Christmas Day

It’s been at least 17, if not more, years since JD and I haven’t spent Christmas together.  Christmastime has been a family time for us in the past years.  We spend it at our home and have many traditions that have become very special to our children.  Mostly our older children.

This year……it’s anything but traditions.  I know this is not a bad thing…..but a different thing.  This entire month, and then some, has been different.  And I know it promotes change…..doesn’t mean it’s any easier.

Today was especially hard!  Last night at church service – I cried!  Hearing and singing the Christmas songs/carols was especially hard – I cried more!

During our visit today with JD, it was a nice time – just not a time I would want to repeat any other years.

JD was even more depressed than other times.  Can’t blame him.

But there was a time that was kind of – well —–I guess I would say troubling.  Not sure how to define it exactly.  I’ll lay it out and you can decide.

His parents came to visit today.  After opening all the Christmas presents and visiting for a little while, JD began a conversation about his treatment and stay.  I do tend to pay close attention to words and actions – evaluating them both.  During a conversation with his mom and dad, he mentioned a few things that were bothering to me.  And he made reference to my reactions.  Asking what was wrong with me?  I really didn’t realize that I had such a blank stare/look to me.  And that it was written on my face that I didn’t agree or like what was being said – but I guess I did.  And he later told me he doesn’t like it when I react that way.

The conversation went like this:

JD was explaining how all the other guys in here, except him, have such a worse story/situation than he does.  He sometimes finds himself thinking that he doesn’t belong here.  Or that he would be able to do just a 10-20 day stay.  Doesn’t think the full 30 days is for his situation.  He’s not a hard-core drug user, or lost everything like most of the guys here.  He’s learned so much more about drugs than he ever thought possible.  Learned terms and definitions to things he had never heard of before.  Like what an 8-ball is.  Everyone else’s situation is far worse than his and he’s really ready to be done and come home.

My blank stare?  Maybe it’s because he’s forgotten the situation he created which lead to this point.  Maybe he’s forgotten his stay in the psychiatric ward at the hospital.  Or maybe he’s forgotten all the other nights he’s stayed at a hotel or a friend’s house to drink.  Let’s see…..maybe he’s also forgotten how he’s hidden his drinking from his family (which includes me), has been taking pain medication for over 2 years.  Which at one point changed doctors because his regular doctor wouldn’t refill his prescriptions.

Or maybe………the fights we would continually have due to drinking.  The lack of (or more so….no) sex and sleepless nights due to drinking.  Or the nights he would pass out because of too much.  Then sleep until the noon hours or beyond.

My point……I’m not pulling extra time right now over the Christmas and New Years season.  And our sons birthdays as well as our anniversary for you to make light of your drinking.  Putting the emphasis on pain medications and not so much on drinking.

How I come to this conclusion?  When its stated that he doesn’t think he belongs in the same group as all of these other guys.  Almost everyone here has so much worse addictions and he’s very thankful that he’s never gotten to that point.  He still has his family, a thriving business and hasn’t had the types of issues as everyone else has.  He doesn’t think he needs to be here for the full 30 days.  If there was a 20 day program, he’d be better off doing something of that nature.  He states that he’s really gotten the most benefit from the program already, but he knows he’s there for the 30 days, and he’ll complete it. 

He also includes that if it were not for the pain medications, he wouldn’t be here.  They accelerated the whole process.  And “yes”, I do agree with that statement.  But it also puts the emphasis on the pain meds and takes away from the alcoholism.  This is followed up with a statement of how others in group can’t relate to his story of being able to go out to a basketball game, have a few beers, and be fine with it.  But also states in another part of the conversation that it is something that is almost painful to do.  To not have any more than the 3 beers, and how the cravings increase.

Back t0 my blank stare and JD saying, “I obviously said something you didn’t like, or agree with, since you have THAT look”.  Uh yeah – I’m sitting here listening to you tell your parents that you don’t really think you need to be here, you’ve already gotten what you feel you need from the place, you don’t really think you are as bad off as any of the others here, and that you can on occasion “control” your drinking.  How the hell am I suppose to feel and react?

Yep – I do hang on every word of yours.  And probably over critique it.  Trust takes time to build.  Words and actions are what build any amount of trust.

During our counseling sessions, I believe one of the major points was you never have acknowledged or accepted just how much hurt, pain and dysfunction you have caused in me and the family.  You have always made statements like, “Oh, you have it so bad with such a husband like me.  One who does so much for you and the kids.  One who brings home as much as I do to provide.  I don’t abuse you or the kids.  All I do is have a couple of drinks to relax and it’s such a bad thing to you.  You live such a terrible life.” 

Those statements resonate just the fact of how you neglect to see the damage.  And until that has happened, you will continue to carry on in the fashion you have.  That is what I saw in your words.  And the words that were spoken to me as we walked back to his room to gather our belongings.  His words to me, “I really don’t like it when you do that when I’m talking!”

Excuse me?  What do you expect from me?  This is still ALL about you!  So that night – I cried!


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One response to “Christmas Day

  • The Good Wife

    I’ve found that my alcoholic husband has struggled with acceptance too, he’ll acknowledge he had a problem, but not that it was ‘real’ alcoholism, that he wasn’t as bad as the other people in rehab…seems to me that when they’re forced to acknowledge some weakness they cling on to what they can.

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