How’s Dad?

My daughter asked me this the other day as we were shopping for party supplies for my grandson’s first birthday party, which takes place on Sunday.

“He’s fine,” I replied.  “For now.”

And indeed he is.  But when he kissed me this morning as we were getting ready for work and I could already taste and smell the vodka – I don’t even wonder how he manages to sneak it past me any more – I reminded myself (again) it won’t last.

Of course, the “for now” qualifier began a conversation where I reminded her that it is highly unlikely this marriage is headed anywhere but divorce court.  She’s not happy about it – she not only loves my husband, but likes the convenience of having me available at a moment’s notice – but what am I going to do?  Lie about it?  I don’t think so; my sister spent the last 30 years bending over backwards to hide the consequences of her husband’s alcoholism from her children and it has come back to bite her in the ass – hard. (I’m working on a post about that.)

I have heard nothing about the job I interviewed for last week, not even a letter of rejection, so I’m continuing the hunt for gainful, reasonably-compensated employment.  In the meantime, I continue to keep in mind that not only will my husband’s current good behavior not last, it is entirely up to me to keep my cool when the vodka-fueled shit hits the fan.  It doesn’t matter how unfair or how hard it may be, it simply is the only way to deal with an alcoholic.  For my own peace of mind if nothing else.

In other news, Dixie finished her beginner’s training class last night, and even won the special prize at the end of the night for being able to ignore the treat on the floor the longest after being given the command “Leave it!”  She’s no dummy, my Dixie – she knew I had a treat in my hand I’d give her if she ignored the one on the floor.  😉  We begin the intermediate class tomorrow; the trainer said my energetic and often excitable little black dachshund mix is going to be a “hoot” in that class.

I can’t wait.

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Bang. Head. On. Desk.

Just needing to vent briefly here (or as briefly as I can manage).

So.

He was pleasant and affectionate, but not overwhelmingly so (like most alcoholics, he can be NEEDY as hell) on the trip to Columbus.  We had a nice dinner and the next day went to our conference where we were roped in – albeit more or less willingly – to sitting on the central committee (sort of like a Board of Directors) and a couple of sub-committees for our state’s chapter of the political party to which we belong.  (Politics is one of the few things we still agree on 100%.)

The ride home was equally pleasant, so that was all well and good.  We came home, were knocked over by the dog who obviously felt we’d abandoned her – my youngest son dogsat while we were gone – and took care of the many things that needed to be done.

Did he drink?  Of course; there’s no force in the universe that will stop that until he’s ready to quit, but it was at a level I can either ignore or deal with fairly easily.

Then, last night as we were going to bed, he reached over and hugged me and said, “It’s so nice now that you’re touching me again.”

I did not initiate a huge fight by yelling at him that that whole scene had been of his own doing, or punching him in the nose, or bashing him over the head with the bedside lamp.  I simply bit my tongue, squeezed him back just enough to keep him happy, rolled over and day-dreamed about Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard until I fell asleep.

Restraint.  It may never be easy, but hopefully I’m getting better at exercising it.

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.

Vacation…But Not Mine

I can’t remember the last time we took a vacation, just the two of us.  Actually, I do – it was the last week of December 2007/first week of January 2008, when we went to Hawaii to elope after an exclusive 9 year relationship.  Nowadays, when we take time off, it’s to do something with/for the kids/grandkids.  Not that I mind so much – I love my kids and grandkids – but it is literally where all of our spare time and what little extra money we have (after the drugs and alcohol, of course) goes.

(I don’t count the brief side trips we take as a result of business trips, like New Orleans last year, as a real vacation; a real vacation is just that: a vacation from work and other responsibilities.)

At any rate, my older son is in town for the week.  It is, as usual, his vacation, but the kids (for the most part) are pretty good about helping around the house when they’re here, so it’s not too much of an imposition, aside from the massive amount of cooking that goes on.  Because since both of her brothers are here, my daughter is here, and brings her crew, too.  So far it’s been nice; it’s been a ton of fun just watching my son fawn over his nephew, something that has taken us all by surprise.

My husband, true to form, is “behaving” himself in the wake of our last really big fight; he doesn’t want a divorce any more than I do.  There’s no expectations on my part this time, however, that it will continue.  I’m tired of the inevitable disappointment that comes once I’ve gotten my hopes up; I know that he truly does not want to quit drinking. He may be able to “maintain” for some time, but sooner or later it will eventually get out of hand again.

My sister-in-law, who has had her own experience with an addict spouse, has talked me out of going to his board of directors to stage an intervention – she says it’s a bad idea and once I’ve had a chance to think about it, I know she’s right.  So, I guess I’m just going to have to decide what I want to do to support myself and start making plans to get the hell out of Dodge.

(I had a comment on my last post that perhaps a separation would be a good place to start, but my husband is very much an all-or-nothing kind of person – I doubt he’d agree to it.)

We’ve got a busy summer ahead of us, but he’s going on at least two week-long business trips, and my youngest heads back to the hallowed halls of academia in late August, so there should be plenty of opportunity to do what needs to be done.

And this 53-year-old woman will be starting all over.  Again.  Thank you, alcohol.

I HATE this.

And Here We Go Again

Another. Big. Fight.

The responsibility for this lies squarely on my shoulders.  I have spent the last 8 months with “You cannot have a reasonable discussion with an alcoholic about their drinking” as one of my mantras (the other is, “I didn’t cause it, I can’t control it and I can’t cure it”).  I know better, and yet I tried anyway.

What’s really funny was that as we sat discussing our non-existent sex life over dinner, the entire conversation was calm, reasonable and rational…as long as I took total blame for it vis a vis menopause killed my sex drive.  As long as it was all my fault and I owned it.  I guess I was lulled into a false sense of security, because when he asked if there was anything he could do to improve relations between us, I replied, “I don’t know.  Can we have a calm, rational discussion about your drinking?”

The answer to that would be not just “no,” but “FUCK. NO.”

It was ugly, and not helped by the fact that when we went into the backyard to harvest some stuff from the garden during a temporary truce, we were confronted by the neighbor behind us who confirmed, yes, the damage to his siding was around the floodlights, which are mounted beneath the gutters of his his two-story home.  Again, I went inside and left him to deal with it on his own – I meant it when I said the enabling was over.

(As an aside, when I asked my husband about it later, he said the neighbor threatened him.  When I pressed for an answer how, he said the neighbor told him “It better not happen again.”  That is so him, that he will take what is essentially the neighbor backing down about this as a threat.  The whole damn world is out to get him.)

During the course of this conversation, he said he would go into rehab IF it was no longer than 14 days and IF I did the research and found one that “fit” him – he flat-out refuses to go to AA or any other faith-based support group.  That part of the fight was actually kind of funny – I asked him, “So, you don’t feel that there’s any power higher than you?”

I could see him struggling not to say “no” – because he really does have that much of an inflated sense of self-importance – and he answered, “I don’t know.”

“How about the truth?”  I asked.  “Why can’t the TRUTH be your higher power?”

That made him uncomfortable.  Then I got the usual diatribe about all of the external forces that make him drink, and if I were just more supportive and he could just stay busier things would be ever so much better.  It is always something else – it is never, ever him.

So I went to bed where I didn’t sleep until 4 a.m.

At any rate, the fight flowed over to the next morning and continued via instant messenger at work (at his behest), when I wearily and finally said, “You want a divorce?  You’ve got it.  Let me know your terms.  I am finished with this bullshit.”

Aaaaaaand he spent the rest of the day kissing my ass and went to the SMART Recovery meeting he hasn’t attended in months.

This isn’t going to end until I end it, is it?