I have good friends! I was discussing my journal entry from this morning with an old childhood friend of min. He was floored by what I had put up with Michelle. He then said:
“You know what? Instead of a ‘reasons you shouldn’t be with Michelle list, how about a list of things you want in a relationship. You need to quit looking behind you and look to the future. All you’re doing is spinning your wheels thinking about how things went wrong with Michelle. You’ve done the therapy. You’ve effectively addressed (and continue to address) your anxiety and drinking. Move on man.”
He is right. I am just hurting myself and wallowing in what was…like another friend said a few days ago. I need to look towards the future. I have my meeting with the Match Maker this afternoon. That is a step in the right direction. I was thinking this morning I was going to cancel the meeting. I am not. I need to take steps forward. Not keep looking the in the rear view mirror.
I’d like to amend my last sentence this morning from, “fuck me for being so obtuse and stupid for so long!!!” to “fuck me for being too focused on the past and not looking towards my future for so long!!!” I’ve handled my mistakes from my last relationship. I’m a better man for the next one. Hopefully, I’ll find a wonderful woman who will love me and the boys. Someone we can share the love and joy the boys and I have have together.
Like I said…I have good friends. He told me exactly what I needed to hear this morning. I feel a lightness in my chest. It’s where my anxiety usually is.
Driving into work, I was listening to Story Core on NPR. It was a conversation between a woman who received a life-saving kidney and pancreas transplant and the mother of the young man who died and donated the organs. Both the recipient and donor were addicts. The young man died of a heroin overdose. The recipient said what motivates her to stay clean is her family and legacy of the donor. She said she needs to stay clean to honor his death and her life. I know I’ve said this before but it helps to put it down on paper. I will stay sober for my children. Dennis and Brad deserve a father who is the best version of himself. I deserve a life where I am the best version of myself. I will stay sober.
I can’t escape the obvious benefits of doing so. Every aspect of my life (exempting my relationship with Michelle) is better: the boys and I are closer than we have ever been, it feels like I have a handle on my control issues and anxiety, I am more productive at work, I have read 7 books since I quit, so far I filled 190 pages of a journal, I sleep better, my complexion looks better, I have lost 33lbs, clothes fit better, I can run further and faster than I ever have, I am physically stronger than I have been since my 20’s, I am sharper mentally, generally speaking I am more attractive (physically and emotionally), the list just goes on and on. So the verdict remains the same, sober David is a better David.
I was talking with a friend over drinks last night (mine were the non-alcoholic variety) about Michelle and I. She is of the same opinion of all of my friends who spent a lot of time with Michelle and I. She thinks we should not get back together. She said Michelle hasn’t dealt with any of her issues. She feels like Michelle is in the “look everyone at how great I am doing” space. I know Michelle has run up credit card debt because she has started getting offers to help her refinance high credit card balances sent to my house. She said Michelle will eventually have her anger and rage subside and I will be getting a phone call from her wanting to talk about us getting back together. I doubt that. She doesn’t know just how deep Michelle’s anger issues run. Michelle was promised $500 from a past employer over 3 years ago (he never paid) and when it comes up in conversation she still has the same level of anger/resentment she did back then. If she can’t let go of a promised $500 that never materialized, what are the chances of her letting go of her anger with me?
Another good day. I feel great! I have nothing new to report in terms of my mood or sobriety.
I feel like I am getting a network of friends re-established. I have a reconnected with a bunch of people I lost touch with while Michelle and I were together (she didn’t like most of my friends. She made it pretty difficult, if not impossible, to maintain those relationships. Now that I think back on things…that’s disturbing behavior…right?). It’s nice to want to go out and be able to find a friend to join me. It wasn’t like that for a while after she left. I haven’t reconnect with everyone though.
It feels right to cut the toxic people out of my life. What’s sad is: at one point, they all meant something to me. They felt like a positive force in my life until I realized they weren’t. I don’t feel bad about it. It feels like a weight off of my shoulders.
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.
