Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Time Heals All Wounds...


Tonight, I went through all my photo albulms for the last 10 years or more. It struck me. Old lovers. The deaths. The births. The marriages. The divorces. My grandparent's 50th and 60th wedding anniveraries. Many other significant anniveraries...

Life is life.

There is good. There is bad.

I have focused a lot on the bad here. But there has also been a lot of good.

There were numerous people that I have considered "out of my life". But in looking at all the old pictures, I felt no ill-will. I even remembered some good times with my father-in-law.

Time does heal all wounds. Even the bad ones. More on that later.

Beautiful song by a beautiful lady


"Ready For Love"

I am ready for love
Why are you hiding from me
I'd quickly give my freedom
To be held in your captivity

I am ready for love
All of the joy and the pain
And all the time that it takes
Just to stay in your good grace
Lately I've been thinking
Maybe you're not ready for me
Maybe you think I need to learn maturity
They say watch what you ask for
Cause you might receive
But if you ask me tomorrow
I'll say the same thing

I am ready for love
Would you please lend me your ear?
I promise I won't complain
I just need you to acknowledge I am here

If you give me half a chance
I'll prove this to you
I will be patient, kind, faithful and true
To a man who loves music
A man who loves art
Respect's the spirit world
And thinks with his heart

I am ready for love
If you'll take me in your hands
I will learn what you teach
And do the best that I can

I am ready for love
Here with an offering of
My voice
My Eyes
My soul
My mind

Tell me what is enough
To prove I am ready for love

I am ready

-India Arie

To hear her sing this (beautiful!!!!)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFMC1N3L3n4

Monday, June 29, 2009

This too shall pass

I've achieved so much in life,
but I'm an amateur in love
My bank account is doing just fine
but my emotions are bankrupt

My body is nice and strong
but my heart is in a million pieces
When the sun is shining so am I
but when night falls, so do my tears

Sometimes the beat is so loud in my heart
that I can barely tell our voices apart
Sometimes the fear is so loud in my head
that I can barely hear what God says

but then I hear a whisper that this too shall pass
I hear the angels whisper that this too shall pass
my ancestors whisper that this day will one day be the past
so I walk in faith that this too shall pass

The one that loved me the most
turned around and hurt me the worst
Been doing my best to move on
but the pain just keeps singing me songs

My head and my heart are at war
cause love ain't happening the way I want it
Feel like I'm about to break down
can't hear the light at the end of the tunnel
is when I pray for healing in my heart
to be put back together what is torn apart
and I pray for quiet in my head
that I can hear clearly what GOD says
but then I hear a whisper that this too shall pass
I hear the angels whisper that this too shall pass
my ancestors whisper that this day will one day be the past
so I walk in faith that this too shall pass

All of a sudden I realized
that it only hurts worst to fight it
So I embrace my shadow and hold on to the morning light

this too shall pass...

I hear the angels whisper that trouble don't have to last always
I hear the angels whisper even the day after tomorrow will one day be yesterday
I hear my angels whisper
I hear my angels whisper
this too shall pass

-India Arie

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYLTlQhnxOQ

Reflection

I have been thinking about the poem posted below and I know where I have gone wrong.

I have been thinking in terms of Islam and even Christianity where you can shame someone into doing the right thing. And I know that isn't in vogue in The States but I can tell you that it does work.

And sometimes I wonder what is wrong with shame? Especially when it causes a man to do right by his family?

In my opinion my in-laws should have some shame. And so should my husband. But I'm beginning to realize they will never feel it.

I was raised in a Christian household where the man takes care of his family. (Not that I haven't seen women take care of their families financially too - but this was our arrangment.)

My first husband would have cleaned toilets to make sure we were provided for. It has been interesting reading back at my journal from my pregnancy and birth of my son. There we things my first-husband told me that were so right on. Right at the get-go.

Maybe he was older than me. Maybe he just had more world experience. But he told me when I was pregnant with my son to quit feeling sorry for myself and not to act like a Victim. Because then everyone would treat me like one. He told me if J. didn't want to marry me, he was an idiot.

He told me to raise my son by myself and cut my losses. So did my youngest sister.

For whatever reason, I chose not to.

And with news from my family from the Midwest of another family member dying of cancer, I have to say that overall, I feel like we have done the right things. We are good people. We have lived our lives the "right" way.

But it has never helped us.

I was starting to feel like I have not made any progress or changes in the last 7 years. But reading the journal has bee empowering because it has made me realize that I have made changes, and even the small ones add up.

Amazing Poem sent by a friend

A dear friend sent me this poem in response to my last post.

THERE'S A HOLE IN MY SIDEWALK
Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

Chapter I

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost ---- I am helpless ---- it isn’t my fault. . . . .
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter II

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place ---- but it isn’t my fault. . . .
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter III

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in . . . . It is a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter IV

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter V

I walk down another street.

by Portia Nelson

Flippin'


A friend called and joined us for dinner last night. We had a great time!
My husband had taken our son to see the new Transformers movie. I wondered about the timing, as he picked him up hours before the movie started. As it turned out, they went on a boat ride first. Which probably would have been fine if he had mentioned it. And if the guy driving the boat were not a very active drinker. I asked my son if he wore a life jacket, and he said he did. So at least there's that. But I am just a very cautious person, especially when it comes to my children. I would have wanted to make sure there was no drinking involved first.

Which brings me back to a few things. My husband doesn't tell the truth and I often catch him. Why couldn't he have mentioned the boat ride upfront? I knew something was going on with the timing of things before he left. I had already told him the later show time didn't work. But by the time we were done arguing about money I was just too exhausted and I realized it just didn't matter to me that much. He also told me he was held up because he was showing the condo. I reminded him that the condo is listed with a Realtor, and that's why we pay 6% - so they can show it!!

Honesty seems to be a foreign language my husband just can't catch on to.


He also still has the same friends, who are heavy drinkers. He brought up another name in the car yesterday. And I just feel like, why are you still hanging around these people? I like many of them too, but I wouldn't spend time with them if I was trying to stay sober.

sustained sobriety depends on ending unhealthy relationships and choosing to be in healthy relationships with those who share your intentions and new lifestyle. Who you allow into the circle of your life will make the difference in the quality of your life.

More often than not, the recovering person's circle of friends can mean the difference between failure and success. The old expression "water seeks its own level" aptly describes what can happen to a person fresh out of rehab.

-The Alcoholism and Addiction Cure (258-259)

In my Alanon meeting on Friday, one of the women was talking about watching what someone does as opposed to what they say. This has been a tricky one for me personally. I always want to believe the best in people, even when its just not there.

Another friend pointed out that my husband has the alcoholic ruddy cheeks and tight beer gut. Our daughter asked him yesterday why his stomach was so big. He certainly has not been looking well, and I have noticed that. But it's hard to think that we could be here again, even with all the signs.

The last thing is just how he has responded to me. Yesterday, he flipped out. And I don't know any husband's that flip the way he does when I ask about money to pay the bills. He stomped around and left me a $400 check, slamming the door when he left.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Be Grateful

I can't tell you how many times I have heard women complaining about their children and I just feel like saying be grateful.

Be grateful that it is just your children's silliness or minor rebellion. And not a husband that is alcoholic. Be grateful that you don't have to work. Be grateful that someone is taking care of your family and doing the things they vowed to. Because I think we take our vows for granted. For a long time I took my own dad for granted. How hard he worked to provide for all of us without ever a complaint. He was happy to do it. And I've always just thought that was the way it was. That that was his duty. And same with my first husband. He came home from work - hard physical labor no less, sometimes 20 hours at a time - cleaned and cooked. Even took on a newborn when his mom neglected him. He took care of that baby pretty much all by himself for a year. And he still managed to pay all his bills. I never heard a complaint.

And I wonder. How is it that my husband who claims to work so hard has made the same income as me YTD. While I have been taking care of these kids full time? My husband with all his family's money and talent and everything else. And here I am some "poor" girl taking care to two little kids and I'm making the same?

I have been on commission for 12 years. I can tell you this. You know when your checks are coming. You know because you have earned them. So why is it that husband has been counting on the same big check for over a month? And it's not here. So why do I find out when a copy comes in the mail and not ahead of time? How hard can it be?

