Another Tragedy

I’ve been thinking all year that I’d be heading back to Texas for another funeral, but I always thought it would be my end-stage alcoholic brother-in-law’s.  As it turns out, it will likely be for my youngest sister, who just turned 44 in August.

I got a phone call yesterday at lunchtime from my other sister, saying she’d just gotten off the phone with our brother.  My youngest sister’s significant other had taken her to the hospital; she’d left work early because she was weak and disoriented and suffering from severe abdominal pains.  When he got her there, they discovered that her blood pressure was dangerously low.  The ER staff could find no reason for this, nor could they stabilize her, so they sent her to another, larger, hospital via ambulance.

After a series of blood tests and a high-contrast CAT scan, they discovered a blockage in the part of the aorta that sends blood to her intestines.  She went into surgery immediately, but before they could do much more than assess that she had suffered damage to her intestines from the lack of blood, her vitals waned to such a point that they closed the incision before removing the blockage, and put her on life support.  It is extremely unlikely she will recover.

My brother and other sister are on their way from Dallas to Oklahoma and I’ll know more then.  I won’t join them until we know one way or another; there’s not really anything I can do, and we don’t know what she wanted done in case of her death. She might want to be interred in Dallas, next to our mother (who died 20 years ago this December of something very similar), or she may want to remain in Oklahoma, in the country.  I’ll go when I know where to go to.

My sister and I have never really been close – I am 10 years older and left home when she was just 8 – and have barely spoken in the last 12 years.  We are very different people, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love her and am not devastated by this turn of events.

After I received the initial call, but before my sister’s surgery (I didn’t discover the outcome of that until 9 p.m. last night), my husband decided to chime in and talk about how awful she’d acted when we went to Dallas in January for my sister-in-law’s funeral.  After a few minutes of this, I said quietly, “She’s still my sister.”  He apologized and shut up – until I got the next update, when he started up again until I said quietly, “She’s still my sister.”

This went on periodically until he went to bed – I slept very little last night – and began again this morning, until I quietly said, as we pulled into the parking lot of our office, “She’s still my sister.”

He has also informed me that unless she hangs on until Thursday of next week that he can’t come with me to wherever it is I’ll be going – he has work commitments he cannot possibly postpone or rearrange.  Of course.  Once again, work comes before his wife.

And he seems hurt and confused because I do not want him to “comfort” me.

I’ll post an update when I know more.

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I’m Okay and Divorce Update, Part 2

I finally checked back in here and saw a concerned comment from a reader – thank you so much!  It does me good to know someone out there is concerned for my well-being.

I’m okay, just busy.  I’ve been more than a little wrapped up in helping my sister sister deal with her husband who is end-stage and dying (albeit slowly).  I’ve invited her to Ohio for Thanksgiving; she was so unbelievably grateful that I feel a little ashamed for not doing so sooner.

I’ve spent a great deal of time being stressed and depressed, but at the advice of my sister-in-law (who dealt with a former spouse that was an addict), I’ve given myself some time and a deadline.  I’m giving myself the next six months to find a job and save some money; if, by March, I haven’t found a decent-paying job I’ll just bite the bullet and take two jobs so I can move out and continue looking for the “right” job.  That has done a LOT to alleviate the stress and depression.

I’m also gearing myself up to start attending Al-Anon meetings – surely that can only help, as well.  I’ve talked to enough people who tell me it’s a life-saver when given an opportunity, so I guess I’ll give it one.

As for the situation with my husband, we’re still distant (which is a huge relief, for me at least) and he’s ignoring my declaration that I intend to divorce.  I do know he’s talking to someone online (long story) and realized that I just don’t care.  He’s done a couple of things lately while drinking that would have been cause for a great deal of anger/frustration/depression in the past, but I’ve just been brushing it aside and moving on.  It’s what my therapist would have called “healing,” I think.

On that note, I had to drive him home from the office today; his stomach is upset and he has a pain in his side.  He keeps clutching the right side of his abdomen right about where his liver and pancreas are.  I’ve not said anything (to point that out would serve no purpose except to piss him off), although I did offer to take him to stat care, which he declined.

Thoughts of liver and pancreatic cancer, which is what my own alcoholic father died of, keep dancing through my head.  All that does is make me sad; what a waste of what could have been a good life it would be.

