The end of the first week of separation is fast approaching and I’m not ready to go back. I’m not sure I’ll ever be ready.
We’ll have to talk at the end of the week. We agreed to.
Why, why, why? I’m searching for the reason, the right words that will accurately explain why I’m doing this. I can’t find them.
I can blame the alcoholism but that’s not pinpointing what the real issues are.
It’s me – I think I’m the real issue. It’s me stepping up to the forefront of my life and feeling exactly what it is that I want rather than agreeing to someone else’s expectations and feeling like a victim to what everyone else is feeling and thinking and saying.
I’m an open, carefree, caring spirit. I’ve always felt that. I love beautiful conversation, intimate encounters, new ideas, connection with like-minded souls.
In recent weeks I have been allowing myself to open and heal and connect to the world and I feel it coursing through my veins. I feel alive, truly alive and filled with lightness and breath. I’m ignited by conversation. I yearn to hear more from these lovely beings. Humanity is breathtaking. And I’m excited. I am bursting forth with energy.
I cannot explain this to someone who doesn’t feel this, who doesn’t understand this. The way I want to live and share myself with others is so counter to what he wants and how he is. I feel like my precious flame had been so neglected and suffocated that I was close to burning out. No more life. No more fire.
Yet here I am, more alive in many ways than I have ever been. And sadly, in light of the expectations of the world, it feels wrong.
I’m afraid I have to walk the limb alone on this one. No one will understand – not my husband, not my family, not his family, not my friends, not our friends.
Sure, I can say it’s because he is an alcoholic – that will explain everything. It’s funny how that works. All I have to do is explain that one bit of information and all of a sudden everyone nods understandingly.
And it’s not a completely false explanation. But it’s not the alcohol – it’s the ‘ism’ that’s the problem. And it’s the ‘ism’ that is the most difficult to explain. But I’m going to try. I need to try so that I can understand what it is I’m doing and why I’m making these choices. If I can’t explain it, it feels like an arbitrary decision to leave my husband. But it’s anything but.
I married an alcoholic. He was an alcoholic when we first started dating, I just didn’t see it at the time. We were both in our very early 20’s and the bar/drinking/partying weekends were still very much alive for us. And, at the time, I loved the drinking just as much as he did. As a shy introvert, alcohol was a wonder drug. Any inhibitions or social anxiety I had went right out the window.
A couple of years after we started dating, we moved in together and, over time, his drinking got in the way. There were countless times that weekend plans were made but got cancelled because he was sick and couldn’t make it. Sick means hungover. I’d be disappointed with either having to cancel plans or go by myself. But he insisted – he was sick, he wasn’t feeling well.
I didn’t see it happening but, over time, it spread through and into everything. This insidious, sneaky, sinister thing began to shadow out the light.
With the drinking, over time, my husband has become more negative and hostile and expresses more anger and irritability. He has become unable to participate in everyday activities and certainly not for very long if the attempt to surfaces. His patience is nearly non-existence. His ability to handle emotions or difficult situations is failing miserably. His memory, or lack thereof, is frightening, yet he has no conceivable notion that there’s anything wrong with his memory. He’d fight me tooth and nail to say that it’s fine. But, have you ever heard of Wernicke–Korsakoff Syndrome (WKS)? It’s a serious brain disorder that is caused by alcoholism. I wonder sometimes if it’s heading in that direction.
Let me share part of a description of WKS that I found (here):
Approximately 80 to 90 percent of alcoholics with Wernicke’s encephalopathy also develop Korsakoff’s psychosis, a chronic and debilitating syndrome characterized by persistent learning and memory problems. Patients with Korsakoff’s psychosis are forgetful and quickly frustrated and have difficulty with walking and coordination (17). Although these patients have problems remembering old information (i.e., retrograde amnesia), it is their difficulty in “laying down” new information (i.e., anterograde amnesia) that is the most striking. For example, these patients can discuss in detail an event in their lives, but an hour later might not remember ever having the conversation.
See the parts in bold? I can’t tell you how much this sounds like my husband.
I’d be told I was crazy if I mentioned anything like this. And therein lies another problem – with every thought or suggestion I make, I’m told I’m crazy. Hear that enough times and, well, you know what happens…you start to believe it.
Excuses, lies, escapism, neglect. It’s all there. I know it to be true – yet I still hear the criticisms of overreaction in the back of my mind.
I know when I explain this all it won’t be understood. I will be the one to blame for not putting the effort in to save a marriage.
It’s serious. I try to justify what I’m doing by telling myself that this is like an intervention and that this will really be the best thing for him.
If nothing else though, it’s the best thing for me.
I don’t want him to depend on me for his happiness. It’s an impossible endeavour. He thinks I make him happy, but I only soothe his loneliness. Twenty years in and he’s still unhappy as ever, more so even.
So, that is why I do this. That is why I must stay away. This has to change both for his future and well-being, and for mine.
I am deserving of happiness. I am.