The full story

For Ashley.   

I married my high school sweetheart.  He was a bad boy and I was the good catholic girl.  He drank at 13 and smoked cigarettes.  I was raised by strict parents and believed if I came home drunk or pregnant, it was the same.  I would be kicked out of my home.  We hid is wild side from my parents.  We dated through college, for 8 years before getting married.  He is the only one I have ever loved. 

I think I always knew my husband was too dependent on alcohol.  He as the happy-go-lucky guy who would drink only to get drunk.  He drank often and by my standards a lot.  I do not drink.  I have a cocktail when I am out with friends but never at home and never because I need one.  We are polar opposites.  My husband has always called me a prude. 

He was a stockbroker around 9/11.  A very stressful market and a genetic predisposition left him with an anxiety disorder.  He has been on medication since then.  So the signs that I should have seen, I attributed to side effects of his anxiety medication.  He was often sleepy to the point of passing out regulary.  His eyes were half closed much of the time.  He would check out of life and say he just needed to shut his brain off.  I thought he was overwhelmed with work, infertility, having miscarriages, raising multiples. 

When I was home on maternity leave, random boxes came to house every other week or so.  He told me they were kava, an extract used to relax he first tried in Hawaii.  Eventually, I guess I grew suspicious and opened one.  I found a vile of liquid that I googled and quickly learned it was worth $500.  By looking at our bank account, it was then that I knew my husband had a problem with a “legal” addictive substance and was spending a lot of our money on it.  I watched him go through detox at home for four days.  I thought it was over. 

Three months later my husband told me he was an alcoholic and that he was going to quit drinking.  I thought that meant he needed the handful of drinks each week.  He stopped drinking and told me a couple weeks later, he was drinking bottles and bottles each week.  I was dumbfounded and completely in shock.  I wondered what else I didn’t know.  I thought I knew him.

My world came crashing down two months after that when I realized our bank account was significantly flucuating.  When confronted, my husband admitted he was also a drug addict.  Vicodin was his drug of choice and he had blown through 10 grand of our savings.  The next few months were a whirlwind of emotions.  I was mostly bitter and angry.  I was not even sure I wanted to salvage our family and at the same time was terrified to be a single mother.  I went to a month of the family program and my husband completed an inpatient detox program and 6 months of an aftercare program.  I am still baffled I am living this life.

(I started this post in July and the rest is an update as of today). 

Little did I know, when I wrote my last post about my husband being clean, his recovery was being to spiral down.  He started talking more about depression.  His behavior gradually changed.  He developed insomnia and irregular sleep patterns.  We began fighting more and I became suspicious.  This morning I found out my concerns were justified.  At five am, he woke me up with a text.  It said “can we talk?  You NEED to stay calm.”  I was alone in bed and said “fuck” out loud.  He shared that he relapsed a month and a half ago.  He has been using cocaine and over the last week it increased to daily use.  My mind is still spinning.  Cocaine?  I feel like I am living a nightmare.  I want to be supportive but I also want to run away.  He already contacted his previous counselor and he plans on being drug free again.  He has an evaluation tomorrow night at the rehab clinic.  I have no idea how to deal with this life.  And I still haven’t decided what to do.

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I just am

I realize I let this blog crumble.  Although, I have not. 

I feel strong, more confident in my future, and in turn happier.  I am still married.   My husband is still clean. Tonight, he is at his last meeting for the after-care addiction program.   He has not used drugs or alcohol in over 7 months.  I know it has not been easy for him or us but I am finally proud.  My bitterness from the betrayal has weakened.  I just find myself thinking I wish things could go back to the way they were before.  Before I was aware there was a problem.  Only they can’t.  And I am left dreaming that maybe things will be better than they were before. 

We never did initiate marriage counseling although have not ruled it out.  We fight less and most of the time want to be in each other’s company.  Earlier this summer, we spend a week together without the kids in London and the English countryside.  It was like being on 50 dates.  We slept in the same bed, traveled like we used to, and somewhat reconnected. 

I am off work for the summer so I have had time (when the kids nap) to do things for myself.  A little sewing, some cooking, and time to take care of myself.  Get the house cleaned, run errands on a slower pace.  I am spending more time outdoors with my toddlers and more time with friends.  I am reading at night and getting plenty of sleep.  I am a happier mom, a happier wife, and a happier me.  I still don’t know who I am but I am not searching for it either.  I just am. 

My gratitude for tonight:

  • I am working out regularly for the first time in my life
  • a completely open day tomorrow with no obligations or playdates…a true summer’s day
  • that my children make me smile all the time

 

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Not a last resort

Sometimes, I don’t even admit things to myself. 