Not Good Enough

I’m coming out of my most recent bout of depression and, sadly, the fact that my husband is going out of town for the next 10 days this afternoon probably has a lot to do with it.  My son will also be leaving on Wednesday for a week and a half to visit his paterfamilias in Texas and while we get along very well, it will be nice to have the house and the dog to myself for a little while.

Hopefully, the respite from alcoholism will give me the wherewithal to face my husband’s return with my usual cheerfulness, but I don’t know.  Up until our last argument, I’d been making a real effort to address some of my husband’s concerns about our relationship, including being more intimate sexually.  I have a hard time becoming aroused, partly because I’m postmenopausal (which also makes intercourse painful) and partly because, well, alcoholism just isn’t sexy.  So I’ve spent a lot of time trying to make him happy.  Which is not to say that I haven’t had my share of being on the receiving end, but not as much as he has.

I thought we were doing pretty well.

However, as we sat down to lunch a couple of weeks ago, he informed me in no uncertain terms that it just isn’t good enough for him.  I was just flabbergasted – I thought we were doing so much better, moving in the right direction, doing the kinds of things we could actually build on, and I told him so.  But no…and then it got ugly.

Again, I had made the mistake of forgetting not who, but what, I was dealing with.  He says he wants communication in our marriage, but alcoholics are incapable of communicating effectively.  He says he wants intimacy in our marriage, but alcoholics are incapable of true intimacy.  He is incapable of seeing how much his alcoholism has changed him.  He is incapable of understanding how much his drinking hurts others.  He is totally oblivious to the fact that we can have neither communication nor intimacy while he is constantly lying, conniving, manipulating and sneaking so he can continue to drink.

As a result of our last argument, he now completely refuses to touch me unless he has to.  He refuses to return any of my kisses or caresses – well, most of the time.  Every now and then he’ll forget that he’s punishing me and give me a caress or hug or quick kiss, but he always catches himself afterwards and becomes even more physically distant.  He still talks to me as usual, but makes it a point to call me by my first name rather than the usual “dear” or “honey” he addresses me with (again, he forgets sometimes, but always catches himself).  He has stopped wearing his wedding ring.

I’m not stupid, and have a pretty good idea where this is going – and you know what?  If he can find someone else who thinks that having sex with a spiteful, ill-tempered, self-absorbed, workaholic drunk is a satisfying experience, then more power to them.

Because the man I fell in love with no longer exists.  Alcohol has stolen most of what’s best in him, and his business gets what little is left.  If that’s enough for someone else, they’re welcome to it.

Decisions, Decisions

I’ve spent a lot of time over the last couple of weeks on an emotional roller coaster – I’m okay, I’m not okay, I’m okay, I’m not okay…and I hate it.  Part of my mind chides me when I’m “not okay,” reminding me that he’s not falling down drunk every evening, and that he gets shit done.  Then another part of my mind reminds me that alcoholism is a progressive disease, and the time when he is falling down drunk at the end of the day, no longer getting his shit done, is coming.  That’s if he doesn’t manage to kill himself in the meantime.

Then there’s a part of me that, I’m ashamed to admit, wishes he would – and get it over with soon.  It would solve a LOT of my problems.

I’m horrible, I know.

Part of my problem, one of the reasons I’m definitely not okay, is that while he may not be falling down drunk at the end of the day, and he still is getting shit done, his alcoholism is beginning to affect us financially.

Yes, I went part time in our company last summer, which means that my salary was cut in half, but trust me – we still make a more than comfortable income between the two of us.  However, finances are starting to get tight and since I’m the person who pays the bills, I have begun to put a check on our spending, mostly by cutting back on my spending.  My husband, however, spends money like it grows on trees, without ever asking me if we have the funds to cover it.

Some of it is the large amount of money he spends on the gardens, but that doesn’t bother me so much; my hobbies aren’t exactly cheap, either (although, like I said, I’ve cut back considerably on the amount of money I spend).  I’m glad he has something constructive to do that he enjoys so much, and keeps him busy.  Besides, what he spends on the gardens is a drop in the bucket to what really burns me – vodka and marijuana.

Assuming his vodka consumption hasn’t decreased since I stopped monitoring it (and it would be a fair assumption), he’s going through a750ml bottle every 2 1/2 to 3 days.  He also buys at least $100 worth of grass every month.  Assuming a new bottle every 3 days, and the grass every month, he’s spending in excess of $3,200 annually on drugs and alcohol.  CHEAP drugs and alcohol.

