a little bit of peace

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I hope you all had a great Easter weekend. I took the kids to visit my family (who live around 3 hours away.) Traveling with the kids by myself used to seem like a daunting task, but I realize how much more enjoyable it is to go on these little trips when AH isn’t there having a bad attitude or pouting because he’d rather be at home. Another thing AH would do that would always annoy me is that he’d always need to be out and about. I come from a small town and there’s not much to do there, so when we go home to visit my parents and other family, we mostly just sit around the house chatting. AH would always say he needed to go wash his car or find excuses to run out to the store, which is annoying.

Anyways, last week I finally found some time to work through the child support worksheet to come up with a number that AH is going to be paying. Once I showed him the amount, his response was “I’m hardly to going to have any money leftover!” I find it comical that he somehow assumed we were going to add a whole other household to our budget and it the change financially would be negligible. LOL.

We made a decision that he would move out at the beginning of May. But honestly, I think I’ve come to a point where I accept the divorce and am ready to just get on with my new life and routine already. There’s still little things he does that get on my nerves. Over the weekend, before the kids and I left to visit my family, I was trying to get packed and everything. Typical AH was being stressed out (I have no idea why.) He should have been happy…he was just beginning his 2 days of freedom. Anyways, it’s just not healthy for me to be around his anxiety and passive aggressiveness. It seems like this month is going to drag on!

I’m really trying to focus at work. My procrastination has been killing me. And now more than ever, I need to start making more money and be productive. I think I’ll pray on that one tonight.

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on boundaries

One thing that almost all codependents suffer from is the inability to set clear boundaries. I know I struggled with setting boundaries throughout my entire relationship with AH. There were times I mixed up boundaries with trying to control/giving him a rule. For instance, I once said my boundary was that in order to stay married, AH needed to be attending meetings, get a sponsor and working the steps. Someone remarked that this sounded more like a rule for him than a boundary for me. They then asked, how would I enforce it? Would I call up his supposed sponsor to ensure he was working the steps?

At last week’s therapy appointment, I posed this question to my therapist. I asked her how I could set clear boundaries moving forward and also asked her about setting boundaries in situations that are not nearly as dire as with an alcoholic. She said getting a divorce is an example of a very drastic boundary. But the example she gave was about dating someone who is always late. She said a boundary in this case would be to say, “That just doesn’t work for me.” I wouldn’t be telling the other person what to do (i.e., you need to make sure you start getting ready sooner, etc.). Instead, I would just be letting them know that it doesn’t work for me. This made a lot of sense. She also said that when verbally giving boundaries, my verbiage should be short. Again, it just makes sense!

In regards to daily life, things are good. I was triggered on Saturday, however. I had decided to post a quote about divorce on my Twitter timeline (hardly anybody I know follows me.) Well, AH’s aunt does and she messaged AH to ask if everything is okay. Apparently, she then told him he’s making a mistake in not getting a lawyer.

I’m not really sure why, but when he said this, it really infuriated me. Thinking about it more, I think the reason I got so mad is that I instantly went to the place of thinking that he had not told her the whole story (i.e., the reason we’re breaking us is that he has a drinking problem, he recently got arrested for DUI, etc.) I guess mentally, it kind of put me back in the middle of the insanity.

Anyways, AH also got defensive and we had a little squabble, but ended up getting over it. Again, I know I can’t control what AH says or does and in the end, it doesn’t matter what anybody thinks. I’m working very hard on getting over the feelings of self-righteousness I have when it comes to AH. It’s a work in progress!

today was a good day

I didn’t get a very good night’s sleep last night because I woke up a few times thinking about all the stuff at work that I’ve been putting off. (More on my battle with overwhelm and procastination later.) However, I had planned on going to the gym after work (more specifically a spinning class) and then an al-anon meeting right after. The morning started out a bit rough and by that I mean, I wasn’t very focused. However, after lunch I found my stride and sat down and wrote out a list of every single case I’m working on right now and what needs to be done. After that, I was actually productive and did some work!

My spinning class was great. I really enjoyed myself and I felt good afterwards. Then it was off to my al-anon meeting, which was great also.

