Intimacy

I’ve been missing my husband of late.  Not that he’s out of town or psychologically absent or anything, I just miss being able to pour my heart and soul out to him and that sense of relief that came after he listened.  Not that I can’t do that now mind you…wait…let me explain.

 

Our relationship was built on dinner.  Yep – third meal of the day sometimes referred to as supper – dinner.  Before children, we went out to dinner 4-6 nights a week.  Those dinners lasted entire evenings.  Sometimes we went with friends but most of the time we went alone.  Since we were together 10 years before my oldest came along, that’s a whole lot of eating and drinking.  So much drinking.  But during those dinners we learned everything there was to know about each other.  We talked about everything during those dinners – well, okay – we mostly talked about me.  But that’s what girls do!  And men listen.

After we had our kids, we started date nights.  It began as once a month and then as the years went by and the kids got older, it changed to once a week.  What did not change was the talking.  Those were my times to open the flood gates and let it all out.  See, over those years there was a lot of drama in our family.  There were custody battles for nieces and nephews, there were job issues, there were entrepreneur issues, there were deaths. and at the end, there was helping my mom to die…coping was all about date night.  Eating, talking, crying, venting and of course, drinking.  Lots and lots of drinking.  So much drinking.

Then I started drinking at home.

I used to have a rule – I never drank at home.  Never.  I think that’s why we went out so much in the beginning of our relationship because I wouldn’t drink at home and I couldn’t do the mental vomit thing without the wine.  I didn’t start drinking at home until the kids were older and my mom was getting sick and honestly killing me in the process.  It started with one glass of wine on Thursday nights after the kids were in bed and while we watched House Hunters.  That’s also when I began to lose control…

I don’t want to give the impression that I ever really had control – I do not, nor have I ever had an off switch.  Once started, I am most certainly going to get drunk.  However, the whole “not drinking at home” made me feel like I had control even though I spent the days before date night craving that first sip of Chardonnay.  Yeah…control…har har…

But I digress.  Now I don’t have that lever that opens the gates and removes the inhibitions.  Now I have the bitch with the boxing gloves in my head to tell me to shut up and stop whining.  Now I have real control.  Now I have been rendered mute.

When I first got sober I was emotionally raw and able to do the mental vomit thing if poked.  Husband poked, I talked.  But now…well I’m not sure what is happening.  Do I not need to do that anymore?  Is that what this blog is about – an outlet?  Are we both just too old and settled to fight for that kind of intimacy – or do we not need it anymore.  He used to know just what to say to me exactly when I needed it.  Now sometimes I don’t even think he knows who I am which is convenient because most of the time I don’t either.  And what’s worse, I don’t think I know who he is either – I mean, what he REALLY is…down deep…mostly because I don’t think I’ve ever actually asked him.  I was too concerned about me.

I guess I thought he would be more a part of me figuring out who I am now which is not really fair because this is not his fight – it’s mine. But I’m truly a little lost.  I hope we can get to that scene in When a Man Loves a Woman when Andy Garcia shows up at Meg Ryan’s AA meeting and says all those things she’s been waiting to hear.  Wonder if that movie is on Netflix…

Losing Weight With Men Sucks

My son asked me if he could join Weight Watchers right after the first of the year.  He’s been concerned about his weight for some time now and I was proud of him for wanting to take some action.  Since I’m ALWAYS trying to lose weight, I decided to join as well so that we could both have a dog in the fight.

 (In case you’re not familiar with Weight Watchers, every food has a point value and you spend them each day any way you like. Based on your height, weight, age and other factors, you are assigned a number of points to spend each day and a weekly allotment to split up among the days or save for a splurge…totally up to you.  It’s a great plan and it does really work…in spite of this post).

He’s down 20 pounds in the last three weeks.  I’m down 6.5.

That’s what sucks.