And when I ask him about it, he explodes in the car - with our children trapped there listening to all of it. Telling me that I need to go to work.

The Alcoholism and Addiction Cure


I read this book last summer, and I really liked it. A very different approach than AA. Since I have been thinking about other ways of doing things, I decided to go back to it this morning.

He starts the book with a pledge, and I remember when I opened the book, it seemed very far fetched to me, based on my experience with my husband and all his relapses.

My Pledge to you
cure n 1) Restoring to a sound or healthy condition.
2) A Healing


What Prentiss says is that you can not recover unless you heal the underlying causes for your addiction. He primarily uses the example of his son - but they have since opened their own rehab center in California. There is a very touching chapter about his son's story, which Pax writes.

My dad had never given up on me, even though I had been doing drugs for ten years. He never gave up on me, no matter how bad things got or how much money I stole from him. Imagine that the belief he had to have had in me to support me in creating Passages when I had continually demonstrated that I couldn't stay sober myself. He knew that I was healed and that I would never do drugs again. To this day, I'm amazed that he decided to help me. He didn't just give me a second chance. It was a fortieth chance, but he embraced it wholeheartedly.

I still tear up when I read this passage, and I remember practically sobbing when I initially read this chapter. What really gets me is how kind his father was to him throughout the process. He had a belief that that was what his son's journey needed to be, and so he never judged him or put him down.

I can't help relate the story to my husband and his father. Even though my father-in-law was also an alcoholic and is "in recovery", the way he talks to my husband is so terrible. He will slam the phone down on him and say "I'm done with you." They cuss and swear at each other. It is truly disgusting. I have never understood the way they talk to each other. I remember the fourth wife's email saying that I don't know how people talk to each other in the "real world" when the "going gets rough", and I think, I don't know anyone who talks to each other this way. And I certainly don't think it helps with anyone's recovery.

He also says that alcoholism and addiction are not diseases. "All dependency is a symptom, not a problem" (17)

To give up our power to change for the better is inherently distasteful to everyone, and to force people to affirm that they are addicts or alcoholics so they can speak in a meeting is shameful and demoralizing. The stigma attached to those labels is so great that most people won't tolerate it. Such declarations ruin a healthy self-image. They convince us that even if we obtain sobriety, we remain broken instead of whole, spoiled instead of fresh and new....

A small benefit attached to that admission - a reminder that the former alcoholic is constantly at risk of relapsing- is far outweighed by the poor self-image it creates. In fact, that poor self-image is what contributes to their relapse.
(135)

One reason he gives for why rehab does not work is that there generally not enough individual sessions. "At the end of the first week, everyone in the room knows everyone else's story. That goes on for three more weeks, and then most people go home with the same problems they brought with them when they arrived." (133)

Most addicts and alcoholics relapse not just once but many times...Relapse is not part of recovery. Relapse is part of failure. Relapse is return to dependency. Sobriety is part of recovery. You may now be starting to understand why the relapse rate is so high - it's because people are just trying to quit without curing the underlying causes, which is like trying to stop scratching while your leg is still itching. (139)

He says there are only 4 causes of dependency:
Cause 1: Chemical imbalance
Cause 2: Unsolved events from the past
Cause 3: Beliefs you hold that are inconsistent with what is true
Cause 4: Inability to cope with current conditions ((145)

I do not list genetic tendencies as a cause of dependency for two reasons. First, they are only tendencies, and while they may predispose you to becoming dependent on alcohol or addiction drugs, you don't necessarily become dependent just because your ancestors were dependent. Some people have a genetic tendency to become fat but that doesn't mean they will become fat or that they must become fat. There are many people who are completely sober or who can drink socially, even though their parents and grandparents were dependent on drugs and alcohol. (146)

There are so many great passages in this book - my copy is all marked up...I would highly recommend it to anyone.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Old Journal


I came across one of my old journals today from when my son was a baby. I only read a few entries toward the end but I definitely will go back to it. People can talk about holding grudges but there is also just plain common sense. The things I went through then amazed me. If it were my sister or a friend or a daughter going through what I did, I would have told her to run. Fast.

It is funny how we just plain forget things. That seems to be easier than forgiving them. And my husband and his family have told me that I am judgemental - but reading these entries made me think I wasn't judgemental enough upfront. Womenintheraw made in interesting comment a few days ago about how we teach people how to treat us upfront. The question is, 7 years later, can anything change, or is it just too late?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Tired of Alanon


I'm tired of Alanon. I realized today in my meeting that I just wasn't feeling it. I still like the literature and I will probably go back. But today I feel like it's all the same story and when are we all going to move on with our lives and be happy?

There is a girl in there that reminds me so much of my daughter. My daughter looks a lot like me, but somehow this girl with the Russian accent is so much like my daughter to me. I sat next to her once and it was almost overwhelming for me. I had tears in my eyes nearly the whole meeting. There is something about her spirit. I haven't seen her for a long time but she was there today. The same feeling came back to me when I saw her at the prayer at the close of the meeting.

God grant me the serenity-
to accept the things I can not change-
The courage to change the things I can-
And the wisdom to know the difference.


I don't want my kids to end up in a 12-step program. I don't want them to be addicts or co-dependents. Even the thought of it is overwhelmingly sad for me.

It seems like there has to be a better alternative to all of this.

Maybe if I raise my kids with these principles they will be better for it. I just don't want them to have the life I've had, or the life my husband has had.

I spoke to my grandma early in the week about Alanon. She was married to my alcoholic grandpa for 36 years before he died. I never knew she had gone to a meeting. She did twice and hated it. She also told me that she almost killed my grandpa once. I never knew why she hates to drive. She said she feels trapped in the car on long trips. Once my grandpa brought a bottle with them while they were on a long road trip. She said he kept getting worse and worse. She said they stopped somewhere in the middle of nowhere and she thought no one would know if I just ran over him and left him.

I haven't had a lot of time to talk to my grandma about these things. I have gone to her a couple times over the years to ask her advice when things were really bad. I remember those conversations very well. Actually, I remember most of the things she has said to me. She doesn't open up a lot, so when she says something, I hold on to it. Now that her time is running out, I feel very sad. I keep thinking it is her codependency and my grandpa's alcoholism that have caused her cancer. It eats at you.

She said she preferred talking one-on-one with people as opposed to going to a big group and listing to everyone whine about their problems. I feel the same way. Sometimes I'm tired of listening to the same people week after week. It all seems so hopeless. Maybe we should just all forget the addicts in our lives. But how do you forget a child? That's what really kills me more than anyone else. When someone talks about losing a son or daughter to alcoholism or drugs, I lose it. Someone said today, if there was a cure for alcoholism, it would not longer exist. That may be true, but I am so tired of it.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Considering Prostitution


I am seriously annoyed this morning.

Really, I don't understand my in-laws or my husbands thoughts. The kids are used to being at home with me. They have already suffered emotionally because of all that has happened. And now, my father-in-law wants me to sign on for more debt? Which means what?

How do they think the kids get to school and all their activities? Who else is going to take them? Why should the kids suffer because of their dad's relapse?

My husband keeps talking about living amends - to me that means making us right financially, among other things. So why am I suddenly financially on the hook because of his choices? I doubt that the Fourth Wife would do the same to her precious son and his family. She still buys his cars and suits.

I keep reminding my husband that I am the only woman in his family that works. Is it because I am qualified? That I am the one who has had to? Or because I won't play the game and stroke my father-in-law's ego?

I have never asked my father-in-law for money and I never will. I'd have more control over my life becoming a prostitute then asking him for a dime.

Which brings me to the question that has been gnawing at me...When should I find a real, good paying job?

I love being here with my kids. I wish I could do it all the way through high school. In an ideal world, I think there is nothing more important.

But what I have learned is that I can not depend on my husband completely. When he is making money, he is great at it. But I have learned from experience that there is no 100% in sobriety.

And I never want to be in this position again.

I said that last time. But after a year of sobriety, I felt safe. And after 3 years, I didn't think a relapse was possible. But there are people with 20 years of sobriety that fall off the wagon.

