Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Boundaries, an invitation, and a holiday

One of my struggles has been how to deal with the reality that I no longer wish to have a romantic relationship with H, yet we continue to live together in our home of 24 years. For me, the romantic part of our life together is long over and I just don't see my feelings changing, although I'm trying to keep an open mind. Needless to say, H has been in denial about this for years now. But, in all fairness, I haven't been consistent as I've been racked with guilt and shame about how my feelings have changed for him and about us...and I have wavered.

So, now, I am being consistent. And while he may pout, throw a tantrum (like the kid who wants ice cream before dinner, but mom says no), or try the masterful guilting that only he can do…I hold firm and am loving and kind with him. Oddly enough, I feel much better being around the house and, for the first time in years, I’m feeling more comfortable in my own skin. My hope is that he, like me, will get to acceptance on this issue so we can enjoy whatever time we have left together and in whatever context we have it.

Setting firm, unyielding boundaries is key, but also it is important for me to extend a loving invitation to H: he's welcome to stay with me and I will be there for him, whatever happens. I've been consistent over the years with him on this point: I'm not abandoning him (tho' he may feel that way), I love him, and I will continue to care for him, regardless of how our relationship shakes out.

H is taking a holiday from his anti-viral meds for the Summer. He talked with his virologist about how sick the meds were making him feel and he wants to stop for awhile and "have a life this Summer." Now, this is not without any number of risks, but Dr. says it is better for H to stop taking them entirely than not taking them consistently due to the risk of viral resistance. Having said that, there still is a risk that that he may get sick after a month or two off or that the meds won't be effective anymore if he starts them up again.

I told H that I support his decision to take a holiday. I can see how bad his quality of life is, but I also reminded him about what has happened in the past when he took a med holiday. It's important to me that he knows I support him and that I will be there for him and it's also important that I tell him the history.

I didn't tell him this, but I'm very concerned about him taking a holiday as I've seen what happened before, but part of me hopes that he can have a few months where we can enjoy one another again. And, another part of me just wishes that this means the end of his long, tortuous road of this horrible disease.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Life and presence

Get a life

H has been struggling with side effects from his many meds: gaining weight, sleeping a lot, and most notably, just feeling like-he-has-the-flu sick. The latter is from his antiviral meds. H wants to stop taking the antiviral meds so that he can "have a life" this Summer. In the past when he's stopped his meds, he'll feel great for a month or so and then get very ill; been through that before and would prefer not to repeat.

In some ways, I don't like it when he's feeling better. His demands on me increase…he feels better so he starts more projects, but he rarely finishes them or can finish them anymore. And when he's up and about, I should just enjoy him while he's here, but I struggle with that too: I have all those fond feelings for him that I feel very conflicted about because I've been up and down too many times before.

And when he's feeling better, his expectations rise: he wants to do stuff with me, hang out with me…normal stuff really. But I just see it as work….seems like all I do is work these days. Work at work, work at home…little down time right now. And, to be honest, it is work to be around H for me now that I'm more present.

Being present

One of the side effects of (some would say the reason for) my drinking was that I was not present when I was at home. Heh, hard to be present with a minimum of a 6 pack a day.

Now, without drinking, I can be present and I find that a challenge. I can deal with the notion that he's sick and afraid and feel compassion, I can deal with his dementia and be patient and try to understand, but what I can't deal with is the thought that this will drag out for (many more) years…knowing that I'll not (ever) have a partner that meets my needs.

And yet I struggle to get those needs met now due to feelings of guilt and shame as I'm "leaving" my partner. Very strange, but that's how I feel. As much as I want a partner, or even just some fun, the block is there and much of it has to do with the thought of lying to him or hurting his feelings if he found out.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Random snippets

Treatment burnout...

Well, I've spent so much time on recovery stuff recently that I'm just burned out on it. Not that I'll stop attending my sessions and all that, but sheesh I'm tired of hearing about drinking or not drinking. The counselor in my treatment program is having fits with me about this as it challenges much of the AA a priori dogma.

Happily, I don’t have any cravings and I rarely think about drinking…well, unless I'm in a meeting of recovering alcoholics. Question under consideration: I know that AA is tremendously helpful to many, but given that I don't struggle with not drinking …how much of this do I really have to do to keep myself sober?

Don't go to that meeting!

H is worried that I'm doing too much right now, yet he can't see that he is a big part of my overload. Work is crazy busy and he's worried that somehow I'll run into someone at my once a week treatment meeting that is from my large company and that "it won't be good for your career." He also says, "You need to focus on work and yourself, you don't have the capacity to go to a meeting." Reality check, please.

It's really more about him not understanding the facets that I juggle constantly: it's work, work, work at the salt mines, then home to do more work (make dinner, listen to his old angry stories, take care of the pets), my self care stuff (including the gym & therapist), and oh that pesky spiritual path thing. I know I need a vacation, but that won't happen until August. So, yea, I need to do a bunch of self-care stuff and I do it wholeheartedly without guilt.

Just go back to bed, would ya?

No surprise, but H doesn't have all that many good days these days. But after a slew of bad weeks, he's up and about a lot more right now. So, he's up early with me, sleeps during the day, and is up when I get home. First time in literally years and, of course, I've been fancying myself a single man, so I have much dissonance about this. But, I'm not PO'd at him since I've stopped drinking and I am grateful for that.

He "just wants to be with me." I appreciate the sentiment, but all I hear at this point is neediness. I don't do well with this as he's been so bloody needy for so very, very long. But, when he's up and about and trying to be all chipper, I mostly just want him to go back to bed. Now, I don't say that, of course, but I think it and I also think to myself, "How many more years do I have to babysit?"