Co-Dependency No More

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Well, Liv Lane, you’ve really done it now.  As I read your posts for the Build A Blog You Truly Love eCourse, I find myself always in a state of wondering about my blog.   It doesn’t feel right to be just about work.  I want it to be more fun…more real…more connected.  I want to write about things that inspire and things that make me sad sometimes.  I want to write about life.  So a couple of days ago I saw your post about that dreaded challenge…vulnerability…share something people don’t know about you.

I thought wasn’t it enough that I just shared my Pinterest account with the world…my bulletin boards o’ food and foul language and all “you need a high five…in the face…with a chair” kind of pins?  Sure, they are mixed in with normal beautiful images and inspiring quotes but they are still there and I love every one of them.

Apparently, that wasn’t enough so here I am again.  I’ve wanted to share something for a long time but didn’t have the courage.  Didn’t know what others would think.  Didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings if it was just too much to share.  I think it’s time.  If it’s not, well, I guess it’s too late to turn back now.

For many years, there was something only the closest to me knew.  The past few months, I’ve shared with a more.  Now I’m sharing with the world.

Let the rambling begin.

I married an alcoholic.

I have been in this relationship for just over 20 years and it’s now coming to an end because I want more from life and he’s good with how things are (among other things).

I’ve spent many nights over the last 20 years alone or with my children, wondering if he would make it home.  He used to drink and drive a lot and I’m not sure he’d be alive if it wasn’t for me being such a bitch about it.  I’ve been riddled with guilt at the thought of him hurting someone and feeling like it would be all my fault because I should have done more to stop it.  I’ve worried about the high price of a DWI and the guilt over sometimes wishing he’d get one thinking that might be the wake up call he needed.

I’ve spent most of the last 20 years feeling like a single parent.  Knowing that as much as he loved them, I couldn’t trust that he would remain sober if they needed a ride somewhere or the house was burning down or whatever so I had to always make sure everything was covered…planned in advance.

It’s not that he drinks every single night.  It goes in spurts.  Sometimes its almost every night and sometimes a few nights go by with nothing.  He functions fine, goes to work, takes care of things that need to be taken care of around the house, etc. so, in his mind, there isn’t a problem…and in my mind I think there’s still a problem but I question whether I’m just too weird about this stuff.  Am I over-reacting?  Do I have a stick up my butt too far?  Is it true that I just don’t know how to let loose and have fun?

The more I talk to people, it seems so many people can relate to my story and are okay with how things are.  Am I a bitch to care?  Am I the one to blame?  Those thoughts go through my head all the time even though I know it isn’t my fault on some level and there is nothing wrong with wanting to see someone experience more from life than going to work and then coming home and going numb from the world but the other thoughts still creep in.

I also worried about what others would think.  What would the think of him?  Of me? Of our children?  Sometimes when we went place he was fine and other times he wasn’t.  7 or 8 years ago was the last time I included him in anything I did with my friends.  I brought him to a gathering at someone’s home and I was really embarrassed by how drunk he got.  They might have thought it was funny and may not have cared.  But I cared.  I never included him again for fear I would have to go through that again.

My decision now to get a divorce is long overdue.  The hardest part is what a nice guy he can be and how much I really care about him.  I just know that I want, and am ready for more in my life, and I can’t stay with someone else who doesn’t want the same.  I’m really looking forward to watching the next phase of my life unfold and I hope something clicks for him and he can find the happiness he truly deserves as well.

I’m also still scared.  I realized recently that pretty much every relationship since my first boyfriend involved someone with a chemical dependency problem.  My first boyfriend had no signs whatsoever that this could even be possible at first and then there I was, watching him go through treatment.  Am I capable of choosing something else for myself?  I really don’t know.  I’m afraid I might not be. Good thing the last thing I want right now is a relationship but I still have to consider it moving forward.

My parents hardly ever drank so I didn’t grow up with it, although I always kind of felt like my stepfather was a dry drunk (stuff I learned about when my boyfriend went through treatment).  He could be really mean and had some of the tendency I read about when it comes to alcoholics.  My biological father…I haven’t spent time with him and didn’t know him at all until I was an adult…I hear he has had some issues but I’ve not been a part of that world.  Is it just part of my makeup?  Does it ever go away?  I really have no idea.

So for now, I know that in a month, I’ll have a new home and I’ll be on my own for the first time in a very long time.  I’m excited about what adventure life has for me next.  I’m excited to no longer feel like I need to hide at home to avoid the drunken behavior.  I’m just excited.

I’m also terrified but I’m not going to focus on that because I just know that this is the right thing to do and the excitement and joy will outweigh any challenges that might pop up.

And now I feel like I need a nap.  Thanks for listening and letting me share.