Wrapped up in a new lifestyle

I decided I had to end my marriage. That was a decision that took heartache, tears, and years to come to.

Prior posts on this blog share many of the reasons. Simply put, it boiled down to being married to an isolated alcoholic who had been emotionally neglectful and abusive. Our relationship had completely deteriorated. I emotionally detached, and I felt the need to make a better life for myself and my daughter.

She and I have been on our own for 16 months. What does our new lifestyle look like?

We have less stress and anxiety, which increases happiness. We have more chores to split, which is tiring. We have made new friends, ones that love us as we are. We have less contact with his family, which is sad. We have turned some good friends into “family.”

I have had the time to explore more of myself and my shortcomings and find ways to heal. Healing is good for the soul.

I’ve been able to start dating. It’s nice to be complimented….that was foreign. It’s nice to have stimulating conversation…that had disappeared. It’s refreshing to have someone put my needs ahead of his….wow. And it’s nice to hear “I’m sorry” if something goes wrong….another thing I’m not used to. It’s refreshing to date someone who inspires me.

I do less with some groups and clubs than I used to. I can’t really explain why, other than that I spent a lot of time doing things simply to be outside of the house when I was married. Now I enjoy being home. Also, I don’t want to be asked questions. It’s easier to avoid some of the curious, nosy, gossipy people.

The people who understand my decision and support me have been a blessing. They may not know it, but their hugs, smiles, or texts sometimes turn an awful day into a good one.

Some people don’t understand my decision. While I certainly don’t need approval, it hurts my core that some of my closest family members are unintentionally obvious about their lack of approval. One particular person recently said about me that “I am so wrapped up in my new lifestyle that I don’t have time for anything that isn’t a part of it.” I have no idea what that means, but it certainly sounds like it comes from anger, resent, or hurt. I don’t know why.

My new lifestyle allows me more freedom. I’m able to open my doors to friends and family to visit anytime they want, or even use my house as a retreat. I’m able to slow down my pace and appreciate my blessings. God’s artwork is appreciated and his presence in my life is invigorated. And, I’ve been lucky enough to be able to support other people who have been in similar circumstances.

I like my new “lifestyle.” Not sure what’s bad about it.

When you need to complain, who do you complain to?

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it 100 times…….”only vent up.”  In the business world, I taught many leadership courses and mentored developing managers.  This is one of the rules for professionalism that I learned early and did my best to follow personally, as well as to teach it to others.  After all, nobody likes to overhear those water cooler bitching sessions about new policies, other employees, or even management.  If you do like to hear them or get involved in them, reassess your situation.  You might be a negative ninja.

This week, I started to think about “venting” in the personal environment and if similar rules apply.

When I was married to the isolated alcoholic, his venting came only to me, and most of mine (if it was personal) went to him.  Wow….does that help or hurt a relationship?  I can certainly understand that the last thing anyone wants to hear is a bunch of bitching all the time.  My alcoholic didn’t share frequently, but I know I certainly pointed out his negativity to him on more than one occasion.  Should I have?  Or did he need to get it out, and I was the only person who could hear it?

Without realizing, it seems that I have transferred my “vents” to my mother.  I wonder if instinctually, I’m following that rule about venting up?  Is a parent in a personal life like a boss in a professional life?  I’m not sure I have an answer, but I have come to understand that nobody, whether it be your boss or your mom, wants to hear it.  The exception in my mind is that already negative/bitter people may enjoy someone commiserating with them.  Hmmm….  Either way, it really doesn’t do any good.  Rather, just a waste of time and negative energy.

Honestly, I thought I was doing well at being positive despite the craziness of my life the last 12 months.  I have vowed not to ever speak poorly about my ex husband to my daughter, or even in a place where she can hear it.  So far, I think I’ve achieved that goal, which is really important to me.  As a child of divorced parents, it hurt me deeply if I heard anything like this (even if warranted),  I don’t want to inflict that on my child.

What I have witnessed in Al-Anon, is that the majority of members are willing to hear the vents of other members without judgement and also while trying to support them.  The organization and it’s members are important in the healing process for anyone who loves or loved an alcoholic.  The twelve steps, if coached and followed, should help a person to find their own shortcomings and also have less to vent about.  Luckily, Al-Anon meetings are inclusive of people who need to vent as well as others who can listen and help redirect.

If there is somebody negative in your life, do you tend to be more negative when you are around them? Do they bring you down or do you challenge them to find positive alternative solutions?  I think it’s possible to do both, depending on the person or situation.

I can’t say I am offering solutions in this blog, but I hope through my own reflection sharing,  I have encouraged any of you to reflect on the same.  For myself, I’ve decided I might need to give more to God instead of others in my life.  I’ll be more cautious about what I vocalize.  God is willing to listen and take it all.  Our family members, who are close to us, don’t deserve the worst of us.

