Friday, January 30, 2009

Snowed In

We've been living through the craziest winter storm in my living memory  for the past several days.  Snow, ice, more snow.  Thousands of people still don't have power 3 days after it went out--it's too cold for that.  I thank God more every day that we bought a house on a major street that gets turned on first.  School has been cancelled since Tuesday, but we're of course still responsible for all the material, so we've all essentially been studying like nutcases on our own all week, going crazy from the cabin fever and white nothingness outside our doors.  My dog doesn't even like going outside right now--the fluffy snow doesn't bother her, but she falls through the ice and slides.  There are trees down everywhere.  

All this combined has put me in a rough mood for the past few days.  I was just cranky and irritable and suspicious and all-around nasty sometimes.  That's when I thank God that even when I have terrible slips in attitude, D shows how much progress he's making by sitting down and talking it out with me, letting me be upset for no reason and patiently reasoning with me that we both need to step back and be more positive again.  So this morning I tried going back to my routine of prayer/meditation when I get up in the morning, and oh what a difference it has made today.  It's like the person I was for the past couple of days had forgotten the person I had been learning to be before that.  It's nice to relax a little more again and just do what I need to do--which, today, was get out of the house and do some shopping with my mom.  Tomorrow, going out for sushi with some friends.  

  • Today, I am grateful for my higher power for helping me get back on track, and for keeping me motivated to study all week rather than getting to next week and being completely overwhelmed with all the catching up that will have to be done.  

Friday, January 23, 2009

Grace in the Biggest of Small Things

Just one today, because it feels like the weather...impossibly sunny and warm in the midst of the cold and dark. 

1. Yesterday, at D's PO appointment, he turned to me completely unprompted and apologized for the disrespect he'd shown me with all of his crazy lies over the years, for insulting my intelligence by insinuating that I was stupid enough to believe them all.  

I cried.  

I think that counts for five. 

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Grace in Small Things

One of the other blogs I read recently had a post entitled "Grace in Small Things."  She had actually gotten the idea from someone else, I believe, but the idea is this:  to post, every day for 365 days, 5 small things that have graced her life that day or any day.  Trying to keep my life more positive and all, I loved the idea immediately.  I sincerely doubt I'll do it every day for 365, but it still seems like a good exercise.  So here are my 5 graces for the day.

1. Good friends who, like me, are content to spend an evening playing ridiculous games of Monopoly, laughing and talking and getting to know each other better. 

2. Weekend days of sleeping in and lounging around in bed. 

3. Interesting classes that reaffirm my love for my career.

4. Exceedingly warm, soft fuzzy sweaters. 

5. Good books that come back to me like old friends every time. 


I did it.  We talked.  And it went far, far better than I expected.  We actually used dialogue and "I" statements and came to a mutually satisfying conclusion.  That, in and of itself, is a huge thing, a testament to the little bit of  progress we've been making.  I feel more empowered to voice my mind, and I think D feels more comfortable with the level of honesty we need and are trying to use.  Now, on to the next day, and continuing to work on me and my responses so that next time, I can put the things we talked about into action. 

Friday, January 16, 2009

Rough Day

Today was tough, recovery-wise.  The past few weeks have been, as I wrote before, exceedingly peaceful around here.  I had felt very much on an even plane and could see small improvements in myself.  Today I had a rough time keeping all of that up.  It started last night--I couldn't go with D to his weekly counseling class.  On the Thursdays that I drive along, we tend to have good, productive talk time.  It's almost like being in the car for the hour it takes to get there gives us license to discuss the things we keep at bay around our home--how recovery is going, but also just generally what is happening in our lives that we have been too busy or unable to share.  I find that time to be very therapeutic, because often one of my greatest problems in this relationship has been my inability to express when I am having trouble.  I find it difficult to share when I am upset about something or annoyed or frustrated, mainly because (in true codie fashion) I am afraid of making other people upset.  I don't like to bring up my anger because I don't want others to be angry.  With D, this has expanded over the years into not wanting to bring up "tough subjects" because I worry that talking about them will upset him, and I don't want him to be angry or upset with me.  

