life has a way of showing us

universe

Ugh. Again, I’ve gone so long since posting. I hate when I do this because I feel like there’s so much I want to say.

I’ve always been one to believe in things happening for a reason…whether you want to refer to it as karma, the Law of Attraction or even the Secret. Nowhere has this been more evident than with a prospective client I met with yesterday.

She came into my office for a divorce consult. She sat in front of me telling me how she had been married for 30 years and had two kids. She said that she knew she wanted to divorce her husband, essentially, from the first days of their marriage. She described him as a very mean, angry a$$hole. However, she said there always seemed to be a reason to put off divorce. Either because of the kids’ ages, or the financial strain a divorce may cause. And now she said, here she was, looking back at the last 30 years of her life with such regret.

It was almost as if the universe was talking to me in that moment, telling me I made the right decision. I felt such pain for her. What an unbearable thought it must be to look back and realize you spent the majority of your life feeling miserable. They have 2 kids, ages 22 and 18. She also told me she regrets not leaving because her kids are now “messed up” from living with such an angry man their entire lives.

Since my last post, where I wrote about asking, “When I am going to be happy?” things seem to have leveled out a bit. Most of my days, I don’t give much thought anymore to the what-ifs or question if I should move forward with the divorce. I think I’ve finally accepted that it is happening. With that said, I haven’t quite found my joy yet, but I can say I’m no longer miserable/sad all the time.

I guess that’s called progress.

changes

change

This week has brought so many changes. Changes that I feel like I’m not ready for.

First off, DS5 started kindergarten this week. His preschool teachers gave him a copy of Oh, The Places You’ll Go and wrote messages inside. Reading them made me emotional. I think the most emotional part of it was not that he was starting kindergarten, but that I’m going through these milestone moments alone. I feel like these should be exciting times for me, but instead, there’s a little gray cloud hanging over everything, reminding me that STBXAH and I are no longer together. I still hold this image in my mind of all of us being a happy family, even though I know that image is an aberration and something that never really existed.

The good news is that DS5 loves kindergarten. But of course, there is now a change to our daily routine. Luckily, his school provides before and after school care, but now I have two drop offs. A new daycare just opened up close to our house and logistically, it would make more sense for DD2 to go there, since it’s so much closer to our house and DS5’s school. It would likely shave 30-60 minutes off our daily car rides.

After visiting the new daycare, I ended up enrolling her. She starts on October 10. This is another change that is going to be very difficult for me. DS5 has attended the same daycare since he was 6 months old and DD2 has attended since she was 3 months. I absolutely love the daycare and all the teachers. Honestly, the daycare is more like a family to me. DD2 loves her teachers. It’s really breaking my heart to have to move her, but I know it will be better for her to not have to be in the car for so long and it will allow us to pick DS5 up earlier from after-school care.

Each time I face the prospect of something changing, it’s as if there’s an attack my “safe place”. My safe place right now is my routine and knowing what is going to happen. I guess I feel this way because there is so much in my life right now that is a question mark.

I’ve also been battling a bit of a head cold this week. In the beginning of the week, my energy levels were so low. I could tell I wasn’t just “tired,” but that my whole body felt exhausted. I’m on the mend now, thankfully.

So, overall, just taking it one day at a time, dealing with these sad moments that seem to come and go and can be triggered by anything. I know it’s all part of the grieving process, but I find myself wondering when I’m going to feel “happy.” Over and over I read stories of divorced people who swear there is light at the end of the tunnel and that I will find happiness again. I’m waiting…

I’m also contemplating the point of this blog. In the beginning, I was dealing with the effects of my husband’s alcoholism and infidelity. Now that I’ve been able to detach and separate from that, I’m focusing more on my experience with divorce. I’m wondering if I should continue referring to him as “Alcoholic Husband” (AH).

through the pain

cureforpain

Obviously, it’s been quite a while since I last wrote! So, what has been going on?

There have been no more conflicts between STBXAH and me, which I guess is good. We’re on a pretty good schedule where he picks the kids up after daycare on Mondays and Wednesdays. I have them Tuesdays and Thursdays. We then alternate having them Friday and Saturdays overnight.

I finally got around to filing the divorce papers at the beginning of this month. Our divorce should be finalized around November 1st. At this point, I don’t feel real emotional about it being final on paper. It just seems like one more administrative task I need to get done.

