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Minor Breakthrough?
2007-01-30, 1:28 p.m.

Day 891

What an odd, stressful weekend. May have come out of it in better condition, but I’d like to not repeat the tension again anytime soon.

Saturday started out normal enough. I went to the gym, did my spinning class and nautilus workout. Got home slightly ahead of Cindy, who had gone out for her LA Weightloss weigh in & counseling thingy.

Cindy made plans with her dad for us to take him out and get him some functional furniture for his apartment. Part of his urge to move his crap around all the time stems from the fact that he retained a lousy selection of furniture. Gave away some too, sonow he has nothing but bad options for arrangements, and absolutely no room for a stereo/TV/DVD system. He’s basically got 3 swivel recliners, 1 tall, skinny, bamboo/wicker “bookshelf” and one “from a box” TV stand that is barely big enough for a 19” TV set. Oh – and a funky end table/magazine rack thing with an integrated lamp.

Anyhow – we wanted to go over, take some real measurements, discuss some strategy and then go get some functional furniture for him. The man can afford it. So along about 11 Saturday morning, Cindy calls him to see if he wants to include going out to lunch in the days events, yada, yada, yada – only to find out that he’s headed down to Cindy’s brothers house for the weekend. Huh?!?

Sad, but all too common. Bob often schedules things over top of other commitments. He flat out can’t remember what he’s committed to. Last one to talk to him usually holds sway. Cindy confirmed with him that yes, sometime soon he’d like to go get some real furniture for his living room, just not today. They said their good-byes and that was that. To me, it’s was just another faux pas by Bob, nothing to get excited about. But the on going tiff between Cindy and her brother again reared it’s ugly head. Lack of communication between the two just adding to her angst.

So now, Cindy is upset about her Dad skipping out and heading down to her brothers, instead of doing the furniture shopping that she had originally planned. Cindy is so upset, she basically spent the rest of the day curled up on the couch, watching reruns of
horrible movies on the “All men are bad channel” (Lifetime, if you must know). She basically tuned out for the remainder of the day. (But didn’t drink. Weird.)

Sunday. Oh, Sunday. Bad, bad, bad. I knew things were going to be interesting when I found a hand written note on my dresser. Basically asking me to leave, outlining the reasons. I knew the reasons for it, knew they were baseless. Basically, she thought I was having an affair. She found references to a singles/personals website, and some references to chat rooms in the history listing on our PC at home. Oops. Oh – and some references to some on-line free porn sites too.

Now, as odd as this sounds, I looked at this as an opportunity. A golden opportunity. I marched (tip toed is more like it) downstairs and asked Cindy if we could talk. Of course, she didn’t want to, didn’t have time, what ever. So I talked. Truthfully explained every one of the site visits she cited in her note. Apologized for one of them, just stated facts for the second, made no excuses for the third. The personals site? Clicked through an email spam. They were bragging about having local people – so I looked. I did see our old neighbor from when we lived in another nearby town 14 years ago. Didn’t know she was 50, knew she had divorced, found her to be still very attractive looking. Hope she finds somebody nice. Her husband kinda screwed her over – she deserves better. Anyhow – it was spam, gotta spend money to actually communicate with these poor souls (unless you know them already!), I can honestly say I won’t be there again. I apologized for being an idiot and going to that site.

The porn site. Yeesh. I’m 48 – not dead. With her drinking the last several years, things in the hubba-hubba department have been seriously lacking. Seriously. Lacking. So I looked at free porn. Wanna make me NOT look at free porn? She has the power. Told her so too. Didn’t apologize for it, didn’t say it wouldn’t happen again. But did suggest what might remedy the situation.

Now – the biggie. The chat rooms. Yup, I’ve been in them. I also checked the history listing Cindy saw. The Al Anon chats were the ONLY chat rooms in there. So I wasn’t getting blamed for something one of the kids may have done. That was a bit of a relief actually. The chat rooms are a Yahoo group thing – chat rooms for Al Anon meetings. On-line Al Anon meetings. Very cool resource. I fully confessed to those and again didn’t apologize for going there.