(Note:  that doesn’t even include the occasional purchases of the expensive gin, bourbon and single malt scotch he brings home as a “gift” for me, hoping he can entice me into drinking so he can drink openly and freely.  (It does not often work, and he eventually and gradually drinks the expensive stuff, too).)

As I see it, I have four choices in dealing with this current dilemma:

  1. I can do nothing, and wait for our finances to go to shit.
  2. I can get another job – either a full time job, leaving his company, or a part time job in the afternoon.
  3. I can simply divorce him.
  4. I can go to the man who helped him acquire this business.  He is an investor, on the board of directors and an officer of the company.  I can tell him what exactly is going on – that my husband is an alcoholic, that he drinks at the office and while on business trips and that he is slowly spiraling out of control.  I can ask this man to help me stage an intervention with my husband, with the other members of the board of directors present, telling him that he has two choices – he can go to rehab and get sober (which means no more grass, as well), or he can be removed from his job and his marriage will end.

The first option really isn’t an option.  The second option isn’t much of one either – I’ll be damned if I’m going to get another job just to make more money so he can comfortably throw it away on drugs and alcohol.  Fuck that.  Just…fuck that.

As time goes by, I’m more and more inclined to choose the last option; the third option just rubs me the wrong way – it’s too much like just giving up.  The risk is high, however, that my husband will choose to turn his back on both the business and me, and I have to be prepared for that.

But at least I’ll know I tried and can go forward with a clear conscience.

Drunk Behavior

Before recounting childhood trauma for the better part of an hour this past week, I told my therapist that my husband has three different behaviors:  sober behavior, “I’ve been drinking” behavior, and drunk behavior.

It’s been awhile since I’ve dealt with drunk behavior, and for the past few weeks, it’s mostly been sober/bordering on mild “I’ve been drinking” behavior.  Thus, I spent the better part of an hour recounting childhood trauma on Wednesday.

You know, you’d think after dealing with my husband’s alcoholism for the last 5 or so years I’d realize that it’s just not going to disappear.  But time and time again, I let myself believe that everything is just going to be all right.

Sometimes I feel like a fool.

Tonight is one of those times.

Happy Labor Day?

It’s 7:30 a.m.

My husband is downstairs in his bedroom – what used to be our bedroom – getting stoned.  It won’t be long before he goes and has a drink.  I don’t know, maybe he has already.  I put off going down there as long as I can.  I’m going to have to, though – I have 3 pecks of tomatoes to turn into tomato sauce and can.  I used to enjoy it.

Is life with me so horrible that he can’t face it sober?

Therapy

Like most spouses of alcoholics, I’ve done a great deal of research on the subject of alcoholism – the effects, physically, mentally and emotionally (of both the alcoholic and those closest to them); what recovery options there are for the alcoholic – if they choose recovery (because you can lead a horse to water but you can’t force them to drink); what options there are for the families of the alcoholics, because we tend to end up just as sick as the drinker, if not more so, in the long run.

Frankly, not much of what I’ve found is encouraging; most marriages involving alcoholics end up in divorce, whether or not the alcoholic seeks help and becomes sober or not.

This has been dragging at me for so long. This last month has just been hellish for me – I can’t sleep properly, I’m having difficulty concentrating, and it’s so hard to find enthusiasm for anything, even this new business venture that has so much potential.  I joined a challenge on Ravelry to complete some unfinished knitting projects by the end of October, but I’m having trouble finding any motivation to do so.  The joy of this craft I’ve enjoyed so much since taking it up has just vanished. Even going on Facebook is a depressing experience – I see people I know going out, doing things with friends and having fun and I’m eaten with jealousy.

We don’t go places.  We have no friends.

I wrote him an email at the beginning of the week, telling him about something I’d found online called Behavioral Couples Therapy for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse that I hope we could try.  I told him I hoped we could use the email as an opportunity to have something approaching a calm, rational discourse about what we need to do to save our marriage.  When I hadn’t heard back after a day or two, I asked him if he read it; he said he had.  He’s not mentioned it again, and he hasn’t answered it.

My mind is stuck in this groove – I can’t think of anything, it seems, except how spectacularly shitty my marriage is and how my husband is completely oblivious to how horrible I feel.  How he doesn’t even seem to care that the whole damned thing is just falling apart around us.

I am so ANGRY at him.  Sometimes I wish he would just die.  How horrible is that?

I have a therapy session scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, and I can’t wait.  I have to do something to snap out of this.  i just can’t handle it any more.