Being a mortgage broker was a good career for a long time. But it has changed. Some people have suggested that I work for a bank, in the commercial division. That probably would pay well and have very good benefits, but it is nothing I'm excited about. I really want to be with my kids.

I keep thinking that the kids are 3 and 6, and time has gone so quickly. So much of that time has already been filled up with drama. When will my kids get the life I had dreamed up for them? When will they be happy?

I realize that their lives are theirs. And they will make their own choices when they grow up. But I also have believed that childhood should be magical. I have always wanted to give my children that.

I feel very exhausted lately. I have a Vegas trip with the girls in about a month and I think that will rejuvenate me. But lately, I just feel tired and lethargic.

I could think of nothing to write this morning, so I opened to You Can Heal your Life this morning to the perfect page:

No matter what age we are, we can always let go of some more garbage and break a new barrier. -Louise Hay

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Promissory Note


We had a nice evening as a family last night. We went to dinner at California Pizza Kitchen and then to the movie theatre next door. My husband took my son to one movie, and I took my daughter to see Up!. It was really a touching movie and I highly recommend it to anyone. It's a kids movie, but it really says a lot about what is important in life. I think it's good for kids to see something that is not all about a happy ending too. This movie shows an old man's entire life - and there were a lot of ups and downs. I left the theatre in tears. (good ones!)

The only thing that soiled our evening was when we picked my husband up at his condo, he brought a promissory note for me to sign. I guess he talked to his dad earlier and borrowed some more money. In any case, his dad said that he thought I should sign the note too, and my husband brought it along for me to do so. I am not remotely interested in signing it.

First of all, it's a very generic note with all sorts of blank space. Most important, it is for $44,000 and does not specify anything. I asked my husband what the amount entailed, and he never really gave me an answer. I told him, if this is all in the name of letting me know what is going on, as your dad said, then why isn't there a list of what this number is made up of?

I am aware that my husband has borrowed money from his father. But I have always considered that their deal. Just like I had to borrow from credit cards, which are now in my name, when he was drinking and not working for a year in order to take care of the kids.

We have already rolled in his first rehab (since we were together) into our mortgage. I am not interested in rolling any part of Betty Ford debt into my name. As far as I am concerned, his father should pay for all of that because it was his carelessness as a father that brought him there.

My husband says if I don't sign the note, his father won't help us financially anymore. Well, I have never wanted his dad to help us financially. I haven't. That's not how I want to live my life - with his dad right there telling us what to do because he loaned us some money.

I know we're in a bad spot, and my husband seems to be working out of it. But signing that note seems as arbitrary to me as asking my father-in-law's wife to sign something saying she won't be fake anymore.

I don't have $44,000. I mostly stay at home with 2 little kids. My income is severely limited at this point, and anything I do make is used to pay off our other debt.

When we dropped my husband off, he took the note with him. But it doesn't sound like the issue is dead to me either.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

What has alcoholism cost me?


Alcoholism cost me my grandfather. He died much too young, much too sad, and much too angry when he died. There were no more ice cream sundaes after school, no more ding dongs, and no more long talks about life.

Alcoholism cost me my uncle. He was drunk one night and drove his best friend home. He hit a pole, and his body flipped out of the open window because he wasn't wearing a seat belt. His best friend died. He went to jail, but I think the real cost to him was not being able to forgive himself. He was never really the same.

All three of my uncles are alcoholics, and I wonder what our relationships would be like if I could really get close to them. If I wasn’t always worried about how much longer they would be alive. I have distanced myself from all of them – even my favorite uncle. It is just too painful.

Alcoholism cost me my mother. She was married to an alcoholic for 20 years. Knowing that she left my father for this mean, abusive man, killed me. It took years for our relationship to heal.

Alcoholism has stopped me from doing so many things I love these last 7 years.

I used to travel the world. I have not been out of the country since I met my husband.

I have liquidated 3 hard-earned 401ks to pay the bills, more than $100,000 in family savings and now incurred debt that we have never had.

I have been stuck in so many ways. Paralyzed really. I have stopped seeing friends I love dearly nearly as often because I am often sad. I feel alone.

I used to have parties all the time. I LOVED it. When my husband got sober the first time, I stopped, save one big party once a year. I felt like it would be too much to have all these people having fun all around him. Like I had to protect his sobriety. Now I realize that I missed out. He relapsed anyway and was out having his own parties. And I was sitting at home, alone.

But I think mostly what alcoholism has cost me is the freedom to be myself. As painful as it is to watch the ones you love stuck in their addictions, it is more painful to look at the choices you have made as an individual because you felt stuck.

Sometimes I wish I could just run away from all of it. But there is no running away from life. The same issues will be there whether you stay or leave. And somehow or another I have to learn to love the alcoholics in my life with abandon because the truth is life can be short for any of us.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Letter to an Adulterous Friend


I am writing as a friend to you and your family. I am in no position to judge you, as I cheated on my first husband. I wanted to write and share some insight from that experience as well as my current marriage because I care about you and about your family. I meant it last week when I said you are a great husband and father. I still believe that. I hope you do too.

I was unfulfilled and lonely in my marriage to H and I began an affair. I thought I did a pretty good of hiding it, but he knew, and eventually I did come clean. It was a huge relief for me - and probably for him to finally hear the truth after so many months of lies. I don't know that I have ever felt so rotten about myself. H was of course hurt and devastated, but he wanted to continue on in the marriage. I felt at the time that he could never really get over it and so I made the painful decision to divorce him.

I also thought I was in love. The reality of that situation faded pretty quickly. I treated H pretty poorly during that time in retrospect because I think I just wanted to get on with my own life. I thought I could just move on easily to the next thing and it would all be all right.

We were only married for 4 years and we did not have children or property or anything that would make a divorce particularly hard. In most ways I think we had the easiest divorce imaginable. I felt guilty so I didn't fight for anything. It was amicable and he was more than fair.

All was glib until the day came to sign the final papers. I thought I could just sign on my lunch break and quickly go back to work. H asked the attorney to leave the room. He got on his knees and began to sob and beg me to reconsider. It was the hardest and most painful moment of my life. I wanted to, but I still felt that we could never overcome my adultery.

We signed and I went home weeping. I didn't return to work for days, nearly a week. I could not stop crying, even though it was my decision and I had been thinking about it for over a year. I was not normal for a long time. I put on weight. I started drinking more. I acted like I was having fun, but inside I was miserable.

My love affair fell apart and the men I dated became worse and worse, culminating with the stalking case with A. My self-worth was so low I didn't believe I deserved anything better.

Meanwhile, H and I worked very hard to rebuild our relationship. He told me, no matter what, you are still the best person I have ever known. He told me he forgave me, even if I could not forgive myself. He was always there for me. He was at my stalking hearing and he was there the nights J was too drunk to come home when J was just a newborn and I could do nothing to soothe him. Throughout everything, he has been one of the best friends I could ever ask for, even after everything I put him through. He taught me so much about grace, and about love. Despite the divorce papers, there is nothing that can really separate you from someone you have made that vow to. He will always be with me, and I will always have that sorrow that we were not able to make things work. I blame myself for that mostly. There have been many times when I wished I had not divorced him.

Fast forward to today, and you probably know a lot of my situation with J. What I learned from before is that I will do anything and everything before I go through a divorce, especially now that I have children. J and I were separated for 9 months because of his drinking. Being a single parent is inhumane. There is nothing harder. I was never separated from my children and I can not imagine ever being separated from them. But J and H suffered so much from being separated from their dad. It was necessary for us, but they will always carry some of those scars. J has been in counseling for over a year. Even though J has been home since September, he still cries when his dad has to go out of town. There is nothing worse than seeing your children suffer. I only hope we can rebuild that love and trust back into our home. Its hard work, but we're doing it.

Yesterday I sat next to H and his wife at a memorial for one of our dear friends. I held hands with his wife and watched H cry. Even 10 years later, it was hard not to be the one to comfort him. We talked for a long time afterwards. I am grateful that he is still in my life, but I am still sad. After all this time, the sex and all the irritating things about him have faded. What remains are his kindness of heart, which is truly one of the most important things for an enduring relationship.

