Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Cue the Rolling Stones. This morning, D and I slept in--well, D slept in, and I woke up early to study because it's finals week in the graduate school world. He woke up when one of his co-workers called to remind him about the pot luck lunch that was happening today at his job, to which he was supposed to bring a relatively substantial dish.
When he informed me of the imminent need to cook something, I went into freak out mode. I have more studying to do today than any day this week, and I was incredibly concerned that any time devoted to buying ingredients, cooking a dish, and/or driving to D's place of business to drop it off would absolutely kill my study plans and cause me to crash and burn on my exam on Friday. (Perhaps this is a bit of an exaggeration, but I was annoyed, to say the very least.) D was, of course, non-plussed and took more of the attitude that things would get done when they got done and everything would work out fine. I'm not sure why I'm always suspicious of this attitude, even though it's pretty much always right.
So I spent most of the morning fretting--what if I didn't finish this outline, or that study guide? How was I going to have time to cook and read that chapter? Why was D so careless to forget this when he knew how precious my time was this week? Should I put my foot down and tell him that I could not do this, that what I needed was to sit down and do nothing but study all afternoon without stopping (even though, to be honest, I would much rather just spend some quality time relaxing with him)? That plan was what seemed best--to simply tell D that I would have to hunker down and couldn't help. I was *this close* to saying it when D asked me to let him give me a neck massage. And then take the dog out with him. And then go to the store and cook the dish and take it to work and have some lunch. When the neck massage started and we left the house, I was almost livid--both at D, for ruining my study plans for the day, and at myself, for not asking for what I needed. But then something magical happened--on the drive to the grocery, D and I got to talk and laugh and spend a little time together. Then he quizzed me on a few questions while we cooked. On the drive to his work, we relaxed together a bit more. We enjoyed our lunch. And by the time we got home, several hours of lost studying time later, I was relaxed and comfortable and no longer irritable, and sat down to knock out some of the most productive work I've had all week.
I know I say it to myself over and over again, but sometimes I think I just need a reminder that things do tend to work out, and letting go and doing what I want can actually be exactly what I need after all.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
I'm going to put this out there--I have issues with friendship. Seeing my past through the lens of my present life (that is, at least somewhat through a lens of recovery), I realize that a lot of the issues I've had with friends over the years have arisen from how some pretty ridiculous codependent tendencies. I never would have said so at the time. I always thought that my self-sacrificing, caring, tag-a-long ways were an asset--I could be counted upon, I could listen like a champ, I could pick you up from a bar and pay your tab and drive you home only to have you forget to pay me back. Multiple times. (Wait--I did mention I was terribly, blindly codependent, right?)
And so, looking back on my so-called "best friends" through the years, I realize just how f***ed-up some of those relationships really were. My best friend in high school and into college was someone I thought would be there for me forever. Until the day I called to invite her to my birthday party, and she informed me that she had moved months ago and thought my birthday had already happened (without bothering to call, mind you). At that point, I realized that I had been giving much more than my fair share to the relationship and getting nothing in return. Of course, I realize now that a great deal of that problem was my own failure to set boundaries, my own inability to ask for what I needed, and my own introvertedness preventing me from seeing that there were lots of other people with whom I could spend my time. The person with whom I became close next is still a very good friend to me, but even then, I can see now that I was always giving a little more than I got. Not that my friend L was a bad friend, but she was very needy--a trait that my inner codie couldn't help but love. And so the pattern went, with me getting close to someone who turned out to drain me in some way, whether financially, physically, or emotionally.
I mention this because D and I were having fun discussing our friends a few days ago, and I realized that the person I would currently call my best friend (a lovely lady that I'll call Sue) is none of the things that I have found in best friends past. Sue is supportive and kind and caring. She calls me when she has problems (but does not expect me to fix them all for her), and is open for me when I have problems. Just last week, she came with me to an awards night because she was truly pleased that I had done well on a recent assignment. More than that, I feel that I am capable of doing things with her and for her without over-extending myself or drifting into dangerous codie territory. She is the best friend I have always wanted and never found, and I am incredibly grateful to have had her stumble into my life.
The cool thing about it is that I knew Sue was an amazing, wonderful friend before this--but only the other day in our discussion did I realize that I probably wouldn't have been able to have this friendship without a little solid recovery under my belt. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I'm sure something in my Helpful, Fix-it nature probably would have either allowed even this friendship to become unhealthy or would have just kept me from forming such a bond so quickly and easily. And that is just another reason, this Thanksgiving week, that I am so grateful for this blog, the people who read it, and all the other awesome recovery resources I've found since I started it.
Happy Thanksgiving, all! May you be pleasantly stuffed and may the tryptophan kick in before anyone mentions the healthcare debate (or maybe that's just my family--oh,well). :-D
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Over the course of the past month or so, I have slowly realized that I am beginning to reach a new stage in life. More and more each week, I am realizing just how sick and tired I am of dealing with sex addiction--not necessarily D's addiction in particular, nor his recovery or our recovery or my recovery individually--just the whole topic. I have gradually grown weary of focusing so much time and energy on this "thing" that was once such a central issue in my life. I am ready in many ways to simply move on from what has happened in our past, but I find myself at a loss to explain how best to do so. It's an interesting conundrum.
At first, I was a little scared of the idea of this change (how very codependent of me) because I was concerned that being ready to move on meant that I didn't want to face my own reality. After all, if I just start acting like none of this ever happened, won't it all just happen again? Wasn't that what got me into trouble in the first place, ignoring all the bad things that were going on for the sake of keeping the peace? But I don't think that's it, really--I still react to things like D's computer use and phone as I did before, and check in as I feel is necessary. But in this readiness to move forward beyond SA I feel like (without any major impetus or conscious decision on my part) I am suddenly more ok with the idea that I do not have to police D's behavior, and with the knowledge that I will be ok whether he does or does not act out in the future.
Part of me also worries that I'm deluding myself--isn't recovery a life-long process that requires going to meetings and/or counseling forever to stay healthy? Is it possible for people to simply move on and use what they've learned on a daily basis, gradually detaching from the stringent programs that helped them get well like a drug addict weaning off meds? I suppose many people would disagree with me, but I feel like I've been integrating my program much more into my daily life, and the more I do so the less I feel the need to utilize the same resources I desperately required in the early stages of this process. Witness this: D and I are taking a trip next spring on our own, and when we booked the tickets my first fear was that my mother would somehow be upset--upset that we weren't taking her, upset that we would be gone during a time that other family members will be in town, etc. Luckily, while the guilty feeling in my stomach didn't go away immediately, my brain kicked into gear and reminded me that I am an adult, allowed to take a trip if I so choose without having to worry about others' responses or happiness. It was a liberating feeling to utilize a healthy behavior so quickly and naturally--I didn't think I had it in me. And yet, there it was right when I needed it.
And so I find myself at a crossroads, more interested in the solution--in practicing my spirituality, in taking care of myself, etc.--than the problem, and it's a little scary to find myself turning my back on something that has always seemed like a hulking monster barely kept at bay with my utmost effort. I worry that maybe this is dangerous, that I will lull myself into comfort and complacency only to get burned again, but it just feels so darn right that I can't help but run with it.
I'd be interested to hear if anyone else out there has had this experience of just not wanting to think/hear/feel about SA any more (in a good way). What thoughts have you, world?
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
The good news: after careful review of the phone records, I realized there was nothing there that D hadn't already told me about, with the exception of a mass text that he sent on Saturday night to a bunch of people (including me) that simply said "Hello, how are you doing?"
The bad news: due to the insane nature of yesterday (long story--it involved an intense amount of work to be done by me and the added fun of putting together a pretty extensive last-minute work project for him, which was finished and uploaded to a 24 hour copy shop at around 1:00 this morning) I didn't really get a chance to bring up the idea that we should set boundaries around how to avoid a situation like this in the future, and to establish/make clear my own boundaries around his drinking and other behavior. Now resolved to do that tonight and to insist that it gets done.
The good news: The friends that D went out with on Monday night confirmed that everything had been very fine and normal, that he didn't seem intoxicated at all, and that there were no issues with women. So it seems that he was telling the truth after all.
The bad news (or, considering my own recovery, perhaps good news): That still doesn't change the fact that I feel like I trusted him to know his limits and he violated that trust. It may have all been just a mistake, like he said, but it doesn't change how I felt about the situation.
The good news: Assuming there really have been no phone issues, today marks one year sobriety for D. And while we (quite obviously) still have a lot of issues to continue working through, that fact is still pretty darn cool when I consider how differently we both probably would have handled this situation a year ago.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
D made plans to go out with friends last night for Margarita Monday at a local Mexican place. Originally he kept asking if I wanted to go or if I would drive or whatnot, but then he came home last night explaining that a his friend J had just broken up with his girlfriend, so they were going to make it a guys' night. No problem, I needed to get some work done anyway. He promises to be careful, to be responsible, because he has to finish a work project when he comes home anyway.
