Showing posts with label marriage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label marriage. Show all posts

Monday, June 16, 2008


I'll wonder what I'm fighting for, and I'll get so bedraggled and beaten up by this relationship, and then, suddenly, I see so many wonderful things in my husband. He says something so insightful, or so funny, or so wise, or so loving.

I spoke with a friend recently who I only talk with occasionally, and she's just gotten out of a long, tumultuous relationship. She said that she was sitting with her boyfriend one afternoon, and she realized she had no idea who he was anymore...and not only did she feel like he was a stranger, but she didn't care, either.

I know from my own past relationships that you're not done until you're done...and I know that feeling of indifference. It's an indifference that's beyond care about the person, and you wish him well, but you don't want to fight for it anymore. I remember when it came over me with my most recent was like all the wind had been knocked out of me. I had nothing left in me for that relationship. I still loved him, but it was a new kind of love...kind of a detached spirit of goodwill.

I am nowhere near that kind of indifference in this relationship. Every second of my life, I'm still fighting, still hanging on, still grasping at this man, my dreams for us and our life together. I don't want it to be over.

Thursday, June 5, 2008



I got home from work last night, and the house was spotless. My husband had cleaned the house, cooked a wonderful dinner, and had $80 deposited into my bank account. It was like a fog had lifted off of him, the fog that had been keeping me from coming home over the last few weeks.

I'm confused about this up and down behavior, as it's not typical of him. If he's using, usually, it gets bad, and then it gets worse, and then it's a crisis, and then he's in bed detoxing for 2 weeks, and then he's really sorry, and then it gradually builds up to a better place. This new kind of rapid spiraling and upswing is different.

One thing that I thought might explain what's happening at my house is that he is gradually lowering his methadone dose. Every time he goes down a notch, he's shitty for a few days, and then he levels out. He's not gone down for a week or so, and maybe...just maybe...that's all that is going on.

Yuck. I'm not going to think about what's going on. All I know is that I'm looking forward to going home this evening to an orderly house with no allegorical turds, a loving, lovely husband (who even asked if I'd pick him up for the meeting tonight), and hope. Hope is nice, and the prospect of a nice evening is nice, and spending time with my husband while he's on an upswing is my favorite thing in the world.

Sunday, June 1, 2008


I don't want to go home, ever, anymore. I think back to how much I used to love to come home to him, how much I wanted to be with him, in my house, our house...I am not sure what has changed, because I didn't used to feel this way about him even when he was using. I hate it when he's using, but I always love him. And I still love him...I'm just so fucking tired. I'm tired down in my bones of him, of this life, of the same problems, the same attitudes, the same stagnant bullshit again and again and again. I'm tired of how fucking self-absorbed he is. It's like my only function in his life is to be his ATM machine/personal assistant, and I'm just not so interested in being in service to him anymore. I want him to be my partner or go away.

We had a long time that things really were much better...where we really seemed to be a married couple, doing things with each other, for each other. I thought he'd made so much progress, but it seems like he's coming unglued now, and I hate the same addicty bullshit behavior.

It's sad, though, because it's so good when it's good. He's so full of hope for himself, and I get so hopeful for us together. He told me one day when we were coming home from a yoga class, his fingers twisting in my sweaty hair, that he was going to make sure that I never again regret marrying him, that he was going to do everything he had to do to make sure that every moment that we spent together from that point forward would let me know that everything he'd put me through was worth it. It lasted for a while, this feeling in lasted through that afternoon, through the rest of the week, but it's gone now, and I miss him.

Friday, May 9, 2008

9 a.m. Bedtime.

My husband went to bed this morning when I got up. I went in to work late today, and he was still sleeping when I left this afternoon. I got home from a late night at work, and he is in the bed.

Long days sleeping the whole, entire day have never been a very good sign at my house. Before I found needles, he was on these fantastic sleeping binges. I was SO SURE that he was TOTALLY DEPRESSED. Now I don't stop by the depression junction anymore; I go straight to, "Oh. He's using." We're back to this again.