Our dear friend died - not much older than us - leaving 2 small kids behind. At the end of the day, it is our families and the kindness that we bring to our lives that really matter.

You have 10 beautiful years together, 2 gorgeous children, and a life most people would envy - a life I have envied many times over. You are free to make your own choices, we all are. Just please, think everything through. Give your marriage the chance it deserves. I know this is none of my business, but I wouldn't feel right if I didn't share some of my mistakes and regrets because you are a dear friend. And, I have been in your shoes, in many different ways.

I was there on your wedding day and I hope I will always remain a friend to your entire family. And I will be here for all of you during this difficult time.
"There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness." - Nietzsche

I just came upon this quote while looking at another blog and liked it!

Is this War?


I didn't sleep much last night. My daughter is having some sort of issue, which I haven't quite figured out yet, which entailed her screaming wildly every couple hours. She's only 3 so she isn't always able to clearly tell me what is wrong. She is finally sleeping soundly now.

I definately notice a difference when I don't sleep. My head doesn't feel remotely clear today. My thoughts were rambled and confused all night.

I stayed up pretty late last night before I went to bed. I exchanged a few emails with my husband as well. He says he wants to work things out. Part of my response was:

The blog has helped me sort a lot of things out. There is also stuff that has been written over at least a 2 year timeline on there. That said, I suppose it is good that everything is out, although it is a little weird. I sort of use that as my Alanon meeting and I'm sure there are things that you vent about in AA that you would not necessarily want me to hear. You and I are in a different position, which is something that probably needs to change. I am not able to go to meetings whenever I want to like you are. So while you are able to deal to things whenever you need to, I have a lot of things that have been locked up for 7 years with not a lot of outlet. The kids have always been my primary focus and responsibility. But that comes at a cost to me personally, as much as I love them.

After I wrote that, I felt somewhat at peace, but when I tried to sleep my head was spinning. I still feel violated. I went out of my way to use a pen name and protect my identity and theirs. I certainly could have just started a blog in my own name and it would all be out there. And part of me thinks, fine, they should read it. But somehow I have a feeling my father-in-law wouldn't take this nearly as well as my husband has.

It seems they are very actively trying to undermine me and are very pro-divorce. I can't quite figure that out given all that has happened. I don't think my husband would fair very well in court. But I keep remembering my father-in-law's words to me, when he said, "THIS IS WAR!" And several people have reminded me that right doesn't always win out in court, money does.

The thing that I can't seem to get at peace with is his family. Thinking about them just makes me feel sick and angry.

My husband has promised not to read the blog anymore. But part of me thinks, why should I believe him?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

My #1 Fan

So as it turns out, I have a reader I was not aware of. My husband told me this afternooon that he's been reading my blog.

How he found my little blog among the millions I will never know.

We ended up spending the afternoon and most of the evening together with the kids for Father's Day. And, minus the hour of intense talking about all of this, it went pretty well.

Initially I was pretty upset. But I have always felt that everything comes out in time one way or another. It would have been nice to have my privacy at least a little bit longer while I am working through all of this. But what's done is done.

On Marriage


You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.


Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.


Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.

- Kahlil Gibran


This is one of the poems read at my wedding, and it still rings very true.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Resiliance


A dear friend mailed me her copy of Resilience to read. I read it all in less than 24-hours, basically in 2 sittings - which is saying a lot with my 2 kids. I usually have about 9 books going and take a while to finish anything, but this was a great book.

There are many beautiful passages from this book, but I wanted to post a few here.

"What believing that (her husband had an affair) did to my mother I will never forget. I read about it perhaps a dozen years after it happened and it was still as raw, maybe even more so, as when she wrote it. It undid the beautiful face and the ferocious intelligence; it mocked the family dinners and the Charity work. She could be replaced in the most intimate of her relations by a face, likely a face not as pretty as her own, by a physique also not likely to have matched my mother's. She believed that whatever gifts of charm or generosity or intelligence she brought to their marriage, it had not been enough to compensate for baby diapers and dishes to wash. Someone without those responsibilities could laugh and fawn. And could take her place. As Navy wife, she gave up all that she might be - which for her was considerable - to be with my father, to travel where he was assigned, to live where he was quartered, to raise their children to reflect well on him....Mother kept looking for where she had fallen short. And the looking took its toll. She would swing from it being a failure of hers - she wasn't pretty enough; she wasn't as carefree as he; his mother never accepted her because she was a widowed Protestant, not a virgin Catholic, when they married; a hundred things it clearly was not - to its being a failure of his - how could he do this, he wasn't the man she thought he was, didn't his family mean anything to him, didn't his career matter. There was never a satisfactory place to settle, so she lived all those decades still loving him, but with something deep inside her that would always be restless, even after he died. "The trust was suppose to be deep. The smiles were supposed to last forever."

We make sacrifices as women. We give gifts that perhaps no one asks us to give. We take care of our families and when we are betrayed we wonder why and can't understand it.

It's not about us.

The universe is bigger than that.

What husbands chose do with their dicks does not determine who we are. It would be nice if they had more respect. And by respect, I mean honesty. No sneaking around. It is the lying that hurts more than anything else.

But ultimately, the behavior of a spouse is not a reflection of us or our failures or anything else. It's about their need. Their ego.

And I've come to believe that possession of anything or anybody is fruitless. The only thing I can hope to control is myself. And even that doesn't always work out.

"In the end the way to view all that has happened is that I did my very best. I felt with every part of me. I loved with the whole of me. I ached in a way that reminded me that there had to be a corollary somewhere of incredible joy to balance the universe. And if I had loved less or doubted more or avoided the pains, I might not be assured as I am today that I have done in every circumstance what I would hope to do. Not every circumstance, surly. I have been angry beyond reason. I have been lost and unsure. But in every way I might have expected of myself, I have been true to that sense of what was true and right and clean. Maybe others had a better time, more intimacies, more skin pressed against skin, but this life is mine, these children are mine, this home is mine, and this imperfect man is like me. I am his and he is mine. And in the end, what we want from life is too dear for words, for paper."

This is a beautiful book, with so many truths in it.

Going to AA


Two things have stayed in my head from yesterday's Alanon meeting.

The first was a story the speaker told about growing up in his alcoholic home and becoming a people pleaser. When he announced to his parents that he was gay, they refused to go to his college graduation. Not realizing he had any other choices, he just packed up all his things and went home. He did not even go to his own graduation.

I think I have held many of those same ideas in my own mind and it has ruined many special occasions for me. But what I am learning more and more is that it does not matter what choices the alcoholics (recovering or not) make around me. I can take care of myself and make my own choices.

The other was the idea of going to AA meetings. The speaker is not an alcoholic, but the first time he tried to go to an Alanon meeting, he ended up in an AA meeting instead. And being a people pleaser, he did not walk out of the meeting because he didn't want anyone to think he didn't like them. In any case, he talked about still going to AA meetings because realizing the struggles of these alcoholics made him feel more empathetic. Hearing the struggles they went through to get and stay sober made him realize that the alcoholics in his life were not all out to get him. They were just in pain.

I am really grateful for the Alanon program. I think one of the most empowering things about it is the idea of just listening to people without judgement. There is a safe place to share without everyone trying to solve your problems.

In any case, I was especially grateful for yesterday's meeting and the man who shared his story. I learned a lot from him.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Beer Bus


This afternoon I went out on a beer bus with my office. I have worked at this mortgage company nearly 5 years now and I feel very comfortable with everyone. I am a very light drinker these days. It seems very little will undo me lately. So I stopped about 2 hours before we were due to get off the bus. And I drank a lot of water and ate dinner. (LOL I was the only one to order dinner, but I didn't care. I ate it, and I enjoyed it!) I am not an advocate of any sort of drunk driving. But I did have a great time on the bus!

Ironically, one of my mother-in-law's lovers turned out to be one of my managers. I did not know this for some time. But one Christmas party when we were all three sheets to the wind, he approached my husband to make amends. My husband was not drinking at that time, so I remember it vividly.

