You’re not worthy of them

8:30am

What a weekend. Friday was the Nebraska game. I made homemade nachos (and killed it…they were perfect). Saturday Brad had to be in Lincoln for a soccer game at 9am. We got back home at 2pm. I worked out, bathed and rested for a few minutes. We met some friends for pizza and then went to the UNO soccer game. Home in time to watch SNL (season opener). Sunday had to get Dennis to a swim meet for warm ups at 8am. Came home for a quick lunch and then went to the movies. Had a 5pm soccer game for Brad, made homemade chicken noodle soup, and then to bed. I am exhausted from my weekend.

I ended up texting with Monica off and on. It is nice to download my brain to someone new. We might get together for a few drinks later in the week. I’m not looking for anything there except having a friend. They are in short supply these days.

I’m sleeping better and the obsessive thoughts about Michelle seem to be subsiding. The last time I visited my therapist, we talked about her continued relationship with the boys. I was honest and admitted the reason I capitulated and allow her to maintain her relationship is because she was upset. My therapist is right, there are all kinds of complications that can come up in the future that will be more harmful to the boys than losing their relationship with Michelle. Here is what I am sending to Michelle in a letter and email.

Michelle,

I’ve been working with my therapist for 10 weeks now. I’ve come to trust her and respect her. She pointed out all kinds of potential complications that, net, will be more harmful to the boys than the loss of their relationship with you. At this point in your life, you aren’t interested in any version of the world where you might need to grow. You are stagnating. My boys deserve people who can take objective stock of things and make adjustments that are in their best interest. Right now, you aren’t capable of that. I hope, some day you will be. Going forward, I do not want you to be a part of my children’s lives. With the selfishness, entitlement, and manipulative behavior you displayed regarding my health insurance, I won’t risk you not honoring my wishes as it relates to my children. I am going to cut off your contact via text, phone, and social media.  If I had to sum it up in one sentence it would be this: I don’t trust you to be objective and act in Dennis and Brad’s best interests if what is in their best interest conflicts with what you want.

David

P.S. I really do hope you are able to change and learn how to evolve and grow. I miss how happy we all were together as a family. I can see it now, as we were…our breaking up was inevitable. I love you.

I sent it this afternoon in a letter. I will send it to her via email on Thursday as well. I want to make sure she receives it.

So bored

what was familiar

is harmful now. make what is

healthy familiar.


9:00am

I can sum up this weekend in one word, boring. I read, went to the movies, wrote, exercised, walked the dog, and worked around the house. I was marking time. It was excruciating. I was glad to go to work today. The first time I was genuinely pleased since Friday was when I picked up Brad for school this morning. Those 10 minutes were more fun than the entire damn weekend. I’m reminded of a quote (I’m embarrassed to say which movie it’s from), “I’m alone but I’m not lonely.” I aspire to that, being alone but not lonely. This past weekend I was both.

I’m only going to have Dennis until he is 16. Then he’ll be more involved with his friends. Brad will be 16 in 3 ½ years. I can feel it coming. I need to find something meaningful to do when I don’t have the boys. What would that be? 9 weeks ago it was Michelle and our life together. We were so content and happy. I’m 44 years old now. The prospect of me finding someone I’m that connected to is rapidly diminishing.


12:00pm

I was driving home from the coffee shop I was reading at and the muscle memory tried to kick in. I wanted to stop off at Herbe Sainte for a delicious manhattan or three or four. So I did…except I didn’t have the manhattan, I just ordered a bite to eat and read my book. I made the craving about the place not the booze. I’m forming new habits and they aren’t about alcohol. By the way…their meat board is amazing!!!

 

 

It’s her anger

your anger is what’s

hurting us now. I am not

the problem anymore.


8:30am

I had another great night of sleep. I didn’t wake until my alarm went off. This is the best rested I have felt since Michelle and I split up. My therapist commented (more to herself than me) the grief seems to be lifting. Is it fucked up that makes me sad? I’m not over Michelle but the severity of the loss is diminished. I guess it’s to be expected considering how much I’ve been working at therapy and my sobriety. I suppose I should say, good for me?

The boys seem to be doing really well. We are still laughing more since I quit drinking. They seem to be more at ease. Dennis and Michelle are going to start spending Tuesday afternoons together before his swim practice. I think it’ll be good. I know they miss each other.

