It's a pretty good day today, despite the fact we currently have no running water in the house. I'm hoping that problem will be fixed by this afternoon.
I feel happy again this Sunday. Relieved. As always, the things I can not control worry me, but much less than they sometimes have. I feel hopeful.
I found out this week that Kitty will be coming for a visit in a few weeks. I'm extremely excited about that, and will be planning a birthday party for her while she is here. My kids will board a plane and fly down there together for a whole week in July! I can't believe they are old enough to fly by themselves. I've never been away from them that long, and I know I will miss them like crazy, but they will have a trip they will always remember.
My dad has to go in the hospital for a couple of nights. He's going to be having a heart procedure. The doctors expect it to be simple, but at 82, of course I'm a little bit worried. A lot of pressure falls on me when my dad is incapacitated. There's really no one else but me to get him where he needs to be, care for him, and make decisions for him. That's stressful to me. This procedure, and his gall bladder surgery were minor. I sometimes think what if something major happens? How will I work full time, take care of my kids and my home, and care for him? I just have to trust that it can work, and cross that bridge if and when I get to it.
I was reading an interesting article the other day. A woman was talking about how organized she was at work, yet her home was in total disarray. Clutter everywhere. She couldn't understand how she could be so organized in one area, but not the other. The person who answered her question said that she put more value on the person she was at work, and less value on the person she was at home. I can't tell you how closely I can relate to that.
We've lived in our house for 9 years this summer. You accumulate a lot of stuff in 9 years; especially with two kids. Closets are out of control. Drawers are overflowing. Cabinets and counters are cluttered with "stuff". For a person who has lived their adult life fighting to be in control, this is one area where I've lost all control.
I simply can't take it anymore.
A few weeks ago, I started the process of taking my life back. This urge to declutter and regain control at home started then. I believe I even wrote an entry about it. Since then, I have worked on one small space at a time. One day I emptied the pantry where I keep all my canned goods. I cleaned it, threw out old items, and restocked with everything in it's place. This week I pulled my son up to his bedroom and we completely emptied his closet. We threw away trash, and we bagged up clothes and toys to give to charity, and even found a few items to sell on ebay. Next was a counter in my kitchen that was ridiculously cluttered. Again, I just took everything off, cleaned the area and only replaced with a few items. Today we had our old weather beaten front door replaced with a beautiful new energy efficient one.
With each small area I clean and organize, I feel more and more in control. I feel more and more "together". My life is coming together one piece at a time. I feel happy for the first time in a very long time. I feel like I'm actually making changes. I'm controlling that which I CAN control, and letting go of all the things I CAN'T.
In my journal entry dated April 26, 2012, titled "My Prayer", I was low. I was confused. I was in such a turmoil. What a difference a few weeks makes! I know now that the biggest factor causing this confusion, was unfinished business I needed to attend to with my husband. Words I wanted and needed to say to him, thoughts I needed to express, that were bottled up in me like an agitated bottle of champagne, ready to blow at any moment.
Since our talk a few weeks ago, I have felt like the weight of the world has been lifted from my shoulders. This freedom has allowed me to think more clearly in other aspects of my life as well. In fact, I feel like I'm able to think clearly about just about everything right now. When something is weighing that heavily on your heart and your mind, it consumes you. Well, it consumes me anyway. I was so focused on it that I was having distorted thinking about everything else.
Being married to an alcoholic is damn hard. It's the reason I started writing this journal. A lot of really, really bad things have happened to us both as a result of this disease. A lot of bad decisions, a lot of tears, a lot of resentment, a lot of anger, and a lot of things that I now realize, just can not be taken back or fixed. I made the decision to stay in this marriage for the past 20 years, thinking I could fix it. I know now, all I could do was hold on for dear life and ride out the waves as best as I could. I don't regret that decision. My husband is a wonderful father and a good provider. There have been good times too. But over time, all that water under the bridge changes things. It changes the dynamic of the relationship. It changes people's feelings. An acknowledgement of that fact, and freedom to move forward with my life was what I needed. I feel like I finally figured out, then actually practiced "accepting the things I cannot change, and changing the things I could".
Kate is ready to start weaning me from frequent counseling sessions. I'm going to start seeing her once a month for awhile, and then maybe every 3 months, just to keep myself focused and on track. I don't want to slip back into old ways of thinking; particularly if something happens that is out of my control, or upsetting to me. Breaking away from Kate is scary to me, but I feel I'm ready to let go a little.
So on this Father's Day morning, I am happy. I feel light. I feel hopeful, and I'm very thankful for my family. I'm thankful for my own father, and I'm thankful for my husband, who has given me the two most beautiful children I could ever imagine, and been such a wonderful father to them.