I think he meant well. I really do. At first, or I should say, for many years, I questioned his motives. But now, three years later, I know from day-in-day-out, he is a good guy.

So we were on this beer bus, maybe 35 of us, and we had a great time. I have struggled with working and not working. But the satisfaction I get from both my clients and the people I work with will carry me through a long way. They are family. They are good people.

There was a lot of teasing and a lot of laughing. Both of those things have been missing from my life for a long time. Even though I have worked, I have largely avoided social events. I have felt like I shouldn't go because my kids are young and those times will slip away all too soon.

But tonight, I felt, there is something to be said for being silly. For being happy. For being with one's peers.

And I was silly. I was happy. I giggled my ass off. And I don't regret it for one second.

But now my kids are coming up the drive with my mother and I am ecstatic to see them. My babies.

I Decided to be Happy


I feel great today! I’m still a little sick with a sore throat, but I have slept well these last 2 nights and it has made all the difference.

I went to my Al-Anon meeting at Noon today and there was a great speaker, someone I have always admired in the group.

I realized while I was there that nothing anyone says or does can diminish me. It doesn’t matter if I pay $10,000 or $30,000 for a piece of paper that says I am divorced. It doesn’t matter what choices my husband makes.

There’s a great quote from Eleanor Roosevelt that I have always loved. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” No one can make you feel bad either. Or make you feel anything. I have wasted way too long giving other people power over me. I am done.

I am not willing to let go of my children, even for 5 minutes. I am not going to put them through a nasty custody battle. I’ve seen it happen too many times. It’s a waste of energy. It will hurt them. I know I have a clear case but at the end of the day, will it really matter who is right and who is wrong? Will anything really be different?

The only thing that matters is my children.

And, my own happiness. And I’m going to grab it – whether anyone likes it or not. My husband is just going to accept it. Things are going to be different.

He asked again about coming home last night. I said, why don’t we just have an open marriage?

He didn’t like that idea too much. I said, what’s the difference, essentially we already have one?

He said he didn’t want to share me. LOL, the hypocrisy in all that amazes me, but not really.

He is who he is. Whatever. There is no getting away from him. He is the kids’ dad. There are parts of him that amuse me, parts that I love even. Even when we are separated, he is still there. Even if we divorce, he is still going to be there. So are his family, even in this weird arrangement that we have. They all will still be there. So I am just going to have to find a way to deal with it. And, be happy. Because God Damn It, I am going to be happy. It’s been a long time coming.

1974


Did you ever floss their teeth?
Their saliva dripping all over you -
laughing at the scene?

Did you ever gently shove a laxative up their ass? -
despite their cries
knowing it would help them, but hating it just the same.

Did you ever wash their mouth with soap?
When they told you a Lie
Or did you let it slide-
Because it was easier-
Or, the ultimate insult, not even notice their deceit.

Did you ever hold your daughter when she was screaming-
enraged, kicking, hysterical?
Trying to calm her grief?

Did you push them out from between your legs?
With or without drugs-
Or companionship-
Or love or support?

Did you adore them, worship them
Did you even love them?
Did you ever love me?

Or were we just your pretty family
For you to show off
And take care of you
A minor inconvenience?

Do you know their favorite colors, their favorite foods? Do you memorize their very faces, every indentation in their little bodies. All the little freckles and moles scattered on your daughter’s physique.

Did you know they cry for you at night?
when you are not here
the comforting that had to be done
the lies I stopped telling them.

I know you don't know me.
I know that now .
But did you ever know your children -
Did you ever even know your own blood?

If you stop and think:
Can you hear their distinct laughter?
Can you see their smile?
Can you see how they try to please you with jokes and laughter -
Can you see how they adore you?
How they have always loved you?
No matter what.
In a perfect way that no one else ever has.

Does it remind you of your own childhood -
your own parents -
Can you see yourself in them?

I look at your picture from 1974 -
and I see you
before you were broken -
before they ruined you.
I see our own children
I see your destruction
I see even your father's face.

No child should be raised like you were
But neither should ours.

And, I know that no one flossed your teeth
No one memorized your smile
No one heard your laughter and your cries -
so here we are
Again and again and again and again.

Your Grandpa.
Your Father.
Your Mother.
You.
But not my children
Not my Children.

The Beauty

My friend sent me a picture of us while she was here and I was disgusted with myself. I look terrible. It seems these years have really taken a toll on me. I noticed it the other day in another picture as well. The tiny lines around my eyes. I look tired. I don't look well. Or happy.

I took my children to the pool today and it was hard to find a suit that I felt good in. I never took my cover up off. It is cold today and I don't feel well but it's unlike me. I'm usually a nudist at heart.

I noticed many of the other women at the pool seemed uncomfortable with their bodies too. One wore a long skirt to her ankles to cover up big legs. Only one seemed completely comfortable. A grey haired woman in a one piece. There's something sexy about a woman who doesn't color her hair. Who is comfortable in her body. Who doesn't feel compelled to be a size zero - or even a 4 or a 6. She was laughing nearly the whole time we were there.

It is the trying to be that kills us. Our gift to the world is being ourselves. Trying to be anything else ruins the gift.

I have put so much pressure on myself to be all things. To do all things well. And I rarely stop and wonder what makes me happy.

I do get a lot of satisfaction out of my children, reading, writing, eating and cooking and being with friends. But beyond that what is there?


Sula's note: I have never had such a hard finding a picture to post. I wanted a beautiful, grey-haired, middle aged woman in a swimsuit. I could find nothing. It's almost all twenty-year-old, skinny girls. Even when I typed in "pictures of Old Woman in swimsuits", I came up with mostly young girls - plus a few grannies, plus-size models, and even a few pregnant women.

Usually this tool is very specific and I find something immediately. Seems like there is a generation of women missing in swimsuits - and its no wonder we all feel like crap in our bathing suits!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sleep = A Sound Mind


I slept for nearly 12 hours last night. I started getting a sore throat yesterday and decided to put the kids down early, because my daughter has been cranky too. I think the sleep did us all some good.

I had a lot of dreams and I am still digesting them. I have not been rested for a long time. My sleep hasn't been what it should be, and it is amazing what a difference even one night of sound sleep can make.

I still have a sore throat, but my mind feels clearer.

Louise Hay says a sore throat comes from the inability to speak up for one's self. Swallowed anger. Stifled creativity. Refusal to change.

Yep, that sounds like me!

I realized this morning that I have been wasting so much energy on fighting my husband. I have thought that fighting on my phone via texting was better because the kids couldn't hear it, but it still gets my blood pressure up. And there is never any resolution. And those hours I am texting could be spent with my kids. I am always shocked when people take their kids somewhere and just sit there and text. So I hope I haven't let my anger take me to that level at home, even when there are empty spaces. If nothing else, they will pick up on my energy.

I am so disappointed with my husband and his family. But I have placed way to much emphasis on them in my life. Expecting them to change. And none of them have any intention of changing. They think they are just fine the way they are.

So I have to learn to let go...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Attachment Theory

John Bowlby, who worked for the World Health Organization early in his career, provided the basis for most of attachment theory and practice. He argued that institutions fail to provide children with the intimate, warm, and continuous relationships that primary caregivers (usually mothers) can give. According to Bowlby, such a relationship is an absolutely necessary condition for successful human development. If a child is institutionalized for long enough, he or she may become incapable of forming the breadth and depth of human relationships necessary for survival and development. Attachment also provides the foundation of a conscience. In a "normal" home, attachment to parents results in the child wanting to act in ways that please the parent. If early connections are weakened or problematic, there is a decrease in the desire to please the people important to us -- because people are just not that important to us. Related research has identified children with histories of early childhood abuse or neglect as being at greater risk for experiencing attachment difficulties.

Attachment serves a variety of functions, such as basic nurturing, interaction, discipline and affection. Attachment is the connection that allows parents to teach values and expectations, and for children to accept these values and expectations.

Adults who formed healthy attachments during early childhood will have the capacity to experience healthy adult life. Children who were emotionally deprived, however, will continue to remain emotionally isolated as adults, have difficulty with relationships, and may act in deviant or delinquent ways. They are all too often manipulative in their behavior, using others for their emotional support without reciprocating or letting anyone get close to them emotionally. Some are haunted by loneliness. As adults they often cannot hold on to either jobs or relationships.


