Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving Time Last Year - Dark and Dispair

I remember last year - the two days before Thanksgiving, a day that I believe I was hitting an all-time low, it was a depression.

I felt hopeless and despair. I felt I was all alone. It was the worst feeling I could feel. My wife did not tell me when she was leaving for her parents home for Thanksgiving. And when she was ready to go, she had the car packed and barely said "Goodbye."

I stopped her and asked if I was supposed to go. It was the year I discovered her drinking - closet drinking - and I felt I was worthless, and no one cared. I felt my wife had abandoned me and our child and only did what was convenient for her and appearances with the neighbors, her family and her parents' friends.

I was living a lie.

I wanted her to say, "Yes of course. Please come. You know you are always invited. You are crazy to even ask if you should come."

I got - something to the effect of "It's up to you." It probably was not as bad as that, but that it what came through my filter into my head.

When they left - my child and wife - I sat at my office desk in my home - wanting to fall on the floor and cry. I wanted to curl in a ball. I think I did actually fall to the floor. I called my brothers and my sister. No one answered.

I think I did not have a sponsor yet - as this was the time I really needed one. I wanted to talk to someone, anyone, about how all alone I felt. It was one of the worst times in my life.

A Year Later
I am grateful that I am in recovery. I realize the effects of this disease are not recognizable to many people outside the program. And this hurts me to some degree, because I have to rationalize and explain what happened - only because I am going through a divorce.

I would not have to explain - if I wasn't going through a divorce. My wife and her lawyer are just trying to make me out as the unhappy husband. Oh yes, the unhappy, controlling husband.

I laugh now when I hear I am controlling. I was to some degree - as controlling. I wanted my wife to go back to work, exercise, and take care of things and not leave everything to the last minute. I wanted to house clean, food in the refrigerator and food for our child. My focus was on her - for sure. My world orbited her - as if she was the sun. I moved my orbit from Mercury - to one of Pluto. My orbit was cold and dark, and distant.

Today, I still orbit her, when I slip. I try to get her to see my side of things. And she can provoke me with a simple word, and then I fall right back into the orbit again.

But . . .
Today I have a program. I have new life. I have new friends. I feel worthwhile. I know while this divorce is not for everyone, it was right for me and our child.

I know - a year later - that I am here for a reason. A year ago, I never would have predicted a divorce. Sure, I thought about it. But actually do it? No way.

Today - I am even praying for my wife and her Higher Power to make a connection. I am praying for me and my Higher Power to make a connection. I am praying less for what I want or deem as right and now praying for guidance and praying that others receive guidance as well - but not from me, but their HP.

What a difference a year makes.

I am grateful for Al-Anon. It has helped me bring me sanity. And give me a new life.


Syd said...

Joe, I'm glad that things are better for you today. It is so painful to live with active alcoholism. Life is much better understanding that I am powerless over another. Have a great week of thanksgiving.

Cat said...

Things do sound better today for you. I see a piece of myself in your ex - I was never a heavy drinker, but I did let things go when my husband's drinking got progresively worse. it was as if i was saying, well I am done taking care of everything on my own now, I had enough, and I literally stopped cleaning the house, doing the laundry ( minimul I did) the dishes ( same thing) stopped cooking and well taking care of myself as well. I gained weight and it was all because I was so dependant on my husband's moods to feel good about myself and my life.

Sick right? Yah it was. While I did not have to learn how to stop drinking I did need to learn a new way to live - with a sober husband.

Have a good week Joe!


Kim A. said...

I would not be who I am or would I know what serenity is without Alanon. I learned about healthy friendships, trust, gratitude, humility, laughter, silliness, bonding, and unconditional love in these rooms. Alcoholism was around me from a young child and still is with my youngest son out there. I am chairing my home groups meeting on Thanksgiving night and am sooooo grateful to be able to do that. I remember the holidays I had that were full of despair and lonliness. I am forever grateful for meetings that are on TGving and Xmas for those of us who need to be reminded that we are loved. Have a serene day and I'm there with you in spirit.

Rae said...

This is a beautiful share, Joe, on the difference a year can make. The holidays are often difficult for any number of reasons, I am glad you are finding reasons to be thankful this Thanksgiving.

I have to admit, there's some fear in reading your share. As an addict, I know that I have been "blessed" with my husband's kindness. However, I also see how my disease has really stressed our marriage/relationship. Thanks for being here, serving as a reminder of my need to make a living amends.

Anonymous said...

Instead of dreading the visit to my inlaw's dysfunctional household this Thanksgiving Day, I need to remember to focus on my own serenity and not letting my codependent MIL and alcoholic FIL get on my nerves. Things are so much better now than they were last year. My husband seems to be getting sober and impossible as I thought it was, his old personality is coming back.

Last Thanksgiving/Christmas I was certain our marriage was over. I couldn't even think about decorating the house. All I could think about was detaching from my posessions and home so it wouldn't be so hard when the time came to sell it. I put up a tree for my daughter, Santa came, and that was it. Just the bare minimum.

The hardest thing about this time of year for me is that all of last years bad echos are still ringing in my ears and brain. So I will have to focus on making new and better memories this year to overwrite the ugly ones from years past. Sometimes in life we just have to start over and reboot with out rehashing the stuff that's already in the past. Because there is nothing anyone can do about that.

I am thankful for everyone who contributes to this site and wish you all a wonderful holiday.


Anonymous said...

I have had 2 long term relationships end at Thanksgiving. One after nine years of marriage, the other ended this time last year, after 13 years together. The first got me in the program 17 years ago. At that time I was so alone and the alcoholic took all of his friends with him. I did recover and even became grateful to him for forcing me to really look at my own issues. This time I had a life of my own and friendships within the program to support me. I also had all the tools of the program to get me through each day. I did have to move that was really scary I hate change. With the eve of the breakup quickly approaching I am in a good place. I have been going to 3 meetings a week and using all the program tools. I realize now that this was a part of the plan. God does do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. I wasn't happy and until now I could not see just how unhappy I really was. It has been a wild ride this year and each day new things are revealed to me. How do you know you are on the journey you are supposed to be on, because you are on it? The Alanon book Transforming Your Losses really helped me through this time. One quote really sums it up for me "the pain is not in the acceptance but in the resistance” I hope you will be encouraged by this and realize that once you get through the pain you will know why this was a part of your journey. My life has change in ways this year that I could have never imagined.