He got home around midnight, laid down on the couch for 5 minutes, and then proceeded to spend the next hour or two going back and forth to the bathroom to throw up. I left and slept in the guest room because I was so angry I almost couldn't breathe, but I didn't want to explode right then and there. This morning we discussed what happened--and he claimed that he was totally in control all night, had only had 4 drinks--it was just that since he hasn't had anything to drink in the past year his tolerance is much lower than he expected. He wasn't impaired to drive, he just all of a sudden got home and felt sick. He was, of course, upset when I expressed my disappointment in the whole situation.
I basically told him that what upset me was not the drinking--or even the driving, though I had a hard time believing that he was totally fine to drive if he was that sick afterward. My problem was that I trusted him to go out with friends--without me, even though when he made his relapse plan he originally said that he thought only drinking when I was around was a good idea--I trusted him to go out, be responsible, and do what he said he'd do. Especially since he made a big show out of talking about the need to be responsible. Instead, he comes home piss drunk, having spent money he said he wouldn't buying his friend's food and drinks. And if I can't trust him to do the simple task of doing what he said he would at the beginning of the night, then how am I supposed to trust that he can go out and not flirt with other women? Not text other women? Not relapse? In short, I trusted him to do the right thing and instead he put himself in a very dangerous situation, both recovery-wise and not.
His response was to admit that he made a mistake as far as the drinking--he misjudged what he could take and he paid for that. But he wasn't impaired and he took precautions to make sure nothing sexually inappropriate happened throughout the night, even talking about me first thing when a woman came up to the table. He was upset that, as he put it, I saw him as "broken," as someone with a sexual disease, and that those were the first things I thought of when he was sick over the toilet.
My problem now--I asked him this morning what he thought we should do about it, and he didn't really answer. When he gets home tonight, I'm going to outline the possibilities that work within my boundaries--but the even bigger issue is this: the whole time he was talking this morning, I felt very much like I did when he was in active addiction and making up very convincing stories. I have no real reason not to believe what he said about the night--but I don't. Or rather, I believe what he said about the night was true, but there's something in the defensiveness that puts me on edge and thinks that something else is going on behind the scenes, even if it has nothing to do with last night. And so, being the horrible codie I am, I checked the phone records for the first time in almost a year today. And of course, there are lots of things that are highly questionable, especially from the last couple of days. So now tonight I have to figure out if he's relapsing with his phone, or even just relapsing in terms of being incredibly secretive, but either way it's messed up. I'm so tired of his attitude that just because he's done with his mandatory counseling, he's free of addiction. Like he never has to worry about it again, it's never going to be a problem. It scares me that he might so easily fall back into thinking the way he used to, even though not a month ago he promised so many beautiful things.
Empty promises are the worst thing in the world, especially when you realize you might have been a sucker enough to believe them.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Last night I had a wake up call about my own very real need to stay involved in recovery even though D is finished with his counseling, etc. D went over to a friend's house to watch a game (a very dear friend, with whom I'm also close) and I stayed home to study. He left when he said he would, came home when he said he would, had a lovely time, etc. I got a little work done and then accidentally fell asleep on the couch until he walked back in the door. Oops, but oh well. Nothing so much to speak of.
The "problem" arose when I asked if D wanted a snack or anything before bed, and said no, he had had some chips and a beer at friend's house. One beer. One beer not out a bar or in a restaurant or on his own but in the home of a very close friend who is responsible and caring and fabulous. The problem? When D made his relapse plan several weeks ago, one of his listed plans to avoid any relapse problem was to only drink if I was with him. When he made the rule, I suggested that I wouldn't mind him drinking with certain friends, in certain situations, but he was the one who was adamant that if he made this rule this way, it would prevent any loopholes that could cause problems.
So when he came home and had one beer, I yelled and screamed and got angry and basically completely lost all good progress I could have made had I simply stated the problem and asked to discuss it. The big mistakes: first of all, I broke every single HALT rule--I was exhausted, had been alone studying all night, and hadn't had much to eat. Then I got mad at myself first and foremost because I felt like, given the situation, this shouldn't be a big deal. Just one beer. But that was denying my feelings. Instead of just putting it out there, I brooded because I worried about what he would think or if he would get mad. Essentially I did all the things that I have worked oh-so-hard to correct over the course of my recovery (keeping to my boundaries, speaking up if there's a problem, staying calm, etc. etc. etc.)
Today I apologized and we agreed to have a brief discussion on the matter when he gets home from work, but it doesn't change the fact that I feel like since he's been out of counseling, I've been the one to relapse. Just goes to show that staying well is something that should always be in my focus--it's just too easy to fall back to where I used to be.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
After my last, rather depressing post, I thought I'd post some things that remind of the fact that there remains good in the world, even when things get crummy.
We finished D's probation last week and had a fabulous weekend that involved doing several of the things we haven't done for the past year--including a night out at our favorite restaurant with friends and a glass of wine. It was lovely and just what I needed to get my mind off of all of the funeral-related festivities of the previous few days. Today was our first Thursday that we didn't have to worry about leaving work/school early, driving to PO appointments or class, etc. It feels normal, which is nice.
I was reminded that good things do come out of even the worst of situations--while the reasons were unpleasant, it was wonderful to have my entire extended family all in one place last weekend. We really are a wonderful, fun, loving group, and the love and support we hold for each other is obvious and real, for which I am incredibly grateful.
Finally, I was privileged enough to attend a community meeting at a local clinic/shelter for the homeless, alcoholics, addicts, etc. The organization was linked up with my school as a volunteer opportunity, and for our first visit we were given a tour of the facility (which includes a detox center, homeless shelter, soup kitchen, and long-term housing for addicts in the process of recovery) and a chance to sit in on a community AA meeting. I was nervous at first, since the place was in a not-so-fabulous area of town, but the men in the meeting were incredible--welcoming, open, humble, grateful for their chance at recovery. The peer mentor who showed us around was an incredible person who shared his story of being addicted to almost every drug possible from the age of 15, entered the center at 18 and spent 10 months going through the rigorous life and demands placed on those who would commit to complete recovery through this center--the men and women who choose to stay are given free food and basic housing for the entirety of their stay--as long as it takes to work through the 12 steps. Most have a wait of 2-3 months before they can even begin step work, not only because of the motivational track they are first put through to ensure their commitment to sobriety but because there are so many people involved. He was so grateful for his newfound life that he chose to stay and work, helping others through the program while he returned to school to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor. It was a beautiful reminder of just how awesome recovery is, and of just how similar seemingly completely different people can be. At the end of the community meeting, we were invited to stand with the group as they said the serenity prayer, and it was truly a humbling and happy experience to join in.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I don't know what to write, so I'll simply write the truth.
My grandfather passed away. He was simply one of the single best people I've ever known, and watching as his ravaged body began to breathe more and more slowly and finally just stopped has left me with a hole in my heart that only he can really fill. The good part is that my entire family--all of his children, their spouses, my grandmother, and me--was there with him to the end, cheering him on.
The infection had just spread too much--there was simply nothing more to do. We all felt it was best to just remove the medications except for pain control. He was more peaceful throughout the entire day than he has been in the past few, and looked comfortable even as he passed. Yet still, when it came down to it, my grandmother--the strongest woman I have ever seen, who spoke to him throughout the day to tell him it would all be fine, whose voice didn't even crack until the very end--broke down and wept. She broke my heart more than anything else. She is bereft--her best friend and husband of almost sixty years, gone after this incredibly exhausting struggle.
The most painful thing was knowing that just a week ago, when the infection came back after a few weeks of relief, he looked at my mom and told her, "I was almost there." He was so close to being able to just go home. That was everyone's greatest regret. He hadn't been home in several months, between different hospitals and rehab facilities, and it was his single greatest wish. All he wanted was to be able to go home, and he never got to.
And yet. Yesterday, when it was finally over, I texted D to let him know. My phone has a technology that allows it to predict words based on what numbers you punch in--and the message I typed was, "He's gone." The numbers that spell the word "gone" are 4663. Incidentally, the first word that the phone recognized--spelled with the same numbers in the same order--was "home." He's home. He's finally home, free of all this pain and disease and fear and frustration, and I truly believe (as he did, so simply and passionately) that he is in a much, much better place, and that he is truly happy.
