Last week I had the conversation I had no intention of having. This week things are pleasant and I hope it continues.
Then – 2/25/2004
“Things have actually been pleasant. I can see him appreciating the kids so much more. He’s giving them hugs, telling them he loves them, playing games with them. I hope it continues for their sake. I’m just leery because for the 2 weeks after he came home (he spent two weeks at his mother’s house when I found out his secret), he was upbeat also and then gradually he went down hill all over again. Hopefully now he sees that we should be concentrating on raising the kids in the best environment possible. They don’t need the stress, tension, fighting or the excuses about why Daddy seems upset or is falling asleep a lot. I think this is in the best interest of the kids and I’m willing to put my feelings aside to provide them with stability. The big question is whether he can do this without any expectations from me?”
Now – 5/15/2011
I was looking for any ray of hope that I could keep the family intact for the sake of the kids, putting my feelings and needs aside. There had been so many dark days that it never felt like there would be anything positive to be happy about. Reading that journal entry now, it might seem like I was always seeing things in a negative light, afraid that this moment of pleasantness was fleeting but based on my experiences for many years, bracing myself was how I learned how to cope. My coping skills kept me going day by day and only in retrospect can I see that they didn’t always serve me well.
I didn’t have alcoholism in my family of origin so I honestly had no idea what I was dealing with. Were the ups and downs normal? Was his behavior an indication of drinking? Was it normal to ignore the feelings of doom? Thankfully I began attending Al-Anon meetings around this time and began to make sense of the ripple effects of alcoholism on everyone’s lives. As most people do, I went to my first meeting to find out what the secret was to dealing with an alcoholic and found out that I wasn’t supposed to be focusing on him at all.
Next week – Step One