Back in June, I decided to try something new with my law practice, so decided to start taking on some family law cases. Business has really picked up and this month, I had my highest revenue-grossing month EVER. I’m proud of myself and trying to take some time to recognize that that for the past 3 years, I’ve been saying that my goal was to earn X amount of money per month, but never got there (a lot of it had to do with the stress and ups and downs of my marriage.) This has also meant that I’ve been extremely busy, often working late nights after the kids go to bed. This type of law is new to me, so it takes me about 3 times longer to figure stuff out than it will in the future. I’m concentrating on figuring out a good work/life balance right now, that will help alleviate some of the stress I’ve been feeling from work.

Last weekend I had dinner with my single girlfriend. Somehow, our discussion convinced me to sign up for Tinder. I find the whole online dating thing so strange. I see these photos of men who seem attractive enough physically. But I can’t get over the fact that they’re STRANGERS. Anyways, I had quite a few matches and then multiple guys started messaging me. I chatted with a few for one evening, but this all seemed to trigger me. I became very sad about my divorce and began craving that familiarity I had with STBXAH. I woke up Monday morning and realized I am in no place to be trying this dating stuff yet. The good news about the whole experience is that I realized I’m still desirable. There are guys who are interested in meeting me based on my photos, at least. For someone whose self-esteem has taken a beaten over the course of the last 13 years, something as superficial as knowing others are a bit interested is meaningful.

Well, this whole experience seemed to quickly move me back into the bargaining phase of my grief process. I had a couple days where I was really questioning myself and even considering asking STBXAH if he has regrets? I mean, the last conversation we had prior to our marriage really ending was that he wanted to work it out. We had discussed counseling. He told me he was going to stop smoking pot for 30 days. I told him that was great, but that I still wanted to live separately for a while. Once I said this, it was like his wanting to work it out never existed. So, part of me still wonders…what happened? My theory is that the whole counseling schtick was just another example of him saying whatever he had to do to keep me around. And enforcing my boundary was unacceptable to him.

I snapped out of this bargaining phase quickly. That’s the nice thing about having a busy work schedule…it’s very easy for me to be distracted by work. Of course, I’ve been through the bargaining phase before but this one seemed to come out of nowhere. I’m taking that as a sign that maybe I’m coming very close to the final acceptance stage. It’s now been 6 months since we decided to divorce.

Right now, I’m focusing on accomplishing the things I always said I would, but never got around to. Motivation is hard to come by when you’re stuck in a codependent relationship with an alcoholic and you never know what crisis is going to pop up next. Work is going well. I’ve just got to keep moving forward.

Just a long post

Oh my goodness. My blogging intentions fail again. I’m currently reading Getting Past Your Breakup: How to Turn a Devastating Loss into the Best Thing That Ever Happened to You by Susan J. Elliott. In it, she discusses how journaling is an essential part of healing, so it’s reminded me to come back here and write.

I feel like that last month has brought the most change to me personally since my relationship with my STBXAH began. It’s definitely been an eventful month.

About a month ago (I think right after the last time I wrote) I was bored one afternoon at work and decided to check out match.com, just because I was curious about what type of guys were really out there. (Of course, I know I’m nowhere near ready to date, so believe me, my profile is entirely empty.) Well, much to my surprise, I see that STBXAH has a profile on there. It’s all set up with photos and lists that he’s a “social drinker” and that he loves anywhere with “live music and cold beer.” I then texted my best friend about this and she informed me that she also came across him on Bumble recently, so I guess he’s making his rounds on the dating apps already.

I honestly can say that I’m not jealous about it at all. The thought of him with another woman really doesn’t bother me. I will say that I was surprised since previously he had said he had NO interest in women or having a relationship for a long, long time.

Well, as much as I don’t want to admit it, I have been checking his profile every so often, just to see how long it’s been since he logged in. The other night, I noticed he was online around 11PM. Well, tonight, I see that his profile is gone. I’m not sure if he actually took it down or blocked me somehow, but it’s not there.

The second incident…2 weeks ago, the kids stayed at STBXAH’s. He picked them up from school on Friday and they stayed over Saturday night. Well, Sunday, I notice that next to the bag he brought back with their clothes in it, is a receipt. I pick up the receipt and notice it’s from the grocery store from Friday evening. Not surprisingly, beer is listed on it. So, I ask my 5-year-old if daddy was drinking beer around him and he said, “No, he was drinking Rock Star.” I then ask, “Out of a can?” He replies, “No out of a bottle, but not a baby bottle.” So, I then show him different beer bottles on my phone and he points to the bottle of Bud Light as the bottle that daddy was drinking out of.