That's what gets me through, but it still hurts like hell.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
D promised to me today, in the car, on the way to his polygraph appointment (he has to complete and pass a poly in order to finish his probation) that he had disclosed everything to me, and that he had been sober since he said he had been sober (11 months yesterday). He promised that he had been honest throughout the past year and had nothing to hide going into the polygraph.
He passed the test. Thursday is his official last day of probation.
On the way home, he promised me that on Friday, his first act in being probation-free will be to take me to the city (which is across state lines, and had for the past two years been verboten without express permission from the PO) to eat dinner wherever I want.
For the first time in longer than I can think, I actually believe that he will keep his promises.
As I told him last Thursday, I do not believe he will never relapse--and he didn't promise that. I do, however, expect that if he does relapse, he will tell me in a reasonable amount of time--and he promised to do so. As of now, though with the honest understanding that anything could change at any moment, I believe that he will keep that promise, too.
I'm also making some promises to myself. I promise that I will never again allow someone to treat me in a way that is unacceptable. I promise to stand up for myself when my gut tells me something is amiss, and not to sit back and accept obvious lies even if they are comforting. I promise that I will be strong enough to set clear boundaries and keep them (fyi: anything illegal is a Deal Breaker, acting out with a real live person is a Deal Breaker). I promise to keep working on me, and to remember just how far I (and we) have come if things seem over my head. I promise to be myself, take care of myself, and love myself as much as possible. And most of all, I promise to believe I can keep those promises.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Today, I feel strong.
I spoke up for myself yesterday and set clear boundaries surrounding D's relapse plan and our continuing relationship post-probation.
I paid my bills and am carrying no credit card debt.
I started pre-studying for when classes begin next week, and I feel ahead of the game and ready to go.
I think I might finally be getting the hang of what this whole "self-care" thing really means.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
As of tomorrow, we officially have one week left in D's probation. Part of me is thrilled. We have survived this mess not only intact, but stronger, both individually and together thanks to the recovery it sparked over the past year. D has almost a year's sobriety. We will finally be able to travel where we want, when we want, without asking permission weeks in advance. We will be more financially stable, not having to spend significant money each week for his mandatory counseling classes and the gas it takes to get there (as to the PO meetings). I no longer have to stress over D's requirement to turn down the occasional glass of wine at a dinner party or family gathering. We won't have to worry about him losing his job because of his need to leave work early once a week, and we won't have to spend the significant amount of time in the car each week worrying about arriving everywhere on time.
And yet. We won't have to take so much time out of our week to drive--but we won't get that awesome few hours in the car alone together to just talk. We won't have to pay for counseling, but we won't have the impetus to have open, honest conversation about our progress in recovery and any issues we're having. We have made a lot of amazing progress in the past year, and now...what happens next? This feels like such a huge turning point, such a wonderful occasion, and yet I feel some trepidation as I wait for the next week to pass.
I know that next Friday will most likely come without fanfare, and that life will probably continue just fine. But there comes with this new, exciting, progress-laden change just that--change. I feel like I have become comfortable with the status quo over the past 2 1/2 years. 2 years, spent dealing with the probation requirements and the counseling and the homework and the driving. It feels odd that it will just...end. And with that strange new sense that comes with change, comes just a little bit of fear. It's not fear because something bad might happen--it's just fear that this will be new again. I have always hated change. Change has usually been very, very bad in my life.
And so as we head into this last, frightening, exciting, wonderful/terrible week, here's hoping that this change--as seems very probable--will be a good one. That we will ride off into the proverbial sunset, if not to a world free of addiction and its ravages, at least to one where we (and especially I) can take each day as it comes, accept what I cannot change, and continue every day to work on the bettering of me.
Or maybe the world will just explode next Friday. You never know. :-)
Friday, August 14, 2009
Yesterday evening, D and I made the trek to his counseling class for what was almost the last time. He has two weeks to go--two more classes, one more PO visit, and then we are "off paper." For the next two weeks, he is focusing on finalizing his relapse plan. As we were driving home, he offered up of his own accord that he thought we should sit down and write out the final version together, so that I could be involved in knowing exactly what the plan was so that I could help him remain accountable after the end of his class. I was thrilled with this idea, not least because it shows just how far we have come to feel comfortable being that open and vulnerable with each other. In the past, D was never comfortable talking to me about what he was going through, and in my codependent state I did not have strong enough boundaries or confidence to say things like "I want X as we move forward." At least, not without making it a controlling, demanding set-up for a fight.
Yet as we drove home, he offered up that he was a little scared about all the new things that were coming. He asked if I would help him avoid his biggest triggers by disconnecting any computer he has in the future (his has been on lock-down for the past year) from the capability of getting on the internet. And I was able to tell him that, while I thought that was a great idea, I needed any computer he has in the future to be a new one--the old one is just too triggering for me, too symbolic of all the crap that has gone on in the past.
With all this honesty and communication going on, everything seemed to be going just swimmingly, but the biggest sign of progress that I noted was my own response later that evening--everything we had discussed earlier had centered around him--writing out his relapse plan, me helping him stay sober, etc--when really, the biggest changes that I have seen in me have come through my own recovery and focusing more on myself. And so I resolved to make my own "relapse plan" of sorts, and when we sit down to discuss his, to include my own recovery goals and plans for the future. After all--it really is the combination of our individual recovery efforts that has contributed so much to our current (and, with the help of our HPs, future) success as a couple.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
I recently took a Myers-Briggs personality test, which is supposed to be one of the more accurate ways of describing one's personality type. The test involved a ridiculous number of questions, but at the end, the description I got was SO spot on it was scary. There are 16 MB personality types, consisting of 4 different categories: E or I (extrovered or introverted), N or S (intuitive or sensing), F or T (feeling or thinking), and J or P (judging or perception). I'm an ISFJ, and as I read the description, not only did it fit my personality EXACTLY, it also showed in full light a lot of codie behavior and a lot of issues that I have (see: People Pleasing and Difficulty Expressing Emotions). I'd be interested if any other codies out there were ISFJs, too.
Monday, August 3, 2009
There are several things I want to write about today, but each would take so long that I doubt I will be able to get them out. Instead, I'll start with snippets and expand them, perhaps, in the next few days.
- D went running with one of his good friends last night. We have been concerned for some time that V might have some tendencies toward alcoholism, which were recently highlighted when he got a DUI. He is currently taking mandatory alcohol classes and nonchalantly mentioned last night that on the "tolerance scale" he completed in class, his tolerance was an extremely high number--which means he has a very low/easy trigger for alcoholism. D and I both worry about the way he brushes these things off. The bigger feelings I have surrounding the situation, however, is that I can't help but get this nudge every time V is around or brings up alcohol that D should share some of his story with V. I haven't mentioned it to D yet, because I'm not sure how comfortable he would be sharing anything with anyone, but if the nudging keeps up I will have to eventually. My gut is almost never wrong.
- I have recently begun delving (somewhat unwillingly) into the issues I have surrounding my mother. I love my mom. She is a fantastic woman who raised my family extremely well and has never been anything but supportive, loving, and caring. But yet there is something about her that makes both my sister and I absolutely terrified of making her angry and/or disappointed. We are both incredibly concerned with keeping her happy, and I'm honestly not sure where that reaction comes from, other than an innate codependent sense that I can control my own environment by controlling everyone else's feelings. I have conquered a lot of this response with other people in my life--especially with D--but when it comes to my mother my automatic response is to do whatever it takes to make her happy at the expense of almost anyone else, including myself, my friends, other family, D. I know it's a bad thing, I know it's a huge roadblock on my recovery path, but it happens like a reflex. And figuring out why it happens and how to solve the problem is going to be a huge, huge hurdle.
- In addition to my mom, I am working on figuring out what boundaries I want to set surrounding the end of D's probation and counseling. We have had some great communication surrounding this recently, but I am trying to work on writing down a few things so that they become more concrete.
- I'm getting ready to go back to school in a few weeks and currently experiencing those mixed feelings of excited anticipation of all the new things that will be coming and dread that the summer is coming to a close.
- The birthday party Friday was a blast--I am incredibly glad I went, as I got to catch up with good friends and relax and just generally enjoy a beautiful afternoon with good company. My fears that D would be upset about my going were unfounded; he got home not long before I did that evening and was excited to hear about the goings-on in our old town. Just another little thing that marks the progression of recovery.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
A good friend of mine, who lives a couple hours away and whom I see very little, recently sent me an e-mail inviting me to join her soon for her birthday party. My initial response was an enthusiastic Of Course! I Can't Wait!, but almost as soon as I'd typed the words I erased them. Not because I changed my mind, or didn't want to go, or realized some urgent plans that had already been made that day--simply because D couldn't go and I needed to check with him first. Now, it's certainly not a bad thing to check with my husband in order to ensure that there is nothing important in our respective lives on the date in question that I am forgetting, prior to sending my RSVP. I think, however, it is probably a bad thing that the main reasons behind my desire to check-in with him before committing are fear of him being angry that I'm gone, and worry that he will act out either as a result of that anger or a result of being all alone on a Friday night.
