, or in the depths of my eating disorder. Telling your inner spirit to shut up is very painful. I felt myself sinking.

To see this, I had to get to the point where I was willing to go to any lengths. For me, this means that regardless of outcome, I must be true to me.

This may seem selfish. Believe me, in the middle of the night I question myself. But at base, I want my own daughters to honor their inner voice, to live with integrity. I can't teach them to do this if I don't have it to give away. So, (I say to my HP) bring it on. I want to be free. And I'm finally ready to accept whatever it takes to get there.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

This is Gonna Hurt Like Hell

I haven't listened to Sarah Mclachan in years, but yesterday the lyrics to this song appeared in my mind fully formed. This hursts. It hurts because I don't think he understands how I feel, it hurts because I feel like I don't have the right words (if only I could say it perfectly there would be clear understanding = false), it hurts because I don't know what happens next.

What doesn't hurt is knowing that I spoke my truth. I have been over and over and over this in my mind. I have prayed and meditated and read. I have tried to alter my feelings, I have tried to accept my feelings, I have pretended it was okay. For me (and only for me), I cannot live freely in a relationship with alcohol in it. For my entire life, nearly every relationship has been defined by alcohol. I think there is a near 50/50 split between my own drinking and the consumption of others. In order to protect my own sobriety, I must be vigorously honest - by that I don't mean that I'm afraid I'll drink - I must own my feelings. I cannot live a lie anymore - I've already wasted too much time.

I want to thank all of you for your comments. Your support helps me to feel strong enough to carry on. To go through, instead of trying to go around. I need that strength now and so appreciate everything you've said.

Friday, July 15, 2011

I Want Cherry

I've been thinking quite a lot about difficult decisions lately. Despite the raw, unavoidable difficulty involved in deciding what to do about my marriage, I caused myself far more pain in trying to rush to a solution. Instead of listening to and affirming the quiet voice within, I tried to come up with a solution that was not based on the facts.

That probably doesn't make sense. Easier to speak from an analogy.

When my kids want to have a sugary snack, we list of the options available. For example, "you can have chocolate ice cream or two cookies." Inevitably, one of them will say, "but I want cherry ice cream." They say this even though they know we don't have any cherry ice cream. They get upset and frustrated, even though it was never listed as an option.

Life is like that too. I want a happy, sober marriage. I am afraid of handling this alone, sharing the kids, working out the disagreements. I am afraid of how I will feel about the loss, once it finally happens. I don't want this. I want cherry for fuck sakes.

Given the actual choices I do have: stay as it is. leave because I can't stay, the decision really was fairly simple. It did not seem that way over the course of the last several months though. I felt like I had to figure it out - I had to create complex mathematical formulaes to determine whether he'd quit, whether I could learn to live with it, whether I could compromise without compromising myself. I also felt like I needed to make a choice NOW.

From this vantage point - an honest assessment and decision were simple to make. Before, I just wasn't ready to accept things as they were. However, the pain of the past few months has taught me incredible lessons...when I figure out what they are I'll let you know.

I'm not entirely sure what I'm trying to say at this point. This is all very raw. The writing may suffer, but I'll keep putting it out there.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dharma & Greg

Although I'm embarrassed to admit that I used to watch this show, there is one episode that came to mind last night. In it, Dharma decides to run for office. When she ends up lying in order to compete she starts to get sick. Each day a different issue arises so that by the end she's huched over, with a sinus cold and puffy, watery eye. The only way out of her phsycial manifestations is to be honest.

I find it incredibly difficult to speak from my heart when I'm not happy about how I'm feeling. There are times in life where we are squeezed because we want something contradictory. I want my marriage to remain intact. I want my husband to stop drinking. I want an open and honest relationship. However, as yet, he does not want to stop. I have tried to crush my concerns so that I can have what I want (if I'm not bothered by the drinking I can have a happy marriage). Whether my feelings are wrong or right is irrelevant. Attempts to crush them leads to pain and hurt. I'm essentially telling myself that my feelings don't matter. The thought of my marriage disintigrating is also painful.

I finally had the painful conversation last night. I hadn't intended to, to be honest. However, I am not sure how much longer I could have continued to absorb the physiological symptoms of my silence, but I was getting close to a breaking point anyway. It was hard. Hard to admit that I would rather give up my marriage and address the collateral damage from that, than to continue to deny my own feelings of alienation and loneliness to preserve it.

But no matter how much I try to rationalize and change my own mind about my feelings on this issue, I just cannot. I don't want to wait until I'm any sicker myself. I guess it comes down to the choice to the "honest and thorough" instead of continuing to live a lie.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I threw out my back yesterday. Interesting story: I shrugged my shoulders (in a totally calm fashion), causing shooting pain from the top of my neck to the bottom of my shoulder blade. The pain was intense. So I took a muscle relaxer with Ibprofin (muscle relaxers are over the counter in Canada, so I really didn't give it a second thought).