Tomorrow is my birthday. Michelle wanted to get together and go out. I cancelled. I’m not interested in pretending everything is fine. It isn’t. I’m angry she hasn’t done anything with respect to her anger issues and panic attacks. I shouldn’t be around someone who makes me feel like shit. That’s what she has been doing. Everything I say is responded to with contempt. She won’t listen to me. She just waits for me to stop talking so she can tell me how much she resents me and how angry she is.

That’s enough about her. Let’s focus on something positive that doesn’t make me feel like shit. After I dropped the boys at their mother’s house I came home. I was considering going to the movies or watching some Game of Thrones while doing laundry. I thought what if I went to another AA meeting? What if I went to a discussion meeting? I like that I can go to these meetings and just listen. I might go to one on Friday after I have dinner. I’m going to start going to meetings a few times a week. I don’t have to buy into all that God bullshit to derive value. Dennis, Brad, and Michelle are the thing I’m giving my drinking up to.

I wish I could leave Michelle out because she doesn’t give a shit about me. To get through all of this, I need to be honest with myself. It’s not just the boys…I’m doing this for her too.

 

I can bear it

I feel it lift. the

weight isn’t as burdensome.

I can bear it now.


8:00am

I went to an AA meeting last night. I’m glad I did. I’m not sure it’s something I’m going to need to go to every day (they ask you to do 90 meetings in 90 days). I think going every other week, when I don’t have the boys will help. It was a “speaker meeting”. I found the stories inspiring. These are people whose lives have been profoundly impacted by alcohol. They have spent time in prison, lost careers, lost families…alcohol has hurt them so much more than me. In spite of all that, they managed to find and hold onto sobriety. There was a line of folks celebrating their “birthday” (the yearly anniversary of their sobriety). I want a “birthday”. I want it for my kids, for Michelle, and for myself. I only have 313 days left.

I got a copy of “the big book”. The first third is about the 12 step program. Every speaker talked about how “only through the grace of God, this program, and the fellowship (you all) have I stayed sober.” I don’t like the God part. It’s off putting. God isn’t going to get me sober, I am. God hasn’t helped me get through the last 7 weeks, not letting Dennis, Brad, and Michelle down has. I don’t know how to reconcile those. It may be that I just go for the inspirational stories. I’m going to attend a “discussion” meeting next and see what I think about it.

At the end of the meeting everyone joined hands and said The Lord’s Prayer. It reminded me of a dream I had Friday night. Michelle, the boys, and I were on a road trip. We were in the mountains. As we came around a bend in the road, I lost control of the vehicle and crashed through the guard rails driving off a massive cliff. We were falling. It was high enough that as we were falling we had time to realize we were going to die. We started saying The Lord’s Prayer. Michelle and I both reached back to hold the boys’ hands and I closed my eyes waiting for us to hit the ground. We didn’t die. The landing was soft, the Tahoe wasn’t damaged. I realized I needed to get us under control and stopped before we went over another cliff. I said to no one in particular, “are you fucking kidding me?” I think I said it out loud and it’s what woke me up. I was incredulous we had survived. I woke up after that.

Anyway…after the meeting, I cried when I got to my car. I felt/feel relief. I know I can do this. It’s not a matter of trying. It’s something I’m just going to do.

I called my parents on my way home from my AA meeting. My mom was glad I found it helpful. She told me my father thinks I’m wasting my time. He thinks I don’t need to it. He even challenged me Can’t he just be supportive? I’m not hurt. I’m frustratingly resigned. This is who he is.

 

 

Mild disappointment

Struggling to be

better is futile. It is

the same as before


8:00am

This past Saturday evening I went bowling with the kids, their friends, and a buddy of mine. He and I bowled a few games but then went to the bar to talk. We talked, of course, about Kim and I. While we were talking I got this strong urge to drink and get hammered. Not do 5 shots in a row…no…to order a drink and talk with a friend and keep doing that until I’m done (done = good and tight). I’m upset thinking about it. It’s interesting, as it was happening, I felt tons of anxiety.

