24 February 2014

Moving Forward

I've been working on the things I need for my new apartment and how to pack up this one.  I signed the lease for the new place and set up cable/internet also (only $27.99/month!).  I get the keys on the 27th and formally take possession on the 28th.  Then its a matter of moving over what I can until the guys come to help on the 28th of March.

I did go to my first Al-anon meeting.  Walked in and immediately ran into someone I knew.  Funny, God.  Very funny :P.

I separated our DVDs and put mine in some milk crates to take over and found myself crying while I did it.  There are large stretches of time where I am okay and then, with things like the DVDs, it's like ripping a scab off a wound and the hurt is fresh again.  Cortana may actually get to see me cry in therapy this week.

In the midst of all this, God has continued to be very good and very present.  I've been blessed with some really supportive friends and that has been awesome for a still-kinda-introvert like myself.

I did get to speak to the Spousal Unit on Sunday night.  He earned phone privileges and was able to make a ten minute phone call.  I had discussed some ground rules with his therapist on how to verbally maintain my boundaries with him and remind him that the separation is part of his consequences.  I think I managed it.  He verified he's requested to check and see if my insurance will cover a 60-day aftercare facility which I told him was awesome and I fully support.  He then said "But you'll be gone by the time I get back."  I let it slide by and said only yes, then added that my  prayer is still for us to reconcile and that both of us need to be healthier and working our issues for that to happen.  He did seem to be okay with that - at least for the ten minutes we talked.  I'm hoping he heard past the depression and issues he's working with to the fact that I love him and want to stay married to him.

He says he gets to do ten minute calls on Wednesday and Saturday or Sunday, depending, and that the rehab is really working him.  They are heavily scheduled and with therapy every day also.  They had to put him on Valium when he arrived at the detox unit to try and help him but they have since weaned him off it.  The exact phrase the SU used was "I feel like a brand new man".  (My inner voice mentioned that, yes, one might feel better once one stopped drinking two liters of vodka a day).

I'm hoping my insurance will cover the aftercare and that the SU really digs into the issues that "terrify" him and gets down and dirty with himself, that his focus shifts first to "what my life can look like sober" and then to "what my life and marriage can look like sober".  In the meantime, I'm hoping I can keep it together and be the boundary person I need to be for him and figure out a little more what I'm going to look like as I move into this next phase.

17 February 2014

The Gospel According to Pink

The Spousal Unit has been in rehab since Friday.  It's very quiet in my neck of the woods.  It's been so long since I've experienced anything like it that it's almost a little eerie.  I don't remember how it felt to just sit and be still or just sit and listen to the stillness around me.

When I got home Friday morning, I started crying (again) and said thank you to God a bunch of times.  I am utterly, truly grateful that God moved so very quickly to get my Spousal Unit into rehab.  And, a few days later, I'm still grateful but it's also like I can start to feel the...weight of current and future changes settle down on me.  Things are going to be changing in a lot of ways.  The hope and prayer is that the end result will be restoration and reconciliation but this is still unsettling in the fact that I've lived one way for almost ten years and now I'm going to be taking steps on a new path - by myself to some extent.  Not that I won't have the support of my friends and church (as will the SU) but rehab, separation...all that was never in my plans and now it's here.

I've been listening to Pink's "Try" a lot.  It's meant different things at different times.  For a long time, it was kind of my "keep going" song while God was telling me to stay and to be Jesus to the SU.  Now that we are at this point, it's started to mean something different to me.  However, I keep gravitating to the chorus nowadays.  It's not in the "what doesn't kill me makes me stronger" sense.  It's more that even with all the hurt and confusion and worry I feel, I can't give up.  I have to get up each day and try to do what I need to do to repair myself and be ready for the hoped-for reconciliation:

Where there is desire, there's gonna to be a flame
Where there is a flame, someone's bound to get burned
But just because it burns doesn't mean you're gonna die
You gotta get up and try, try, try

It's not easy.  I'm sleeping like crap right now and expect to for a while.  I wake up multiple times throughout the night.  Some of it is ingrained from night after night of getting up to see where the SU had passed out this time and try to get him into bed.  Some of it is just that I plain miss him.  And a lot of it is probably stress, etc., related to suddenly having something removed that has been a part of my life for years (even if it wasn't good).