I have known we need marriage counseling but I have come up with an array of excuses.   I first thought that my husband needed to recover before we could work on us.  I had heard from the family program counselor at my husband’s drug rehab that it was best to wait four to five months before even attempting marriage counseling.  I clung to that suggestion.  Even after his individual counselor suggested starting asap and even after much questioning from friends and family, I continued to convince myself it was too soon.  Feelings would be too raw.  My husband needed to be stronger.  He needed to focus on himself.  I needed to not hate him before I could care about fixing us.  We didn’t have time in our week to devote to a weekly session. 

My husband came home last night from an appointment with his doctor.  She recommended we start counseling now.  He shared we were waiting for my parents to return to the country.  They would be able to watch our kids once a week while we were at appointments.  The doctor said not to wait.  We should start now even if it means paying for a sitter.  A professional stated it was necessary now

I have let this sink in and spent sometime trying to figure out what I am so scared of.  I let myself admit I have avoided this step.  I have never been openminded to psychiatry.  At least not for me.  Part of me has always seen marriage counseling as a last resort.  It is for those who are desparate at repairing their marriage.  I am having a very hard time admitting we are there.  Desparate.  And I hope this is not a last resort.

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I need out

I am fighting cabin fever.  After two snow days, I haven’t gone beyond my driveway in almost 48 hours.  I have been alone with my two beautiful children inside a nice warm home.  It is sunny outside but bitter cold.  Does it make me a bad mom if I am excited to take them to their 15 month appointment in a few hours? I need out. 

I have tried to keep myself busy.  Yesterday while the kids were asleep, I helped shovel the 20 inches of snow.  I baked biscottis and a batch of oatmeal coconut cookies.  I made two pots of soup.  I cooked dinner.  I finished an amazing book.  I went to bed early to nights in a row.  

The rest of the time, I watched my kids play in my living room.  They climbed in an out of their toy boxes.  They found styrofoam from a fake plant and tried to eat it.  Both tore apart two cacti.  They emptied bookshelves.  They ignored my “no,no’s”.    My daughter learned how to get out of her highchair.  Luckily, I was watching as she got out of the straps and climbed onto her tray.  Both turned the t.v. on and off and on and off, sometimes while I was watching it.  They have exhausted me. 

These last couple days made me miss my past.  The time before I had my children.  I remembered how much fun it was to stay in bed for hours and get many projects done around the house.  I miss the carefree days.  But at the same time, I feel guilt for not appreciating the time I have with my little ones.  For seeing the daily routine as a chore.  For counting down the hours until bedtime.  Because once I am out of this house and back to work, I will want to do it all over again.

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Half-assed

I may be failing at blogging more often but I really do not want to feel guilt in something I hope to be pleasurable.  And if I am being honest, it’s not just blogging I suck at.  My new years resolution to read and ponder the daily messages in Simple Abundance has been just short of half-assed.  I find myself reading five pages ahead so I can have a break for a few nights.  I think the busyness of daily life takes over.   I really try to do the minimum with cooking, cleaning, baths etc. just to stay afloat.  Between, deadlines at work and a flu wiping us out this last week, I have been too tired to pile much more than the basics on our days. 

I have, in the midst of craziness, continued to focus on my needs and getting part of me back again.  I found myself in one of my favorite places this weekend. ALONE.  I had forgotten the sense of peace I get from just stepping into my library.  It had been too long since I have wandered the stacks, taking my time to scan the newly released books.  I always feel a slight thrill as I come across a novel written by a beloved author.  I never leave with just one and walk out fully satisfied with a small pile clutched under my arm. 

Now, during my time to relax, after my kids are sound asleep in their cribs, I am torn between snuggling in bed with a book and pouring out my thoughts here.  Both equally rewarding.  But so often reading wins. 

It’s not that I haven’t thought of this space.  I have much to share.  I find myself drafting posts in my head often.  I owe you answers to questions…

To Ashley, I do realize I deserve time to myself and while I know I don’t get enough, I try to create some time for self-care each day.  Right now, even though it sucks, my husband’s recovery must take precident over everything else.  He attends meetings a couple nights a week.  I choose to be home with him for the few hours we have together the rest of the nights in hopes of rebuilding even a small part of our marriage.  I get a girls night here and there, always at least once a month.  I do have a great support system of friends and family that allow me to vent about so much.  One of my sisters, my mom and a few close friends are aware with what we are dealing with.  No one truly understands but I do have people to talk to.  Hell, I still don’t understand how a successful business man that works in the Sears Tower, has a home in the suburbs, with two amazingly beautiful kids can make the choices he did.  It’s mind-blowing to all but I am not completely alone. 