When I got home around 8:45, AH was already laying on his air mattress. You know what’s funny…in the past, I probably would have been disappointed or sad that he was tired and wanted to go to bed (the codependent in me.) But tonight, we chatted briefly and I was actually excited to go downstairs, eat a snack and watch some of my tv shows.

I know there are still tough moments ahead, but I’m living in the present and today was just a good day.

codependency and alcoholism – parallel diseases

Someone posted this on the Sober Recovery message board. It is 1000% true and something that I finally realized.

Maybe if you try and think of codependency and alcoholism as similar problems, then you can understand why it is just as hard to get rid of someone you love no matter how much of a negative influence they are on our lives, as it is to recover from alcoholism.

They are addicted to alcohol and we are addicted to them.

They have denial about how alcohol negatively affects their lives, and we go through denial about how they negatively affect our lives.

They know something is wrong with their lives, but can’t put a finger on it…for a while, and we know something is wrong with our lives, but can’t put a finger on it…for a while.

They have to accept they need alcohol out of their lives for it to be healthier, and we have to accept that we need unhealthy attachment out of our lives before we can be healthier.

You see what I mean?

The steps to getting better are similar as well.

We admit we are powerless over THEM.
We turn inward and become selfish about our recovery.
We stop doing things for others that hurt ourselves.
We rediscover our self worth.
And then, we remove what is affecting our serenity and growth.

the path to acceptance

I haven’t written for a couple of days. Anyways, Friday morning, AH came into the bedroom asking if I had his keys. Of course, I didn’t. He couldn’t find them anywhere. And then he also couldn’t find the spare or valet key. My thinking is that he hid the spare and valet key from me so I couldn’t get into his car. Anyways, after paying locksmith $200 to come unlock his car and then finding that they weren’t in there, he finally found them. He had put them in his backpack. He exclaimed that with all the lack of sleep and stress, he was losing his mind.

We then had a long talk. He had heard me talking on the phone to my brother and I was telling my brother that it was a bit hurtful because AH was acting like he wasn’t upset about us separating…that he was only upset about not being with the kids all the time. AH told me that wasn’t true and to please not tell people that. We then discussed how we are still having the same relationship issues that we had early on, years ago. And even when we got married, he knew deep down it probably wasn’t the right thing to do, but he had hoped we would grow closer. I told him that I was just heartbroken to be losing my best friend. We talked more about how it will be after we separate and he explained that he will still be here for me. In fact, he still plans to come over and mow the lawn, etc.

Of course, I cried and cried. Even though it was overall a good conversation that made me feel a lot better, it’s just a mix of emotions. Sadness for ending our relationship, relief for not having to live with this constant stress and unhappiness, and fear of the unknown. I also told AH that we agree to disagree regarding his drinking issues and we agreed not to bring it up anymore. I had to remind AH about this when he said “I’ve always accepted you as you are.”

Last night, I could tell he was getting agitated by the kids. He decided to go to a meeting. It was a gentle reminder to me of why I can’t be married to him anymore, although he does have many great qualities and I do believe he does truly care for me. As far as his drinking goes, he told me that he’s not drinking now and he will not be drinking around the kids or if he has to drive anywhere.

This morning I woke up feeling TIRED, even though I got a pretty good night’s sleep. I’m trying to remember that my body is using up tons of energy to heal from this trauma and to be gentle with myself. I went to get a haircut then came home and took a little nap. I’m thankful for AH that I could do that. He just left to get groceries and took DD1 with him.

I still haven’t sat down and gone over our finances. I’m hoping to rest up the rest of the day and then hit work tomorrow hard to have a productive week.

update

So, after my last post, I was texting with AH and he told me the credit card charges were not what I was thinking. He said it was an accumulation of purchases. He told me he would email me his bank statement. Then he called and was very matter-of-fact saying that he didn’t have anything to hide and that he was hoping we could handle this all amicably like adults, but now he’s not so sure. I told him I have a right to know what he’s been doing if he expects to be spending time with the kids. I think he also made some mention of this incident is exactly an example of why this marriage can’t work…that he’s a grown man and he can spend his money on what he wants. Me (thinking): “Ah, yes. Thanks for reminding me that you can do what you want without regard for anyone else.” In fact, I was quite aware he felt that way since that’s how he’s been acting our entire relationship. His voice started to tremble and he said how I was trying to take his kids away from him. I just love how the A’s are always the victims. They play that card so well, don’t they?

