We are happier

the three of us are

closer than we were before.

we are happier


8:00am

It is so good to have the boys back with me again. I always miss them when they are with their mother but it is brought into sharper focus when I have them…how much more fulfilled my life feels. I enjoy the time I get to spend with them. Our relationship has gotten better (and we have always been really close) since I have quit drinking. We laugh and have fun more. I still have that stern, “I’m your father and I have expectations!” thing because you know…I am and I do. It just seems easier, more relaxed…I don’t know what word fits best…not organic… somewhere between relaxed and natural. Whatever word best embodies that emotion.

I have to admit to a sense of pride in myself. I can look back on how I was doing, day to day before Michelle left me to where I am now and see a happier person. Don’t get me wrong, I am still sad about Michelle and I. The happiness is just a general, underlying state of being. The background noise is happy. It’s my first position (if I can use a dancing term).

Drinking has recently been difficult. The cravings have been more frequent. I went to dinner with some friends at a place that makes great cocktails and someone ordered their “Perfect Old Fashion”. I could feel the desire to have one in my chest. It was uncomfortable.

 

It is okay to be selfish (sometimes)

9:00am

I had an interesting conversation with a friend at Brad’s soccer game. She is friens with Michelle and sees her from time to time. She is glad Michelle and I broke up. More accurately, she said she hopes we don’t get back together. I asked why. She said it wouldn’t be good for Michelle, me, or the boys. She said Michelle has so many ideas and plans for her future and she is obviously so very happy about having freedom. She doesn’t think Michelle regrets us breaking up…in fact she knows Michelle is truly grateful she isn’t limited by having a partner/spouse and children. She told me she imagines 10-15 years into the future with Michelle and I married. She can see Michelle wishing her life had been different than having a family and being bitter at me for that. I agree with Cindy. At the end of the day, Michelle liked being with me and the boys, she just doesn’t want the responsibility and obligation(s) that come with it. I’ve been thinking and saying this for months now. She validated it.

Michelle wanted to want to be a wife and (step)mother…but faced with the obligations and responsibilities, she hated it. We made her feel trapped. What I am about to say is a statement of fact, not judgement. Michelle is being a selfish person. It is normal for a person who does not have children to think and behave this way. She is not interested in suborning her needs for the needs of a/our family. My friend is right. If Michelle had stayed with me and the boys, she would have eventually been unhappy.

I wish Michelle could be okay being selfish. Instead she feels guilt. For her that manifests itself in anger and denial. It explains why she has been so hateful and cruel.

I feel sad. Last night I cried as I was processing this. This is cathartic. The catharsis comes when I think about dating. There is no chance Michelle and I will work our way back to each other so I don’t feel guilty as I imagine being with other women.

Son being bullied

8:15am

Brad is being bullied at school. It’s by a girl he doesn’t know. She asked him to come over by her desk and then promptly kicked him in the groin. She got into trouble. The dean told him if she said anything to him in any way to let him know. He assured me they took the incident seriously and would not tolerate any kind of bullying. This morning I asked Brad if she has said anything to him? His teacher asked him to pass out a completed test. When he handed the girl’s to her she told him, “don’t touch my paper.” This is a continuation of her bullying. She is testing the waters to see what she can continue to get away with. What is most frustrating about this is Brad was physically assaulted and because it is a girl he is unable to respond in kind. We’ll see what comes of this. I’m pretty angry right now.

What kind of home life does this kid have? Her lashing out is just her way of venting frustrations she doesn’t understand or know how to deal with. Knowing that tugs at the strings of empathy…until it’s your kid she is “venting” at…so fuck her, that little asshole!!!!!!

The ex-wife (cue the eye roll)

she is selfish. my

continued surprise is the

only shocking thing


8:30am

I have a much better attitude today. I got a really hard work out in and read my book for a few hours last night. It was super relaxing. I had a dream about my brother last night. It was short…a flash really. I was at the family business in Arizona picking up Dennis and Brad. I was walking past Patrick’s office and just said “hey” as I walked by. That was it. I woke up, turned over in bed, and fell right back to sleep.

Collette (my ex-wife) really pissed me off the past 2 weekends. She scheduled her annual girls’ trip the weekend she had the boys. Aside from her selfishness, that part didn’t piss me off. I got to have the boys for the weekend. What did was she asked me if she could start her week the following week early so she could “make up” the time she lost with the boys. I thought that was great. She has never asked that before and I figured she was placing a value on time spent with the boys…which she typically doesn’t. They went up to her girlfriend Maija’s cabin. She spent all of Saturday at a chili cook-off event and the boys spent that time at the cabin with Inta and Tom (Maija’s parents). I know because Brad called me to chat because he was bored. Dennis went to bed early for the same reason. So much for quality time, right? I was going to call Collette and chew her ass out but thought better of it. In the future I just won’t let her have the kids on my time. If she wants to schedule vacations when she is supposed to be a mother that is her problem not mine.