Tonight, I'm ok. I've taken care of myself today, and I can't say that I'm surprised by his behavior. He has had several chances to make some good decisions lately, and he's blown them off. He bombarded me yesterday with a long, addicty rant with a thousand requests to break boundaries that I've set pretty firmly. I hate how predictable his behavior is. I hate how he's such a textbook junky. I hate how special I remember him being. I hate how much I'll miss the nice man who has been around the last few weeks.

I am thinking, though, that my higher power is looking out for me. If he'd been wonderful, if we'd kept up the high romance, the moonlight walks, the whispered words at night, it would have been so much more painful for him to leave when it's time. If he continues to act like this, all I'm going to think about is how hard he is to live much more peaceful my life will be once he's gone. I feel guilty for thinking these things, for looking forward to him being gone. But it's true. I'm looking forward to it.

I'm looking forward to sleeping as much as I need to. I'm looking forward to leaving my wallet lying, recklessly, on the table. I'm looking forward to having cash sometimes. I've not done these things in a while, and it will feel good to be able to let down my guard. I don't remember what it feels like to live in peace, to live without someone working, seemingly, to disrupt my serenity at every possible turn. I will miss him, but I'll be glad when he's gone. One of you readers directed me to that Sinead O'Connor song. It's one of my favorites now...oh, I can put it here. Here's a thing!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Disappearing Husband.

I don't want my husband to stay. I don't want him to leave. I want him to be with me always and never. He fell asleep early last night, and it made my stomach tighten with panic. I don't want him to sleep. I don't want him to bother me when I'm sleeping. I want every moment to matter. I want to follow him around everywhere. I want him to follow me everywhere. I want to spend every second gazing at him.

He has perfected the art of creating perfect longing for me. Our entire relationship has been a long, long, long grieving, a long wanting, a long longing. There have been moments of bliss, of union, of happiness that capped long spells of hurt and despair. Even now, married, living together every day, there is this perpetual sense of imperfection, of brushing right against something that is almost just right, but never quite. In many ways, it's just what I want. It's good material for me to write about. That's sick, isn't it? It's sick to want a perpetual impossibility, a sense of something constantly turning, returning, being built and destroyed and never quite completed. I'm in love with dissatisfaction. Nothing will ever be right, finished, complete, and I'll always have something to search for. I live like a kind of spiritual cockroach, scrounging for these bits, these moments, building my completeness like a collage of momentary satisfactions.

I want to go home. I have to keep working. I want to take this week off to follow him around, to sit in his lap and touch his face, and I can't. I know I have to keep going, keep moving through my life, keep working, keep surviving, keep trying to make myself happy. I want to be happy. I do. I want to be happy in a particular way, though, and I'm not yet willing to reset my vision of what I want. I want him. I want him to go away. I want him with me always. I don't know what I want.

Man Disappearing by Jean Albano

Monday, May 5, 2008


Wilt thou be gone? it is not yet near day: It was the nightingale, and not the lark, That pierced the fearful hollow of thine ear; Nightly she sings on yon pomegranate-tree: Believe me, love, it was the nightingale.
-Romeo And Juliet, III.5

Time seems to be passing awfully fast. We have seven days until our indefinite separation begins. I am scared. I don't want him to go away. I want him to be here, and be different.

Everything feels very important, very dear. It is hard to stay in the moment when such weight is hanging on the future. It is hard to detach when there's so much looming. It's hard to stay in myself, to be sure what is right. I kind of want to do everything for him in the next few days because I won't have a chance to for a while. I want him to be happy, comfortable. I want him. I can't have him. I can't make him happy, comfortable. I can't fix all he's broken. I hate this.

Painting by George Mendoza

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Humpty Dumpty, Jackie Kennedy, and Me.

Every time I've ever looked at the video of John F. Kennedy's assassination, I've watched his wife. She's the most interesting part, from her tragic loveliness to her sad pink outfit. When the bullets start firing, her behavior is odd and controversial. Some folks criticize her for appearing to crawl out of the car, for trying to flee...and even if that was what she was doing, folks were getting their heads blown off. It would make sense to flee.