I’ve been working on an exercise with my therapist to help alleviate anxiety. I visualize a container, put the thing that is stressing me out in it, and close the container. I’ve only done it with racing thoughts about Kim so far. With her I visualize my journal, close it, and then place it in my container. It works. I did that with my craving to get drunk. Actually I did it with the stress I was feeling about wanting to get drunk. I imagined a bottle of vodka, I put the cork back in it, and then I placed the bottle into my container. It helped. I was able to do it while in the middle of a conversation with Jason. I had to do it a few times that evening but each time I felt better, I felt less stress.


11:00am

Struggling to be better is like taking a trip to a sunny location only to realize it’s not as sunny as you had hoped. Except for small variations, it’s pretty much the same as the place you just left only you’re happier here than you were there. I still want to get there, this better place, I’m just realistic about what it is. I’m even resigned to being slightly disappointed.

 

 

Resignation

she won’t acknowledge

she has work to do. why am

I trying so hard?


9:00am

Michelle and I had a bad fight Saturday afternoon. I called to talk to say hi and ended up talking about some resentment I (recently) had. She tried to turn it around like I was trying to control her. I wasn’t. I was simply giving voice to my feelings. I have always felt love was a behavior, not an emotion. She agreed. I told her I’m hurt she hasn’t gotten into therapy yet. She scheduled an appointment for October 5th (that is 12 weeks from when we broke up). I told her that spoke volumes about her commitment, or lack thereof. She interpreted this as me telling her what to do. I wasn’t. She refused to see what I said as an expression of my emotion…my hurt. No matter what I said she wouldn’t listen.

It feels like she’s stuck in this death spiral of anger and resentment. She is stuck in the past and what happened vs. the way things are now and into the future. She can’t see my actions for anything but controlling. She told me the difference between that long dinner we had on Friday (a lovely, tender night between us) and the following Thursday was Friday “she was in control…could express her feelings and I just listened.” The following Thursday I tried to talk about my feelings. She doesn’t want to hear my feelings. She doesn’t want to hear that I feel resentment that it will be 12 weeks after we broke up before she has her first meeting with a therapist. She doesn’t want to hear how that hurts me or how that hurts Dennis and Brad.

Right now, it’s not about me respecting her thoughts, feelings, or opinions because I do. Right now, it’s about Michelle being the only one who is allowed to say or do anything. She expects me to feel and say nothing unless it’s obsequious and apologetic. She doesn’t care about my feelings.

I think it is sinking in. Michelle isn’t going to try. She sees me as the only problem we have. She’s resentful, unforgiving, selfish, and hateful. She isn’t brave enough to look inward with a critical eye. It’s our death knell.

I feel sadness. I feel resignation. I’m fighting so hard to be a better man for my boys and for her. I can’t believe she won’t fight for us. I feel hurt. I do not feel hope. I slept better Saturday and Sunday nights than I have since we broke up. I guess resignation leads to less stress.

I can’t believe we’ve come to this.

Thanksgiving, I had this idea of doing “An Affair to Remember” in Chicago. Tell her I’ll be somewhere at noon the Friday after. Fucking stupid!!!

I would still jump if she said she’d take me back.

I am fucking pathetic!!


3:00pm

A letter I sent to Michelle:

Michelle,

The whole point of me sending these journal posts to you (The more insightful entries I have been mailing to Michelle) was to share. I realized I was going to have to do some colossal soul searching and super uncomfortable examinations of myself. I thought it might help both of us if you could witness it. It felt right to make myself vulnerable to you.

I had hoped, maybe naively, you would be willing to do the same (be vulnerable not necessarily keep a journal). With both of us sharing/growing, I thought, maybe, we could find our way back to each other. Maybe that’s wishful thinking. I don’t know. After our dinner on Thursday and the phone conversation Saturday afternoon, I feel further away from you than ever. I feel like we had started a trip together, 8 weeks ago, only for me to realize you’re still asleep, in bed, you haven’t packed your suitcase, and you aren’t planning on leaving for another 3 weeks. I have gotten so far ahead of you. I hope you can catch up but I’m afraid you can’t (or don’t want to).

I hope at some point, if you catch up, we can find each other again. We all feel less without you.

I love you.