Last night, when D was done with class, he did not talk about how things had gone.  Short, cursory answers only--they had discussed "dangerous situations."  No more, no less of a discussion, change of subject.  Knowing how we normally talk, I started worrying.  Worrying that the class had been difficult for him.  Worrying that he was putting himself in dangerous situations but might not be sharing that.  Worrying about the fact that he has been talking on the phone and texting more with people lately.  Worrying about what else might be going on.  Within 5 minutes, I was in full out crazy mode--checking the phone bills, figuring out how to handle the situation, stressing over the fact that he hadn't been to a meeting in a while...the works.  The rational voice in the back of my head pleaded for me to just let it go.  It was probably nothing.  It's not my job to play police, nor is it my job to force recovery to happen.  But the crazy person had taken over.  I managed to get calmed down enough to call D back and explain that I was having a bit of a freak out and why.  He explained everything--but it didn't make me feel better.  He was upset that I had stressed so much over him not sharing about class.  That I couldn't just let it be and had to remind him that things aren't normal.  

I was proud of one thing:  I had talked myself down from the edge of codiexplosion enough to actually call and express my need for some help, rather than just waiting and exploding irrationally when D got home.  For one thing, though, I was not proud, and that was for letting the subject get changed after D explained the texting and phone calls, attested that he was sober and proud of it.  Whether I believe him or not was not an issue--what was the issue was that I did not voice the most important of my feelings at the end of the episode.  What I wanted to say was that I knew that my freaking out made him uncomfortable.  I  know he doesn't like having to draw out conversations about his addiction/recovery.  I know that if he wants to keep things from class private, he has that right.  But what I wanted from him was the acknowledgment that my feelings are important to him, too.  I can't just pretend that the things he does don't freak me out sometimes.  I get triggered--perhaps irrationally, perhaps not--but it happens, and shoving the whole thing under a rug does nothing for me.  What I wanted to say was that I do freak out, and I'm sorry if it makes you uncomfortable, love, but I need you to acknowledge that it's ok and not without reason.  I need you to be willing to work with me so that the situation that triggered it doesn't happen again if we can help it.  I need you to affirm that this is tough for me and real for me and life is not all flowers and rainbows and unicorns just because we don't talk about the hard stuff every day.  Let me know that you are sober but you understand that it will take more than that, longer than this, for me to move beyond the insanely triggering moments.  Let me know that you will work with me and communicate with me and love me so that I can work on myself, and you can work on yourself, and together we can keep working on us.  

That's what I should have said.  That's what I wanted so badly to say.  But he had moved on to "cheerier" topics and if I interrupted them I worried that he would be upset and depressed and angry, and that those things might cause any problems (if there are any problems currently) to get worse.  I was a terrific codependent mess last night, and I struggled with that all day today.  I'm still not sure how to get it all out tonight, but I do know one thing--it has to be said.  I set my goal to work on me, and it is time to take a step and do something for me no matter what the consequences might be in terms of others' moods.  I am perfectly capable of being happy even if others aren't.  So maybe things will get tense, but it will pass, and I will be better for it in the long run.  

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Progress, thy name is peace.  I never thought this could really happen.  Fully expected it to be a massive failure of my worst character flaws.  But the more I practice a mindset of keeping myself even, peaceful, detached, and focused, the more I can see it actually working in my life.  I used to pray to my God to make D better, to help me fix our financial woes, to drop a magic bomb of happiness into my life and just overall make everything ok.  Many, many times...most times...I walked away frustrated.  Found another reason to stop believing and give up on the idea of improvement.  

A few weeks ago, I decided to start focusing on myself.  To really make an effort to let go of my problems.  For the first time, I prayed not for him or me to be fixed, but for help to just let go.  I am not good at letting go, but I asked anyway.  And for the past month, I have been doing pretty well and feeling much more at peace with everything.  And so I tried praying for help to begin--even to begin--letting go of my insecurities.  Of my worry of what everyone else thinks.  Of my finances.   Again, I wasn't sure what to expect...I didn't expect the same, almost magical transformation that I have heard others talk about, for sure.  But then unexpected money arrived.  A government stimulus check has given us the prospect of getting out of our debt much, much sooner than we could have hoped for and my student loan money arrived just on the day that all of the bills were due.  I did not have to worry about it.  I had not worried about it.  And it turned out more than just alright.  

