Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Of all the blessings I've experienced in sobriety, finding and living with someone who is on this same path has been the biggest blessing - and the most challenging blessing.

Syd wrote yesterday about "When the drinking stops" - about how a relationship can grow and how a relationship had grown in his life. I would have said that was probably a harbinger of my experience with my wife today. I was wrong.

The context is that, during my home group on Saturday night we had a couple of scheduling snafus - one of which had some tempers fly and a relatively big "scene" ensued. I was there for both of the problems - called and left a message with the church and have not heard back as to what is going on (e.g. - has our agreement with the church been modified? etc.).

After our meeting, my wife was discussing what had happened in a crowd near the door and, as I approached her, I heard her saying something which was errant in that it was placing blame on the wrong group and was describing the situations completely wrong. I attempted to interrupt - what I started to say was "...that is not true..." but my wife wheeled on me and yelled at me - maybe not a huge scene, but a scene nonetheless.

I can't really say how loud she was but it certainly stopped all traffic on the ramp at the door and all I could do was stand there, dumbfounded, and then I just walked off. This sort of thing has happened before (humiliation in front of others) but generally not this intense.

By the next day, my anger had abated some - I got that, somehow, I had taught her to treat me that way. (Sorry for the psychobable - I confess that a former sponsor had me read Relationship Rescue by Philip McGraw - was not a complete waste of time and energy but nearly so - and, almost cost me a quality relationship)

My wife apologized for yelling at me the next day and I told her I accepted her apology. I continued to gnaw on it some but 10th stepped it and put a call in to my sponsor.

I had a long chat with my sponsor last night and he and I got to what was my part and speculated some of what the changes might be in working it out. We both agreed this one will take some time and prayer. That was when I read Syd's post and presumed that I was "clean" - I was willing to go forward.

I guess I wasn't...

I found out last night that my wife had taken on the resolution of this "situation" with the church - I had done the same. As of this moment, she still doesn't know what I saw in the meeting rooms. I've learned to ask her if she wants to know what I know (as opposed to just offering what I saw) and, when I've attempted to tell her, she gets really upset with me. I guess it's just our special magic.

She has this amazing penchant for explaining about how "I always" and "you never" and "every time" and "it's always" - and then the quality of the conversation really goes downhill from there. Given how she explains the quality and nature of our communication today, I have no idea why she stays with me and puts up with such abusive behavior. I think it's just her Italian temperament that flashes through but, should we say, there are a few barriers to honest communication?

I've come to my computer because I can't let this go now. I'm a firm believer in "not letting the sun set on my anger". I used to think that meant that you work it out with the other person. I've had to realize that my 0God has to be bigger than that....

This is the first blog article I've written in this way and it seems like I'm violating some sort of purpose I've intended here but at least it's a try at turning these emotions somewhere other than inward.

I suppose the principles at hand are surrender, humility and forgiveness.

I'm still responsible for helping my home group work through this mess.

I also need to change my behavior around my wife. It may not be true that I always criticize her in public or that I'm always negative or silent around her. What is also true is that it never is a good idea for me to criticize her - especially in public - and that I can work harder at being "up" for her. Perhaps this blog is the venue for honest communication instead of conversations with her?

Something needs to change - and I'm committed to that...

Ain't it grand the wind stopped blowing?

(...wierd - as I wrote that an intense thunderstorm suddenly stopped - spooky...)


Mary Christine said...

I think a blog is a great place to write this stuff, as long as you keep it pure - with no one who knows you reading it. I am sure you have heard enough from those of us who have muddied the waters to know the perils of that.

Bless your heart.

Tall Karen said...

Hi Ed:

I've seen your comments everywhere, but this is my first visit to your place. This post is one of the most amazing I have ever read. Problem, solution, plan of action, and willingness to do things different. Home is the hardest place for me to practice these principles...but that's exactly what I see you doing here.

Thanks for being so human tonight.


Scott W said...

Hope you find a comfortable place for your emotions around all this. That stuff is tough.

Carol said...

Good luck to you, it's not just you and your wife in the relationship, the higher power is there too. I read that in Alanon somewhere and remember that it took some of the burden off my shoulders.