Anyways, once I saw the yearly statement, I saw that almost all of the charges were from gas stations. Many of them being the exact same price…$4.38, I believe, which is probably the price of a 24 oz. beer. So, while he wasn’t doing what I thought he was with this credit card, instead he was using it to purchase beer behind my back.

I was feeling pretty frustrated because he was playing me out like I was the villain for going through his stuff. And I do know this was super codie behavior, but as we go into the divorce proceedings, I feel I need to protect myself and know exactly what he’s been up to. And lo and behold, I find more evidence of him lying and drinking behind my back. I did text him later to apologize for accusing him (trying to admit my wrongs and make amends, a la Al-Anon.) He said he had a late meeting after work, so he didn’t get home until pretty late. Of course, his demeanor was very cold.

As for me, I had a pretty relaxing evening with the kids. I was happy again because DS5 seemed to be happy and didn’t have any emotional moments. I”m most concerned for him with all of this stuff happening.

I’m going to try to start blogging at night, at the end of the day. I think it’s a good way to unwind and get all of my feelings out. And I’m also going to try to document one thing that I do for just myself each day.

What I did for me today: I washed my face before bed! Seriously, I know this probably sounds horrible, but I have the worst habit of wearing my makeup to bed. It may sound crazy, but something as simple as this is the type of stuff I would neglect due to all the stress of my alcoholic marriage.

 

devastated…again

Not sure why I decided to do it, but I had a sudden feeling of wanting to check AH’s credit report. AH has had a separate credit card for years. Originally, he was supposed to cancel it after I found out about him visiting the massage parlors, but I guess he conveniently forgot.

Anyways, so I log on and pull up his credit report and check the credit card. It pulls up a monthly history of the balance on the card dating back to September 2014. As I look at the balances, I notice that there is a zero balance until February 2015, where there is a $40 balance. That gets paid off and then in May 2015, a $65 balance appears and then the balance goes up slightly each month (as if he didn’t make a payment?) Then in August 2015, the balance is $56, then $104 the next month. Interestingly enough, $65 is the amount that I know one of the prostitutes he has gone to charges for a quick session of oral sex.

I text him about this and he tells me he just used it for snacks, etc. Hmm…what amount of snacks and chew ends up being exactly $65? And if that’s the case, why didn’t he just pay it off?

I’m not sure why I’m surprised. He’s a liar. And an addict – sex addict that is. I guess I just truly wanted to believe him when he said he hadn’t done any of this stuff since I found out about is 3 years ago. I’m just a bit upset now because I felt like I was doing so good and now this feels like a punch to the gut.

on detachment

Detachment has always been a concept that I could never quite grasp. When AH would come home and I could tell he had been drinking, my thought was always, “Well, I HAVE to let him know that I disapprove…otherwise, he will think it’s okay for him to do this!” And so, of course, we would get into a big fight and then he would say how sorry he was and how he let me down, etc. I’m sure this would then result in tons of shame, resentment and guilt inside him, which would start the cycle for the next episode of drinking.

Now that I’ve immersed myself in Al-Anon and reading, I think I finally get it. Someone on the Sober Recovery website wrote this about detachment and I don’t think I’ve ever seen it put more plainly or perfectly.

For some the concept of detachment is hard to grasp. Especially if you are the kind of person who is used to having a ‘say’ in most matters. We somehow think we must always “speak up” when our S.O. is doing something wrong and in some cases we do need to speak up in certain situations. Detachment might feel to ‘passive’ for us. But, sometimes it’s not so much a matter of keeping quiet as it is a matter of refusing to engage in something FUTILE. We learn the hard way how to stop wasting our own time, energy, efforts in “reforming” this other person and instead take that effort and put into ourselves and our own fulfillment. We learn that the person in question may never change and become the person we wish they were. We realize that our own happiness is not about *them* and not wrapped up in them.