Well, the deal was that STBXAH’s wouldn’t be drinking around the kids. I guess somehow I believed him? I text STBXAH and ask him and denies drinking. I ask if he bought beer and he denies it. I call him out for lying and he still denies it. He texts me that I’m unstable. Anyways, long story short, I tell him I want him to do SoberLink to prove to me he’s not drinking when the kids are with him.

Well, Monday comes and he picks the kids up from school and I get home and want to talk to him about things and he runs to his car, shuts the door and refuses to open it or talk to me. I hate how I feel when he tries to make me out like I’m this crazy person. But I guess the truth is, he does make me crazy and this whole disease cycle makes me crazy.

Anyways, the next couple of days are pretty stressful. Finally, on Wednesday, we talk and he tells me he’s met with 3 lawyers who have all told him that a court would never order SoberLink. He tells me he hasn’t been able to sleep or eat the last couple days and wants to come to a compromise. So, we’re finally able to compromise on a shorter period of SoberLink monitoring than I had originally wanted.

The following Sunday was Father’s Day. We had planned for STBXAH to come over and have dinner…he was going to grill steak and I was going to help the kids decorate cupcakes for him. The kids stayed at his place on Saturday night and Sunday, he texts me to say we don’t have to do dinner if I don’t want to. When he shows up with the kids, all he talks about is how he’s sooo tired. He mentions how on Thursday, he went to a work event and had a few drinks, so didn’t sleep good Thursday night and then stayed up too late on Friday night. He really had no interest with playing with the kids and instead, was on his phone the whole time. So frustrating.

In my therapy session yesterday, I told my therapist about the drinking beer with the kids incident. And she said STBXAH subconsciously wants me to catch him drinking so I can shame him, so then he can see me as evil and then feel more validated to drink. She said that is why the receipt was left…of course he didn’t do it consciously, but subconsciously. And she said I fell right into the trap and was in the craziness again. She said as long as keep shaming him for drinking, he doesn’t have to deal with his own guilt and he can blame me.

She’s told me this before, but this time, it really hit home. It made me wonder…do I really want to be monitoring him and his drinking, even when the kids are there? The truth is, no. But then again, I do want to do whatever I can to protect the kids from his drinking. I’m still torn on this one…

Anyways, I’m really starting to feel at peace. I feel a calmness knowing that I am detached from him and he no longer has the ability to hurt me or cause me to worry. I’m really going to try to catch myself and avoid getting drawn into his craziness.

what’s really killing me

I’ve started watching some great TED talks and thought I’d share some of them here. This one by Anita Moorjani is pretty great. She talks about her miraculous recovery from cancer and the epiphany she had when she was very near death. I love her quote near the end, when she says she thought that cancer was killing her, but really she was killing herself. I’ve changed the word “cancer” to “marriage” and I’ve come up with this quote, that really applies to my life.

I thought my marriage was killing me, but actually, I was killing myself before I got divorced. The divorce saved my life. In the end you will always find that your challenges are a gift. And if you’re in a challenge and it doesn’t feel like a gift yet, it means you haven’t gotten to the end yet.

moving on

It’s obviously been awhile since I last posted. I’ve gone back and forth as to whether I wanted to keep blogging here, but I’m going to try to stick with it. I think it will be a great place for me to look back on as I continue on my journey of recovery.

AH officially moved out about a week ago. Even though I have been ready for him to leave for awhile, when he actually shut the door behind him, tears started streaming down my face. I guess this is just the next step and him moving out seemed to make this all more real.

Things really haven’t been that much different since he moved out. The 2 months prior to him moving, we had kind of come up with a schedule where he would pick the kids up on specific days and I on others. We’re basically trying to keep with that now. Since he just got a small one-bedroom apartment, he’s been bringing the kids back to the house on the days he picks them up from school, and hanging out with them there. For now, that works for me, as I’d rather the kids lives not be disrupted too much.

I realize that now that even when we were living together, it’s not like we were always doing things as a family or anything. The thing I notice now is that I am doing 100% of the chores, but it almost doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal because now I actually have more energy, so when I get home, it’s not a problem for me to make the kids dinner, wash dishes, do laundry, etc. There have been a couple times this week when I have felt resentment towards AH, however, because I feel like it’s not fair that I have to be doing all of this on my own. However, I know it was my choice to keep the house, so I can’t really blame him.