I always read her behavior differently, though. I thought she looked like she was reaching over the trunk of the car trying to scoop up pieces of brain. I imagine her thinking something like, "Oh no! This is bad! He's going to need this part of his head when he gets better!" I imagine her in something like denial, scooping up her dying husband's brains with a sense of duty, with a sense of a still-possible future, the idea of a later time when his brains will be all back in his head and he'll be all patched up.

I think of her a lot lately, this iconic figure of a wife attempting to piece together her impossibly blown-apart husband. I think of myself and my own denial that my husband might be too far gone ever to be put back together again. I feel myself scrambling, fighting, begging, praying, hoping that it's not impossible for him to be ok, for me to be ok, for us to be ok together. I still have hope that he could be a whole man some day, and that we could have a real life together in spite of a lot of evidence that he won't be, that he can't be, and that having an adult relationship with someone as sick as my husband isn't possible.

I still have hope. I hang on. I keep sitting in a sinking ship.

Photo Credit: JFK Assassination

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

What Comes Is Better.

Oh I do believe
In all the things you say
What comes is better than what came before
-Cat Power, "I Found A Reason"

I've jut had a few much-needed days to myself while my husband has been out of town, and it has been wonderful. I needed it. Oh, I needed it.

I'm starting to feel almost like I miss him. I'd been dreading his return, but it's been long enough now. I'd like for him to come home, I think.

I am afraid, though. Every little sprouting hope feels so vulnerable, so tiny and scary.

He did this thing that I really liked when he was leaving town. It was new...he gets his money deposited into my account for his methadone maintenance, and I go with him and pay at the clinic because he says money is triggering for him. Because he is out of town, he is guest dosing at another clinic, which means that I can't go hand the money to the nurse myself. It's only for a few days, but I'd figured I'd end up giving him the money and just let go of the consequences.

Instead, he worked it out for himself to have me transfer the money to a relative who was traveling with him...his idea. He set a boundary for himself, and he respected it. That's new, and exciting, and it makes little sprouts of hope spring up all over me.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


"I don't get any support from you. It makes it hard to recover. You won't let me have any victories. You want everything fixed in the next 24 hours."

I'd gotten home from a long, long day at work, and he told me he'd gotten another part time job. He also told me he'd not gone to the part-time job he needed to go to in order to be able to buy his methadone the next day. I began detaching, lovingly, from the upcoming day without methadone, and said, "That's great. This new job could be a good opportunity. I hope it works out for you."

Apparently, my response wasn't effusive enough. If I'd been doing it right, I would have told him to wait a minute while I ran into the bedroom to change into my cheerleader uniform, and returned to say, "Oh, baby! That's wonderful! You got a job! Wow! Let me pay for your methadone for the rest of this week to celebrate!"

But you see, I've retired my cheerleader attire. After the fourth or fifth job that he diligently went to, filled out an application, and was given a start date that he blew off, I stopped getting very excited about these possibilities. It would be great if he got a job. It would be great if he'd support himself, even in a bigger way than paying for his own medicine. I'd be thrilled to have an actual partner, actually participating in the grown-up work of maintaining our household. If he puts a paycheck in my hand, maybe then I'll do a couple of cartwheels for him. (And really...even's kind of what people do. People put their paychecks in the bank and then pay bills. It's what he used to do before heroin turned him into a large, expensive toddler. It shouldn't be something to celebrate.)

But for now, it's hard to muster up much more enthusiasm than, "That's great. This new job could be a good opportunity. I hope it works out for you." That's the best I can do.

His words hurt me, deeply. No matter how many times I tell myself it's just another tin foil hat, that it's not about me, that he's just talking crazy-ass addict hurts. I know I'm supportive. I know I've been patient for a year, for over a year now, and that the bit about 24 hours is just plain madness. I know I'm kind and compassionate and good to this man...good to him beyond what is reasonable. Knowing these things, I'm still hurt when he says I'm not.

It also makes me afraid. For the first time in a while, he's cobbled together a few weeks of clean time, and I have come to know that his need to blame me, to blame anyone, to turn the energy of his inner turmoil outside and on to the nearest target is a warning sign of relapse. I hope it's not where we're headed.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Meeting Date.