 

Love is a behavior

8:00am

Real love is a behavior not an emotion. It doesn’t matter how we “feel” if we have no action or “works”. An abusive spouse may feel they love their partner but the abuse says otherwise. A cheating wife may feel she loves her husband but the infidelity says otherwise…and so on and so on. Since our break up, I have tried so hard to make myself a better person. I can look back on the last 12 weeks and really say this has been a demonstration of my love for my children and Michelle.

Michelle doesn’t love me. It’s that simple. It is so clear looking at it through the prism of “love is a behavior not an emotion”. In fact, reflecting on our relationship, it makes me question if she ever did. I think she loved the idea I represented and the comfort my money provided. I say this because when we came to our first, real crisis she ran like a prisoner who sees freedom for the first time in 3 1/2 years. She has never looked back. Since then she has: misrepresented my actions, twisted my words, insulted my integrity, maligned me as a father, consistently said horribly cruel things (with the sole intention of hurting me), tried to manipulate my emotions for her financial benefit (health care), lied/went behind my back to try and maintain a relationship with my kids, and who knows what else. I guess the last one would be an example (all be it a misguided one) of her loving the boys. Her actions speak volumes about how she feels. She doesn’t love me. The only regrets she has with our relationship failing is losing Dennis and Brad and the material benefits that come with being with me. My “demonstrations of love” since our breakup have been a spectacular waste of time. I need to focus on loving just my boys.

Sliding Doors

8:00am

I have been writing in my journal less lately, just once a day. It hasn’t been intentional. I just have less on my mind to get out on paper. I talked with my therapist about this. She thinks it’s good sign. It means the inner turmoil, depression, and conflict are subsiding. I feel it. I feel like I’m on “this” side of my depression. I still feel sad sometimes. I miss Michelle and how we were together. I miss thinking about our future together. Putting that down on paper makes me sad, the past tense of the verb. It’s the way things are. Even now it feels so wrong and surreal. It’s like I’m in Sliding Doors. I wish there was a version of me that still had Michelle in my life to love. I miss hearing her voice. I miss telling her about my day. I miss reading while she does her homework. She used to do this stupid thing Saturday mornings while she was getting ready for work. She would turn on the ceiling fan light (which is super bright) and right before she did it would yell out, “PREPARE, PREPARE!!!” so I could cover my eyes with a pillow. I miss it…the day-to-day minutia of our relationship. I like the idea of there being a Sliding Doors (alternate) universe where Michelle and I figured things out and were back together living life towards our future. I wish there was an “our future”. There isn’t. She wants something else. I don’t even know what she wants because we don’t talk anymore. The last time we communicated was almost 2 weeks ago and she was screaming and hysterical about not being able to see the boys.

So I’m alone. I used to like being alone. Unfortunately, these days alone means being without Michelle. I don’t like that at all. Maybe, someday, I will.

Renewal

I will never drink.

this sobriety is what

remains of our love


death is renewal.

her love dying gave birth to

my sobriety


8:30am

I really like the way I feel in the mornings. I feel rested, clear headed, and lite. I like the calm in my brain. I don’t feel embarrassed I’m hung over on a weekday, again. I don’t have the scared, little voice in my head whispering, “You have a problem man.” That voice scared me. Every, time I woke up tired, foggy, thirsty, and pretending I was none of those things I would hear it in my head. “Dude, it’s Tuesday and you’re hung over again? You can’t keep doing this.” I wish I had quit drinking sooner. Brad and I have so much fun driving to middle school in the mornings. I feel like I short changed Dennis the last 2 years.

I know my sobriety required a crisis. I needed to be faced with a horrible consequence before I would make a change. Michelle was the consequence. I lost Michelle because I drank. She doesn’t see it but I do. The-glass-is-half- full way to look at losing Michelle is to think about all the things I could have lost had I kept drinking: my career, my home, my money, solid/healthy friendships, and a loving relationship with my children. Last week my therapist commented on the guilt I feel about being a drunk. She asked me if I saw anything good about not drinking. I do. I am modeling the right behavior around alcohol for my boys. There are alcoholics on both sides of my family (maternal grandmother, and paternal grandfather). All 3 of us are pre-disposed to being drunks. Being honest and open with the boys about my issues with alcohol and modelling the right behavior is going to help them do the same. It is just like smoking. It is kind of a I-will-not-have-lost-the-love-of-my-life-in-vain sort of thing. I will honor the love and relationship Michelle and I had (and lost) by being a better man and father to my boys. At this point, it is all I have left of her.

 

Damn Radiohead

we miss you less now.

if you discount yesterday

and most days prior.


7:30am

The boys and I went to St. Paul to see Live From Here. It was a great show. Brad absolutely loved it. Dennis said, “Eh, it was okay. I guess it was pretty good.” The 15 year old version of, “I really liked it!” We had a great weekend together. Of course I was constantly reminded of Michelle’s absence. I had purchased a seat for her in the hopes she would go with us so her seat was empty at the theater.