Mother’s Day started out a bit sad for me and I’m not really sure why. In the past, AH has never been one for surprises or planning anything special. He would usually just pick up some flowers, so it’s not like this year’s Mother’s Day was really that much different. AH picked the kids up and took them over to his apartment for the day, which was nice. I was able to get some things done around the house. Then he picked up food from our favorite chinese place on the way back and we all ate together as a family, so it ended up being a pretty good day.

I have no idea if AH is drinking or not. He got the ignition interlock device on his car, which he has to have for a year because of his refusing the breathalyzer when he got arrested for DUI. He got the results from his blood draw back and his BAC was .15. His blood was drawn probably 3-4 hours after he had his last drink and he was still almost double the legal limit. I can’t even imagine what his BAC was when he was driving. Because of the high level, he is going to have to accept the DUI charge (no pleading it down to reckless driving.) I would think now that he has one on his record, he will be extra careful about not driving drunk again.

Even though he’s probably not drinking, I do still have concerns about how he is around the kids. For one, I think he’s addicted to his phone. Literally, he can’t just be sitting on the couch being…he has to be looking at something on his phone. My therapist said it’s just another way for him to escape reality. It bothers me that he’s on his phone when he should be paying attention to the kids. Secondly, he lacks patience and gets irritated easily, which isn’t ideal when you’re dealing with a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old. I know there’s not much I can do except make sure that I am conscious of how I treat the kids.

Anyways, that’s just a little update. I’ll be updating a bit more regularly from now on!

my higher power

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I’ve never been a religious person. Growing up, we never went to church or focused on religion. I remember attending some church-type events in college and I thought it was so strange when people were singing gospel music, with their hands held up high in the air and eyes closed.

When The Secret became popular, I read the book and it really seemed to make sense to me…there is a rhyme and reason to why things happen. Everything isn’t by chance. And you really can attract things into your life.

Of course, once I started attending Al-Anon, I heard about putting so much faith into my “higher power.” I honestly never thought much about a higher power. I certainly didn’t have faith in it during all those times I was crying and feeling lonely after one of AH’s drinking episodes.

Well, some recent events have reminded me that there really is a higher power.

Let’s start off with AH’s DUI. He got arrested at the end of January. I’m not sure if I mentioned it before or not, but after he got pulled over, the sheriff called me, asking if I could pick him up. Essentially, the sheriff said he didn’t want to take have to take him into jail. I knew enough at this point that it wasn’t my job to pick him up or rescue him. So, off he went to jail…refusing all field sobriety tests AND all breathalyzers. His night ended at the hospital, where had his blood drawn.

Well, last week, all of a sudden we started getting letters from attorneys advertising their DUI services. I told AH because it seemed weird how they just started coming in all of a sudden. AH’s license still has our old address on it, so who knows if he would get his papers. Well, he checked with his attorney and found out he had been charged on March 26th and was due in court this past Tuesday for his arraignment.

Using my lawyer research skills, I found the complaint online. I was mostly interested to see what his BAC was, since his blood had been drawn nearly 4 hours after he last drank. It turns out it was .15 (about double the legal limit) AND he was over the limit for THC, as well. (AH swears he didn’t smoke marijuana that night, but the test results don’t lie.)

I guess I now feel some type of vindication. I know I probably shouldn’t be feeling that way, but I do. AH cannot say that he’s “not out there getting DUIs.” He now has someone else to answer to about his drinking. I don’t have to be by his side, worrying about what’s going to happen to him or how embarrassed I’m going to be if someone sees he has an interlock device on his car.

I know in Al-Anon they say that by rescuing the alcoholic, we are interfering with our Higher Power’s ability to change things for the better. Well, on this night, I have to believe my Higher Power took over. AH’s tail light had been busted out in the parking lot and that’s the reason he initially got pulled over. Just by chance? I’ve never had a tail light of mine busted out…and in fact, I don’t think AH has before either. And if I had picked AH up? Wow, it’s crazy to think how different things would be today. I didn’t interfere and my Higher Power was there for me.

Now, I do feel a little silly because my husband getting a DUI really doesn’t benefit me directly. Maybe I’m still holding on to the thought that he is on his way to rock bottom so he will really get into recovery? But then again, what difference does it make if he gets into recovery now? Even if he were to truly commit, I don’t think I’ll ever want to be with him again. In fact, if he were to fully recover and get better now, it would almost be a slap in the face to me. Okay, get good and recovered now that I’ve wasted the last 13 years of my life with you.

Anyways, I do truly believe there’s a Higher Power out there that’s looking out for me. I just need to stay true to my own path of recovery and trust him or her to lead me to a happier life.

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.

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.