My parents have both put the hard close on me reconciling with Patrick. My mother went so far as to tell me “I have to come home for Christmas”. I explained I don’t and I will not be in Arizona for Christmas. I told both of them I had more important things I needed to work on. I was alluding to therapy and my sobriety. They both insisted there was nothing wrong with me. What a bunch of bullshit that was. I reminded them my drinking was something that is/was wrong with me. I told them I’m not interested in spending any time with Patrick or Rae…especially Rae. I don’t like being around their negativity. They say awful things about everyone they know and it is stressful to be around. My mother told me if I don’t come home for Christmas, I have to come to Arizona by myself then. I told her I wouldn’t. I know this is hard on both of them and I told them as much. I feel bad about that. I don’t feel bad enough to be unhappy and forced to be around people (who’s company) I don’t enjoy. That is the bottom line. Michelle has given me a really hard time about it to. I’m not saying I’ll never talk to Patrick and Rae. I’m just saying right now, I have no interest in it. Maybe that will change, but maybe it won’t. I’m indifferent to the outcome. The longer I go without contact, the better it feels.
Thomas called me last night checking in. I forgot to return his phone call a week ago. He joked and said he thought I might be ghosting him like I was my brother. We briefly talked about Michelle and then just how our kids are doing etc. He transitioned the conversation to my family. I told him I was on speaking terms with my parents but hadn’t spoken to my brother in months now. He asked if I was interested in changing that. I told him I wasn’t, not right now anyway. We talked about The Holidays and what the boys and I are planning. If I have the month at work I am hoping I have, the boys and I are going to be in New York City for Christmas. I’d love to stay at the Essex House again
I had a good visit with my therapist yesterday. I was not looking forward to it. The previous visit I left feeling like shit. We have been “targeting” an extreme bullying incident from when I was in 7th grade. I ended up feeling significantly better when we were done. I have little stress or anxiety about it. I am trying to think what would be the next event to target. Right now, this morning, it’s the relationship I had with Kim Ferguson. That freaks me out. It has impacted every romantic relationship I have had since. I even referenced it with my Michelle when she vacillates between wanting to be with me and not. I told her, “I won’t wait around. I have literally wasted years of my life waiting and hoping a woman would love me. I will not do that again.” In fact Michelle is the first relationship I have had where I didn’t think about Kim Ferguson. That is pathetic.
I feel like I should provide some context here. In college I met a girl named Kim. She was funny, smart, tall, blonde, and beautiful…we clicked instantly. I fell in love with her. I remained in love with her for years. We would fool around from time to time but she was much more of a free spirit and didn’t share the same romantic feelings I did. I was locked into the friend zone for years hoping she would change how she saw me. So when I say I’m not going to waste years of my life (again) waiting for a woman to love me…that’s what I mean.
I despise how I
was. I wish I would have told
myself not to drink
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.
Michelle sent me the following text at 10:30pm last night:
Michelle: You ruined my life and I fucking hate you.
She called me multiple times. I texted here and asked her to stop. She called at midnight I didn’t look to see who it was (I was asleep) and answered the phone. She was sobbing and inconsolable. She feels I am punishing her by “taking” the boys away. I described the confusion the boys feel and why that wasn’t good for their well being. It isn’t what she wants to hear. She started hurling the insults again and telling me how I felt rather than listen to when I talked about my feelings. She is all rage and hate. I’m afraid she’ll never change.
I sent her the following text this morning:
Me: Are you okay this morning? I know you don’t trust or believe I am getting better with my drinking and because of that you don’t want to be with me. I just feel the need to tell you this so you know…I still want us to be together. I am willing to do whatever work is necessary. I am already in therapy for myself. I will do couples therapy…I will do anything for us. Please don’t patronize and dictate to me how I feel. This is how I feel! I hope you are better today.
Maybe she will take me back, maybe she won’t. I won’t waste my time trying to influence that. I will make decisions about my life and my children’s lives using all the information I have available to me. She has told me innumerable times we aren’t going to be together:
- I don’t want you to have any hope of us getting back together.
- I have felt so much, more calm since I don’t have your standards to live up to.
- I feel more content with myself when I’m not with you.
- Go fuck yourself.
- If there was ever a chance of us being together that is gone now.
- You ruined my life and I fucking hate you.
I don’t have anything else to say about Michelle today.
Oct. 6, 2017
Monica and I have been talking more. She was getting a bit flirty and I had to tell her that isn’t what I want in reconnecting with her. She’s been lonely and with our sexual history it makes sense. To be honest I had thought about it too. I have extremely fond memories of that aspect of dating her. So I’m working on boundaries. Making sure to keep what I need/want in mind. Not trying to please everyone else etc.
what was familiar
is harmful now. make what is
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.
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!!!
Struggling to be
better is futile. It is
the same as before
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.
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.