I worry.  This is prime time for worrying.  One of the things I worry about is money.  God has been very good in terms of provision so far but money is one of my buttons and has been since my childhood.  I set up my power to be turned on in the new apartment and found out I have to pay $215 as a "new" account even though it's the same company we've been using and I'm only moving one building over.  I'm buying only minimal groceries and trying to keep enough money to pay both March and April rent (the SU should be home mid-March if he only does 30 days.  I move out March 28th)..  I don't know what he's going to do come May.  This morning, I took a walk for my workout today and scrounged around in car ashtrays and loose coins on desks so I could buy a cup of coffee rather than use any of the remaining funds in our bank account.  Money is a chink in my armor and I'm going to have to work hard on continually turning that over to God and trusting Him.

Master Chief has referred me to a new therapist who has been through this and will also cost less but my brain says "Hey, that's $40 dollars that you could be saving instead."  That's where I try to use Pink because therapy is part of my "try, try, try".  I cannot get better on my own.  I cannot deal with the issues I need to on my own.  God provided Master Chief and now he's provided Cortana (dude, I have got to stop with the pop culture references at some point).

I'm also going to investigate local Alanon meetings again.  I told the SU I would and it's another resource.  I tried Celebrate Recovery a few years ago and...no.  When you know more than the small group leader and end up facilitating the discussion, it kinda makes you not want to come back.  I've successfully used that excuse to avoid any other CR or Alanon groups.  But I'm going to have to "try" as another commitment to my own recovery along with trying to remember the things I liked to do before and making myself do them again.

I sound really firm, really committed as I read this over but part of me is quaking in my boots.  My church as been truly awesome.  Support is there both for the SU and myself.  I managed to let our life group know what was going on last night and they prayed for both the SU and me.  But sitting here alone I can feel the weight of change and it's kinda scary.  Well, no, it's a lot scary.

But I'll get up and try.  I want the opportunity.  I want to change.  I need to change.  Change can be good.  It just sucks that sometimes it really hurts along the way.

14 February 2014

God moves

A lot has happened since the last post...

Shortly after writing it, I went to an appointment with our therapist, Master Chief.  I told him that I had made the decision to move out and he agreed it was the right one which really helped a lot when combined with all the friends who have been praying for me/us this whole time.  He put into words the abusive relationship this has turned into and that I have definitely done what Jesus has asked of me.  We talked about what if the Spousal Unit went to rehab and I told him that even if he did, I would still separate because (a) 30 days is a start, (b) he needs to learn to live as an outpatient and a sober individual (and find a job), and (c) I need some time to live in a safe, secure place and learn to understand and hopefully dismantle some of my own triggers.  He agreed that was the right call as well.

The SU actually asked about rehab.  After I got over my "you're serious?" moment because he's been Jekyll-and-Hyde-ing faster than I can keep up, I said I would check with my insurance and got some recommendations from Master Chief that he thought highly of and were out of the state so it would be less easy for the SU to just leave.  I settled on one and called them just to get some information.  The intake counselor that I talked to was *amazing*.  We did the whole intake questionnaire and he interfaced with my insurance to find which of their rehab sites would have the best coverage.  What it came down to was we would need to pay $600 up front and buy him a plane ticket to California.

That was a bit of a sticking point since the SU had recently lost his job.  Money is very tight.  So I sucked it up and placed a phone call to my father-in-law.  My FIL is a good man but has always been kind of rigid and not really one for showing his emotions.  (The SU cannot ever remember my FIL saying he was proud of the SU),  When I explained what was going on, the first words out of my FIL's mouth were "What can I do to help?"  I told him about the money need and asked if he would be willing to front the money to me.  If so, I would pay him back each month.  He said, "We'll talk about all that later.  I'll write the check and get it in the mail today."

God removes hurdle #1.

In the meantime, the SU is still up all night and drinking heavily.  He leaves me notes that plead with me to get him into rehab.  I told him where we were with it and that he would hopefully be in rehab in about a week to two weeks.  HIS job was to make sure he would be sober enough they would let him on a plane.  He promised he would be.

I called back the counselor and asked how we work the money issue once I have the check.  He asked me to hang on for a moment and then got back on the phone to tell me that, based on what I've told them about the SU, they want to get him into treatment immediately.  Therefore, THEY will book the plane ticket and I can send a post-dated check with the SU for the $600 and the plane fare to coincide with when I should have the FIL's check deposited.

God removes hurdle #2.

I started this process on Monday.  It is now Friday.  My pastor, his wife and I took the SU to the airport this morning for a 6am flight.  He texted me from his layover in Houston as he was about to get on the plane.  They should be calling to let me know he's there in California in about two hours.

