Al-Anon – recovery for your loved ones.

It’s been a couple of days. Saturday’s blog entry wasn’t really in-depth so I feel like I’ve let things slide but I had a really nice, family weekend so I’m not going to beat myself up on it.

Yesterday was a full day. I find days like this much easier as boredom has always been a trigger for those unwelcome, compulsive thoughts. However, it didn’t start all that well. Rob is a night-owl. I tend to go to bed quite early because I get up with Fable. I was especially tired Sat night so went to bed at half past 9. I read a bit and listened to a podcast so probably didn’t fall asleep until half past 10. I never slept through the night. I wake to pee several times a night. It’s really frustrating! It can be anything from twice to 6 times depending on how much I’ve had to drink the day before and how often Fable or Rob stir. If I’m woken by them, I can never just go back to sleep. I have to get up and go to the toilet. I might not be desperate to go but the thought entered my head and unless I try, it worms its way in and keeps me awake.  So, even if I have gone to bed early, I can rarely say I’m well-rested. Sun morning Fable woke around 7.30am, I got her some warm milk and  got her out of her cot. We let her roam around the bedroom, playing with her toys quietly whilst we doze. Usually, after an hour of this, I get up and take her into the living room so Rob can get more sleep in peace. Yesterday morning I struggled to wake up. She was fine but Rob got up and made her some breakfast and put the tv on for her in the living room. That’s unusual for him. It was only 9.15am but he began to question why I was so sleepy. He asked why I wasn’t up. I knew then that I had to get up otherwise it would look unusual to him. It bothered me. I feel like whatever I do, it can be read as ‘unusual’ to him. If I am high-energy – that’s odd. If I’m extra sleepy – that’s suspicious. If I’m depressed – that’s worrying. If I’m happy – why?  I felt so tired of my behaviour being analysed. My codependent side wants to act in whatever way attracts the least suspicion. My defensive side wants to be able to do whatever the fuck I want without it being somehow wrong. My guilty side understands that it’s my past behaviour that has created this situation in the first place.

I just want a day off from questions, talks, analysis sometimes. So I let it drop. We took Fable swimming in the morning and in the car, as normal, Rob asked me how I was feeling today. It always feels like such a loaded question. If I feel fine and say as much, it sounds like I’m being short and withholding something. I didn’t want to get into it though so I said I was ok. The night before we’d talked a bit about Al-Anon. Al-Anon is a worldwide fellowship that offers a program of recovery for the families and friends of alcoholics, whether or not the alcoholic recognizes the existence of a drinking problem or seeks help. He has stayed up late researching it and listening to some recorded meeting and podcasts. He spoke a bit about how it made him feel. It felt really refreshing to me to have him talk without me having to start the ball rolling but like I said,  I really didn’t want to start an in-depth debate.  I listened willingly to what he said but I think my silence made him feel he should shut up. We swam. Then came home. There was an odd atmosphere between us. He said I was usually quiet. I didn’t feel chatty and felt my quiet mood was being analysed. Which in turn irritated me. Why can’t I just be??!

I sat in a different room to read for a bit. I thought if I could just be alone without having my behaviour dissected for a minute, have a little time to breathe, then maybe I would be in the mood to talk. Then he came to find me and questioned what I was doing (with a book in my hand!) and I instantly felt my heckles go up. The last thing I want to do is talk when I feel like this. I should have just communicated this to him, instead I brushed it off and said sarcastically – Err…I’m reading?? (Duuuh)

We went for a walk then. I have made some leaflets advertising myself as available to do housework/dog-waking/help with groceries – that kind of thing, so we had a stroll around the local houses, putting them through letter boxes. I always feel better when we do something nice, together as a family. My feelings of being analysed subsided and with that, all my irritation and defensiveness. The rest of the day was lovely. We visited his mother and then I cooked a nice meal. We talked a bit before bed although, I don’t really like talking about our problems just before I want to sleep. It feels like the wrong time, though to be fair, I had avoided having a proper talk all day. I did tell him how him questioning me as to why I was still in bed at 9am had started a chain of negative thought for me. How I felt so exhausted by feeling that every move I make and every mood or emotion I display is analysed. To his credit, he didn’t try to excuse this. He listened to me and it felt like I was properly heard.

I really think that much of my difficultly in communicating with Rob comes from feeling I’m being scrutinised. So much of my behaviour triggers him, I guess I instinctively feel that silence and stillness is the safest way to be.  I feel bad for him too. He didn’t ask for any of this. He’s stood by me and is doing the best he can. He’s agreed to attend an Al-Anon meeting and I’m so grateful for that. I think him having someone other than me to talk to about this whole shebang can only be of benefit. I will feel under less pressure for sure. We had a cuddle this morning and feeling close to him makes him feel so much more approachable. It’s so hard for me to open up to him when it I feel his questions don’t come from a loving place. It’s a vicious circle though. He can’t be open and loving when he feels suspicious and scared.

I want to give him peace of mind. I want peace of mind. We love each other and both want the same thing. I hope to one day look back on this time on our relationship and marvel at how we got through it together.

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