Detachment is one of the keys to overcoming codependence. We've discussed it many times in this blog. Before I compose today's entry, I will remind everyone again, the definition of the term:
First, let's discuss what detachment isn't. Detachment is not a cold, hostile withdrawal; a resigned, despairing acceptance of anything life and people throw our way; a robotic walk through life oblivious to, and totally unaffected by people and problems; a Pollyanna-like ignorant bliss; a shirking of our true responsibilities to ourselves and others; a severing of our relationships. Nor is it a removal of our love and concern, although sometimes these ways of detaching might be the best we can do, for the moment.
Ideally, detaching is releasing or detaching from, a person or problem. We mentally, emotionally, and sometimes physically disengage ourselves from unhealthy and frequently painful entanglements with another person's life and responsibilities, and from problems we cannot solve, according to a handout, entitled "Detachment" that has been passed around Al-Anon groups for years.
Detaching does not mean we don't care. It means we learn to love, care, and be involved without going crazy. -Melody Beattie, "Codependent No More"
Detaching oneself is one of the hardest things a person who loves an addict can do. One of my most faithful readers has had to learn to do this over the past year or two. It didn't happen overnight. It was a gradual process. But I do believe it's happened. Alcoholism is claiming the sister of my friend, and it's grip is so tight on her, my friend is expecting the worst. It's hard to sit there and say the words "I fully expect my sister to die soon", particularly when they come out of your mouth without tears, without panic, without much emotition at all. But after years of tears, panic, and emotion, and trying to help someone who doesn't want to be helped, after years of worrying about a person, and trying to think of what you might say to help them "see the light", you finally know you must "detach or go crazy". That is what my friend has had to do.
I wish the best for everyone. The children involved, the parents involved, the sister involved. Alcoholism is a terrible, terrible beast, and I hate it with every bit of my heart and soul.
I've mentioned before, that I am often captivated by certain faces. Today I encountered two beautiful young girls. They were sisters, but not biological sisters. They were Chinese girls, both adopted by a white American woman. I was thinking how beauty is not confined to one look, one hair color, skin color, age, or size. Beauty comes in so many packages, so tonight I will start a ten part series featuring beautiful women.
Earlier this week I talked about so many people in my life who were experiencing changes. As human beings we are often resistant to change. Some of us, more so than others. I work with a person who is virtually paralyzed by even the slightest change. It reminded me of the scripture from Ecclesiastes 3, that was read at my son's 8th grade ceremony. Whether you are a religious person or not, you've heard these verses many, many times in your life. The Byrds even wrote a song about them. But take just a few minutes right now and really read them. Really think about each one. I'll bet there's at least one that pertains to your path right now. If there's one that speaks to you, please leave a comment saying which one. You don't need to say why; just tell us which one. Change is a part of life.
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
A time to be born and a time to die,
A time to plant and a time to uproot,
A time to kill and a time to heal,
A time to tear down and a time to build,
A time to weep and a time to laugh,
A time to mourn and a time to dance,
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
A time to search and a time to give up,
A time to keep and a time to throw away,
A time to tear and a time to mend,
A time to be silent and a time to speak,
A time to love and a time to hate,
A time for war and a time for peace.
It's funny, but ever since my husband and I had our talk last Saturday, I've hardly had any racing thoughts or swirling in my brain. No anxiety attacks, very little crazy, distorted thinking. I wish now we had talked months ago.
I'm still not sure where my path will take me in the coming weeks and months, but for now I feel good. I feel content and happy. Sometimes saying what's on your mind can be very freeing; especially when the person you speak it to says they agree with you. Suddenly all the anxiety and worry that I experienced, dreading the conversation, is lifted.
It's amazing how much clearer I can see, as the fog in my head and heart is beginning to lift.
A codependent person is one who has let another person's behavior affect him or her, and who is obsessed with controlling that person's behavior.
The following two "Detach" journal entries will give you a crash course:
"An Answer to a Prayer" dated Nov 1, 2008 "How Did We Wind Up Here?" dated Nov 2, 2008
About This Journal
In 2008 I had the life changing realization that there was a name for what I'd always felt was "wrong" with me. After 20 years of thumbing through various self-help books. I learned about codependence.
I began writing this journal to document my journey out. Over time, it's evolved into something more. While I still talk about codependence (I know now, it will never totally leave me), this blog has turned into the thumbprint of my life; a therapeutic journal for me to sort out a lifetime of thoughts and memories. I believe in being honest with myself and others, and when something is bothering me, I reach out. With a support team of strong, smart women surrounding us, we can all continue to grow. I'm trying to live my best life, in pursuit of a Healthy Mind, a Healthy Body.