 

 

Grateful

Despite the tough road….the uphill climb with lots of thorn bushes along the way, I am grateful.  Our culture tends to hear the D word (divorce) and instantly think “that’s so sad.”  While I never wanted my marriage to end, it is simply a life event.  Nobody died.  Actually, we are finding ways to live in a happier way, and for that, I am grateful.

My ex husband didn’t want the divorce.  He begged and pleaded, and faced many depressed and horribly stressful days.  Even with that, it did not take him to a low enough point to stop drinking for himself.  I am grateful that he made it through the storm of depression.  He continues to be a high functioning alcoholic that wants to quit but doesn’t need to badly enough.

More than anything, I am grateful for how my daughter has blossomed.  Even though we moved and she started a new school, she is happier and healthier than ever.  She has regular visitation with her dad, and she lives with me.  She resides in a home with no underlying stress, concern, or worry.  She doesn’t walk on egg shells.  She is free to express her emotions, including crying when she needs to.  She used to have a tremendous amount of anxiety, and that has reduced significantly.  Thank you God.  This is even more than I hoped for in my decision to end the marriage.

God blessed me with the ability to let go of resentment, and the friends in Al-Anon are great at reminding me how important that is.  I am so fortunate not to have lingering hatred in my heart for my ex husband.  While I still dislike his selfishness, isolation, and immaturity, I can rationalize that as part of the disease.  Being able to do that, and not relive awful moments of the past gives me so much freedom.  I’m happy.  I don’t think I could be happy if God hadn’t let me release resentment.  In addition, I don’t think I could be a good parent to my daughter if I was still carrying anger for her father and my “prior life.”  Thank you God!

I don’t have any sisters by blood, but I have a blessed circle of beautiful women that feel like my sisters.  They have supported me, maintained my confidentiality, listened when I needed to talk, and helped me establish a new home.  I know that they love me and wish only the best for me.  There is no doubt that we will grow closer as we age.  Thank you God!

My family has been all that I could hope for and more, including my ex’s parents.  I’m so fortunate.  They don’t ask questions, but they listen when I need to talk.  They challenge my thoughts, and I need that!

It’s not all rainbows and unicorns.  If the above paragraphs make it sound that way, I didn’t mean it.  But I do like to focus on the positives.  God “winks” at me every so often and lets me know if the path I am on is still going in the right direction.  Sometimes I stray, and I get a swift mental kick from an Al-Anon reflection I read, or from a person saying something that feels like it comes from God through them.

There is like after divorce from an alcoholic.  It’s a good life.

Waiting

Waiting, How Long?

Waiting, Patience is a virtue

Waiting, Anticipation stirs

Waiting, Outcome unknown

Waiting, Requires faith

Waiting, For an answer

Waiting, Builds dreams

Waiting, Eats at you

Waiting, For a sign

Waiting, With a secret

Waiting, While I age

Waiting, Is worth it?

Waiting, Quietly unknown

Waiting., With a hope

Waiting, Without a line

Waiting, Full of fear

Waiting, Happily

Waiting, With a smile

Waiting, Near to tears

Waiting, While I sleep

Waiting, For love

Waiting and waiting and waiting

STOP

One Day…….

One Blessed Day at a time

God is good.

No harm in waiting.

Waiting.

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

Through my own unintentional experience, healing, and reflection, I have come to the point of starting this blog.

In 2018, after 23 years of marriage, I asked for a dissolution.  I never wanted it to come to that.  My husband was an alcoholic.  Neither of us know how it came to be.  At what point did he lose control of his ability to stop?

We tried everything.  Counseling, clergy support, detox, rehab…..all failed.

I went to Al-Anon meetings.  I found them to be highly supportive, confidential, and educational groups. But I didn’t find anyone who thought  like me.  We had gone to counseling too late and I had already detached.

My perception of Al-Anon was that the spouses in the group believed in finding ways to save the marriage to the alcoholic.  Many pledged that attending Al Anon and working on themselves instead of trying to fix the alcoholic was the secret to the success.  I admired them for their commitment.  They are wonderful people.  Many of them found their own peace and way to “be happy” while being married.  I didn’t find any that were actually “happily married”, though, unless their spouse got sober and stayed sober.

Over the last several years, I have learned a tremendous amount about the social and behavioral reality of alcoholics, both active and recovered.  I’ve learned, and I am still learning, the personal results of being in a relationship with one.  My spouse built a bubble around himself and I unintentionally became a part of that bubble.

This blog is dedicated to my journey of bursting out of that bubble, and finding peace, happiness, and self direction all while preparing for the challenges ahead.  If you have been in a relationship with an alcoholic or are in one currently, I hope you’ll continue to visit this blog so we can learn, support, challenge and praise each other.

If you do not have a support person in your life, I encourage you to look beyond this blog.  There are many resources in your community.  Al-Anon is a great place to start.  Or simply confide in a friend.  All of us need multiple support options.