Excerpts from Dickens, Boys Town or Purgatory : Are Institutions a Place to Call Home? By Victor Groza, Daniela F. Ileana, and Ivor Irwin

My friend posted this the other day and although it is primarily about children who are institutionalized, it reminded me so much of how my husband was raised - and the effects of that on all of us.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Think Again

Next time you decide you'd like to piss all over me I'd like you to consider just who it is who has been picking up after your shit all these years.

Who is here taking care of your grand kids 24 hours a day?

Who comforts them when their dad comes home late, or not at all?

Who sacrificed her career and good income to take care of them only to be left with nothing and to have to beg your son for money every day?

Who has been left with the aftermath of your own adultery with all the women your son has fucked while I was here doing everything else.

Who is called a cunt and a bitch?

Who carried your grandchildren in her womb for 9 months and has protected them from all of this, every scratch, even you all these years?

You were too busy to raise your son or set things right. And now I am here, picking up all the pieces that you could not be bothered with. And trying to make sure your grand kids don’t end up the same way.

Time


It seems I am spiraling downward this week. I've not been sleeping well. On one hand, the sex my husband had means very little to me. What else should I have expected from him?

But then I think of all the times I was left here to do everything and where was he? How he never woke up with the kids. How I am the one who picked them up from school, drove them there, drove them to everything. Cooked all the food. Changed all the diapers. Did all the laundry. I did everything at my personal expense. And what for? So he could go out and fuck 3 coke-head women without even a condom on his dick?

I suppose acceptance comes in waves. But yesterday was a very, very hard day for me. And today I woke up unrested with a sore body. I think I'm just tensing up. I resent that my husband spent so lavishly on cocaine, booze and women - and now there is no money left for the basics. I have worked so hard. And what for? What for?

Perhaps there was just too much space in the day. Too much time to think. The days prior were so busy, there was no time to ponder. But perhaps I also need the time to heal and to digest everything. And that may just take time.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Letters

I never sent the letters to my father-in-law.

Honestly, I don't think it would make a difference. It felt good to write them and get some of the poison out of me. But I gave up on him a long time ago - or about 2 years ago - when we started going round in circles about how we all felt about things.

He will always be himself. And he doesn't have to make amends or apologize to anyone. He never has. So why should I be any different?

Unsent Letter #3 - Spring 2009

J,

The way you treat people, and especially the way you treat me and J - and even our son on occasion has never been OK with me - and I'm beginning to see that it never will be any different.

I am unwilling and unable to have any sort of a relationship with you.

The thing that continues to stick out in my mind is what J's counselor has said - that even without the examples of mistreating J I gave her, the way you have treated both J and I continually over the years are NOT GOOD INDICATORS OF HOW YOU WILL TREAT OUR CHILDREN IN THE FUTURE.

It seems important to you to keep us in the gutters. And after a lifetime of treating J this way, you may be able to keep him there.

But you will never keep me there, and you will never keep my children there.

You like to comment on what you think our socio-economic position is. And I think my grandma had a great response. "J. is poor. Poor in spirit." I'd have to say I agree.

Whatever your beef is with J or his work ethic or his relapses, the truth of the matter is that you are at the root of all of that. You are the most unkind person I have ever met in my life - you and your wife and your family that steals from each other and fights over money. It makes me sick. All of you make me sick. There is nothing about you that I would want for my children. Nothing.

You have nothing to offer. All you have done is caused pain. It is painful to even be around you. It is painful to live in the aftermath of what you have created. It is painful to know that my children even bear a part of you.

And I want nothing further to do with you.

Unsent Letter #2 - January 2009

J,

I am not really sure what to make of anything or anyone anymore.

In Islam, when you make a commitment that is not honored by the other party, and the other party is not able or willing to fix it, you are basically absolved of your commitment.

I am beginning to feel that is the case with my marriage.


I do not have the bank statements. I do not believe I will ever see the bank statements. I don't have any of the other documents from J that we need. If I were asked the same information, it could be provided in a matter of minutes.

You can not force someone to be honest with you. Either someone is honest or they are not. J has proven again and again to be dishonest. I am not going to sit around and wait for a miracle. I'm not sure honesty is a trait you can learn at his age. You learn honesty at a young age from the example your parents set.

I have read Suze Orman's book. I have tried to stick to a budget. It makes no difference when my partner has no intention to stick to a budget and no honesty with me about his money or anything else.

I think you should hold J accountable. All the way. He doesn't have any value for people or money. Maybe he needs to lose everything to get that. I don't know. I am tired of paying the price for his carelessness though, for his disregard for all of us.

I have stayed in this marriage largely for the sake of my children, and now because I am just stuck. There has been no real indication that there is any love, compassion, empathy or anything else towards me. That being said, your grandson is now severely depressed. His counselor says that even if J does get and stay sober that it will take YEARS of hard work on his part to re-establish the trust that has been broken.

I just cannot understand how someone spends 90 days at Betty Ford at the cost of his father and his family every day, every day, EVERY DAY, and then starts drinking again. I don't understand any of it. I don't understand a father bringing cocaine into his home and leaving it right in his baby daughters' reach in the closet where she plays. We are all lucky that H is not dead.

I especially don't understand why we are all still talking about J and why we aren't figuring out how to help your grandson. Because I will be damned if history repeats itself. That is why my dad is here now every Sunday. And that is why J is now mostly called by his Muslim name. Because my son will come out of this and be the man God intended him to be. Whether or not I have to sacrifice my other ideals is now beside the point.

One ideal I will not sacrifice however is to file for bankruptcy. I will not crucify myself for J's carelessness, for debts he has every capability of repaying - just so he doesn't have to work or be stressed out by working. I have been working. I haven't had years of vacation and 5 months at rehab to play golf and sit at meetings. I have been here, working, and taking care of these children, which is the greatest and most important work, whether it provides a salary or not.

The train is now starting to move very fast. J will either have to hop on or miss it. What he does now has almost become irrelevant to me. Or perhaps I should say, I know from where we've been, where we're headed and I have just become dead to it. Perhaps J missed the train a long time ago and it is too late for him to ever catch up. Perhaps you all did.

Unsent Letter #1 - Fall 2008

I am in constant pain all the time. Last week was the first time I actually considered taking prescription drugs - or even getting some pot. But I didn't. I have treated this with chiropractic care, acupuncture, massage, the inversion table and way too many Excedrin's. My back and neck are still killing me. I am going back to meditations and affirmations. I am listening and reading You Can Heal your Life again. I think that this must lie in my inability to forgive.

I don't want to take drugs. I don't want to even take all these Excedrin's. I am tired of being in this pain. The last few weeks I have been very short with the kids. I feel like there is literally a knife in my back. There seems to be no relief. One day it hurt so bad that I called J sobbing. I came home at noon and opened a beer and sat on a heating pad and let the kids do whatever they wanted until J came home with lunch. That seemed to help me relax some. When he walked in I started laughing hysterically, almost done with the beer and said, Now I'm going to Betty Ford! I don't think he thought it was funny.

But I can't drink beer every day. Especially at Noon. So for now I am working on getting to the bottom of this forgiveness issue. I think there are probably several things here. And what Louise says makes so much sense to me. Why am I continuing to punish myself? Why can't I let go of this? Especially when it is hurting this bad?

The person I am most angry with is my father-in-law, and then his wife.

Then I suppose my husband, to some extent, although I think the letter actually cleared a lot of that up. Maybe I should work the steps too. I think the fourth step is supposed to clear all this up. I emailed a friend about this but haven't heard back yet.

I think this last year really put us in a ditch and I resent that. I need to take more responsibility for that instead of just blaming my husband - and then my father-in-law for not helping us more. But that is hard for me. I know I did bury my head in the sand last year. I think I was depressed.

Perhaps it took me being in so much pain for me to be willing to do the work. But I am going to pour over the Heal your Life book and start to do the steps. I have a tape somewhere if I can't find someone to do them with me. And, I could find a sponsor. And, I noticed there is a workbook.