It’s funny because I went back to an Al-Anon meeting last night that I haven’t been to in ages. I think the last time I was there was in October, just before we were in the process of purchasing a new home, selling our old one, and moving. I shared with what has been going on and especially how I now understand that chastising/nagging my AH is the wrong thing to do and only made things worse. Then I said, “Why didn’t anyone ever tell me this?! Oh wait…they did, I was just in denial.” It’s so interesting how my disease of codependency has paralleled AH’s disease of alcoholism. I would start going to Al-Anon and then stop. I would read the literature, but it really never sunk in…until now. It took me hitting my rock bottom to surrender and start my true path to recovery.

Sidenote: I slept great again last night, although DS5 came in around 2am because he was scared of the wind and rain. For a moment, I thought about how sad it is that when he has a nightmare or is scared at night, I’ll be the only one there. 😦 But my mind is feeling a bit clearer today and I think I’ll be ready to tackle going over our finances tomorrow so we can start to detail how finances are going to work through our divorce.

learning to let go

Near the end of yesterday’s work day, I was feeling pretty good. I was able to be productive in the afternoon at work and then stopped by the store to grab some tomatoes (AH and I were planning on making tacos.) He ended up going to a meeting, so it was just me with the kids, which was fine. I was thankful that DS (5 years) didn’t throw any tantrums and seemed to actually be listening to me. He’s been throwing tantrums at school and seems to be very emotional, which is worrying me a little bit. I talked to him again about daddy moving out into his own place in a few weeks. DS doesn’t seem to really understand it yet, which I think is good. I told him that daddy is still going to be around a lot and that no matter what, we both love him.

AH and I actually watched part of the Downton Abbey finale together, chatting and making small talk. It’s all just a bit strange. AH smoked pot and offered me some. I declined. Even though I used to smoke with him, I decided it’s probably not very kosher to do so when I’ve told him I think he has a problem with it.

At one point, we were talking about our dog and AH mentioned that if I ever go out of town, he could probably smuggle the dog into his apartment and he would keep her. I then said that if I went out of town, he would probably just stay at the house with the kids and then he said, “in 3 or 4 years?”

I don’t know why, but that statement got to me a bit. Even though everyday I can recall things he has done that I am thankful to get away from, I guess that piece of me still remains hoping that we can reconcile at some point. But I know the chances of that happening are very low. I think too much has happened now for me to ever be able to trust him or truly forgive him and not be resentful towards him. And when he mentioned being apart in 3 or 4 years, well, I guess it’s just not something I have thought about. I know I need to be able to let go of our relationship as it is now and avoid future tripping.

I really like this quote about recovery and try to remind myself of it anytime I start to future trip.

Recovery is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.

I will say, however, that I have been sleeping pretty good. For awhile, I was having issues where I would wake up at 3am. But the last few nights, I’ve been able to sleep until AH comes in to shower (around 5:30).

defining myself

I had a session with my therapist a couple of hours ago. Of course, I updated her with what’s going on. One thing we discussed is that I was somewhat relieved when I was talking to AH about his trip to Mexico and he told me that he was depressed the entire time and never really even went to the beach. Therapist asked me why this made me happy and my response was that I guess it makes me feel better knowing that he does seem to care that that our relationship is ending. She then told me yes, he does care, but probably in the same way a child would care about losing his mother. Ouch.

Then I told her how this process seems to be hard because a lot of the time I don’t know what he’s thinking. Besides conversations about the kids and making plans for our separation, we have pretty much avoided talking about anything else. She asked me why it matters what he thinks…what could he possibly think or say that would make things any different? I know she’s right…at this point it’s only actions he can take that will make any difference. Then she got around to saying that in all of this, I have to define myself and not let him define me any longer.

So, we spent a lot of the session discussing how I can define myself. That I can define myself without insulting him. For instance, I can say “yes, you’re free to drink and smoke weed however you want, but for my own health, I cannot be around it.” I also took a step towards defining myself yesterday, when I told him that right now, I just can’t discuss the details of our finances or what our divorce will look like. I need to just focus on work for a bit.

I also asked her if she thinks my constant state of overwhelm and inability to ever seemingly be productive and get things done is a result of all the stress and insanity of my marriage to AH. She simply said, “yes.”

This is one thing I am working on. For as long as I can remember, life has been a struggle. I’ve become a big time procastinator, putting things off at work; not having the energy to take my kids outside; being short with my kids; etc. That HAS to end. I can no longer live life this way and I can no longer let AH’s problems define myself or my life.