Then we got into the real, live Tuesday night meetings. Well, I got into them. Cindy still hadn’t uttered a word. I was doing a terrible rendition of a late night monologue, but felt that as long as I was making my points and Cindy was sober (36 hour stretch at this point – I didn’t want to lose the opportunity), I was going to drive this one home. So I told her more about the meetings. Why I went. What they were for. What I got out of them. Then added the stuff about the on-line chatting with fellow Alanon folks. At one point, she uttered something about my being on the computer all the time. An exaggeration, to be sure, but I do spend quite a bit of time on the computer. Tracking workout & diet data, doing actual work related stuff, browsing through the Al Anon chat archives and occasionally peeking at porn. I mentioned to her that normally, while I’m doing all that, she’s either drinking, drinking more, drunk & passed out, hungover & surly, or otherwise just too damned unpleasant to be around. I mentioned how it sucked that she’s drunk at least 4 nights a week before I even get home from work. I mentioned how it sucked that she’d get shitfaced in the time I was out doing the grocery shopping. I mentioned how it sucked that she’d try to sabotage dinner on Tuesday nights, while she was drunk, trying to make things happen too late for me to go to my Al Anon meeting, then be even drunker when I got home. With the house completely, utterly closed up and shut down for the night. I mentioned how it’s sucked, over the last 3 years especially, that she’s dropped out of life, just barely gone through the motions. I mentioned how pissed off that’s made me, and said THAT’s why I go to Al Anon meetings, to try and get a grip on my own life so I can still interact on a regular, real, sane basis with other people – like our kids, work, friends, family – all those people she didn’t really want to deal with when she’s drunk She finally said something about how she hadn’t had a drink in almost 2 days. My response was along the lines of “2 days of not drinking is not going to make everything all better. I’ve been pissed off, upset, angry and stressed out about it for years. What’s 2 fucking days?”

Then I stopped. Thought maybe I’d pushed far enough. Some of this was repeat information for her, but the first time she’d heard it while she was stone cold sober. There was a lot to digest. An awful lot. I did manage to not get all excited and yell & scream. I think I actually kept kind of composed, but still communicated my stress & anxiety with a sense of urgency. If I screwed up any, it was in maybe placing the blame for the drinking too squarely on Cindy and not allowing that it was a disease. Gotta work on that.

We had lunch separately. Quietly. It was a long quiet afternoon. Eric is off to school, so he’s out of the loop on this latest episode. Zach was at work, so he’s not up to speed. Jill was home, but upstairs doing homework, in the opposite corner of the house from where I did my monologue. I don’t think she heard anything intelligible. Cindy spent a good share of the afternoon in quiet contemplation. I know she spent a portion of it crying. I left her alone through it all, thinking she probably didn’t want me to try and console her.

Finally, sometime just before dinner, the silence broke. Nothing earth shattering. She was still a little bleary eyed from crying, but composed. A little angry still. But. She confessed that yes, she had to make some changes. She also rather angrily added that I needed to make some changes too. I agreed, adding that I was actually working on just that in Al Anon and would continue to do so.

Zach got home from work, Jill came down from studying. We made it through dinner in a civil manner. Terse, but civil. Interaction with the kids helped.

So Sunday was survived. Tense? Hooo-boy, was it tense. But no whiskey bottles were opened to drown the stress. That was good.

Monday was close to normal. Cindy hit the gym after work, I kinda puttered around at making dinner. Trying to get chicken to thaw faster. Cindy actually shared a story of something that happened to her at the gym. Got fed up with our ancient printer, chucked it and got a new one. Cindy was good naturedly giving me a hard time about spending so much time on the computer while I was doing the printer driver install. Old pc, took forever. But she was kinda joking about it. Nice change. She also managed to avoid cracking open that whiskey bottle, for the third day in a row.

Tonight, Al Anon meeting again. Cindy is off chaperoning a basketball game at school. No interference with the meeting, very little chance of drinking happening. This will make 4 days. I can’t get too excited yet though. She went 3 weeks in 2005 when she had the blood clot in her leg and started the coumadin therapy. That came crashing down in a big old ugly heap. At the time I wasn’t in Al Anon either, so I tried to be controlling and force her to realize that alcohol was contraindicated for coumadin. Didn’t phase her at all. Her suddenly turning back to drinking made getting her coumadin dosage settled a huge challenge. I think at least now her (& my) doctor knows why. At least I hope she put some notes in Cindy’s records about our discussion last November. I have a cholesterol follow up with her in May, maybe I can check. (How did I get here, when I started the paragraph discussing tonight’s Al Anon meeting?)
So. Things are happening. Maybe Cindy has taken some responsibility for her drinking instead of blaming it on everybody else. I don’t know. I’d like to see her get into an AA program, but I can’t, won’t, force her. If she could get just a few weeks into the AA system, she might see what it is I’m finding in Al Anon. That would certainly make life easier.

But I’m not holding my breath.

Skipped the gym this morning. Don’t know why, just didn’t have the gumption. That means tomorrow’s spinning session ought to be a doozy. All rested up, I’d better really be cranking.

Cindy has been mentioning that maybe I’d like to try some of the evening cycling classes. An effort to get me back to eating a bowl of cereal every morning again. I tend to not want to eat before the 5:30 spin classes. Those are 5 minutes I can still stay in bed. It’s also trying to be a wee bit controlling. Another reason I’d like to see her get into AA – she might see how she tries to control people. She might also realize how a lot of people try to spit the bit when they feel they’re being steered by someone. Hmmm. Lots to share at tonight’s meeting. Wonder if my buddy Pat will be there?

Just looked at the status bar in Word. 4 pages? Holy shiznit Batman!! (I totally just added shiznit to my spell check dictionary!)

OKC? Shhhhhh!!

Time to be done.


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