As he's been recuperating from his latest relapse, my husband has been planning and planning and planning all the wonderful things he would start doing once he felt better. One of the things, as always, was to start going to meetings.

He's finally been starting to perk up over the last few days, and we made a plan to meet at tonight's meeting. I meet with my stepwork group before my meeting, and he had some errands to run before his meeting. Before we parted ways, I'd already begun to fret about how I was certain he'd blow off the meeting.

And while the quality of my fretting is different from what it used to be in that I stayed in the meeting and I didn't stare at the door waiting to see him show up, it was still on my mind when it got to be 6:00 and he wasn't there. Our topic tonight was dealing with relapse and how our reactions to relapse reflect our growth through the program, and one of the things I brought up, even, was how I could tell I'd grown because I wasn't freaking out about him not being at the meeting like I would have in the past.

It was a great meeting, too. There was a newcomer, and that always adds a great perspective for makes me think about my own first meeting, how sure I was that I wouldn't fit in with anyone, how nobody would like me, how I wouldn't like anybody, and how by the time I walked out of that door the first night, I'd become a full-fledged Nar-Anon convert. I'd never felt more like I'd found the place where I belonged, where there were people who understood what I was going through, what my husband was going through, and who had some actual, applicable information on how I could help myself. It was a beautiful night...and it also makes me think of how much I've grown over the last year and how much has changed in my life. I like newcomers.

It was one of those meetings I hated to see end, especially since I was dreading going home and listening to the lies and excuses about why he didn't show up for the meeting. I lingered for a bit afterwards to prolong the inevitable reunion with my husband...

But then, when I finally left, I saw the most beautiful thing. He was there, talking to someone else from the program, with his slightly-chewed Styrofoam cup of Narcotics Anonymous coffee. That cup looked like a grail full of holy water to me at that moment. It might be silly, but I was so glad he was there tonight, that he did what he said he was going to do, and that he was taking care of himself while I was taking care of myself.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Sudden Panic.

"Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live."
-Dorothy Thompson

He called to ask when I'll be home. I told him I'd be going to the meeting straight from work unless he would like to come with me. He pretended not to hear the part about coming with me, and said, "So you'll be home late?"

And suddenly, I was full of fear. Panic. Sadness. He's not been to a meeting in nearly a month, and I've been doing a good job of not caring about it. It's his recovery, or lack of recovery, and it's not my business. My business is to take care of myself, whatever that means.

It has been good for me, I think, to let go of his recovery, to let him handle it or not handle it and to keep it very clear in my mind that all I can do is react to his behaviors. If he continues down this path, and it continues to be unacceptable to me, then eventually, I'll get out of the unacceptable situation. It's healthier to let him figure it out on his own and to figure it out on my own...

And yet tonight, I'm scared. I'm scared because I know what path he's on, and I don't want him to go that way. I want him to be ok, and he's not ok enough, not yet. I want it to happen faster, whatever "it" is. I want release from this fear, from my anxiety over his future and our future together.

I do want it. Apparently, I don't want it enough to leave. Not yet.

I made a new friend this weekend. In talking to her, we ended up kind of revealing our life stories in that way that you do when you meet someone nice and you hit it off well. Telling someone new my adventures as a junky's wife gave me an interesting sense of perspective. It was interesting to me that I had to tell her these deeply personal things about myself in order to be able to explain who I am and how I'm living. My role in this relationship is a huge part of my identity presently, which I don't like. I'm a junky's wife, still. I'm working on myself, and I'm growing, and I'm doing the best I can; but still, at my core, the most essentially true thing about me is that I am married to a heroin addict. My life is built around reacting to my husband's disease.

I am predicting for myself such peace if I can ever get over this hump. I'm finally growing tired of the drama, the trauma, that I've been bathed in for so long. I just kind of want things to be quiet, to have time with me, to figure out who exactly it is that I am.

Monday, January 14, 2008

My Will Be Done.