This is where my people-pleasing is at its worst--in these gut reactions to simple things, like invitations to birthday parties. In my effort to please others and thereby control them and my environment (because if I can keep D happy, of course, he won't act out and I won't have to deal with all that craziness) I have once again discounted myself. This kind of thing used to happen all the time, and cost me some friendships along with my sanity. Luckily, now I have my recovery tools and while those deep-seated fears haven't exactly gone away, I can at least remind myself (again) that I cannot control D's reactions. It is not my job to ensure his happiness 100% of the time, and even if he is alone and/or angry about my absence, he is perfectly capable to drawing on his own recovery tools to get through it. I can leave him to his Higher Power and focus on--gasp!--me. And if I focus on me, and self-care, and what I really want to do, the answer to her question comes easily.
Of course! I can't wait!
Thursday, July 23, 2009
This week has been a bit of an onslaught, trigger-wise. I managed--with the help of this blog, my recovery toolbox, my HP, and some other select friends--to ride the wave on Tuesday night and come out better for it. I didn't have a meltdown, didn't freak out about what anyone else was feeling, managed to keep the Need To Please (and appease) in check. And then came Wednesday.
Background story: For D's birthday, I (along with other family and friends) went in purchasing him a new video game system. He's wanted one for a while, especially for the social aspect of playing with his friends, so he was thrilled. The system came with a game he hadn't played before, and we've both actually really enjoyed it so far. Even I'll admit that it's a little difficult to put down once you get into it. This past weekend, D spent an inordinate amount of time playing the game, which frustrated me because I felt like we didn't see each other much as a result. We discussed my feelings about it and basically agreed that while the game itself wasn't an issue, we'd both be careful not to spend quite so much time with it as opposed to with each other.
Last night started out well--D got home from work pretty early, he played for a little while while I made dinner, and then we ate together and watched tv for a while (including the presidential address, which was really important for me). Once the press conference was over, he asked if it was alright with me if he played for just a little bit more before bed. I had no problem with it, figuring that we typically go to bed at the same time each night and he'd play for a brief while and then bedtime would commence as usual.
But then the system locked up and he needed some extra time to just get to the end of something he was trying to do. And then he was almost there, and would have been done half an hour ago if this one thing hadn't gotten screwed up, so just a bit more. Come midnight (a good 1 1/2 hours after we usually head to bed), I got up and went to the bedroom. I mentally filed my actions under self-care, telling myself that I needed to take care of me no matter what he chose and that it was his own business and problem if he was tired at work the next day from staying up too late. But then the brooding began, and I have to admit, I was incredibly annoyed and angry about his actions. Hadn't we just discussed not letting things go too far with this stupid game? Wasn't it ridiculous to stay up way past your normal bedtime, sacrificing self-care in lieu of some new quest? This was absolutely outrageous!
As I lay there in bed stewing away, I asked my HP to help me let go of this stupid situation, to help me remember that his choices were his choices, etc. But what I couldn't figure out for the longest time was exactly why this whole situation was so bothersome to me--until it hit me. I was letting my codie get the best of me (again). When that happens, there's almost always a trigger of some sort happening, so I set out trying to put my finger on what was so triggering about this whole scenario. What I eventually figured out was that I was not annoyed by the fact that D was staying up late. I was not even really annoyed with the fact that he was playing his game, because we had had a good compromise earlier and spent plenty of good quality time together earlier in the evening. What was really the problem was that his behavior was reminding me of how he used to use his computer when he was acting out.
When D was in active addiction, he would stay on the computer late into the night, even though I begged, borrowed, and pleaded for him to come to bed. Back then, I would struggle to stay awake with him, going so far as to get on a different computer in a different room to talk to him on IM, just to keep my eyes open. I'm not sure why I thought I needed to stay up with him--perhaps out of fear that he would be angry, perhaps because I wanted to know exactly when he came to bed--but I know that it was an incredibly self-destructive behavior. And now, this whole video game thing was frightening me, because it felt very similar to the old computer days when D would stay up til 3 in the morning looking at porn and chatting with various women online. I was scared that he was unable to put the game down and come to bed (a replacement addiction?), but more than that I was experiencing a visceral sort of fear that was simply a throw-back to those times when I knew in my gut that his words of "yes, I'll come to bed in just a minute" meant nothing but a long, sleepless night for me. I knew, then, that something was Not Right, and this video game thing was so similar that it was putting me through similar reactions even though the situation was different.
It's kind of like when you're a kid, and you eat macaroni and cheese the same day you happen to get the flu, and you end up throwing up the macaroni and cheese the whole rest of the night. You just can't bring yourself to eat macaroni and cheese for a long, long time after that without wanting to run to a toilet. This situation was similar enough to those old scenarios that my mind had that same gagging sensation in response. The good news: I was able to recognize that I wasn't really sick. There was no flu this time, and I didn't need to stock up for a week of illness. I was even able to explain the passing sensation to D, and we can both now work toward a solution wherein I either avoid mac-n-cheese or work my way back up to eating it again.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I am struggling a little tonight with the conflict that arises when I know my inner codie is acting up--I am aware of the cycle's beginnings, can see the horrible patterns of thinking starting up--but nothing I am doing currently is helping to stem the tide. And so I write, hoping to sort out the craziness on "paper" before it boils over. (Wow. How's that for enough metaphors in one paragraph.)
D is upset tonight. He is tired from working two 12-13 hour days in a row, cranky from not having any time to just relax, sick of feeling like he has to please and take care of everyone else to the exclusion of himself. He is irritable and frustrated and unpleasant, and has been a little short-tempered in his ranting about it. Of course, the codie who lives in my head immediately decided to poke her nose out to see what was causing so much noise.
What? she says. Someone's upset? What part did I play and what must I do so that no one is mad or upset with me? D informed me that part of his frustration stems from the fact that after getting home late from work the past two nights, he has had no time to do something just for him--although last night I met him at the door (practically) with dinner and we spent the evening watching TV together and snuggling like we have done many nights so far this summer, to his delight. What's different? she wants to know. Why was last night's routine of snuggling and TV watching not ok when it has been fine on many other occasions? Did I do something different? Are you withdrawing? Is something wrong? Did something happen? Do I need to go away so you can be happy? What can I do to fix your mood?
Whoa. Slow down there, sister.
I know--I have read so many times in so many recovery resources--that I am NOT responsible for D's (or anyone else's) feelings. I cannot control the fact that he is angry, upset, or irritable. I am not responsible for "making him happy." I am responsible for me, and my feelings, and my actions/reactions. I can leave him to his higher power and trust in mine to take care of me. But the fact that I know these things in principle does not make the codie go away. My ultimate Need To Please keeps me wondering what to do to diffuse the situation. The answer, of course is nothing, and so I will simply keep repeating the Serenity Prayer to myself--that I must accept that I cannot change his mood or do much of anything different in terms of our daily schedule, that the only thing I can change is my attitude toward the situation, and I will commit myself to doing so (or at the very least, faking it til I make it).
Friday, July 17, 2009
This wasn't on my list of things I'm currently making an effort to journal about, but I ran across this quote today and it so perfectly resonated with my efforts to seek spirituality (especially in recovery) that I just had to share.
"Spirituality is not about perfection; it is about connection. The way of the spiritual life begins where we are NOW in the mess of our lives. Accepting the reality of our broken, flawed lives is the beginning of spirituality not because the spiritual life will remove our flaws but because we LET GO of seeking perfection and, instead, seek God, the one who is present in the tangledness of our lives. Spirituality is not about being fixed; it is about God's being present in the mess of our unfixedness."
- Michael Yaconelli from the book "Messy Spirituality"
I was so touched by this description of accepting our flaws, letting go of a search for perfection, and seeking God (or a Higher Power) in the mess of my life. I was raised in the church my entire life, but found the dogma and stringent requirements extremely difficult to balance with my worldview. When I began recovery in earnest, I began striving to find a new sort of faith that would allow me to connect with God on terms that were more my own, and less dictated by two thousand years of bureaucracy. I feel like I have developed a wonderful relationship with my God as I walk this path and work on myself, but I still find myself struggling--daily--with the idea of letting go and/or needing to chase perfection. If I fail to be gentle with myself, if I find myself attempting to control everyone and everything around me, surely I must be failing not only in my recovery efforts but spiritually, since I am supposed to be more reliant on God in those situations and less on myself. Instead, this quote reminds me that being a mess, being broken and flawed and imperfect is not only acceptable but inevitable, and that seeking God is much more important than seeking perfection in myself--and thank God for that, because I am pretty much perfectly imperfect.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
We (more than) survived a lovely week of vacation in a beautiful place. It was glorious to wake up every morning when we wanted and do whatever we wanted--reading, lounging by a pool, walking on the beach. I so love the beach--every time I go, I feel renewed. As I sat watching the waves as the sun sank on our final night, I felt (as I do each time) that some small part of my life--the vacation, the past year, or something greater, perhaps--was drawing to a close, and something new and exciting was waiting just over that horizon. The beach, for me, is possibility personified. More than New Year's, it represents a new beginning.
