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California, USA
December 06
In the newspaper business for more than 20 years. I write, I edit and take photos ... I'm a triple threat.


Smalltownwriter's Links
JANUARY 11, 2012 9:32PM

Working a fourth step on this one

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My wife had been sober (other than one two-week relapse in August 2010), since February 2010. That all ended in December 2011 with a bender that lasted through the first week of 2012. There were a lot of hurtful things said by my wife during those weeks. I had to take drastic steps - removing my children from the situation for a week, issuing an ultimatum and taking away her car keys.

A week later, she's "checked in," as I call it. She has that wonderful spark in her eye I love so much. But here I am spouting off about the alcoholic, which is exactly the opposite of what I should be doing. I need to keep the focus on myself.

I called my sponsor first thing this morning and we had a good talk. He wants me to draft a response letter to my wife (in my previous post I mentioned how she sat me down and read a letter to me, laying down ground rules - and indicating she didn't want to be "intimate" with me) and work a fourth step on  what I'm feeling right now. That means, "take a searching and fearless moral inventory." 

"You need to get this down on paper and maybe you can sleep again," he said. "That's what works best for many people. There are no text books or forms you can fill out on this, just write it out from the heart."

 I also called my parents and as soon as I heard my mom's voice, I broke down in tears. Being Mrs. Fix-It (the adult child of an alcoholic herself), she immediately said, "What do you need? What help do you need?"

"I don't need any help," I said. "I just need to talk."

I had the hardest time telling my mom about my wife's affair, falling off the wagon, her telling me she doesn't want to be with me ... As a man, it's one of the most difficult things in the world to hear my wife say, "When you tell me you want to spend the rest of your life with me or that you want to grow old together, that's smothering me. I don't know what the future holds and I can't promise anything about us."

I'm very emotionally raw at the moment. My two little ones (1 and 3 years old) are playing in the living room as I type this, babbling at each other. My wife is at work for another three hours.

There's a saying in Al-Anon that I should have repeated to myself this morning, when I really went off on my wife. With only three hours of sleep under my belt (having spent  a good part of the night crying or trying to "let it go"), I was not in the proper frame of mind to be rational. Like rats gnawing at my mind, dark thoughts wore down my serenity throughout the sleepless night. The saying is HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired): If I'm any of these things, don't respond. I was three-out-of-four on that list and I should have kept my mouth shut.

I feel like I've lost my best friend and my wife all at the same time.

I'm angry, upset, exhausted, hurt ... and I'm scared. 

Author tags:

al-anon, alcoholism

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You are stronger than you know. Take care of yourself. I'm keeping you in my thoughts.
Sharing this story makes you strong. Know you are supported.
It seems to me you are fighting against something that isn't there.
She isn't all there.
Until she comes back it's a losing game, but you know that.
Me, I'd quit fighting ; quit the game.
The kids are the main thing ~ they won't get the peace they need until the struggling stops. You know that too.
It's a toss-up between your love for her & your love for the kids. It seems to have come to that. I know in a heartbeat which I'd choose.
The rest is hell.
Employees can organize into trade or labor unions, which represent the work force to collectively bargain with the management of organisations about working and contractual conditions.-
Dr. Marla Ahlgrimm