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smalltownwriter

smalltownwriter
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California, USA
Birthday
December 06
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In the newspaper business for more than 20 years. I write, I edit and take photos ... I'm a triple threat.

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Salon.com
MARCH 25, 2012 8:40PM

May I have this dance?

Rate: 7 Flag

I'm not a very good dancer. It's not something my size-12 feet were meant to do. Coordination? Forget about it.

The alcoholic dance, though, is something in which I'm well versed. One step forward, two steps back, a sideways glance, cheek-t0-cheek, move to the beat. 

My two precious little ones are home with me earlier than planned. My mother-in-law revealed sobriety lapses these last few weeks (since my last visit to the next state over where my alcoholic wife has been staying with her mom), so the kids returned with me rather than stay another week.

And so it goes. Step. Step. Side. Side. Shuffle. Cheek to cheek.

I can honestly say I had a very nice visit with my wife and kids this weekend. While my wife worked most of Saturday, I spent it with my kids playing, reading, drawing and just generally being a dad.

After the conversation with my mother-in-law yesterday, I was able to line up a sitter and then promptly called my Alanon support network. Sponsor? Check. Closest three Alanon friends? Check. I felt better balanced and able to deal with the inevitable "reveal" with my wife.

That conversation went better than I expected (at least on my end). I didn't lose my temper, lecture, blame or scold.  It felt good. I told her the kids were coming home with me and they couldn't be around her if she's still drinking.

Now, I guess I'm at the next phase. As I was leaving, my mother-in-law and wife pressured me to give them a firm return date for the kids. I side-stepped the question and said we'd discuss it later.

It looks like it's time to legally separate. I don't want to do this. As I drove over the mountain pass to get home, I cried at least half the drive. This hurts. Much like when I called 911 on Feb. 5 (which resulted in getting my wife out of the house), this decision is just as painful. I feel like I've been forced into this action.

Tomorrow is another day. Right now, I have to chase a 1-year-old before she gets into something, and change the jammies for her 3-year-old brother (since he dribbled yogurt all down the front).

Step. Step. Shuffle and bow. The dance ends.

Author tags:

marriage, al-anon, alcoholism

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My heart goes out to you. This has been such a long journey. I wish you had some help. Taking care of two small children is lots of physical work. However it sounds like you are doing the right thing even if you don't want to. You will always be involved with the mother of your children. Do whatever it takes to make it all work legally and time wise. What a difficult situation. Please keep writing when you can.
Perhaps a legal document will do the trick for her. I have faith that you are going to get this right.

Good luck with the kiddos.
And we never stop dancing. Whenever we think the music has stopped, it starts up again for another round of musical chairs. Who will get the last seat?
I won't trouble you with the sordid details that led to my leaving my alcoholic first husband with a 2-1/2 yr. old son in tow. It felt at the time like the hardest thing I would ever have to do, climbing Mt. Everest a cakewalk by comparison.
My wish for you is the slow and steady return of sanity, peace and predictability in life that I found. There likely will come a time when you look back at the reign of alcohol induced chaos and wonder how that ever seemed to be a place you and your children belonged.
Your support network sounds strong (yes!), so don't worry about knowing the fancy footwork just yet - let them teach you the basic steps of this dance, and one day you'll find yourself leading again. I'll pray your wife finds her groove again as well.
I can't say it better than Barb Allee did. And yes, you have been 'forced into this action' in the sense of being powerless over alcohol.
Always comes down to that.
Good writing! What I respect most in all that you are sharing with this dance, is that you let us "see" the dance. What I see this morning is that you are making certain steps.
I'm sorry you have to go through this. You sound stronger. I'm glad you have the kiddos back with you and glad you have a strong network. Keeping you in my thoughts...