I have been keeping up with blogs and recovery stuff sporadically while I was gone, but now that I'm back and feeling all new and potential-filled, I have ideas for several posts roiling around in my head. Some upcoming attractions:
- My relationship with my mother, or "possibly the most difficult hurdle in my search for serenity"
- Setting boundaries as we approach the end of D's probation
- Communication issues
- To share or not to share
- The perennial issue of my inner codie control freak
Be back soon.
Friday, July 3, 2009
My grandfather is doing better, though still not out of the woods yet. On Monday, we were all legitimately concerned that he wasn't going to make it, and today things are definitely looking at up at the least. Now I am heading out for a week of vacation, and looking forward to some rest and good times with family. I'll probably not be posting much this week, but I'll be sure to catch up when we return! Happy 4th of July!
Monday, June 29, 2009
My mind is swirling with ideas of death lately. My dearly beloved grandfather, champion of my childhood, kindest person I've ever known, who performed my christening and my wedding ceremony, has been ill for several weeks now. He has been in and out of the hospital, and every time something seems to improve, something else starts to fall apart. He is currently being kept sedated and having a little difficulty breathing as he fights off yet another infection. The majority of my family is on vacation, and D and I are supposed to meet them on Saturday--which leaves me in town to drive my grandmother around and sit with her at the hospital during the day. It is painful to watch as they both struggle--he with getting well, she with the possibilities of what may happen. It is painful to think of the idea that he will probably not come home as doctors discuss the idea of placing him on a ventilator, and it is hard to balance keeping my family up to date vs. keeping their vacation as worry-free as possible.
I came home from the hospital this afternoon grateful for the chance to recharge, but even more so for the fact that things I have learned in my recovery are guiding me through this experience. Before, I would probably have been panicking by now, but today I am simply focused on the fact that what will happen, will happen, and I must accept that I cannot change that. Part of me wants to skip through this nasty stage and either hurry to a point where he is better or to the point that his death is past and we can move on from this waiting game--but through recovery, I know that all I can do is be here, where I am, and all I can do is all I can do both for myself and my family.
I am--we are--taking things one day at a time. And that fact is as great a gift of recovery as any.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
As a follow-up, our anniversary was lovely. We exchanged gifts, played a board game (which I gave to D--he loves board games), and went out to a lovely dinner. We drove around shopping (fantasizing) for expensive cars we can't afford and talking a lot about where we are and where we've come and where we're going--perhaps to a future where I can drive a BMW, perhaps not, but certainly to a future I look forward to. Sometimes I am so amazed by this gift we have found in remaking ourselves and our relationship that I can't fully grasp it.
Sometimes it is easy to look past all the little things, the tiny everyday experiences that are so utterly changed since we both started recovery. This past week, since those lovely anniversary conversations, I have noticed more and I am practically brimming over with gratitude. It really is just the tiniest, silliest things that make the biggest differences and are the lasting mark of health in our lives--things like the fact that D is on time to work every day. In active addiction, he was late everywhere he went, usually because he could not physically pry himself away from his computer without great effort. Now we are on time--even early--almost everywhere we go. Things like the fact that I was able to communicate my needs about household chores, and D agreed, and I am committed to working on loosening my expectations about other people's timelines in exchange for a little mental health and relaxation for myself. On Monday, D came home from work and with no complaint we went outside together and did yard work. The grass is still tall and un-mowed because my dad wanted to take us out to dinner, but it will get done and I am ok with its imperfection for the moment. Things like the fact that I haven't checked the phone records in months and have no urge to do so.
Life is not perfect. I still have my moments (lots of them) of codie craziness, and I still battle with my incessant need for control and perfection, but those feelings seem to have taken a backseat position instead of hogging the wheel all the time. At the very least, when they pop up I am (mostly) able to talk myself back out of them long enough to tell someone, and I have a best friend in D who understands and can often help me see reason. It is moments like these when--though I cannot say I am happy about going through this pain of addiction--I am so, so thankful for everything we have gone through that has brought me to this point.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
We are celebrating our first wedding anniversary today. It's not actually our anniversary--that's later in the week--but since we are both off work today we are taking the time to go out to a nice dinner tonight and be together all day.
It's been a good year. Last September I wasn't sure if we would make it. Today I could not be happier about the results of almost 9 months of recovery and the people we are both becoming. It hasn't been easy--in fact, at times it has been maddening--but I look at where we are today and I am grateful for everything that has happened, for the relationship we are building that is finally the one I thought we would have from the beginning. I am grateful for my higher power who has helped me become the person I envisioned myself to be.
Happy anniversary to us.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
It's a lazy Saturday morning, D is at work, and I am sitting around in bed thinking about various things. First on the list: gifts. Next weekend marks our first wedding anniversary, and the day after will be 9 months of sobriety for D. This past year has been one of the craziest of our lives, but also one of the best, because it has brought us so much closer and happier and saner since we started our roads of recovery back in September. I want to get him something more than just a book or a game like I would for a typical birthday or Christmas. Additionally, not two weeks later is D's birthday, and buying gifts in succession like that has never been my forte. I'm currently trying to conspire with my family and his family for all of us to chip in on a larger present that I know he'll enjoy--a new game system. He loves video games and has especially gotten into them since he no longer uses a home computer for entertainment. We'll see how that one works out.
Other thoughts: I am currently working on improving my communication skills, including being a better listener, but also (and more importantly for my own recovery) being less afraid to voice my wants and needs--even if they might make someone else upset. One of the most pressing issues where this particular point has become a problem lately is the area of household chores. I do them. Honestly, I do most things around the house--grocery shop, cook, clean, vacuum, pick things up, laundry, mow the lawn, do the yardwork. I do them, mainly because if I don't they simply don't get done in a timely fashion. It isn't entirely D's fault--when you work 60-80 hours a week like he has been lately, there just isn't much time when you get home at 8:00 at night to do things like this. What has become more and more annoying, however, is the fact that when D does have free time--on the weekend or when he has a day off--he wants that time to be free time for him to do what he wants. On the whole, I don't have a problem with that idea, since he works much more than I do and therefore has much less time to himself, but I am becoming frustrated by the fact that when I have time off, I do the work, even if I don't feel like it at the moment. I do it because the lawn cannot go another day without being mowed due to impending rain, or because there is no more clean underwear available without my doing the laundry, or because my anal-retentive self just cannot stomach the dog fur on the floor for one more second. D always tells me he will help and do things, that I should sit down and rest and he will get to it later--but later just doesn't happen as fast as I want it to, and so I end up doing everything anyway.
Seeing this pattern, I realize that part of the problem is my own expectations--I define when his "later" should be, and when his definition doesn't meet my expectations, I give up on the idea and my codie self just takes charge. On the other hand, he is also (for the most part) unaware of my needs in this area because I have not been good about communicating them. And so that is my goal for today--to communicate the fact that I need him to help out a little more so that I am not stuck doing everything, and to accept that just because he may not do everything to my standards does not mean he cannot do it all just fine.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
You know it's a good day when you find a pair of shoes you've been eyeing forever for 1/5 of their normal price at a discount store.
For those who may not know (read: everyone), I am obsessed with the quest for the perfect shoes. I'm on my feet a lot, have horrible joints, and generally resign myself to the idea of wearing tennis shoes with dress pants if I'm ever going to live to the age of 50 without a hip replacement. Enter Cole Haan, which has teamed up with Nike to make some heels. Like the bastard child of comfort and beauty, they are a fabulous pair of shoes that look like your typical high heel, but feel like a running shoe when you put them on. Seriously, this was a pair of shoes I was planning on splurging on when I got my first "real-life" paycheck after I graduate from grad school and have a real job--and rather than paying the upwards of almost $300 they're charging at the department store, I paid $50. I think I'll wear them around for the rest of forever.
Friday, June 5, 2009
Wow, I haven't written since when?? Oops. Things got uber-busy the past few weeks.
