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Another “Not Yet”
2008-03-27, 5:19 p.m.

Day 1314

Yeah, didn’t want to rock the boat last night. Everybody in a rush to get to their evening commitments, kids hanging around instead of off at school where they belong, just a general sense of ‘we’re all here trying to get along’ that I didn’t want to scuttle.

So I let the elephant lie undisturbed. Again.

Eric heads back to school Sunday afternoon. Zach & Jill will probably be over (Zach doesn’t want to miss out on hanging the last of the cabinets), so we may not actually be ‘alone’ till Sunday evening. That may be the next best time.

Sounds like I’m talking myself out of it again, doesn’t it? I get so worried about pissing people off, losing their approval, or just having someone, anyone, mad at me. Ironically, my never-ending quest to avoid pissing people off usually results in someone getting upset, and it isn’t always just me that gets the shitty end of the stick.

Parts of what Annette said to me yesterday are still running around in my head. Better to get someone a little upset now (mostly because of what they are doing) and go through a day or so of dealing with the pissiness, rather than wait and let it fester into the kinds of troubles we had last fall. What’s the analogy here – make a couple of cuts and suck out the toxins now, or wait for it to fester and amputate the whole leg later? A little bad taste vs a whole leg. Hmmm – let me think on that for a bit, mmmkay?

Better make sure the DVR is set for Survivor and Lost. Could be a long evening.

Trying to decide if I should go to an Al Anon meeting tonight or not. Now that bowling is over, I could resume my attendance of the Thursday afternoon meetings in that lovely little hamlet west of here. Get to see some folks I haven’t seen in 28 weeks. (I only know that because that’s how long our bowling season is) Could stay home, do some under cabinet lights, work on that east wall. Have a small section that needs to be presentable, the rest will be buried under cabinets. Ideally, I’d like to have them in this weekend. Countertop people will be here in a couple of weeks (4/8) and it needs to be done by then.

Could go elephant hunting too.

Ideally, from a man’s perspective, it would go a little like this:

We get isolated, I get Cindy’s attention.
I open with something about how much I care about our relationship, how much I care about her.
I bring up how my knowing she’s been sneaking drinks affects me.
I reiterate what initiated our visits to the marriage counselor, and remind her of the conditions under which I felt it would be worth continuing with counseling and working on our relationship.

This is where my script breaks down. Cindy will have a reaction. She may deny drinking. I’ll point out that her ‘flu’ symptoms on Good Friday sure cleared up quick. Kinda like a hangover. I’ll ask how 5 beers disappeared Sunday when I had 2 and Eric had one.

She may argue that she thinks she can return to ‘social drinking’. I will argue that something like that rarely, if ever happens. The call of the alcohol is too strong and eventually, she’ll be right back where she was last year. It may even be a quicker, deeper trip.

She may argue that she’s an adult and she can do as she pleases. My response would be that she already agreed to quit drinking as a condition of our marital therapy. Does she wish to rescind that? Further, why hide it? Actually, it’s a bit of an insult, thinking that she can hide it. What kind of sucker does she think I am?

I think that covers the more obvious argument paths. I just need to remember to stick to how it makes me feel and not place blame. Keep it to , this is the situation, this is how I feel about it. Maybe Cindy won’t shift to denial if I don’t start blaming and pointing fingers. Maybe. I just have a feeling that this could start one of those long, uncomfortable evenings. I’d prefer to make my case, handle a couple of questions and trust her to take care of her end. Instead, I’m afraid this is going to get into one of those things where we talk about the same damn thing eleventy billion times over a 5 hour period. The poor dead horse is going to be beaten soooooo badly . . . To what point? Saying the same thing 5 times doesn’t make it 5 times more important, or 5 times stronger. If anything (from a guys perspective), it loses strength at the 3rd repetition. Once – fine, I get it. Twice? OK, you feel strongly about it, I get the point. Thrice? This is getting old already, I think I heard you the first two times. Fourth lap? You know, I gotta get up and go pee. Can you hold that thought? Fifth time? Hmm, I wonder if there’s a hockey game on TV. That wall could use a little patch work. Think we’ll have much of a grub problem this year? Oh – you were saying?

Women would like men to understand their need to sit down and talk something over. And over, and over. Men would like women to understand their need to not hear the same thing over and over, and over. Women feel like men never hear them so they keep repeating themselves. Men feel like women keep saying the same damn thing, so they don’t really listen and they miss the new stuff. Vicious cycle. Where’s the middle?

We’re reading John Gray’s book – the “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” dealie. He’s an effective writer. Had us pegged in the first few pages. We were laughing at us. Weird. But I think this book might help us find the middle ground. We just both have to be willing to give a little ground.

Annette (therapist extraordinaire) takes the old “fight or flight” thing a step or two further. Insists that there are two additional reactions to a stressful event – ‘freeze’ and ‘submit’. She points out that I am being submissive in this ‘bringing up the drinking’ matter. I like to call it avoiding conflict, but I fear she may be right. I am taking my wants & needs and subjugating them to another’s will. I want/need a partner that doesn’t abuse booze. Cindy can’t seem to help herself. I need to stop and call BS on myself (right Alison?

Like I mentioned to Alison – it’s so easy to take someone elses inventory, identify all their faults and tell them exactly how to fix them. It’s also something one should avoid. Instead, I ought to be concerned with taking my own brutally honest inventory and start trying to fix my own faults. Not that I have any, of course!! You know, just the submissive stuff, the procrastination, conflict avoidance, unwillingness to concentrate on unpleasant tasks, never actually FINISHING certain things – need I go on? Nah.

I really ought to go finish tha t interface document I’ve been working on for the last three days. A co-worker is waiting on it, and I’m just not that into it. I think I don’t want to finish it because I’ll have to submit it to the outside world and they might find a mistake – or they won’t think it’s good enough. I really need to get over that. Soonish.

Think I’ll skip the extra meeting this week in favor of getting either kitchen work done or doing a little elephant hunting. Maybe it won’t suck.

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old habits - new tricks