Our future

resentment requires

living in the past. I look

towards our future


9:00am

Michelle and I had dinner last night. We ended up talking about our relationship…again. I had hoped we were just going to hang out and have fun together. In retrospect it was good. We didn’t have much fun but we worked on a few things. Michelle has a lot of resentment. I don’t say that in an accusatory way. That’s where she is. She kept talking about things that had happened in the past about my drinking, control issues, etc, etc. I told her that was the past. She is stuck on what I did instead of focusing on what I’m doing.

It makes me think about the movie “Land Lines”. The parallels Michelle and I have with this film are palpable. Jenny Slate’s character cheats on her fiancé, she comes to deeply regret it, and through it learns to truly value her fiancé and their love. Ultimately he takes her back but he is tortured by her infidelity and he torments her. She finally breaks down and tells him that she can’t help what she did. She did it. It happened. All she can do is love him and be the person he deserves now and into the future. He wants to be with her. He needed to learn how to let go of his resentment of how she hurt him. I hope Michelle wants us to be together enough to get past the resentment.

Michelle told me, on the phone, she wishes she had been stronger. She wishes she had MADE me stop drinking. I don’t know how to explain to her the only way I was ever going to stop drinking was if I hit rock bottom. Ruining our family and not having her to love is my rock bottom. Maybe there is a compliment in there…losing her was my rock bottom. That’s a pretty fucked up compliment.


my problem ruined

our lives once. did it teach me

how to be better?


1:00pm

I’ve been struggling with the “higher power” part of a 12 step program. Talking with Michelle last night made me realize what that is for me. It is the three of them. I truly hope we are going to be together. Michelle wants us to be together, pair that with her anger/resentment and it’s confusing…I get it. At the end of the day, if she loves me and she wants to be with me, she’ll sort out the resentment. We’ll find our way back to each other and be a family again.

If I ever went back to drinking I would lose Michelle and the boys. I will NEVER lose my family again. That is the higher power I have given myself up to, our family. It sounds like I’m making them responsible for my drinking. That’s not what I mean at all. I am responsible for my drinking. If I can’t stay sober for myself, I can stay sober for them. The ultimate motivation for sobriety: Dennis, Brad, and Michelle.

 

it’s been (add period

of time) since you’ve had a drink.

don’t ruin the work


don’t be an asshole.

she loves you. she wants us to

be a family.


8:30am

I’ve decided to attend an AA meeting next Tuesday evening. The way I figure it, why not arm myself with as many tools as I can? The more I have to fall back on, the less likely it is I will lapse. It’s been 7 weeks since I’ve had a drink, let’s not ruin what you’ve accomplished!

I’m afraid of losing Michelle. I know we aren’t together. I’m afraid someone else is going to come along and take her love from me. Someone else is going to catch her eye. I know…super paranoid. My therapist said the negativity is a defense mechanism. If you expect everything to go wrong then you can’t be disappointed. I suppose it could happen though. I feel like I need to rush things along to avoid that. That would be a mistake. Michelle and I need to work on ourselves and we need to take our time for the boys’ sake. I hate that I’m not positive.

 

What is best for me

when faced with hurting

others, I struggle to do

what is best for me


8:30am

I’ve been staring at the letter I wrote Michelle the last two days. I’ve read it over and over again. I feel worse about this than when I sent that email to my brother. It’s the finality of it. If I send this letter, I will never see Michelle again. It closes the door on us. No matter how much I try to explain that I need this, she will never forgive me.

She spoke with a co-worker and scheduled an appointment with a therapist. I guess that’s good. She is going to need it. This is going to hurt her and make her angry.

She’s made her position clear as it relates to us. I can’t think about what’s best for Michelle or what’s best for us. I need to start thinking about what’s best for me and my children. I need to try and piece my life together now that she is gone: taking care of my children, sobriety, exercise, reading, and writing.

I guess the hesitancy is the finality. I want us to be together so badly. She told me she didn’t want me to hold out hope for us to get back together. Pathetically…that’s what I’m doing. That’s my reluctance to send this. I’m still so desperate for us to reconcile. I should listen to her. I can’t control others. I can’t influence others. I can only control myself. I need to look at things objectively. Objectively Michelle has told me, from the beginning, we are not going to be together. She has told me I should not hold out any hope. I can’t influence that outcome. I will not have hope.

I need to be the best person I can be for my boys. I need to move on with my life and find happiness again. I need to do what I think is best for Dennis and Brad. They are confused and upset. Seeing Michelle and continuing their relationship with her is fostering that confusion. This is what’s best.