The drug test situation ended up working out fine, as I knew in my heart of hearts it would--D got hold of the office, spoke with the appropriate people, and got it rescheduled for a day when he is normally able to leave work early with no problems. I took away from this situation a deeper realization of my need to trust my HP and leave D's stuff for D to worry about. Which is nice, because when I have such realizations, I usually do a lot better not only in those scenarios, but in others as well. Right now I'm focusing more on communication (my biggest weakness) and spirituality--making meditation time more of a priority. Recovery is going well, and a beautiful thing. I think one of the greatest gifts I have taken from my recovery thus far is the fact that there are still very rough times (see previous posts)--but they seem to pass so much more quickly now, rather than being a source of obsessive worry for so long. It's easier now to remind myself that the hard times will pass just as the good ones do.
The reason for the lack of posting has been that my littlest sibling graduated from high school a week (or so) ago, and I was called in to help support the family in all of the craziness that accompanied the final week--including, but not limited to: awards day, awards night, other sibling's other graduation from tech school, littlest sibling's birthday, graduation, and graduation party. Then, the day after all that finally wrapped up, I started my internship and have been busy with that all week this week. Good news: I love the job so far. I was nervous at first, unsure of my exact responsibility and requirements, but now things are feeling very natural and I feel like I'm doing a good job. I'm learning a lot, and I enjoy my days (which fly by!)--it's nice to experience the feeling of something being right, being something I was meant to do. I feel empowered when I come home each day, and I can't wait to actually work in this field in another short while. I'm also able to get up when D does, which gives me extra time to get ready, relax, eat breakfast, meditate, etc. before leaving, which makes me feel more balanced overall, and I get home at a decent hour with time to spend on my own and with D in the evening.
Wishing you all a happy weekend and a positive start to the summer!
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
I've felt much better the past couple of days--we got home very late on Sunday ad things worked out where D didn't have to come pick me up from the airport, which alleviated a great deal of stress. I'm still dealing with some residual fear about the fact that he has not yet reached his PO to discuss the "mandatory" drug test that is supposed to take place Wednesday, but to which he cannot go because, since Monday was a holiday, his company will not let anyone leave early any day this week. This whole situation is scary because if he can't get hold of the office today, and he cannot go to the appointment tomorrow, I worry that they will consider him in violation of his probation, when for the past 9 months he has so perfectly followed every minute detail of his terms.
And yet as I sit here thinking about it and allowing myself to wallow in fear and doubt and trepidation about the future, I realize that I am focusing solely on him and what is going on with his recovery and how he will deal with this situation and wanting to check in and make sure he has called the office this morning--etc. I made a promise to myself, back when I really got serious about my own recovery, that I would stop that. That I would focus on me. That I would let go of the things I couldn't control. This is certainly something I can't control, but all this weekend that thought alone has been unsatisfying. This morning, however, a stopover at MPJ's blog led to some insight about some of the other meanings of the oft-repeated recovery phrase, "Let go and Let God." I think the one she described that hit home the most for me was, "Let go of fear and let God soothe." I cannot control this situation, but that very fact only makes me more afraid of it. What I need to do today is let go of this fear and allow God to take care of not only the situation, but also of me.
Friday, May 22, 2009
I am sitting in a hotel room in a tiny, tiny town far away from home--and far away from anything, awaiting my cousin's wedding tomorrow. Some of the family is here or arriving tomorrow, but I am on my own tonight because D could not come along and my mom and sister do not arrive until tomorrow. The place we are all staying is very small and has frustratingly little to do or see. I am tired, out of my normal time zone, my joints ache from the plane ride and I am annoyed that I was essentially forced into coming here and stewing in anger and frustration at the whole scenario.
Add to this the fact that late Thursday evening my mother sprung on me the idea that D would need to pick me up from the airport on Sunday when we return because she' not sure everyone's luggage will fit in her car on the way home. Not that this seems like a big deal, except that the airport we flew through is in a neighboring state, and D is not allowed to cross state lines without permission from his PO. Which left him Friday to try to call and get hold of someone to give him permission. No one returned his call, and now I am even more angry and frustrated because of all the poor planning that now leads to an incredibly difficult situation--the decision of either a) coming up with some story about why D can't pick me up and either forcing my family to cram us and our luggage into one car against their wishes, b) coming up with a story and trying to find a friend to pick me up, or c) having D technically break his probation and then call first thing Tuesday morning to explain and "get permission."
Oh--also, D randomly got a letter in the mail on Thursday evening informing him of a mandatory drug test with his probation department (which is 2 hours away from our home) the following Wednesday--a test that was in no way mentioned by the PO at the last meeting (in which he was very congenial and simply said he'd see us in a month) and a test that falls on a day that the PO knows full well that D cannot ask off work without two weeks' notice. While random drug/alcohol screens are not outside the realm of possibility for the terms of his probation, he has not had to have one except the initial test they gave when he began this process 9 1/2 months ago, so it is doubly frustrating to have them pull this now, in a week where he cannot ask off work (because of the holiday weekend) and when there is no one answering the phone until the day before he is supposed to show up (and, if history repeats itself, no one will probably answer Tuesday either unless he calls multiple times, which is difficult to do at work).
As though I wasn't stressed about this trip already. Now I am a giant ball of AAGGGGHHHHH!!!!! waiting to escape.
I am trying to keep a positive attitude. I know that these things are--all of them--beyond my control. I know that nothing I can do will change things, and that they will work out one way or the other. I know that focusing on everything that seems to be going wrong only makes it worse and I know that I tend to blow little problems majorly out of proportion. I know these things intellectually, but I cannot seem to find a way to commit them to myself in a real way. I am going to bed recounting to myself the good things that I have going right now, thanking my HP for them, and asking for help for tomorrow--and hopefully, when I wake up in the morning, HP will have worked some magic...because that's what it feels like it will take for me to warp out of this funk.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
I am going out of town this weekend for a wedding. I'll be leaving Friday, coming home Sunday. I don't really want to go, because D can't go with, but it's a family thing and I essentially don't have the choice. Setting boundaries is hardest with my family.
If it was just the wedding, I honestly don't mind going. I mean, I hate to be somewhere with music and dancing and have no one to dance with, but I can handle that part. The main reason I don't want to go is because it leaves D alone for the entire weekend, which is a huge trigger for him. When he gets lonely, angry, frustrated, tired, and feels powerless in a situation--these are his biggest triggers, and each of them will be exacerbated by this trip. He feels angry and frustrated that I was basically made to go and did not stand up for myself better, but powerless because there is nothing he can do to change it. And of course, without me there, he will probably be lonely and of course there will be times when he is tired. It's just one big ball of triggers. And so I am scared that I will leave and he will not set up enough activities or things to do to prevent something from happening. I know that he has plans for Saturday--he works that morning, and has a friend's graduation party to attend in the afternoon. But I'm still scared. I am trying desperately to let go of my fear and repeating to myself over and over that I cannot control what happens to him, but as of now it's not helping much.
I see the progress he has made, hear him talk to his PO about making changes to his underlying thought processes rather than just stopping behaviors, and I feel encouraged. It's just that it will be so easy to pick up the phone on Saturday night or Sunday afternoon and find an old number to text or call--and so my brain is running rampant with the theoretical possibilities, even as I try to convince it that theory is not reality.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
My mom purchased some new living room furniture recently and had it delivered this past Saturday, which meant that D and I "inherited" a new couch, recliner, and chest. They were all welcome additions, as our living room was woefully lacking in seating, and now our sunroom has a place to sit as well. With the new additions, however, we also found the motivation to rearrange our living room furniture and put up the sunroom decorations that have been languishing in storage since we bought this house a year ago. We both commented on how much more "homey" our house feels now--more inviting and real, rather than continuing to look like a randomly-arranged college apartment.
We celebrated by having a few good friends over and grilling out so as to utilize the porch and sunroom, playing board games, and watching a movie. It was the first weekend since D started his new job (which means it was the first weekend in almost a year that he was actually home both days of the weekend), and it was a wonderful way to kick it off. We both looked at each other when everyone left and pointed out that this was the kind of weekend we envisioned when we bought a house.
It's strange the things that make me feel satisfied and accomplished in life, but if a little rearranged hand-me-down furniture does the trick, I'll take it and smile.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Today is one of those days when I have to remind myself how much happier I am when I don't try to control everyone's life. Some days it comes so much easier than others and unfortunately I don't think I get an easy day today.
I don't know what made me do it, because I wasn't feeling suspicious or angry or really anything at all the other night, but a couple nights ago I did the old codie-check of D's phone and found a couple of texts he'd sent to a (girl) friend discussing a trip she wanted to take to France to go mountain biking. Nothing strange or odd--I know this girl, she's a very old friend of D's, and this is something she'd want to do. Until the one where he said something about the beaches being awkward. And then she replied that nude beaches were gross. And then he said something about topless ones not being so bad but old men in speedos being gross. (Cue freakout here.)
