Friday, August 3, 2012

Dog days of summer

We are in the dog days of summer here: thunderstorms every evening, humid and hot air making it difficult to do many tasks outside.  Yet, the afternoons have been breezy, offering a respite from the mid-day heat.  And the rain after the thunderstorms has made all the gardens lush with growth.  We are still gathering vegetables which make for great salads and go into the morning juice that I make for myself.

This weekend is the big regatta on the island.  Thousands of people and hundreds of boats will converge on one of the small creeks to drink and hang out.  In years past, it was dubbed the largest floating cocktail party in the state. Oddly, even though I live here, I have not been on the water when the regatta occurred.  A friend offered to take us this weekend on his small boat, but we declined.  Spending the day watching other people drink themselves silly on boats doesn't seem like a relaxing time.

Actually, we haven't decided what to do this weekend.  I thought about going to a museum in the upstate to see the Titantic artifact exhibit.  We talked about going on the boat up the coast.  I'm sure that we will find something to do that will we will enjoy.  It never fails that what we both need will be presented in some way as a new adventure.

For two days now, my wife has seemed happier.  I'm glad for that.  Earlier this week, I felt stuck and lonely, mired in self pity about spending my whole life with someone who has either suffered from alcoholism or depression.  These are the moments when I hyperfocus on happy, laughing couples who seem to exude balance.  These are the times when I focus on what is wrong with us as a couple, how incompatible we seem.  These are the moments when I despair for signs of affection and laugher and love.  And these are the times that I forget about the good times that we have shared.

Dissatisfaction will settle on my shoulders, and I'll long to shake it off.  I have so much to be grateful for.  I see that my wife is one of the best people that I know.  She is truly kind, generous, honest, and lovely.  She has helped me to unhinge myself from my own upbringing of being critical, judgmental, and serious.  I still have a ways to go though when it comes to getting dragged down by the moods of others.  I've said it here before: Alcoholism is a lonely disease not only for the alcoholic but for the family members as well.  So is depression.

Some friends don't understand this. They don't understand how desperate I am to have someone say, I love you and I support you just the way you are because you're wonderful just the way you are. They don't understand that I can't remember anyone ever saying that to me. I am so demanding and difficult for my friends because I want to crumble and fall apart before them so that they will love me even though I am no fun, lying in bed, crying all the time, not moving. Depression is all about If you loved me you would. ― Elizabeth Wurtzel


  1. we did the titanic exhibit...actually my post tomorrow is about is good to do once...interesting and a little disturbing...

    the regatta sounds busy but interesting as well....

    i am glad the wife is doing better and i hope you shake your shadow a bit...

  2. I am so glad your wife is feeling happier. Enjoy the exhibit, if this is the right thing to do at an exhibit commemorating death. :)

  3. Bill Wilson's wife articulated just what you are talking about, Syd, when she said "Being married to an alcoholic is a very lonely affair". I'm sure that the healthier the alcoholic becomes the more this fades to the background. I'm glad that C is feeling happier ... from what you share it would seem that you two have the perfect life ... if there is such a thing !

  4. Well, there's a lot of pressure on a person suffering from depression to "feel better" and I would remind you of that. Yes, of course, you want nothing more than for her to do exactly that- feel better- and sometimes, coming out of depression can be a one step forward and two steps back sort of situation and yes, she needs to know that you love her in whatever stage she is in.

    Marriage is hard. That's all there is to it. There are times even in the best marriages and relationships where I am quite certain that both partners wonder what in hell they're doing this for. And then, just as with the tide, something turns, and everything flows back in and reminds you of exactly WHY.

    Or at least, this is my experience.

    No relationship is bright and shiny all the damn time.

  5. The Titanic exhibit sounds wonderful. If you go, let us know what you think.

  6. You always share the best quotes with us. Thank you.

  7. I have only recently accepted that the loneliness in my long-term marriage was what I was going to get, there was never going to be a
    "better" time. I lived on crunbs and hope for far too long.

  8. Hey Syd my old lady and I have been together for thirty years and we are the picture of a happy couple...we will argue about whatever, whenever, wherever...yeah it usually stupid shit but then as you very well know once the stupid shit is flushed it's in the bilge or the holding tank ready to be dropped.

    This is the woman who watched me pound back a fifth of Jim beam every night for 17 years. She never throws it in my face and I never throw Italian ass "I am always right attitude in hers." After all i have been living with that far far longer than she did my depression and alcohol use.

    You really need to lighten up not on C Syd but on your own self. By the by I am not sure sailing up to see the remnants of a ship wreck is such a good idea but it makes for a rather odd cartoon in my head.

    Google up Jobby Nooner if you want to see what one of those dumb ass floating circuses look like Detroit style.

    Keep on keeping on Syd, your on your path and it will end with you being content ALL of the time.

    Your Walking man assigned tunage for the weekend

  9. One of my oldest friends has a wife who is battling cancer and chemo. He knows that she comes first and that she is enduring the major trauma but he needs a space to talk about what it feels like for him, carrying all the stress and dealing with her terror and despondency and rage. She is in a bad place but that doesn't discount what he has to live with.

    Hoping the skies clear for you and C, Syd.

  10. Heart ailments can also bring on depression; and bad mood can accompany the use of statin meds.

    Just a little thinking aloud. Take what is helpful and leave the rest. Course, you probably know Bill W. suffered from depression when he was sober. Still some thinking to be changed when that emotions dogs a person.

    Same with the anxiety that courts me. Always, when I sit with it, and don't try too hard to be "rid" of it, I learn something about what I am really thinking. And I heal some aspect of myself that has long needed my attention, just by paying attention and asking myself questions about my thinking.

    Don't know if this would be of interest to you or C, but Byron Katie's The Work, really helped me in looking more closely at my thoughts.

    Best, Smitty

  11. I'm sure by now your "weekend plans" have been made, and I hope they are indeed adventurous!

  12. I always appreciate your honesty. Somehow it makes me feel not so alone myself. I also appreciated all the people who wrote responses to what you wrote. It's nice to have a place where people can be real. Thank you.

  13. It seems depression is contagious if we focus on it. Even as we are willing it to change it overtakes our world.

    I'm grateful that your wife seems better as well. I know I've been battling the same kinds of feelings and thoughts. I'm grateful that there is a solution, and that it does work.

    I'm also grateful for fellows and friends who share in the work and the foundation building and upkeep, it is helpful to be surrounded with great examples and character!

  14. I use to live for the good days... I believe I still do, but now I try to practice loving everyday, whether it is good or bad. I find the good days are even better when I keep that mind set! :)

    I agree completely that alcoholism is a lonely disease for each and everyone one of us.

  15. Hello Syd,
    I'm so glad that I found your blog tonight. I was searching for some words of one who '"has been there" and understands the heartache we feel when loving an alcoholic/addict. Al-Anon saved me many years ago when I was living with active alcoholism.
    While I am no longer in that situation, the scars and memories remain. I truly appreciate your compassion, empathy and courageous honesty. I needed to find you and thank you for what you share of your life and your inner thoughts.

    Blessings and peace. I think I will return to your blog often for encouragement, strength and hope.


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