I've been praying lately, a lot. Most of the time, my prayers are kind of trench prayers..."Help me. Help me. Help me," but sometimes, I get a little more sophisticated:

"Help me. I am afraid. I am trapped, and I need guidance. Please help me to know what I am supposed to do. Please show me what you want for me."

I realized this weekend in my step group while working on the Sixth Step that I might be standing firmly in the way of the plans of who or whatever is on the other side of those prayers. I ask for something to show me what I should be doing, and I get needles. I get a goddamned needle, that ugly orange goddamned needle, that symbol that started my new life when I first found it this time last year. I see that I'm standing in the same room, looking at the same thing, in the same situation.

I hate it. It hurts me and it fills me with rage, and I don't do a damn thing about it. I'm facing an edge of my "entire readiness": I am entirely ready to grow, entirely ready to move out of this impossible situation, but I am absolutely not ready to remove my husband from my life.

I've been reading a lot about God and gods and all the different manifestations of holiness around the world, and I've been finding the Hindu gods to be really illuminating. It's a construction of spirituality that's real distant from anything that I could ever be comfortable with making my own, but learning about the different functions that the various gods perform has given me some insight into the work that my own higher power can do for me. This week, I'm in love with Ganesha, the remover of obstacles, but also the planter of obstacles against which we are meant to test our mettle, to overcome and grow. I'm not sure if I should be invoking the power of removal or respecting the obstacle I've been given and testing my will to love in spite of all.

And also, I just don't want to be without him, my darling, needle-bearing obstacle. I'm not done with the sound of his heartbeat when I put my head on his chest, with his hand in mine, with his arm around me while I'm sleeping.

It's always so confusing, understanding what is right.

Friday, January 11, 2008

I Can't Do It.

I need a break. I've tried twice to tell him that he's got to leave, and I can't do it. As long as I'm not talking to him, not looking at him, I am ready to tell him to go. As soon as I start telling him that I need him to go, I can't do it.

The words get stuck in my throat. He is so very fucked up. It's sad. He's sad. I don't want him to be so sad. I don't want to make him sadder.

I don't want to be without him. I don't want to be with him like this. I want to be able to think, to breathe, to take care of myself, and I can't do it with him around. It's hard to breathe when he's in the room.

"You think I've been using?" he asked.

"Yes. I think you've been using since right before Christmas."

"I haven't been!"

"What's been going on, then? What's making you act like this?"

"I did mess up one time, but it's been a long time. That has nothing to do with what's going on now."

I don't know what to say to him. I know he's lying. He's using. He doesn't act this way unless he's using. I understand it all, and I don't understand anything.

What I don't understand is that he knows the way out. He knows what he needs to do to get better, and he won't do it. He is miserable in the life he's living, and on the other side of it there's love, life, happiness. It's all well within his grasp.

I miss my husband.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

These Are Your Finger Bones, Together.

"These are you finger bones, together," his nephew informed us. "You have bones in your arms and your fingers. Let's touch them."

He's two and very smart. We had a nice night of extended family stuff: lots of food, talk, and a cute kid. He held both our hands while telling us about our finger bones.

It made me think about family, and sharing your family with someone in a marriage, especially sharing such a complicated family as his. He has made himself very vulnerable by inviting me to be a part of his life in this way. Families are lovely things...even crazy families with addicts popping out of the woodwork.

There's such bindings in families, though, especially in the blendings that emerge from a marriage. Not only are you family with your partner, you're now also family with his or her parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews. It's quite a weight.

There's a hole in my heart shaped like some relatives of past lovers, people who became family and were lost in the separations. It's hard to think about. I'm going to stop thinking about it now.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

I Understand What I Am Still Too Proud To Mention.

"Why do you always have to act like I'm such a burden?"

"I just need to know when you're going to work because I have some work to do, and I'm trying to figure out my schedule."

"And that's my fault!?"

"I just asked you a question: when are you going to need a ride to work?"

"If I'm such a fucking burden, why don't you just leave me?"

I'm not sure if my husband will ever be able to forgive me for not leaving him. Lately, when we have these kinds of interchanges, I just feel so sad for him. He must feel so horrible about himself; he must feel like such an insufferable burden.