I confronted him about it immediately, and pretty calmly too actually. I just asked him what was up with it, showed him the message. He said that it wasn't anything, that he had just been joking with her about the gross old men in speedos, hadn't meant anything by anything. I asked him about it again this morning because it's been niggling around in the back of my head and bugging me since then, wondering if he really, really could have said something like that without even one iota of him meaning it in a suggestive way. He still claims it was nothing. I still don't feel satisfied. Maybe he really was just saying that it wouldn't be bad for her, as a girl. Maybe it was just a harmless joke and I'm overreacting. But I don't know, and that's the rub. Now I'm struggling with the fine line between maintaining my boundaries and not trying to control him and his recovery.
I need to just learn to quit with the super-spy work.
Friday, April 24, 2009
My online COSA group has lately been having a lot of meetings that center on perfection--talking about the fact that many in the groups are perfectionists to the extent that it hurts us, causes us to pick apart our every waking moment and find all that is wrong with it, then feel ashamed that we aren't doing better. Couldn't sum me up much better--I am a total perfectionist, and it has often brought me to really bad places when I turn that magnifying glass on myself.
In conjunction with the perfection topic, another recent meeting focused on something similar, but far more difficult--loving ourselves. Rethinking "perfection" as accepting who we are and where we are right now. And in a recent meeting this spread into a topic of listing 5 things you liked about yourself. Now for me, the ultimate perfectionist, I have an incredibly easy time telling you every single thing that's wrong with me--my flaws, imperfections, problems, qualities I lack. Coming up with 5 things I like was actually more of a challenge than I thought it would be...but here they are.
- I love my eyes. I love their color, their depth, and I think they really are (more than for others) a window to my soul.
- I love my intelligence and the places it's taking me.
- I love my athleticism and the fact that I can still do a lot of my old moves.
- I love the attitude I get when I dress up in heels and mascara and walk confidently into a room--for whatever reason.
- I love the part of me that is developing into a more confident and content person.
It is so warm today that I'm not going to waste one more minute sitting inside on a computer--heading out to the deck for some sunshine. Happy Friday, everyone!
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
We are waiting today to find out if D will get the promotion he interviewed for yesterday. Every time the phone rings both of us are jumpy. This is his third shot since February, and he is nervous because the past two times he has been told that he had the best qualifications, the best interview, but he was not offered the position. Each time this has happened, my heart breaks for him because he is trying so hard--it's one of the most significantly noticable changes that have taken place in him since he started recovery. He is on time, motivated, hard working, and brilliantly creative--and has turned each previous rejection into a way for him to improve so that he has a better shot next time. I know that things will work out the way they are meant to, but I can't help but hope that this is his shot--not only for us (because we could use the extra money) but for him--to give him a sense that all this hard work is not for nothing.
Friday, April 17, 2009
I read an e-mail from my online COSA group last night that outlined the topic of an upcoming meeting. The discussion was going to be based on staying in the moment and appreciating the present for what it is, even if we are unsatisfied--to be at peace with the idea that at every moment, we are exactly where we need to be right then.
I have for a long time had issues with this concept--I am, at my heart, a planner. I plan things in my head eons in advance and have been known amongst certain circles as a "list goddess." My life has been meticulously crafted in these lists and plans and ideas for as long as I can remember. I would sit in high school making lists of all the colleges I was applying to and all the scholarships I needed to finish and what homework was due on what day. In college, I made lists of volunteer work that I had done and research projects that I was pursuing in order to apply to graduate school. When I planned my wedding, I had lists on lists on lists of everything--caterer's options, things to be done that week, guests, gifts, thank you notes written, appointments. Even now, I have a plan for pretty much exactly what will happen to me as I journey through grad school, what steps need to be taken in which years in order to apply for positions at the end. I plan for "what will I do on Saturday" with as much voracity as I worry about "what will happen to D and I in the future." I didn't really think about it until yesterday, but I tend to live in the future. A lot.
Today, I am grateful for the opportunity to wake up a little and enjoy exactly where I am. I have so much to be grateful for right here, right now, after all. Today, I am in a good place. I am working on myself and seeing progress. I spoke up last night about my feelings without beating around the bush and D and I had a legitimate dialogue that left us both satisfied, so I am grateful for where I am, and where we are in our recovery as a couple. D is sober and happy. The sun has finally come out and warm weather looks like it is here to stay. I am working away like the good little research assistant I am, and I am deeply, deeply satisfied with my work. Every day that I pursue this career I am more sure of its rightness for me. I feel with utmost conviction that that e-mail was right--with no worries about what tomorrow has in store, I am, right now, exactly where I need to be.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
As of today, D has the opportunity to "throw" for a promotion within his company. He has applied for, interviewed for, and been rejected for such a promotion twice now. He is more optimistic about his chances for this one because the manager for this particular department knows him, they get along well, and she has spoken very highly of him in the past.
The past two promotions he applied for seemed perfect fits--down to the fact that at the first one, the manager wanted D to take "admin days" every Thursday where he would be able to leave early. This was incredibly advantageous because Thursday is the day when, each week, D goes to his counseling class and (every other week) his PO appointments. His current job allows him to customize his schedule and work weekend days in exchange for Thursdays. This promotion, however, may not allow him to take off Thursdays. He's pretty sure that going to his specific class on Thursday is a non-negotiable part of his probation, and so he is discouraged that he may not be able to take a position that could be offered, thus black-listing himself for future promotions in the company. He has decided to speak to the manager about the possibility before interviewing, but I know he is still worried (and I am, too) about all the possible negative outcomes. And so, we are praying for the positives and the peace to accept whatever comes, but I would ask that anyone out there send their prayers, positive thoughts, good karma, etc. his way (our way), because letting go of the future is still one of the hardest things to do.
I've been feeling suspicious the last couple of days. It's not because of anything that's happened, necessarily, it's just there. I've been trying to be introspective and figure out what feelings are behind this, but I'm having trouble, so of course I turn to writing to see if there's anything lurking in my brain that my subconscious is hiding from me but that my fingers might unwittingly be aware of.
Part of it, I think, is that things have been going well lately. Yes, you read that right, but remember I'm a crazy person--I think part of the discomfort I'm feeling is because I am not used to things going this well for this long without something being hidden beneath the surface, making it all a farce. If things feel good, there must be something terribly wrong going on that I just haven't brought to light yet. I don't know if this is true or not, but I think my brain almost doesn't know what to do without some form of upheaval or tension brewing. The sad thing is that I don't think anything sinister is happening, but I am having to use everything in my power to prevent myself from completely backsliding. I've been checking the e-mail more, recently. It makes me uncomfortable because I know that I will always find something if I look hard enough, even if nothing is there at all. The one good thing is that I've kept myself from checking the phone records, which are my biggest and baddest trigger.
I pray every morning and every night for help to let go, but in between my brain and my codie self remind me that if I am keeping on top of things and making sure D's recovery goes well, then no one else will and it will fail and things will spiral out of control and back into madness. Except it doesn't work that way--and the rational part of me remembers how poorly things go when I try to control everything. And so I take to simply repeating my newfound mantras in my head, over and over, until the fears and suspicions and compulsions are drowned out or go away--there are no what ifs, I cannot control others, I am a strong and valid person. Now if I could just convince myself it was all true, I'd be golden.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
And...another exam week has come and gone. Thank God that one's over. This was possibly the roughest two weeks of my graduate career--I studied more information in more detail and longer than I think I ever have, and it culminated with eight hours of exams on Friday. I have never in my life been physically tired from a test, even from the hardest ones--but yesterday and today I have slept like my life depended on it. Now I feel refreshed and--if not quite ready to go back to classes--at least no longer completely depressed about the idea of arriving nice and early tomorrow.
In between the long (and much needed) episodes of sleep, the weekend has managed to be extremely fun and productive. My school had a party for the graduate students after our exams Friday night, and D and I were both able to go and dance and enjoy ourselves for a bit. It was so pleasant--events like this are not D's thing, and in the past whenever I'd ask him to go he would agree but then (often) make my night completely unenjoyable because he clearly did not want to be there. He would purposely make us late, be visibly annoyed or upset, and I would inevitably let it ruin my evening. Friday night I was determined to utilize some of the tools I'm learning in recovery and have a good night for myself no matter what he did/said/felt/looked like. Keeping his mood from affecting mine, as it were, which is a big project for me right now. As it turned out, the evening was wonderful. I had a great time with my colleagues and enjoyed the night for myself. While D probably wasn't the most thrilled person in the world to be dressed up and introduced to dozens of people in a loud room, he was polite and enthusiastic and lovely, and the best part was I think I would have enjoyed myself even if he weren't (though it was certainly an added bonus).