I am absolutely overwhelmed and grateful at the way my Abba has moved.  After we dropped off the SU, I came back home and just sat and cried a little while and kept saying "thank you".  I know it is not over by a long shot but there is hope where before there was none.  He and I will both have a long road ahead but my heart and my prayer is still for renewal and reconciliation.

Throughout this process, I have been blessed by so many people through comments or a hug or listening to me cry my eyes out.  Sharing this stuff - even in a blog - has been a step of growth for me because I have always been one to play things close to the vest.  Even Master Chief has noted that I try not to cry in our sessions.  When he asked me why, I told him there was no point; doesn't solve anything.

Learning to let people come alongside me and let them in has been a slow, painful process but I would hate to think where I might be if I had not.  I have been reading a lot of Henri Nouwen lately and when I got home from the airport, the selection today talked about one of the best ways to deal with sorrow is to share it "with someone who can receive" it, that we honor our friends when we trust them enough to share with them what we are struggling with, and that if we really want to grow and mature spiritually, God will send us the friends we need.  I get that now in a way that I never really did before and I guess I had to go through this to learn it and so I can be that friend to someone coming along behind me.

I don't know what will happen next.  I don't know if he'll come home in 30 days or need to stay longer.  I don't know what it will be like to be separated and working towards reconciliation with Sober SU - what he will look like, act like, et cetera.  I haven't seen him in six or seven years and, to be fair, he hasn't seen me without triggers and so forth in about the same amount of time.  I do know we want to stay married and we want a better marriage than we've had in recent years.  I am praying He will lead me through the things I need to change, grow in or confront at the same time He does that with the SU.

God has provided and continues to provide.

07 February 2014

This is not the happy ending you were looking for

I have my answer.  I have told the Spousal Unit that I will be leaving.

There are not words to describe how much this hurts.  I didn't know I could cry this much.  I cry everywhere - except at work where I will myself to stop tearing up long enough to make it through eight hours.  Sometimes there are a lot of bathroom breaks.

Although the SU has always said "deal with it or don't - I don't care" when we have talked about this before, now that I have told him what my response is, the ugliness has been ramped up.  I took his keys the other night when he was drunk and wanting to go out and get another bottle.  That was probably the closest he has come to hitting me.  (He ended up walking to the liquor store after cursing me out).

His suggestion after I told him was that we split the apartment down the middle and live like roommates until April since it is "disadvantageous" for us to split right now.  I told him no because (a) nobody wants to live with an abusive alcoholic as a roommate and (b) it is too painful to watch him slowly kill himself.  I just can't do it anymore.  Since then, it's been a lot of "you're a f****** b****" and how I am responsible for this.  He has done nothing to push me towards this decision.

Even with all the crap going on, I still love him and he is still my husband.  My fervent prayer is that something or someone will reach him.  I've asked our kids to keep praying and I'm asking anyone who might be reading this blog on any semi-regular basis to please pray for him also.  The depth of his self-hate, his anger, and his desire to just...be no more are staggering.  He says that if I leave next month, that is it.  I get "one chance" to leave him and we will never get back together.  I've told him that my God is bigger than him and that I will be his wife as much as he will allow while we are still living together and even after we separate.  That I believe and hope he will want to get help and turn towards recovery and we can reconcile.

I got a big fat f*** you for that and the same response every time I repeat it.  I also get to hear how he wants nothing from the apartment that is us and I am to take it all with me.

Tomorrow is my 22nd wedding anniversary *waves to irony*.  I am torn apart at the idea that soon I will no longer be with my husband and that he seems not to particularly care.  I know that is the disease talking as well as the altered brain chemistry but it just makes the moments (fewer and fewer) where *my* SU shows up all the more bittersweet.

I am fortunate to have friends for support and I know the SU would as well if he would just unbend enough, if he could recognize that they are there and have been willing to help him all along.  But no.  When I asked if he would go to church with me any more, he said no.  Said he likes the people but doesn't care to make the effort.


I wish I could write a post that eloquently expressed my emotions and my longing and wound up with some pithy saying...but I can't.  I am equal parts assured of God's provision and so very much afraid of what is coming.  I am afraid for the life and well-being of my husband.  I know those things aren't my responsibility and he will make his own choices but even the thought of not only losing him but losing him is beyond anything I think I can bear.

I have begged and pleaded with God.  I don't know why this is his answer and I don't particularly want to walk this path.  I miss my husband.  I want my husband.  I love my husband.  And my prayer is still that God will somehow give him back to me.

Hope is very hard right now.  I've lost my best friend.