Working on myself, I set a goal this week to try worrying even just the tiniest bit less what people thought of me.  Sitting with a study partner the other day, I received a compliment about my outfit.  At first, I was excited, but then I worried--this was just the sort of thing I wanted to avoid, wasn't it?  To base feeling good about myself simply on what someone else had said?  But then I realized that it was ok to feel good about a compliment--because I already felt great about how I looked that day.  I had not been worried that no one would like it, or would judge me because my pants were too short, or some such of my ridiculous insecure brain crap.  Granted, it's not much...but the recognition sure felt good.  

Today, I drove with D to his PO appointment.  We talked about how things had been going lately--for both of us.  I shared my previous two experiences, and how I felt like recently I have been much more at peace with the world.  Things that may have upset me have been--well, less upsetting than they might have been.  I have been much more steady in my mood.  I told him how I felt like my prayers were working, and how focusing on myself and not what other people thought was my goal.  He, surprised, shared that he had been working on the same thing, and agreed that he felt like he has had a much easier time--having fewer urges and temptations, things that used to make him angry at work were now just taken in stride.  Arguments that we had had were discussed, talked out, and resolved calmly and with respect for the other's point of view.  

I feel like even when things have been frustrating lately, I am discovering a deeper meaning of peace in my day to day life.  I have, for the past few weeks, been on a much more even keel.  Rather than riding the roller coaster, things have begun flattening out--the highs perhaps not so high, but the lows certainly not taking me nearly so low.  And really, that's about all I can ask for.  

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year Introspection

It's the new year, which of course means that it's time to look back on the old one and see what was and wasn't accomplished.  As a rule, I don't generally do New Year's Resolutions, and I didn't last year, but it's interesting to think back to what has gone on throughout the year nonetheless.  Last New Year's Eve, D and I spent the evening with a single friend watching our football team lose terribly.  We kissed at midnight and celebrated the fact that 2008 would be the year we got married.  D spent most of early 2008 interviewing for new jobs, finally got one and started his current position in the spring.  We lived apart for a few months, which was difficult for me.  I finished one step of my education and went crazy from wedding planning.  We bought our home, moved in, and I made efforts at decorating.  D spent far too much time on his computer.  We got married, had a lovely honeymoon, and came home to settle in.  I fell in love with the olympics.  I began my current studies and have been relatively consumed by them since.  In September, I looked forward to having some extra money and less worry when D ended his probation.  Instead, we found ourselves for the first time at the edge of what is hopefully legitimate recovery.  We celebrated our first married Christmas in our first home and rang in the New Year with a few close friends and family without fanfare.  

Looking back at all these events, I don't feel like I've progressed all that much from where I was last New Year.  It seems like it, since I have progressed in my education and bought a home and gotten married, but honestly, I feel very much the same.  The biggest (and best) difference is that D and I are finally starting to build the relationship we could have, should have, would have had from the beginning, and despite our myriad problems are, I think, starting to get some things right.  I'm working on me and my insecurities, we are spending more time together and beginning to bring a modicum of respect and intimacy back to "us."  I am grateful for the fact that we have conversations now when we get home rather than running to our own corners of the house, and when we argue there is much less screaming and at least a little more dialogue.  I am grateful that I have progressed enough this year to at least sometimes identify my own problems, and (perhaps even more impressive) my own sources of happiness.  

And so, this year, I think I will take a different tack.  Last year I did not make resolutions, and things progressed some, but not as much as I might have liked.  This year I will try making a few even if just to give myself some goals to work toward.  That, and because I just love lists so much. 

New Year's Goals and Things to Work Toward:

1. I will continue to work on identifying and healing some of my own insecurities.  I fully expect this to take much longer than a year, but we'll give it a shot. 

2. I will try to be more compromising and less selfish in an argument. 

3. I will work on doing what's best for me--and not just with D.  I think one of my biggest problems with this will be not being such a pleaser to my mother, and not worrying so much about what other people think of me. 

4. A combo goal for D and me:  get out of debt (except for the house and my student loans) by the time he ends probation in August. 

5. Start working out again, at least somewhat regularly. 

6. Apply for (and get) a summer externship. 

7. Spend more time with friends. 

I have no qualms about admitting that many of these will probably be difficult (ok....maybe impossible) to keep up and may fall by the wayside at times, but hopefully even making an attempt at these I'll be able to look back next year and see an even bigger difference in my life.  For now, though, I'm satisfied to have something to be grateful for and something to work toward at the start of 2009.  Hope everyone has a blessed, safe, and happy year ahead of them.