I won’t give up hope. It’s not who I am. I am a glass is half full kind of a person. What I will do is behave as if I have no hope. With my grief…I’m trying to take care of body and mind in the hopes my heart will heal itself. With my hope…if I behave as if I no longer have any maybe it will finally atrophy and die.

 

Toxic

8:00am

I feel like I have so much anger about Michelle building up inside me. Look at my post from yesterday fuck’s sake!! I know anger is part of the grieving process but Jesus. It isn’t feeling cathartic anymore. It’s starting to feel toxic.

I’m still on this rollercoaster of emotion. Elation and joy when we talk or text (yes we’re texting even though we said we wouldn’t communicate for 4 weeks…we made it 2 weeks) to despair and anger when we don’t. I keep thinking about the quote, “the only way out is through”. I think the only way through is cut off communication with Michelle entirely. That means on social media, her visiting with the boys, on the cell phone, texting, email…a clean break. I need to move on.

She is done with us as a couple. I need to quit holding onto the notion she will change her mind. That she will take me back. That she misses our family enough to work on our relationship. I need to not be angry about that. So that’s where we are then.


1:00pm

Michelle,

I love you. You are the great love of my life. I have never felt the happiness, ease, and contentedness in a relationship I feel with you. You are everything I want in a woman: smart, complicated, strong, ambitious, tender, loving, interesting, maternal, beautiful, sexy, and gentle. We are so happy together. I miss being home with you. I miss how much we have in common. I miss talking to you. I miss the way you are with the boys. I miss laughing with you. I miss the way people talked about us as a couple. I miss making love to you. I miss our life together. I miss you!

It’s hard to accept the person you planned your life with, the first and last person you want to see every day, doesn’t want you anymore. I know you aren’t trying to hurt me but it hurts you won’t work or fight for our life together.

It’s been interesting reading my journal from the last month. I’m a cliché of grief. I’ve hit all of the stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and (only very recently) acceptance. I know exactly how I contributed to where our relationship is today. My anxiety and insecurity drove my drinking and my need for control. It’s too early to say I’ve fixed those things. I will say, I can see myself from today and into the future…it’s the man you fell in love with.

Do you know how you contributed to where our relationship ship is today?

In order to grow, as a person, you must be open to the possibility you are wrong. Personal growth requires you are uncomfortable. It isn’t easy and demands courage and objective, self-deprecation. You’ll never be able to grow using your family as your therapist. They lack objectivity. You know this, and your sister knows this.

I have been harboring some resentment (which manifests itself as anger) towards you. It feels like you’ve been treating the life we built together as a kind of buffet. It feels like you are picking and choosing what you want and leaving out the things you don’t want. In fact, I’m the only thing you don’t want from our life together.

Like I said before…I know how I contributed to our breaking up. I told you to leave. I will regret that for the rest of my life. I wounded us. You decided the finality …you killed us. From the outset, you have told me not to have any hope of us getting back together. Now, you want things that take you away from Omaha and preclude us being a family. When you decided you didn’t want us to be a couple any more, you didn’t leave me. You left the family we built.

I need to move forward with my life and accept we are no longer a couple.  I need a clean break.

To that end, you have to get your own cell phone plan by the 18th of this month. After that date, I am having your line taken off my plan. You will no longer have a relationship with my children. This is all very confusing and hurtful for them and your continued presence in their life is making that worse. You’re not their (step) mother. You decided that when you decided you didn’t want us to be a family anymore. I will be blocking your ability to communicate with all three of us via phone, text, and email. The only way to communicate with me after the 18th is via letter. I will carry you on my health insurance plan until January 31, 2018 (roughly 6 months from our breakup).

I’ve read this letter over and over. I know how harsh it sounds. I’m not trying to punish you. I’m trying to move on with my life. Nothing about our break up is fair.  We are un-equal partners (but partners none the less) in where our relationship is. I will never get over losing you. I will always hope against hope that you will change your mind about us and take me back. In the face of that unlikely event, I will never bring another woman into Dennis and Brad’s world. In hind sight, where you and I are at and the hurt the boys have in their hearts, it was a mistake bringing you into their lives.

I wish I had asked you to marry me. I love you.