While the medication did help with the pain, it did nothing for my spirit. I felt out of whack, spacey, and at some remove from the world around me. Additionally, I was so nauseous I could barely eat anything. What surprised me about this was how distasteful it was to me. I used to feel that way all the time, right? I used to actively seek it out and lean into that

Well, not the nauseous part.

But the rest of it.

Instead of feeling like I had a "good excuse" to space out, I spent the rest of the day counting down the hours it would take for the drug to leave my system. It made me realize how far I've come in the past ten months and for that I'm grateful. Today, although my neck is still killing me, I'm very happy I'm not in space cadet land. I'm so glad I don't have to live that way anymore. And I am also thankful that the pain is manageable without the muscle relaxer.

Still need to figure out why I'm able to injure myself while doing next to nothing~!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Judgmental Much?

It seems that the more time I spend sober, the more annoying I find drinkers. In the beginning my irritation was a self-protective measure, designed to keep me convinced that I shouldn't drink, that I didn't need it, that I could make it through another day without it. Last year, whenever I was around someone who was drinking, I would mentally participate. The romance of the buzz was still very strong and I fantasized heavily about the relief I believed I found each time I had a drink or ten. By re-factoring this thinking I was able to resist the pull - I am a very talented judgmental bitch. It's a natural gift. And it did get me through, even though I realize it's not a trait I want to develop further.

I thought this judgmentalism would lessen over time, but instead I find myself continuing to wonder why it is so important for grown adults to make themselves stupid to have a good time. I KNOW this is judgmental. I get that. I also have not forgotten that less than a year ago it would have been me. I also understand that this type of thinking leads to resentment and other negative feelings I don't really need to add onto my plate.

There is a big "festival" going on in my city right now. It's used as an opportunity for all-day and all-night drinking under the guise of "networking" and "client appreciation." I don't find myself wishing that I could participate in the drinking, but I do find myself remembering how I used to view it. In previous years I would always look forward to it - I loved that the rules relaxed and I suddenly wasn't the only one drinking at lunch on a Tuesday. I used it as an excuse to drink more and promoted the party atmosphere. Now that I'm not drinking, I kind of wonder what the point is.

I am thankful I don't feel the pull to drink. What I do need to keep in check is the desire to view those who imbibe with a bitchy sense of superiority. I guess all I can say is that I'm working on it.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Today No One Stays With an Alcoholic

Or, at least that seemed to be the consensus in my AA group. We were discussing the Chapter "To the Wives" and someone said that no one sticks around anymore the way they did in the "olden days." I was quite astonished to hear this, because I continue to sit here night after night, staying in a marriage to someone who continues to believe they do not have a drinking problem. 

There is one thing I do keep coming back to, and it's this: "I didn't get sober so that I could watch you drink." In fact, for a long time I drank so that I wouldn't see it. And yet...I continue to sit there, hoping things will change. Night, after ever loving night. It's wearing me down now. I can see that it's affecting the rest of my life - my concentration is shot, my sleeping is interrupted, and there is a fist in my stomach that just doesn't go away anymore. Very little has changed in the last six months (the moment I hit bottom with the drinking), and even less has changed in the past two months after our last conversation about his drinking.

I've always hated that Chapter by the way. It is so sexist. The one element I never noticed before this meeting was that the description in the first four pages completely describes how it feels to live with someone in active addiction. In my previous readings I'd never noticed that before. I want to copy it out and pass it along to anyone and everyone I meet who lives with someone else's addiction.

I've struggled for a long time with this. I've tried to keep my marriage out of the blog, fearing that I would regret the disclosure. The thing is (and I do know I've already said this) I simply cannot do it. I did not get sober so that I could live with an active alcoholic. I was up half the night last night thinking about this issue. I am sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. I need to figure out a path out of this marriage. The very idea of it feels terrifying. I just don't think I can put a Chinese wall between my recovery (which I openly discuss) and my issues with my marriage. So it may not be fair, and it definitely means I'll never appear on CNN, but it's the only way I can see to continue to take steps forward.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

I'm Back

I was planning to write and schedule posts during my absence, but the time got away from me and I wasn't able to think of anything to write. The time away was good in many ways - I had a chance to relax because there really was nothing to do. It was difficult in other ways, as it was the first time in a long time that I've spent any amount of time with my in-laws. It will take some time to process.

In the meantime, I wanted to let you all know that I'll be back to writing more regularly. I've really missed it. It's time to re-focus and make the time because this space is so essential to my sobriety.
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