We had a super relaxed attitude driving to and from St. Paul because we didn’t have a particular deadline or huge distance to travel…Michelle would have loved that. The host talked about a Radiohead song from their last album and then sang it. I almost started crying:

‘True Love Waits’

I’ll drown my beliefs

To have your babies

I’ll dress like your niece

And wash your swollen feet

 

Just don’t leave

Don’t leave

 

I’m not living

I’m just killing time

Your tiny hands

Your crazy kitten smile

 

Just don’t leave

Don’t leave

 

And true love waits

In haunted attics

And true love lives

On lollipops and crisps

 

Just don’t leave

Don’t leave

When he sang the chorus, at the end…it killed me. It was so sad and mournful. It had a slow, soft, panicked quality to it. It reminded me of how I have felt (off and on) the last 12 weeks. I feel like it reset how much I miss Michelle. It is different this time. It isn’t as immediate. It isn’t as sharp. It feels like the last time he sang the chorus – slow, soft, and (vaguely) panicked.

 

Kind of a douche

I despise how I

was. I wish I would have told

myself not to drink


8:00am

Last night the boys and I met some friends for dinnerOn the drive home, Brad said, “Dad, I am so glad you don’t drink anymore…like really glad.” It was emphatic the way he said it. Dennis chimed in echoing the same feelings. I asked them why they were bringing it up.

Dennis said, “You were kind of a douche when you drank too much…sorry.” I could hear the trepidation in his voice as he said it. I asked him why he was sorry. “I don’t know, I feel bad saying that.” I told him he didn’t need to feel bad. Brad talked about driving home one night (Michelle was driving) where I kept throwing my flip-flop at Dennis in a joking way that just got annoying. I guess that’s a weak example…but they are 12 and 15…it’s what comes to mind for them. There are plenty of moments of me being short, impatient, etc.

I told them how sorry I am I behaved like that. They both said it was totally fine, especially now. They know we are all in a better place now that I don’t drink any more. I think we can see it because of its absence. Kind of a forest for the trees type scenario…we are out of the forest, now we can all look back and reflect on a drinking Dad and see what an asshole he could be. I’m not happy I was like that. Saying I feel guilty and embarrassed doesn’t do justice to how horrible I feel.

I should focus on the positive…I am so happy I don’t drink. I am not that drunken shithead.  I hope everyone still in my life realizes that.

 

Hope?

the difference from

where I was – to now, gives me

hope for the future


8:00am

Yesterday, I was so upset and angry at Michelle with the horrible thing she was saying to me that I left work. She is consumed by anger and resentment (maybe hatred?). She kept landing these blows that were expertly placed for maximum damage. I wish I could say I didn’t try to do the same but that would be a lie. She is just so much better at it than I am. My heart isn’t in it. I mostly ended up trying to defend and explain myself. I’m pathetic!

I got in my car and just started yelling at no one in particular as I drove home. That lasted a good 10 minutes or so. After I blew off steam I decided I needed to get out of my head. I got home, did a tough 20 minute circuit work out, and immediately went for a 3 mile run. All told it took about an hour. When I got home from my run, Dennis and Brad were home. Brad and I talked for about an hour while his brother did his homework. Then the three of us went out for sushi down in the old market. We walked around talking, having fun, and ended up at a coffee shop for desert. We talked at length about Michelle and how they aren’t going to be seeing her for a while. They were/are both sad. I explained why it was for the best with an analogy:

When you pull off a band-aid, you can do it slowly and it doesn’t hurt as much but it hurts a lot longer. Or, you can quickly rip it off. It hurts at first but very soon stops. The way I see it (this is me telling them), we can either extend the pain because it seems easier (it isn’t) or just rip that band-aid off.

As we were driving home, Brad said he feels good about the decision. I asked why. He said he feels less stress (he suffers from anxiety and has a therapist) because he knows what is happening now. There is no longer any confusion about the status of Michelle and I. Uncharacteristically, Dennis chimed in and said he felt the same way and then said, “this was a really great night.” Brad agreed.

After her attacks the last two days, I know what I wrote to her in that letter (on Sept 18th) about being so much further ahead of her and being afraid she wouldn’t be able to catch up…it has come to pass. She doesn’t even think she needs to see anyone. I feel so sad. I need to focus on the positives: I’m healthy, I’m sober, I have honest/clear/loving lines of communication with my children, and I’m not overwhelmed by being sad like I was.

After dropping the boys off at their mother’s I went to the movies. When I got home, I went to bed and read for an hour. I am proud of myself. I left work just a mess: hurt, sad, and longing (I’m being honest, I am still wanting Michelle). Shortly after, I had worked out and was on the front porch laughing and talking with Brad. I turned my day around. I did that! I didn’t stew about things. I felt those awful emotions, I let them in, and then got rid of them doing what I know works: exercise, time with my kids, movies, and reading. Last night I slept like a baby. I have made so much progress.

I just realized, my go to thing when I am upset (like I was yesterday) was drinking (either alone or with a friend). That never entered into the realm of possible solutions to getting “out of my head”. That is progress!!!!!!!