Friday, June 26, 2009
I have noticed one of the peculiar things about being in recovery is that my control meter has moved into the "below detectable limits" zone. And sometimes this results in a standoff between me and the alcoholic around planning things.
It's not unlike the impasse featured in those old western movies, when two people have their guns trained on each other knowing that neither person can make a move without endangering their life. Our standoff isn't so drastic but sometimes it does feel like a challenge.
Here are some examples:
Say if we have talked about going out to dinner. I will ask, "Where would you like to go?" She will say, "Oh wherever you like." And that puts the control of things right in my lap where I don't really want it to be.
Or maybe we are discussing what to do for the weekend. I want to go out on the boat so I will ask if my wife wants to go along. Sometimes I'll get a definitive answer while other times I might get an answer such as, "Let's wait and see how I feel about it on Friday."
And when these non-answers occur I let them drop like an alien object that I'm curious about but don't want to touch. I may inspect it with my eyes and long to put my hands on it to turn it over and look for an opening, but I make myself leave it alone. It's like both of us are eying this thing that is there in front of us, and each is waiting for the other to pick it up.
So therein lies the standoff. I really want an answer and to firm up some plans, but I'm not going to go into controlling mode to choose the place that we go to eat or force an answer about weekend plans.
Frankly, I'm tired of being in charge. I get tired of suggesting things to do. So after a while, I quit suggesting. And yes, we still go out to dinner and on the boat. Because after a while, one of us will decide to make a move. My solution is to not force that move until the very last minute. And then I will say something like, "I would like to go to dinner at _____. Would you like to join me?" Or, "I'm going out on the boat this weekend and would like to have you come along." If I get a negative then I still go.
I think that this may be some kind of passive/aggressive stuff about control. I'm not sure, but I am much happier with the idea of not forcing my agenda on another. And apparently that makes her a lot happier as well.