And while it's not a happy shift, I recognize this shift in my understanding of what is happening as growth on my part. At first, his responses made me feel bad about myself, like I wasn't loving, forgiving, working hard I must be doing something to make him feel these ways. My next step was feeling mad...mad as hell...mad that he'd want me to accommodate him, to drive him around, to be on call for his every want and need and never to notice that he expected these things from me.

So I'm glad that now I understand that it's really not about me. It's not about me, not at all. It's about his frustration with himself, his long year of taking without giving, his long descent into selfishness that he can't see a way out of. His anger towards me is a reflection of what's going on inside himself, and I'm sorry for him. I'm sad for him. I wish better things for him. I'm not willing to take it for him, though.

I'm not going to take his anger anymore, not for things that aren't mine. I'm not going to hurt for him. I choose my words and actions very carefully because I know that he's hurting, and I know that I've chosen to stay in a marriage with a deeply broken man who is going to need a lot of patience, space, and time to heal. I know that my expectations should be low and my gratitude high, and I stick to my side of what I need to do to make our marriage work...and as long as I'm taking care of myself and respecting him, I'm not taking his anger for him. It's his, and he's got to work it out for himself without pouring it on me.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


When my last relationship ended, I had this feeling, this cold, cold feeling. I wasn't mad anymore, and I wasn't sad. I was just done. It was as if a switch inside of me had been flipped, and I couldn't find a way to turn it back on.

I remember the moment it happened. He was drunk, again. I was looking at him, and I expected to feel angry. I didn't. I didn't feel hurt, either. It was just nothing, just cold, empty nothing. It scared the hell out of me. I tried describing the feeling to a family member on the phone the next day, and she suggested that maybe I was really done. It wasn't long before I asked him to move out, and I was moving on.

Reaching that point took a long time, and as I've been going through the addiction mess with my husband over the last year, I've gone back again and again to that moment. I want to believe that there will come a point when I'll be done, when the pain of staying will outweigh the pain of leaving, and that I'll know when I reach that point.

That's part of it: I want to trust that I have a stopping place...a bottom...a boundary that I won't cross, where I won't keep letting myself be dragged down by my husband.

And I am also afraid of finding that switch, finding that it's turned to "OFF." This man has meant the world to me, and the idea that I could stop loving, stop caring, stop being invested in participating in a future with him is terrifying.

For now, I am still hanging on to the hope that has been looming for so long, that thing just around the corner...that moment where he gets it, where things change, where he realizes that he's got to deal with his demons. I am afraid that he will never round that corner. I am afraid that he'll make the turn after I'm already done, that I'll have given up on him, that I won't have put in the extra month, the extra minute...that whatever it is inside of me that hangs on to love for much too long will let go before he finds his own answers. I am afraid that my letting go is what will lead him to his own answers. I am afraid of more loss, more sadness, more hurting.

I've been avoiding him. I've spent every night at work as late as I can stay and then at yoga or meetings or with family or friends. It's the holidays, and I want to want to be with him, but I can't take him right now. I can't take the tantruming, the constant need for reassurance.

"You never make me feel like a man," he said to me.

"You never act like a man," I responded. I don't know what else to say.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Just Shut Up.

You act like you're fourteen years old.
Everything you say is so

Obnoxious, funny, rude and mean.

I want to be your blowjob queen.

-Liz Phair

Liz Phair's "Flower" song was stuck in my head today. My husband was being a charming, grumpy, handsome, fussy fool of a man-child beast. He is tired. He's worked a lot this week, and the work he's doing is hard. It's going to take him a long time to get used to being up and out of the house, being a grown-up and all that. It was rainy and cold today, and he was working outside, so when he came home, he had a fierce need to let me know how awful it was.

I am getting better at ignoring him when he's crazy. He threw some sort of man-tantrum about the side of the bed next to where he sleeps. He generally has a giant stack of clothes piled up there, and I'll pick them up when I'm doing the laundry on the weekends.

Why can't you just leave my clothes that I have on the floor over here alone? I want to have something that's mine! You clean up everything, and I want to have one place that can be messy!