I mean, I know why it’s happening.  He’s 16…I’m 50.  He needs to lose 100 lbs (he really doesn’t, but he thinks he does), I have to lose 50 (and yes…I need to lose every one of those), he’s a MAN and I’m just a dumb girl with an incredibly slow metabolism made even slower by age and menopause.

That’s what sucks.

What’s more, he gets 58 points a day to my 26!!!!  He gets to eat like a lineback for the Washington Redskins while I get to eat like a waif from some Dickensian novel.  He’s not even able to eat all his daily points and hardly ever touches his weekly allowance points while I’m scraping to make it through the weeks without going over mine INCLUDING adding activity points.

That’s what sucks.

However, you can really see the difference in his body.  He’s so proud of himself and he’s gaining some much needed confidence which is wonderful.  There’s a light in his eyes and he’s so diligent and committed to this I know he will be successful and I can’t wait to see his face when he is.

That…does not suck.  Not at all.

On Praying

Here lately I just haven’t been “feeling it” when I pray and I don’t know why.

I pray in my sanctuary (my shower) every morning out loud.  First I say the prayer of Jabez and then the Serenity Prayer.  Then I thank God for all my blessings and for the day.  Then I do my please bless ______ depending upon who’s on my prayer list for the day and what their challenges are, and I always conclude with my family.  THEN I zero in on what I want or need for the day. (Why am I always last – no wait, that’s another post entirely….forget that for now.)

In the past, I’ve had moments when a calm or an “ahhhh” feeling would come over me after my prayers when I knew, without a moment’s doubt, that God was there holding my hand or wrapping His arms around me.  He’s even spoken to me in the shower a couple of times – in my head of course – but the message was as clear as if you were speaking to me.  At those times the “AHHHHH” was definitely in capital letters.

I’m having a hard time finding that recently.  No “ahhh’s”.  No words in my head.  No arms around me.

Now the good Catholic girl in me (or is in the ACOA or the child of a narcissist or that bitch with the boxing gloves) says that I must be doing something wrong.  God is punishing me because I’m not praying right.  Or I’m not getting through the switchboard (which I know is always jammed given the state of our world) because I’m not saying the right words.  Or, and this is my biggest fear, because I’m not something (trusting, faithful, doing enough to get to my goals, patient…whatever) that He has just moved on.  Wow…just typing that puts a lump in my throat.

Intellectually I know (I think I know anyway) that God would not abandon me no matter what I’ve done but in my heart I’m not so sure.

Wish I knew what to do about this…guess I’ll pray about it.

Tolerance

So I’ve been reading a lot of blogs and literature lately on recovery…specifically recovery from alcoholism.  While I’ve gained a lot of insight and courage to take my own recovery in a different direction, what I’ve also learned is that I have one mean bitch down deep inside that has very little tolerance for some of the rhetoric I keep reading.  Whew!  That was hard to write – now let’s see if I can decipher it.

It’s just that my heart has been closed off to any real emotion (beyond that for my close friends and family) for so long that anytime I start to open it to the possibility that this AA stuff might actually work, I slam that door shut but good.  I just have no tolerance for the kumbaya of it all.  Is it something I should build a tolerance for like I did for alcohol (now THAT would be ironic)?  Or is it a result of watching people mock it for so long that I’m afraid if I open my heart I’ll be mocked too?  Or worse yet, that the boxer in my head will jump back in the ring and begin to mock me and beat me up for actually feeling something as genuine as compassion and love for my fellow alcoholics.  Whoa!  That was insightful wasn’t it. 

Then there’s the time.  If I do this AA thing right, I’ll have to commit time and energy to the process.  I’ll have to give of myself to help others.  I’ll have to actually go – in the rain, in the cold, when I’m sick, when I’m tired, hell – when I’m sick and tired.  I’m just not sure if I have that kind of energy.  I feel like I give and give and give and I’m not sure I’ve got anything left.  That’s really odd because I’ve always had more than enough to give.  Told you there was a bitch down deep inside…

Lord I hope this gets easier…I’m really tired.