Yesterday I took advantage of my study-free day and found some new professional-wear for my internship this summer (what I had was beginning to get too small or had moth holes). It's amazing what a good pencil skirt and heels can do for my mood. Tomorrow it's back to the grindstone, but for now I'm just going to sit back and enjoy my momentarily un-scheduled life.
Monday, March 30, 2009
An interesting situation arose for us on Saturday night. We went out with friends, had a lovely dinner and watched a movie at someone's home, enjoying the company and some homemade wine. Afterward, we ended up having to drive one of D's closest friends home because he'd had too much. I normally wouldn't have thought much of this--we've all been there at one point or another, and sometimes time gets away from you. However, there were several things said on the drive home that led both D and I to believe that our good friend V may be (or may be becoming) an alcoholic. D spent a great deal of the drive talking to V, and ended up trying to give some general advice without specifically mentioning addiction. As I sat in the backseat, it was more than a little uncomfortable to see D in a position I am all too familiar with--the helper/savior/friend who tries to reason an addict out of addictive behavior. Honestly, he did a pretty good job dealing with the situation, but it was incredibly hard for me not to just step in and scream that nothing he was saying would do any good if V doesn't want to stop drinking for himself. I asked D later to be careful--because I'd been there. I know now that helping is not always possible. And I don't want to see D get burned. And then I remembered the things I've been working on, and took a step back.
And so I sit back and remember that it's not my job to control anyone's behavior--D's with regard to SA, V's with regard to alcohol, or even D's with regard to helping/codependence. I'm finding more strength every day in working my own recovery, and so whatever happens to my friend I leave to my (and his) higher power (but any prayer/good thoughts/karma you might have to send his way would, of course, be appreciated).
Friday, March 27, 2009
It's raining here. It started a couple of days ago and is supposed to continue through the weekend, with more due later next week. It feels so good. I told a good friend the other day how excited I was that it was raining, and she looked at me like I was nuts. "But you hate rain!" she exclaimed.
That's not entirely true--I only hate rain sometimes. There's such a difference, you see, between winter rain and summer rain. This is the first good summer rain we've had this season. Winter rain is a slap in the face, the exclamation point at the end of the nasty weather sentence. I hate rain in the winter because I hate the cold. When it's cold, rain only makes it colder. It makes it impossible to ever get warm. You walk around outside for even a minute and your pants are soaked and it would take an inferno to get you thawed out. Rain in the winter also freezes and makes it hard to get anywhere. It's sinister, malevolent, and reminds me (who loves the heat) just how far I am from feeling comfortable and cozy and happy.
Summer rain is a different beast. I love summer. I love the heat and the long days and the flowers and the smell of cut grass. I love the beach and the pool, grilling out and stopping for ice cream. I even love the rain. Rain in the summer is fresh--it has purpose and potential, renewing the landscape and relieving the awful burden of heat and drought. Rain in the summer feels like relief. In the winter, rain makes everything so gray--in the summer and spring it seems to only make the greens even greener, colors brighter against the darker backdrop. It is benevolent and reminds me to slow down and just listen to the drops. It feels good as it splashes on my bare legs and flip-flops. It makes me feel alive.
This week has been the first summer rain of this season. Things are automatically turning greener, and that fabulous smell that just says "spring" is in the air. I can pop open my umbrella without shivering and there is so much potential in the air for the summer that it feels like the clouds are going to explode with it. It's a good, clean, content feeling.
I always feel my best in the summer. For this one, my plans are set and I feel like I'm moving forward in a lot of good ways. This year especially I am more than ready.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Just wanted to post that I got the internship I was hoping for for this summer! I'm very, very excited...I would post more details but just about anything I say about it would probably be unwise for anonymity's sake. Let's just say I'll be getting a lot of hands-on experience for my future career much earlier than I usually would and working with some really awesome people.
Monday, March 23, 2009
After my last post, I decided it was time to get my butt into gear and stop sitting around worrying about all my problems and actually do something about them. I went through my old e-mails and realized just how long it had been since I'd attended an online meeting. Reading through all of the "topic" emails, I realized how much even just reading those little topics gives me something to focus on and work toward for a week. I also signed onto the JWC for the first time in a long while, and it was like fate was waiting for me. A long time ago, several people on the SA Codies board had been discussing starting a group and working through the Recovery Nation program together. I had been interested, but in the absence of my computer and my general lack of participation over the past few months, I had all but forgotten about it. When I signed in, there was an invitation just waiting for me. I decided to give it a shot, and so far I've worked through the first couple of exercises. I think this is going to be an incredibly good thing for me--just reading through the introduction to the partner's program got me really excited, mainly because it felt like it was literally written for me and my situation and my very own personal issues.
The exercise the group is currently working on is a simple one, but far more difficult than I initially thought it would be. The idea is to create a vision for your life, in any aspects that you can imagine. To sit back and picture what values you used to have that drove your life and how you want to use those values in the future, how you want to put little things into practice to make your life the life you want. I've written a lot down about it, but keep going back and revising as I think more about who I am and what I want. It's the most liberating feeling--ever since D and I both started down this recovery road, I've been focusing on and off (or rather, trying to focus on, then forgetting, slipping, etc. and then trying to remember to focus) on the idea of "what I want." As the world's biggest people pleaser, this has never been easy, but writing it out this way is pretty empowering. It makes me feel much more directed and motivated and ready to tackle myself again.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Ugh. Here we are again. D had a PO appointment yesterday and I drove along, being on spring break and all. Usually when I go, I look at it as a rare opportunity to spend some quality time together in the car since it essentially takes all day, between driving to the PO's office (which is about 2 hours away from where we live now), then driving to his counseling class (which is an hour away from there), then home. Normally I rush out of class, skipping lectures sometimes to get home in time to leave with him. Yesterday, I was almost sick at the thought of going.
I'm not sure why I was so upset about it--maybe because the past several times I've gone, I've convinced myself that there's just no way I have time to go in to the meeting with D. I tell him each time that I'll have to use that time to study. Usually, he asks me to go in with him once we arrive and by then I accede, knowing that he values the support so much. The PO likes me, and likes when I come because he sees it as proof that D is establishing a support system and being held to honesty about what's happened in his past week, proof that we are tackling this problem together rather than (like on the last go-round) D just skipping along without tackling his problems at all. So I usually go in, but I don't usually think about it until right at the moment when it comes time to go in. I think that makes it easier because then I don't have time to concentrate so much on the fears--fear of being seen in the courthouse of my old city by someone who knows me, fear of the judgment that I'm sure people in the probation office make of me (the crazy wife who stayed with the sex addict, what an idiot/mental case she must be), fear of D being judged too harshly. Yesterday I was feeling all of those fears from the get-go.
D knew something was up because I cannot hide my feelings well. For once, I was up front about my feelings, but that of course upset him because he was actually feeling really good about the day, with nothing negative to report to the PO. We talked most of the way to the meeting about how lately I've just been feeling myself slip a little bit at a time. In general, things have been going really well--I'm on break, I feel refreshed and happy, life is good--but in between those things I have been cracking a bit. I have been negative, angry, reactive, and I have been falling back into that place where my worries and insecurities control me and I in turn become a control freak. The insecurities have been hanging on my back whispering sweet-nothings in my ear for a month or two now, and for the most part I've been ignoring their presence but it's building and getting harder. I've gotten frustrated with the lack of progress that's been going on for me--especially in light of D, who seems to be the model of progress lately. It's obvious that he has a new outlook on life, that his reactions and thought processes have legitimately changed from his old way of thinking. For a while, I felt that that was also true for me, but lately it's just been one step forward, two steps back.
He encouraged me to think positively, like he'd been trying to do. He gave some examples of things that have helped him change his thought processes. He saw into the heart of the problem and encouraged me to let go of all the fears that I live in daily and just live. I listened--but yet here I sit today feeling better but still not better. And I know that all of this craziness is really making life worse for me and for D, because it's starting to get to the point where I'm just acting out again, trying to control everyone and everything around me and freaking out if any tiny thing upsets the perfect balance of what I've put in place. I've tried praying, meditating, asking my higher power to help me let go of all this and find some means of crawling my way back to the peace I had a pretty good hand on a while back, but then the horrible negative thoughts creep their way back into my brain and here I am. I'm going to try going back to my online COSA meetings, which I'd been neglecting for a while because of workload, but maybe that's what I need to get myself straight again. At the very least, it can't hurt.