It's great. For a few minutes, I was really hurt. I was trying to do his laundry, to help him, and he acted as if I'd been trying to take something away from him. I started questioning myself...should I not be helping with his laundry? Is there some indignity that I'm foisting upon him by cleaning up the bedroom that we share? I quickly decided, however, that it doesn't matter, and that something great has happened: I'm off the hook for his laundry! I finished the load that I was working on, and instead of folding his clothes, I threw them on the floor next to his side of the bed! Instead of washing his clothes that were in the pile of dirty laundry, I threw them on the floor by his side of the bed.

I hope he enjoys his mess.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Always A Crossroads.

So many things are changing in our lives right now, and I'm finding myself, at least today, feeling very anxious about being at another crossroads. Things are, again, on the verge of being much better, possibly. Again, I am powerless over the changes that must occur. My husband the handsome madman is the one who will make our break our lives.

He asked someone to be his sponsor after his Tuesday meeting. I was really proud of him. It was his move, his business, and he hadn't talked about it with me at all. He had decided that he wanted to get a sponsor before the holidays and to begin working the steps because he says he is ready to make real changes in his life, to find solutions to problems that he has realized he can't fix on his own. That's a huge step, and it took a lot of courage.

He has also been working a lot this week to make sure that he can get me his fair share of bill money. While he's been working for the last few weeks, his first priority has been to pay for his methadone...not to support himself and contribute to the costs of our household. Over the last few weeks, he has worked just enough to pay for his methadone, buy himself a cup of coffee every morning, and then given me a few bucks for bill money. He's realized that he's not doing enough, and he's been trying really hard this week to do his fair share.

Again, I'm proud of him. It's a big deal, and it is evidence that he's doing a lot better, that he's on an upswing.

However, no money has touched my hands yet. He has said a lot of words about the changes that sound so wonderful, but so much bad experience over the last year has taught me that his words aren't always meaningful. They are at best more like expressions of intent than signposts that will mark actual behavior. So often in the past, when he has said, "I'm going to get you your bill money this week, " he has really been saying, "I really wish I had it together enough to be the kind of man who would get you your bill money on time this week. One day, I hope I will be."

One change that seems significant this time is that he is acknowledging that he's not been doing enough to contribute and that he wants to. He's not making excuses. He's talking about reality, and what he says makes sense. In the past, I'd always question myself: Maybe I'm crazy. Maybe my expectations are too high. Maybe he has a point.

Addicts have an uncanny ability to believe so very sincerely that they are SO RIGHT about whatever it is they are expressing. Addiction can be so powerfully deluding...the addict him or herself becomes quite convinced, and often quite convincing, that the world isn't fair, that family members aren't sane, that money is disappearing for good reason or that the money never existed in the first place. I've lived for a good year of my life with my husband in and out of active addiction, constantly doubting my own understanding of what is going on in the world, constantly wondering if I might be treating him unfairly, that I might not understand the situation fully, that it's normal for things not to make sense.

I am refreshed by his latest tendency to seem so sensible...but at the same time skeptical of my ability to interpret anything he says, skeptical of him meaning anything he says, and scared. Scared to trust that he might come through with some of his big plans for himself...scared to feel the anger and disappointment that will be there if he doesn't.

Monday, December 10, 2007

This Very Moment.

"When mortals are alive, they worry about death. When they're full, they worry about hunger. Theirs is the Great Uncertainty. But sages don't consider the past. And they don't worry about the future. Nor do they cling to the present. And from moment to moment they follow the Way."


I want to follow the Way. I want my mind back from regretting the past and fearing the future. I want alertness, and attentiveness, and mindfulness, and SERENITY and all that. I want it to come, and come easy.

I am working too hard, I think. I'm trying very hard to do everything right, and I'm forcing myself through a lot of suffering. If I could or would just stop and experience the lovely moments, I'd be so much happier.

I am afraid, though, of being so consumed in moments that I forget to take care of myself. My husband is so wonderfully pleasant earnest and alive and awake and interested and interesting. He's been gone for a while, and it's wonderful having him back. I want to enjoy him and succumb to every delicious moment...

