Sunday, January 13, 2008

Saturday's Al-Anon Meeting

I am very fortunate to have the friends I have at Al-Anon. I held my first discussion this past Saturday. I was given a big applause. I was embarrassed and proud of myself at the same time. Embarrassed because I felt like a child. Proud in that I have come a long, long way. I got hugs again from everyone. Again, I am not a really hugging person. But I am beginning to like it. I even hugged a person on the way out - in fact if I remember correctly I hugged two people - on my own.

I owe these nice people a large debt of gratitude. I attended the meeting - the first meeting - around six months ago. I was knocked to my knees, you see my wife was driving around the busy highways of this town/city drinking wine out of coffee cups, and water bottles - with and without my daughter in the car. I travel a lot and I was not able to "check her out" . . . when I called her on her cell phone and made any observation about her drinking while she was driving, she would hang up on me. It was really frustrating and it pissed me off.

I was at my wits end when I first came to Al-Anon. In fact, I felt so alone, so scared, so VERY much dying on the inside.

Today I am doing better. I do slip into the "hate" and the "disdain" for where I am and for what I feel is a huge amount of distrust between the two of us (my wife and I). She feels resentful that her parents and I have "forced" her to face the drinking by going to AA and go to a treatment center. She blames me. It appears the treatment center has helped in some ways. In other ways, she uses what she has learned against me.

My anger and frustration has popped out in different areas. Last week it was a barking dog - and my neighbor who was arrogant and defensive. The dog barks all the time - hours on end. It keeps me, and our child up at night. I told the dog to "shut up." My neighbor came at me one day. And I should have walked away. But we had an argument. He said "dogs bark, get over it" and I said, "not all the time." We got no where.

I do not have any tolerance for people who manipulative, arrogant or deceitful. When some one is "passive aggressive" I have this tendency to want to "address it" by calling them on it or I just avoid them [Remember the Al-Anon slogan; "You cannot control it, you cannot change it, you didn't cause it."]

I am also putting a lot of pressure on myself - to come up with an answer; Do I stay married and hope the outcome will be positive? And in the meantime, be absolutely miserable, because of the lies of alcoholism and the potential issue of driving and drinking and getting into an accident an injuring someone? And what about my daughter? Should she be subject to be around this alcoholic family situation? This is the hard question. And truthfully I fear making it. I want a lightning bolt from God to help me out by giving me the answer. I seek therapists and no one seems to be able to give me guidance. I love my wife when she is sober and acting like another parent. But she slips into this irresponsible role - almost the role of a child. When I depend on her, she too, acts passive aggressively (she remembers what she thinks she said or agreed to). What do I mean by this? She says she will do X. It never happens and she says she never agreed to it. I have begun to try to clarity and exactness in our conversations. It frustrates us both - I spend a lot of energy by getting clarity - and I wonder if I come across accusatory.

So, in one way, I have come along way in six months since my first Al-Anon Meeting. But I feel like a little bit of an impostor. I may look OK on the outside - but I am on a roller coaster ride to hell and back on the inside. I feel like that duck, you know the metaphor of duck on the water, looking calm on the surface, but paddling like hell to stay afloat.

It was simply wonderful to receive the warmth Saturday from Al-Anon folks. It filled my heart with pride and pleasure when everyone complimented me Saturday. The memory is still with me. I hope I never forget that feeling of acceptance of who I am.

In my next post - I will see if I can post the PowerPoint diagram I made as my handout that was related to Self-Esteem and Self-Acceptance and my talk. (I must admit - it is pretty cool. But it may take explaining).

Have a Good Week

1 comment:

kadenate's mom said...

...should I stay or should I go now...?? Ahhhhh!!!!!!!!!! Looking forward to your decision..maybe I'll just follow in your footsteps...(joking)! I am the duck you have described...with exactly the same dilemma. I want someone to tell me the right thing to do for my kids..and nobody can tell me that. Tonight I was looking at photos, and I couldn't find one where I didn't have a feeling of sadness looking at it. I could see my little boys growing up so quickly, and I am heartbroken that they are not living in the stable, secure home I so desperately want for them. I know that divorce is painful for all involved...but maybe it is less painful than the life my boys and I are living right now. What a HUGE, positive change it has been for us since I took a stand and said that we will not live under the same roof as my 'husband' unless he chooses life. My struggle is that he can be the most wonderful man (on the surface) when he thinks he is losing us...and I ALWAYS take him back because I long for him to be in our lives. SADLY...his performance ends pretty much as soon as he begins to feel comfortable in the relationship, and we are back to square one. My seven year old recently said to me "I noticed that Dad is telling you that he loves you, and that you are smiling, and I was thinking - here we go again." OUCH. I think I am staying because I don't to hurt the kids..don't want to make the wrong decision..THIS time he REALLY means it...but I am seeing the pain my kids are in.. Ok, I am up too late, and rambling..sorry! I will include you in my prayers - that God will direct your paths and give you THE SERENITY TO ACCEPT THE THINGS YOU CANNOT CHANGE, THE COURAGE TO CHANGE THE THINGS YOU CAN..AND THE WISDOM TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE! AMEN!