Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Raw Meeting

This afternoon was the men's meeting. I have missed a few of these get togethers in the summer because of being out of town or being on the boat. But today I made the meeting, and it was a good one. Actually, it was more like a gut wrenching kind of meeting for me.

We were reading and talking about relationships in which one person has invested energy, time and focus on another person to the exclusion of a lot of other aspects of life.  That was me.  I gave up so much to live in a relationship with an alcoholic. I couldn't go to a social function and enjoy myself.  I was on edge because of worry that she would make an ass of herself.  I stayed home most weekends to do work around the house and to keep an eye on my wife. And this went on for decades.

Finally, I had an epiphany that I was dying inside.  It occurred after a birthday party at a friend's house.  My wife got drunk and wanted to drive home. I told her that I didn't want her to drive. She grabbed the keys out of her purse and drove off, leaving me behind.  I was too embarrassed to go inside and tell people what happened. So I walked home.  I believe that this was the moment I realized I couldn't continue in this relationship.  Something needed to change. I needed to start living again.

That low point was the impetus that brought me to Al-Anon.  Since then, I have learned to redirect my focus to do those things that I enjoy.  I have bought two sailboats since then.  I take regular trips, sometimes by myself.  I don't give up things that I want to do because my wife doesn't want to participate.  I love her a lot, but I realize that I have life to live too.  Other people talk about their children and family members.  I don't have any.  All the family is dead now.  So it is important that I keep a momentum going to do activities that bring me joy and peace of mind.

Tonight, I went to see the Rolling Stone movie "Sweet Summer Sun".  It was awesome and definitely a mood elevator.  My wife was at her AA home group meeting.  It felt good, after having an honest and somewhat heart-wrenching meeting this afternoon, to go see a happy movie and watch a bunch of guys who I grew up listening to,  jump about and have a great time (Mrs. Moon--you have got to see this movie.  Keith was up close, personal, and incredibly loud!).

I realize that at times I feel lonely.  But I know that I am loved and feel a great deal of love, even though there are moments when the "isms" of alcoholism still hurt us both.  As I said today, I don't think that there is a better human being than my wife.  I trust her and know that she loves me.  And I have found a way to live life more in balance with myself than ever before.  I have learned that resentment kills love.  I have made amends for my part.  And I make no apologies for living a life with the focus on what I want to do.

17 comments:

  1. I am really quite opposite of a lot of what you are Syd. Read what I posted on Sarahs.

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    1. Maybe not as different as you think. I have torn down the walls, but it takes every ounce of strength that I have. And I can so easily, in a moment of time, erect them again. Feeling unloved has been with me for a long time. Even though I know that I am loved, I often don't believe it in my head.

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  2. First off- thanks, Syd. I do want to see that movie. Also the documentary on Muscle Shoals which I hear is very, very good.
    It is sort of a miracle that you have learned to take care of yourself. It IS important and some people are born knowing how to do this (my husband is one of them) and some are not. And some of us are not and then are TRAINED not to, as well. It's a sticky subject. It's difficult. As always, you've given me a lot to think about and I thank you.

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    1. I think that I learned how to take care of myself when I was a child. I have an inquisitive mind and that has helped me a lot. But I got lost in despair along the way. Now I am recovering that fun in life again. It takes work.

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  3. i agree completely with what you said on keeping that momentum of joyful and happy moments in your life...we def need that...and i am glad you are further along than when you were at that party as well...will have to check out that movie as well....

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    1. I am further along, Brian. But I also have those times when I regress. And then I have to use every tool of the program to get myself back up and moving. It isn't easy some days.

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  4. Such a great post. I really have nothing to add to it other then I LOVE THAT PHOTO OF THE DOG!!

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    1. Cute little dog and the photo makes me smile.

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  5. I don't know if I am going to express this correctly but...it amazes me how your life parallels with mine and no alcohol or alcohol anon is involved. We are all searching for joy in life. And your reply to the comment describes me too..."I have torn down the walls but can erect them so easily" I have done that many times and that is what I am trying to stop doing...I want to throw away those building materials!

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    1. Me too. I don't need to wall myself off because it kills my soul.

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  6. I remember shortly after my son went to rehab going to an Al Anon meeting with my husband. He complained to someone at the meeting that we were a family and that I wasn't helping him during this difficult time. I had already been to a few meetings and was shocked that I was encouraged to take care of myself but also felt such great empowerment. Later my husband would go to AA. It is a long road towards recovery. But worth every step. I totally get your feelings. Great post.

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  7. In reading your posts, I so often think there should be a group started to deal with narcissism and its' victims.

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  8. Beautiful, open-hearted post, and something I needed to read today. I, too, have no children - because of the effects of growing up in an alcoholic home. My husband, who is not an alcoholic, has also suffered the effects, because we both wanted children but now it is too late. Your post affirms for me that I must continue to work on building a life for myself (and my husband) that includes a family of choice, since the family I was born into wasn't a healthy one. Anyway, thank you for this. AND for the picture of the dog. Brought a smile to my face on a difficult day.

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  9. Syd, I feel rewarded with the honesty of this piece, your "experience, strength and hope".

    Hopefully I'm so late in commenting that nobody but you will read that I am of the opinion that Alanon program gives a better structured(?) way of life that does my own Alcoholics Anonymous. Of course individually it depends to what lengths any one of us will go to in order to get "it"...until we are ready--IT won't happen.

    Hope retirement is good for you, I bet you are good at living it.

    Also smiling at the doggie illustration of your post. Yup!

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  10. Great post, Syd. It was very interesting to read about what finally pushed you to go to Alanon.

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  11. Wow, this post really resonated with me. Thanks for writing it, Syd. I guess we all have had that epiphany that we needed help. I sure am thankful that Al-Anon was there for me. I'm so glad your marriage survived, and you and your wife are both in recovery, both growing as individuals and as a couple.

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Let me know what you think. I like reading what you have to say.