But he gets so comfortable when I succumb! When I'm happy, he gets things from me. "I didn't feel like staying at work, so I left early. I won't be able to give you as much money for bills as I thought. I might need to borrow $10 for methadone, ok?" If I'm absorbed in feeling good, if I'm smiling at his charming jokes and his curly hair and his shiny eyes, I am less inclined to say "NO."

And NO is the right answer. NO is the answer that hurts, and that feels wrong, and that feels unpartnered, unmarried, unnurturing...but it's the right answer. It's the answer that will take care of me. It's the answer that will result in him taking care of himself. And when I begin thinking this way, I'm out of the moment. I'm regretting my past so full of yes I said yes I will yes and dreading a future of more pain, more NO, or more yeses that end in resentment and pain...I start to think that no matter what happens, it's going to hurt. We're going to stay together, and nothing will be better than this, and that will hurt; we will split up, and it will hurt. All possible outcomes are impossible.

But I should know, I know, that's not realistic. We are moving forward, and there are more and more good moments. I just don't know what to do about myself in the space-time continuum. I don't know where to focus my attention, to let my mind rest. I don't know how to balance. It seems like the right place to be is totally out of past, no present, no future...nothing to hold on to.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Spiraling Argument.

"Love really is all it's cracked up to be. It really is worth fighting for, worth being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don't risk everything, you risk even more."

One thing I've always loved about my husband is the way he fights. In past relationships, I'd always feel like the relationship was on the verge of shattering every time we'd fight (I'm not codependent, shut up). Whenever we fight, even when it's nasty and he's being his petulant, whiny, addicty worst, I never doubt that he loves me or that we're not going to get through it. Our arguments can get really bad, but they always end well, and we always end up working through something important.

Our fights function in something like a spiral...we start out very far apart, and we circle and circle around each other...he yells and I cry and he cries and I yell...but eventually, we come closer and closer together until we merge.

We had a big one this weekend. I had been holding it in and holding it in and waiting and waiting to see if he'd ever get it together and get some bill money to me. The first week he was working, he gave me about half what we've agreed would be the amount he'd give me each week. The second week, he gave me the same amount, but the he had to borrow a bit of it back for methadone. This past week, he gave me even less.

Because he's working for family, his schedule is very flexible. We both agreed that this flexibility would be a good thing. He's been crazy for a long time and out of work for a long time, so having a chance to ease back into being a grown-up by working for family, having coffee in the morning and a great lunch with people who love him, and being able to get there late or leave early occasionally is a great gift. And it's become a gift that he's gotten really good at taking...

Every day last week, there was some reason why he wasn't able to work more than 2 or 3 hours. His mom stopped by and they talked for a long time at lunch. He sat in the morning with his cousin and talked about the weekend's game. He and his uncle had gone to the hardware store to buy supplies, and then they stopped for lunch, and time got away. He didn't feel well, so he could only stay for a few hours and then he got a ride home. Etc. Etc. Etc.

At the end of the week, he'd managed to pay for his methadone, throw a few bucks my way, and buy himself coffee every morning. He's feeling great about himself because he's doing so much better than he was two months ago, and he was pretty shocked when I let him know that the pink cloud that's puffing out his ears wasn't working on me. I'm still pissed, and this better isn't good enough.

He freaked out for a while, pouted in that special addicty baby-fied way, yelled that "NOTHING IS EVER GOOD ENOUGH!" for me, cried about how I make him feel like an ass hole even though he's trying very hard to be a good husband for me, and I yelled, cried, and stomped around with him. I recognized that I was behaving like a crazy person when he retreated to the bedroom to pout and I was sobbing on the couch, and I called my sponsor to get some sense talked to me. She pointed out that it's a beautiful day. It was a beautiful day. I loaded up my doggy and we went for a very long walk. We talked to each other. I talked to myself and to whatever higher-power would listen. She sniffed the grass and peed a lot. I felt better. I got home, and he was better.

He'd thought about the things I'd said, and he acknowledged that I was right. He's not doing enough. He wants to do more. We found our centers, separately and together.