Monday, June 14, 2010

24 Witnesses to Foolishness

(This blog entry is another diary only. It will only be up for a few hours. I write this to myself to remind myself of REALITY, a concept I have ignored for far too long!)

My husband was not a drinker when I met him, that I knew of.

Within the first month of our marriage, he drank at a friend's house while watching golf, came home with beer on his breath and I flipped out. He challenged me to search the scriptures on drinking and I found he was right- tee-totaling is not required by the Word of God. Drinking on social occasions, to celebrate friendship and good fortune, is actually lauded in the Bible.

And so way back when, in the very earliest days of our marriage, we found a place of compromise that showed compassion for my feelings and liberty for his feelings. So, here's what he agreed upon SO VERY LONG AGO.

He agreed to never drink alone.

He agreed not to drink to get drunk.

He agreed to limit his purchase of alcohol to what will meet his immediate needs.

He agreed to never drink alone. He has broken this rule somewhere between two and six dozen times in our twenty-three marriage. I originally gave a little leeway here back in 1996 because a glass of red wine a day is supposed to actually be good for you. However in the course of a few weeks time that glass of wine turned to two and then more until he was actually drunk in front of the kids! I was so angry. He promised to stop drinking red wine everyday, and he kept his word for a long time. But not forever. He will occasionally start drinking every day again, making me bring up the subject and force him to keep his word. *sigh*

He agreed not to drink to get drunk. Now he more of less kept to this rule for the first seven years of our marriage. There were only two exceptions: once, at a social situation, he drank past tipsy up to drunk. And another time he came home drunk from a bachelor party. One of my girlfriend's has a motto: Moderation in all things. including moderation. I can live with occasionally overdoing it in a social context. That's understandable.

Of course the best way to guarantee you won't get drunk alone is to limit your purchase of alcohol to what will meet your immediate needs. Do you want a cold beer on a hot day? Buy a cold beer, or if you have someone else to share it with, a six-pack. Is someone coming over for dinner? Buy a bottle of wine to share with friends.

When he started drinking the red wine, he bought a bottle a week. By the third week he was buying it a gallon at a time. It was about the fourth week of his new habit that he got plastered.

Looking back, I can see that this is when the dynamic of our marriage changed. It went from two grown adults, partners in life, to a bad child/angry mommy/vengeful child model. I miss the man I married so much.

In hindsight I think that the point of buying wine was to freak me out so I would correct him- move into the mommy role. It didn't faze me when he bought a bottle of wine a week, so the next week he bought a gallon of wine. I expressed concern but I still didn't freak out. Not until he was drunk in front of my kids. Then I put my foot down. Mommy was not happy.

There was a pointless argument that night. At one point the Lord reminded me not to answer a fool and that arguing with mockers only gets you stripes. So I just stopped talking to him. It was the first, but far from the last, time I was put in the mommy box and then the revenge on mommy could begin.

The man is a master at obsfucating the issue (to totally obscure with non-germane information in a verbose manner, with the intent to provide a non-answer, and provide total befuddlement)withholding whatever words/actions are needful, doing and undoing simultaneously (say "I'm listening" while turning his back and walking away)> He can take a conversation in which two people of good will could resolve a conflict and be reconciled in ten minutes, and he can stretch it into an hours, even days long strife fest- where the person of good will is continually blocked, then led on to believe there is a common goal, then blocked, then teased into trusting and reaching out again, only to be blocked.

This first PAPD fight between us lasted only one night. The next morning he was so remorseful. He dumped out the wine and swore it would never happen again. I was encouraged, because I believed my husband to be a man of integrity.

This was really the end of our grown-up relationship. It signaled the beginning of his "rebellious little boy-punishing mother-resentful child" head games that our marriage has deteriorated into endlessly playing out. I do not want to play anymore. It appears the only way to get out of it is to leave the relationship. I'm still not ready for that, but I am moving in that direction.

I do not drink alone. I do not drink to get drunk. I do not make provision for my flesh by buying large quantities of anything that is not good for my body to ingest in large quantities. I have no problem living by our agreed-upon house rules for alcohol. And yet I am the one with the background that would give me an excuse. Isn't that ironic?

As a teenager I regularly drank to excess. I started partying when I was twelve years old, and I didn't quit until I was nineteen. My job out of foster care was bar maid at a beer joint, and I worked full-time. When I quit I completely quit. Until my husband opened the door to responsible drinking for me when we were first married. I didn't touch alcohol. And even now, I don't have a problem with responsible drinking. I am not tempted to over-indulge.

Yesterday my husband bought a case of beer. For those of you who don't drink, that's twenty-four cans of beer. I can only drink one can of beer without buzzing. My husband weighs almost twice as much as I do, so that would mean he should stop at two drinks (per hour to be technical)to keep from buzzing hard. He has promised me to live by that limit, so that I do not have to fear that he is slipping back into drunkenness.

Obviously, if you buy a case of beer, you intend to drink a case of beer. He bought that entire case of beer to watch one soccer game with one other person. That is clearly planning on getting drunk, and possibly more than once. He wound up only getting to stay at the game until half-time (45 minutes) by which time he had already drunk three beers.

This morning, I asked him to dump it. I reminded him of his promises to me, his promise to our counselor to not drink at all while he was depressed, and he dumped all the beer down the sink. I should be happy, right?

I'm not.

He put me in the mommy box again.

He put me in the position of co-dependent, giving me the responsibility for his drinking habits, as if he is too weak and childish to control himself.

This gives him an avenue to resentment. Rather than be a man who keeps his word and lives a life of love and integrity, he gets to be a resentful little boy whose "mommy" spoils all his fun.

I hate this marriage. I feel so deceived by this man, who I thought was a man of God.

This compulsion he has to play out this "mean mommy" scenario with me disgusts me.

For all the comps who claim a man is due unconditional respect, I say poppycock. People who live lives worthy of respect will be respected.

Do I respect my missionary kid/preachers kid/lifelong Christian husband for playing the foolish baby brat with no integrity or self-control? NO, I do not.

It would be one thing if I had married an alcoholic, or encouraged drinking, or drank myself. Then I might have cause to really respect him for pouring out a case of beer. Hallelujah!

But this whole scenario- bad boy rebelling, mommy punishing, so that bad boy can hate mommy- this is the sickness that is killing me. He married me to have a mommy to hate.

Interestingly enough, there is only one way for ME to stop this merry-go-round of mentally disturbed abuse in my life. (He could stop it by changing his ways, but that is clearly not happening today.) The ONLY WAY for me to stop being put in this position is to leave the relationship.

He seems pretty insistent on keeping things the way they are. He will quickly point out that he's going to counseling. Yeah, but you still break your word and live like a child. What good is counseling if you don't keep your word?

There are twenty-four witnesses to foolishness in my recycle bin. Well, twenty-one if he left the empties at his friend's apartment last night. Twenty-one witnesses to my husband's lack of integrity. Twenty-one witnesses to his disrespect for my comfort as a Christian wife. Twenty-one witnesses that he is still playing me for the punishing mommy. Twenty-one witnesses that I am a fool for trying to have an adult relationship with a man who is inwardly a rebellious little boy.

So who's the real fool here? Him? Or me?

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