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.

 

I miss her

she has only hate

in her heart. I wish she could

be happy again.


new beginnings are

less fun than I remember.

the sex is nice though.


10:30am

I am tired today. I took Monday off and read a book all afternoon (which was nice). Facebook reminded me of an evening Michelle and I had 2 years ago. It was a wedding reception. We looked so happy together. I miss feeling that way about Michelle. I feel sad today. My therapist told me the sadness will come and go off and on. I guess today it is coming and it is switched on. I won’t dwell on it. Maybe it’s the weather. It has been raining, cold, and gloomy since Friday. I miss Michelle. I miss talking to her. I miss laughing with her. I miss being near her.

 

 

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!!!!!!!

 

Ephemeral

she was like others:

ephemeral and fleeting.

I will never leave.


8:30am

Tomorrow evening I am going to have the conversation with Dennis and Brad about Michelle and not seeing her in the future. I need to get the logic behind the decision organized so it is coherent for them.

  1. We love Michelle, we miss her.
  2. Michelle no longer wants a future with me (I was going to say “us”…I think “me” is better).
  3. We need to move forward with our lives. We can’t hope Michelle will change.
  4. This is painful. It is okay to be sad, hurt, angry, confused, scared.
  5. These feelings may never go away but they will diminish with time.
  6. Some people will come and go in your life. I will never leave you.

Number 2 is still difficult for me. It will be difficult for the boys. I hope they are further along in their grieving than I give them credit for. The 6th point…it makes me feel good to remind them of it.

 

Forgiveness

it is cathartic

to apologize. more so

to be forgiven.


7:45am

I’m trying to use the steps in the 12 Step Program that aren’t so full of God: 2, 4, 5, and 8-10…so half of them, the rest are bullshit. The biggest theme is making a personal inventory and admitting to other people your short comings. The 9th step is making amends to those you have wronged. There is a woman (Monica) I dated for a few months I needed to make amends to. I found her on Facebook and sent her the following message:

Hey. This is Joseph from like a million years ago. I don’t want to bother you (don’t feel like you need to reply if it’s weird). It’s been so long since we saw each other and I’m sure you’ll have a hard time remembering what I’m talking about but I wanted to apologize for the way we ended things. You deserved better and I’m sorry. I hope you and your kids are well!

She replied a few hours later and we ended up talking on Facebook Messenger for a quite a while. She still had some hurt there and we spoke, candidly, about everything. She said it felt a lot better having the explanation even if it was 4 years later. I feel better having done it. So much time has gone by since we dated. It was nice to chat with her. She asked if we could keep in touch. I’m super low on friends right now. It would be nice to have an extra one even if it’s electronic.

Simpler

8:30am

your life is simpler,

(you’re happier)

now that you are rid of me.

Mine is the same (only:

confused

lonely

angrier

sober

eventually hopeful) day-to-day.

accept!

you are not part of it.


the finality

of letting her go is hard

to come to terms with.

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!!!

 

 

Happy birthday

we want you with us

but you are so far behind.

please catch up, hurry!!


the resentment I

felt was not real. it was fear

wearing a disguise.


9:00am

Michelle sent me a text a few minutes after midnight wishing me a happy birthday. Of course I’m reading all sorts of things into that. I just responded with “Thank you”.

I can see now I’ve really hurt my chances at reconciling with her. Thinking back to the letter I sent her on the 18th, where I said I have gotten so far ahead of her…of course she is resistant to everything I say. She hasn’t processed anything. I’m seven weeks into therapy and sobriety. Emotionally, Michelle is still in Arizona, nine weeks ago when my drinking problem and resultant controlling behavior became so evident to her. She hasn’t moved beyond that. She won’t be able to until she starts therapy.

I’m a different person. No, that’s not correct. I’m the same person…I’m just a better version. I understand what drove my drinking. I understand what created my need for control. I understand all anxiety touches and impacts in my life. Knowing helps me: not drink, squelch (I love that word) my controlling behavior, and manage my anxiety. I’m going to continue with therapy and continue to get stronger and healthier.

To say Michelle is resistant to therapy would be an understatement. Until she starts, any time we spend together will be fraught. It will be detrimental to any chance of us finding each other again. I’ll be looking to the future wanting to heal and she will be angry and resentful of what happened in the past. She has said she loves me and wants to be with me. She has also said she doesn’t see how that can happen. We can’t address the desire to be together and reconcile it with the anger and resentment she has until she gets help. As much as I want to, I can’t spend time with her until she does. I have to be patient.

Thinking through this…I’m not resentful (anymore). I am afraid. I am afraid she’ll never catch up. I’m afraid she isn’t brave enough to grow. I’m afraid we’ll never be a family again.


3:45pm

Michelle just sent me a text asking if we could get together. She wanted to buy me a crème brulee for my birthday. I told her I have plans and can’t. I do have plans tonight but I could meet her. I really, really want to meet her but can’t. It will do more harm than good.

 

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.