Some Thoughts on AA – Part 2

Lots of thinking on this AA thing has gone on since I started this blog a couple of days ago.  It’s funny how once you get the thoughts that roll around in your head everyday down on paper they begin to sort themselves out.  Hmmm…score one for the AA folks.

A lot of that thinking has been about why I’m so resistent to AA.  Part one of this thought process was about my dad and how he got sober.  Now let’s talk about my sister.  Buckle up people.

My sister has been drinking and drugging since she was about 6 years old.  I know…hard to believe but it’s not an exaggeration.  In all that time I don’t believe she’s been totally clean for more that 24 hours except, maybe, when she was pregnant with her two kids.  However, she’s a lifelong attendee of AA.  She attends.  She makes coffee.  She spouts chapter and verse from the Big Book.  And she drinks and uses drugs and lies, lies, lies.

Over the years I’ve attended family sessions with her.  The people I’ve met have not impressed me as the type I would want to reach out to for help.  I know that sounds so snobby and stuck up but let me explain.  I think it’s because of the meetings she chose.  These people were ALL (for the most part) using and thumbing their noses at the institution!  It made me so cynical that even thinking about going into one of those rooms makes me anxious. 

However (and this is a big however), I’ve learned over the past two years that there are LOTS of different meetings and that alcoholics come in all shapes, sizes, genders and colors.  Intellectually I know there’s a meeting out there for me – but my heart…it’s another story all together. 

Now let’s talk about the way AA is portrayed.  It appears to me (I’ve read the Big Book by the way) to be an awful lot of rules about what you should and shouldn’t do and – and this is the part that really worries me – it appears to be directed toward white collar men.  I’m not sure I want to be directed to or by an organization that doesn’t understand what it’s like to be a mom, a professional AND a drunk.

I’m going to work at overcoming this and see where it takes me. 

My Inner Boxer

First off no, this is not about getting fit and finding my power through boxing (although I would love to); nor is it about getting another dog (although I would love to do that as well)…it’s about that nasty woman that lives inside my head who loves to put on her boxing gloves and kick my ass every chance she gets.  And here lately she’s training for the championship.

She’s always been there.  As a child of an alcoholic and a narcissist, you learn that no matter what you do it will never be good enough.  You’ll never be good enough to stop daddy from picking up the next beer and as for mom – you’ll just never be good enough.  So that nasty woman started as a nasty little girl and grew as I did. 

Every once in awhile I’d get my own knock-out in.  Like in my 30’s when my kids were little and I was in great shape and I knew I  had found the one thing I could do better than anyone else – parent.  I KNEW, for the first time in my life that I was really, really good at being a mother.  She stayed unconcious for almost an entire decade.  Sure, she rolled over from time to time and muttered…but I knocked her upside the head and she shut up again.  Bliss.

Then came my forties…and menopause…and my mother living with us and beginning the process of dying (yes, the narcissist)…and my children growing up and becoming self sufficient.  Not only did she wake up – but she’d been working out!  She was strong!  She was powerful!  And she was BACK! 

So I did what any good ACOA would do – I started drinking more and more just to shut the bitch up.  Now don’t get me wrong, I always drank in an out of control way so I really have always been an alcoholic, but until she really got to beating up on me I had it under control (yeah…right).  However, now that she just wouldn’t shut up, I figured I’d get her drunk and she’d eventually pass out.  It worked.  She shut up in the evening (her favorite time to go a couple of rounds) and she was too hungover in the morning to really get any good punches in.

Now I’ve been sober two years and boy has she had some fun with me.  She’s strong, she’s loud and she just won’t shut up…ever.  I am second guessing everything I do.  I can’t even pray right.  When I pray I think “Don’t pray for THAT!  That’s so selfish.  God is not going to want to pay your bills – it’s your fault you’re in debt not His.” Or when I try to meditate, “You can’t even meditate right!  You’re not supposed to have those thoughts! Clear your mind?  Hah! No way.”  And let’s not even get started on the extra 50 pounds I gained while trying to shut her up (sometimes carbs work as well as chardonnay you know). 