But I went to the chiropractor 3 times last week, and did everything else, and I am still in so much pain. So there has to be something else, something deeper that is holding that pain there.

So maybe I should start by doing letters. That always seems to help me.

I haven't been able to write a letter to my father-in-law in a long time. Since that seems to be most pressing, I will start there.

Dear J,

It seems that the silence between us really has not solved anything. Last night I watched the video of you dancing with H on her first birthday and I felt very sad. It has not been my intention to keep you from your grandkids. However, I did feel that there was work to be done before those relationships could resume. I don't know if that was ever conveyed to you. I think sometimes J has a hard time being in the middle of our relationship, especially now that it has become like this.

As you probably know, I have a very special relationship with my dad. He made many sacrifices for me as a single father, and I will forever be grateful to him. Likewise, my former father-in-law and I continue to share a very special love. I think I always had the expectation that we would also be close, and thus our relationship was always disappointing and painful to me. I have always felt that you held me at a distance, and when you did pull me in, you were very critical. I suppose in return, I became very critical of you.

I have had a very difficult time digesting J's childhood. It is very hard for me not to judge you. When I was at Betty Ford for family week, there was a man in my group who reminded me a lot of you and I developed a great affection for him. He was also a recovering alcoholic, who had a son at Betty Ford. He was struggling with a lot of guilt. He told me what got him through was the idea that you are only tried and convicted once for a crime. While I liked that idea, I am still struggling. The reason is that I feel like you have still treated both me and J poorly over the years. The reason that I blocked your email is I feel you have a pattern of displaying very bad, abusive behavior, and then apologizing. I think you need to change your behavior because without changed behavior an apology really means nothing.

To me, children are very precious, and you can't turn back the clock on abuse once it has happened. Wounds are very difficult to heal, and scars will stay forever. The fact that you often blow up on me or J makes me nervous to trust you around my children. I also don't come from this sort of background. As I've said before, my dad has never even raised his voice at me, so your behavior is especially frightening and concerning to me.

I don't know what the solution here is. I am tired of feeling angry and resentful towards you. I would like our family to heal and grow - and move forward. I know that you and J are healing, and that I deeply love my husband. I made a decision to try to forgive you when I was at Betty Ford, and I took the block off my email then. But I am still really struggling with this. I have been going to Al-Anon and learning a lot from that - and also reading a lot. I suppose this will be a journey and not something that I can just push all at once, but I wanted to let you know that I am trying.

I am sorry for my part in things, and I decided to make a first step towards some sort of a resolution.

Insanity


What is so hard about telling the truth?

My husband took our son to his first baseball game yesterday. Something seemed fishy so I asked him if anyone else was going. He said, well a lot of people are going to be there, it's a fundraiser for ALS.

Ah, so is your dad going to be there?


Oh, I'm not sure, he might be....

I told him I did not want our son around his dad. For a few days he told me he wasn't going to go and that he didn't want to upset anything further in our relationship.

But then, Sunday I got the feeling he was going to be there again....

So I said, point blank, I know you're dad is going to be there. He's not going to just get the tickets and suddenly not show up. And there's just all this back and forth BS with my husband where he's just being totally murky.

I should have just not let my son go. Honestly, I wanted him to have a good time and enjoy his first baseball game.

But I also can't take the chance of my father-in-law hurting him in any way.

I had told my husband I wanted him to have as little contact with him as possible.

Come to find out they all sat together the whole time and ate hot dogs together. And, worse yet, he left him alone with them several times.

It is increasingly clear that my husband lacks any sort of judgement at all and he is just completely unable to be honest about anything.

He has been promising me money again for days. But every day there is some excuse. Some reason why he can not get to the bank or give us anything. It's really sickening.

He says he has been working all the time. But where is the money to show for it? Certainly not with me.

Friday night I had dinner with a childhood friend and my sister. My husband was at the house "working" and accused me of going out on a date. I didn't bother to even really defend myself.

Same thing the next night. He was here all afternoon and could not believe that a friend who has also babysat our children was just coming to hang out. He made sure to stay until after she got here. Questioned me when I did my hair after getting out of the shower (LOL, don't I always do my hair? At least on some level?!). He kept asking if I was going out, even with the dinner I was making and a batch of Sangria sitting out on the counter.

Then he accused us of being lesbians and did this disgusting thing with his tongue he always does when he thinks he sees a lesbian. I told him to knock it off. If our son catches him doing that, and worse learns it, I will cut his balls off.

So he stayed around the house and did all these chores....LOL I can't tell you when the last time my husband did chores was. He talks about doing them all the time, but then he never seems to actually get around to doing them. But not on Saturday!! He was just so helpful!!! And then he says something like, you need anything else from me before I leave?

About an hour later, he comes back to the house, saying he forgot to leave some things of ours. As if we going to be going at it somehow in the kitchen at 7pm with the kids running all around us....

Earlier that day, he finally moved the desks out of the office. So I'm working on a fold up plastic table that we pull out for company when I invite too many people over for dinner. But at least he won't have an excuse to be here all the time, "working."

In any case, there was still no apology about his dad. He told me to "let go of the anger." He kept saying, "nothing happened today." Everything went fine. Perhaps not today while his dad is on his best behavior. But what about the next time? What about when my husband decides to leave him alone with him all day.

I'm tired of my son being used as bait for his dad's money. There is nothing in the world I would barter my children for. And I can tell you this: If his dad didn't have any money, no parent in the world would leave their kids alone with him for 30 seconds based on his previous behavior. Not any sane parent anyway.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Celebrating Children at Church

The kids participated in a special service celebrating children at church today. We celebrated all those who were graduating from high school and college, as well as some other milestones, like starting Jr. High and High School. The fourth graders were presented with their own Bibles. Those going on to college were presented with a special prayer shawl and wrapped in that and a giant hug as we sent them forth into their new destinations. The shawls were just beautiful. Some of the women in the church get together once a week for prayer and knitting. They were absolutely gorgeous and I wish I had taken a picture now to put them up on here.

They started the service with a special slide show of all the kids at various times. J and H were excited to see themselves up on the big screen!! We had picked up my grandma on the way, so it was extra special to have her there with us. She and my grandpa went to our church for about 30 years before my grandpa passed.

The kids all sang "This Little Light of Mine" with an electric candle. J recited a verse from memory. I was very impressed with him. He memorized the verse the first time he read it, and the location of the verse the second time. It was a different version of the verse than I remembered, but the translation is very clear and I thought it was a great one for them to assign J.

Proverbs 22:6
Point your kids in the right direction and when they grow up they will not get lost.

J delivered it so well, someone told me he sounded like a news caster!! LOL, I received many compliments on J!!

H was a little wild during the service today, but it did go on for 2 hours, so I think it was a little long for her.

We honored all the Sunday School teachers as well and there were a lot of special musical performances. There are so many accomplished musicians at our church, and this service was extra special. One of the highlights was a boy singing "You've got a friend". He sang at Pappa's funeral, so Nano and I both teared up at the memory. He has such a beautiful, deep voice and I really enjoyed hearing him sing this particular song.

His father and mother had been gardening with us the day before, and they promised H some strawberries out of their yard. H was so thrilled to see them!! J and H also received special thanks for helping out yesterday in the community garden during the service.

We ended the service by surrounding all the children in a circle and playing a beautiful song called "Find your Wings".