MSW, you asked if my mention of working part time is a hope or reality and I guess a little of both.  Since, my husband shook everything up, I haven’t looked too far ahead with any of life’s big decisions.  I have been toying with the idea that it may work to go down to three or four days a week.  I plan to stay at my current job and haven’t presented the possibility to my administration.  Since I work in a school, the change would not take place until August anyway.  I haven’t forced my husband into looking at our finances and actually budgeting it out.  I have been enjoying the possibility and dream of it actually working out.  What one extra day off could do for my sanity. 

My gratitude for tonight:

  • use of my work computer since my laptop has been dead for weeks (one extra excuse that I haven’t been blogging)
  • a really good book waiting for me
  • the extra cuddling time Claire shared tonight
  • work should slow down for the rest of the week
  • my house is so quiet I notice the furnace running
  • Finally making it to a twin club meeting again this Thursday night
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Burning in your chest

So, here goes.  I started this blog so I could be honest.  And yes, I am in search of myself and happiness.  But sometimes, I still feel angry.  The burning in your chest kind of anger that only goes away after you finally scream and yell.  Tonight, I am chosing not to scream and yell but to stew and blog. 

My husband makes me angry.  Incredibly angry.  He rocked our marriage beyond belief.  I may begin to work past that.  Today, he is clean for 52 days.  He went to an NA meeting tonight.  And while it pains me to act again as a single mother and put our kids to bed alone while he is gone, I am happy that he went.  That he is chosing the right path one day at a time. 

But I am still angry.  Because from this recovery process, my husband switched addictions.  He has begun chewing at home and tonight he came home from his meeting smelling of cigarettes.  I lashed out.  (Nothing new, I am quite the yeller.) And now I am trying to figure out why this is such a big deal to me.  I do see the irony.  My husband is off of prescription drugs and alcohol and I am upset by tobacco.  But I somehow feel like it is just another slap in my face.  Like he truly doesn’t care.  I made this man quit smoking before I married him.  I truly do not want to slowly watch him die of a cancer that he bestowed on himself.  I want him to value his life, our live, our children’s lives.  And I guess what my anger boils down to is that I want him to quit being so goddamn selfish and to suck it up and deal with life without all the substances that he keeps leaning on. 

I hate that he says he cares but he doesn’t show me. 

My gratitude (even when I am pissed off):

  • my daughter stopped whining after an hour tonight
  • watching my kids play on the floor together
  • I am enjoying daydreaming of the possibility of working part-time next year
  • my sisters offered to come this weekend to babysit so we can have date night-  I hope I want one by Saturday night
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Blue skies and sunshine

I am spending much of my waking hours conscious of happiness-my happiness and my search for more.  It is intriguing to me how many messages continue to bombard me.  It’s like when you learn a new word and all of the sudden you hear the word ten times the next day. 

Today, I came across references to the meaning of life all day long.  First, I entered our family room as my husband was playing “The Princess and the Frog” for my daughter.  A song came on about digging a little deeper to find out who you are. “Blue skies and sunshine guaranteed.”  Later, I caught a link on facebook from a dear blogger friend that reminded me to let myself be deeply, vulnerably be seen,  love with my whole heart, and to believe that “I am enough.”  And ultimately, tonight, I laid down in bed, picked up my Simple Abundance book and read an entry for January 8, an entire three paragraphs regarding how geniune happiness can be learned if it is made a priority in daily life.

I’m left to wonder what brings me genuine happiness.  Here is my random off-the-top-of-my-head list:

  • holding my sleeping, cuddling children
  • star gazing in Door County
  • sand beneath my toes
  • Claire and Grey’s smiles, giggles and random raspberries
  • really good fiction
  • hugs from my daughter
  • ocean waves
  • cupcakes
  • the thrill of travelling to a new place
  • Jesus clouds
  • watching my children experience a first

I realize this list should be much longer.  My genuine happy moments should be easier to recall.  How interesting that I could share what makes others happy but for myself, I am left to ponder what makes my blue skies and sunshine. 

My gratitude for tonight:

  • lots of relaxing family time this weekend
  • actually going to bed when my kids did last night (I’ve wanted to do that for over a year)
  • my husband is trying to be more involved with the kids and the house
  • a warm bed with a purring cat at my side
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