Now I’ve come to the conclusion that I didn’t get sober right (don’t blame me – it was HER idea).  That I’m not healing right.  That I’m not following some prescribed set of rules designed to get and keep you sober.  It’s confusing because I AM sober and I don’t want a drink.  I’m honest about missing it sometimes but there’s never a day I think that a cold glass of chardonnay will make ANYTHING better.  And everyday I know that I would break not only my own heart but the hearts of my family if I picked up again.  So why won’t she just shut the hell up and stop beating me up every frickin chance she gets?

Guess that’s why I’m writing this blog…to figure it out.

Some thoughts on AA – Part 1

Okay, I’ll admit it, I’m not a fan of AA.  Not that I’ve ever been mind you.  But I’ve got some old baggage that I have to let US Airways lose before I can do the AA thing.

First, I come from a long line of active alcoholics, recovering alcoholics and dry drunks; some of whom have tried AA and some of whom haven’t, and many of whom have made a mockery of the amazing institution that it is.  It’s the latter group that packed the aforementioned luggage I carry.  And those suckers are heavy.

See, my dad was an active alcoholic for most of my life (I’m sure there will be MANY posts about this later in my blogging life) and while he got sober, he never went to AA and I don’t believe he ever actually began a process of recovery.  He was still the same person after he got sober that he was before – with all the same demons and issues that drove him to that can of beer in the first place. 

It’s just recently I’ve realized that recovery is not just about not drinking.  It’s about change.  About not being that person you were before.  About finding out exactly who you are.  I don’t think – no…I know – he never did that.  For a time I was so proud of the fact that he kicked it on his own.  That he didn’t need the crutch of other people to get sober.  That he was STRONG. I wanted to be strong too because that’s all I’ve ever known how to be.  But what I’m thinking now is that he was actually weak.  That he didn’t have the courage to stand up and ask for help…because it takes courage to come out of isolation and ask for help.

Oh Lord what a can of worms I think I’ve opened…

Here we go…

While this is not my first attempt at a blog – I hope it’s my most serious.  My husband keeps telling me I should be a writer.  What I can’t seem to convince him of, is that I can’t write!  I mean…I can write – anyone can write…I just don’t have the talent that I see on blogs, in books in the many magazine articles that I peruse.  And mainly, and this is the real reason, I don’t want to embarrass myself by committing something to cyberspace that may come back to bite me in the butt later.  There…I said it.  It’s all about me.

However, after reading many blogs and books on alcoholism and recovery, it seems that “journaling” (which I’ve never had any luck doing) is a good way to make your way through and continue to be successful at recovery.  And since – and this is important so pay attention – after two years of going without a drink I have just decided to call myself an alcoholic OUT LOUD – it’s probably a good idea to start doing what I’ve been reading about for two years…gee…ya think?

This will likely just be a stream of consciousness designed to help me get what rolls around in my head on a regular basis into something resembling sense.  I will try to do a few things –

  1. I promise not to whine.  I HATE whining.  In fact, even before I quit drinking my house was a “no whine” zone.  Get it – har har.  I may, at times, complain, bitch, moan and throw a tantrum or too but I will not whine.  If I do, you have my full permission to tell me to knock it off immediately.
  2. I will try not to rip off any of my fellow bloggers.  I reserve the right to mention them, credit them and be inspired by them however – they help me get through my day.
  3. I will try not to write anyone’s story but my own. 
  4. I will try not to get my feelings hurt if you write mean things to me in your comments…however, on that I’m not making any promises.
  5. I do promise to share whatever I can that will help me and anyone who may be out there reading this get through the next 24 hours without a drink.  That’s all we can hope for…

Now let’s rock and roll…