It's only for a moment you are mine to hold
The plans that heaven has for you
Will all too soon unfold
So many different prayers I'll pray
For all that you might do
But most of all I'll want to know
You're walking in the truth
And if I never told you
I want you to know
As I watch you grow

I pray that God would fill your heart with dreams
And that faith gives you the courage
To dare to do great things
I'm here for you whatever this life brings
So let my love give you roots
And help you find your wings

May passion be the wind
That leads you through your days
And may conviction keep you strong
Guide you on your way
May there be many moments
That make your life so sweet
Oh, but more than memories

I pray that God will fill your heart with dreams
And that faith gives you the courage
To dare to do great things
I'm here for you whatever this life brings
So let my love give you roots
And help you find your wings

It's not living if you don't reach for the sky
I'll have tears as you take off
But I'll cheer as you fly

I pray that God would fill your heart with dreams
And that faith gives you the courage
To dare to do great things
I'm here for you whatever this life brings
So let my love give you roots
And help you find your wings


To see the video or hear the song, copy and paste this link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knm492yxMfo

It was such a remarkable service in every way and I'm so glad that we were all there to participate in it. I am just very happy to be involved in this church. I know it will be a very special place for J and H to grow up in. Seeing how well all the other kids had turned out today confirmed that 110%. Our church really surrounds the kids with love, and I think every child needs that in this world.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Its Only Love That Gets You Through

Girl you are rich even with nothing
And you know tenderness comes from pain
It`s amazing how you love
And love is kind and love can give
And get no gain

It`s down a rugged road you`ve come
Though you had every reason
You didn`t come undone
Somehow you made it to the other side
You didn`t suffer in vain

You forgive those who have trespassed against you
And you know tenderness comes from pain
It`s amazing how you love
And love is kind and love can give
And love needs no gain

It`s down a rugged road you`ve come
Though you had every reason
You didn`t come undone
Somehow you made it to the other side
You didn`t suffer in vain

You didn`t suffer in vain
You know it`s only love
That gets you through
Only love, it`s only love
It`s only love that gets you through

-Sade

To hear Sade perform this song live, copy and past this link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSwMWv0pbpk

Friday, June 12, 2009

LOL


In all of this, I forgot to post something really funny! About 4 hours after I found out all this stuff about my husband, my father-in-law asked to follow me on Twitter!

What doesn't he understand about "I am done with you!"?

Or timing for that matter...

By way of explanation...


I don't like to repeat the same stories over and over so the blog has been very good for me. But one thing about me is I tend to get very mad very quickly and write things down as a way to get over them and then I am over them.

I keep getting really concerned looks, phone calls, texts and emails so I just wanted to say that overall I am just fine. I appreciate so many people reaching out to me though. A year ago, I would have just sat alone and kept most of this to myself. Last night a friend texted me in the afternoon after reading my post and she ended up coming over for dinner. It was great to have the company and have a few more people to cook for. I really love to cook.

I don't put the same emphasis on words that I used to. Reading Cunt was empowering to me because it gave the word different meaning for me. It still shocked me to hear that from my husband because I have never been called that. But it doesn't sting anymore.

I talked to my husband more about his entries and he said that he did that while we were separated for 9 months last year. I told him that may be, but I wish he would have just told me that at Betty Ford and we wouldn’t be talking about it now. But there is no reason for me to really believe him either because he just hasn't been honest about so many things.

Whatever the case, it just doesn’t matter to me anymore. What has been done is done, and there is nothing either of us can do to change that. There is no sense in feeling bad about it or letting it knock me over. It’s not about me.

A lot of people have questioned when and if I am going to get divorced and can't understand why this is not immediate need for me. But spiritually, I am already divorced and this has been very freeing for me. I remember last year around this time I was actually pretty stressed about the actual need to divorce ASAP but also weighing that heavily with what was right for my children. A friend who was raised Muslim reminded me that in Islam, we were already divorced because he had not had sex in more than 3 months. Great! His words took a lot of the stress off me.

Thinking back, I remember talking once to a very fundamentalist Muslim friend of mine about marriage. I always had wondered if she had judged me because I was not married when I had my son. That was actually the second thing I said after I told my husband I was pregnant. “I don’t want to get married.” In any case, she surprised me very much by her words. She said, “I don’t need a piece of paper to tell me if I am married or not. That’s between me, my husband and God.” Basically, marriage is a matter of the heart – and really nobody’s business. I love this philosophy.

In a lot of ways, marriage has become irrelevant to me. I know of very few people who are happily married. Most of the time, it seems like a big sacrifice, with not a lot to be gained. And I see a lot of people losing themselves by defining their lives by their marriage instead of their selves.

The most important thing to me is my children. My relationship to my husband and what he does do not define me as a person. I make my own definitions. My personal fulfillment has never really come from him so all-in-all I feel pretty good about my life. And I am grateful to have so many wonderful people in it.

My Letter to The Betty Ford Center


Dear Betty Ford Center,

My husband attended your center last summer for 90 days. I came down for both Family Week and the marriage retreat. I left with high hopes and great respect for your center. But all of that has been shattered in the last few days.

My husband left his BF workbook out and I made the mistake of leafing through it. He notated that he had UNPROTECTED SEX with 3 women while married to me. I had specifically asked him for his medical records while he was there, and he would not give them to me. Now I know why. I am very certain that your Center was aware of this and you must be fully aware of how dangerous unprotected sex is for people who are cocaine-addicts.

I am the mother of two young children. At your Center, you encouraged me to look at my part, and I have done that. But now I am outraged. I wasted more of my life on this addict, who also relapsed after leaving your center no-less. Had I known of his infidelities, I would have left him. Instead, your Center engaged in a cover-up which could have cost me my life.

I am thinking back to the culmination of the week, when the addicts are supposed to "come clean" and tell their partner everything. His assigned counselor actually sat in, along with 2 other counselors to make sure he said EVERYTHING. She said was satisfied with his answers. The other two counselors and the rest of the room looked over at her for her sign of approval. Afterwards, she even shook my hand. I spent the week with your counselors - a week of my life that now makes me sick. Because I feel not only betrayed by my husband, but also by your Center. And I thought you were "the good guys".

There was nothing said about the UNPROTECTED SEX he dictated in this book.

I am aware you are a center for addicts, but I ask you to consider what would happen to my children if something happened to me? Is their addict father going to take care of them? Who do you think takes care of these children? Certainly not him.

I wish your counselors would have told me the truth, even if my husband didn't have the balls to - because I could have moved on with my life at that point instead of wasting more time.

I also believe you can not reach or maintain sobriety without rigorous honesty. So in many ways, by allowing him to hide behind his lies, you also contributed to his relapse.

Make no mistake; my husband is still 100% responsible for his actions. But I think you need to strongly consider your approach at "Family Week" and look at YOUR PART in all of this.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Fuck Family Week


I am unable to sleep. I am angry at my husband and worried about what I am going to do with my life.

If it were just me, that would be one thing. But I have two young children and I need to minimize their pain as much as possible.

This isn't the life I had planned for either one of them.

In thinking about it, I have to also say that I am very disappointed in the Betty Ford Center.

My husband blamed not telling me on the 9th Step, which says something about not telling someone if it would do more harm than good to tell them.

But I told him he was manipulating that into his own BS to make it work for him.

I specifically asked him for his full medical records from there for months to check for this very thing. He evaded me, and gave excuses and everything else and this is why. That was on there.

Everything was written in a Betty Ford workbook that they went over with him. His counselor and the other counselors had to have known. I spent a week with them there.

Unprotected sex with 3 women who were also likely coke-addicts put my life at risk. And they should have told me if he didn't.

I'm thinking back to the culmination of the week, when the addicts are supposed to "come clean" and tell everything to their partner. Their assigned counselor actually sat in, along with 2 other counselors to make sure they say EVERYTHING.

There was nothing said about the UNPROTECTED SEX he dictated in this book.

And there I sat with him and all his buddies in group and at various dinners and no one said ANYTHING to me.

I seriously hate addicts and their little cover-up clubs. I suppose since they are all in the same boat, they have no problem with covering up anything for anyone else. Can't be worse than anything else they did themselves.

So there I was at the Betty Ford Center, wasting a full week on "Family week", which should really be called "FUCK-Family week" and flew down for another marriage counseling workshop. And they all just encouraged me to "look at my part". Which is great, but I have already done that. Maybe addicts should look at THEIR part for once and say "I Fucked up." Maybe they should look at their lives and say, yeah, my parents screwed me over big time, but I don't have to screw everyone else over. Maybe Rehab clinics should protect some of these family members instead of the ADDICTS WHO PAY THEM - so that we all don't end up dying from HIV or HepC, or in cars our addicts are driving when we don't know they are completely out of their minds....

I left there was such gratitude for that center, but now I hate it. I wish they would have told me the truth, even if my husband didn't have the balls to - because I could have moved on with my life at that point instead of wasting more time.